Being a strong competitor at nordic skiing takes reams of technique and talent. It also takes being inspired by the way snow feels under skis, how the body's muscles and tendons wrestle with gravity and judge momentum, while the lungs adopt rhythms in tune with the slope and air temperature.
Loving your sport is a key part of what makes a young BC Winter Games bound athlete like Alexander Nemethy excel.
"I love it," he says, "it's really a lot of fun."
Nemethy has been nordic skiing since he was four.
"I think I've been competing since I was around nine," the teen says, "I wanted to see how well I could do and then how I could get better when I train a lot."
He can be found practicing at least four days of every week and competing on many weekends throughout winter months, which has his experience levels snowballing.
"I was training with a national coach at camp not too long ago," he says, referring to a skill camp in November with Gert Erasmus who was the chief of course for the 2010 Olympic biathlon at Whistler.
"He knows everything to do with racing," Nemethy said with enthusiasm.
That was good timing to go to Whistler for training in November, Nemethy explains, "because there was no snow here (in Vanderhoof.)"
He also trained with national level coaches at Smithers, and even attended summer dry land ski camps, he says laughing.
Last year the skier took another challenge competing on the high elevation glacier in Canmore, Alta. at the Western Canadian Championships. More than 40 young men competed in those races so to place near and into the top ten is a huge accomplishment.
"First day on a 2.5 km Classic, I came in 11th," Nemethy said, using that momentum to take seventh spot at the 645 metre sprint event and barely missing third place by two seconds in the final 3.3 km sprint.
Paul Collard has coached his own daughter Olympic medal winner, Tuppy Collard, and still coaches valley youth, including Nemethy.
Nemethy's other coach is his mother, Wanda Nemethy. She also instructs his teammates Marcus Owen and Tyrel Machom, both biathletes.
Having all this expert training along with a strong team will fortify their chances for good performances at the winter games in February, no doubt.
Competition is at a high level in Zone 7, though only the top two in any division get the honour of going to the games. Nemethy with his teammates, Owen and Machom were good enough to make the cut.
Plenty of opportunities to practice racing are on the radar for these young men. This past weekend. The Nechako Valley Sporting Association in Vanderhoof hosted races where Burns Lake and Prince George teams competed with Nechako's teams. Nemethy won the five-kilometre race.
Next weekend they will be going to Prince George for the Provincial Cup and then they'll go swishing through the flying frost at the much-publicized BC Winter Games February 23-26.