Kim Poole takes the blame for his family’s cross-country fixation.
Poole met his wife Louise about 40 years ago while they were both students at Guelph University. He was the one who introduced her to cross-country skiing, a sport the pair have competed in around the world.
“It was my fault, because I was fairly competitive since my late teens,” said Kim. “On provincial teams, going to international races. I’ve been competing in cross country for a hell of a long time and we haven’t had a reason to stop just because we’re getting older.”
The couple are on their way to Minneapolis this week for a Masters World Cup event, during which they’ll each compete in 10, 15 and 30-kilometre races over seven days beginning Saturday.
The qualifying process isn’t as daunting as one might think for a World Cup event. “You’ve got to be at least 30 years old,” quipped Kim.
Kim and Louise have been fixtures in the local cross-country scene for two decades. Louise is the current president of the Nelson Nordic Ski Club, which Kim also volunteers for.
The club currently boasts about 868 members, according to Louise, which is the most it’s ever had. That also doesn’t include the 900 students who visit the club two or three times per season.
Two of those kids at one point belonged to Kim and Louise — their son Gavin and daughter Sonja essentially grew up at the club, with Sonja competing in national-level races.
“It’s kind of a mentality that I guess you get used to when you’ve done it yourself,” said Louise. “You go to Kootenay Cup races or B.C. Cup races and we would compete and the kids would compete. We just kept in shape and we enjoy it.”
Eventually, both kids grew up and moved away. But Kim and Louise still compete, and have been to World Cup races as far away Norway, Switzerland and Italy.
They’ve never won — Louise once finished fourth while Kim won bronze in a relay race — but that’s not really the point for the couple. Cross country is too much a part of their lives to ever get old, even after decades of skiing.
“It’s been a family affair,” said Louise.