Upper Canada College no longer has a ski team, but Jack Norton would definitely be one of its leaders if it did.
The Foundation Year student, who started skiing shortly after learning to walk, has been racing for eight years. The last three have been at a high level and he was so successful that he was ranked second in the province in his age category at the end of last season.
Norton is off to a great start in 2014, as he won the 18th annual Wendy Buda Giant Slalom race against the top 14- and 15-year-old skiers in southern Ontario on his home course at the Osler Bluff Ski Club in Collingwood on Jan. 5. Even with the successes that have enabled Norton to reach this point, he calls this season-opening victory his greatest accomplishment in the sport thus far.
Many of Norton’s peers are enrolled in ski academies or schools catering to elite athletes, and racing at this level requires a major time commitment to training and competing, but the 15-year-old (who played linebacker on the junior varsity football team in the fall) has managed to balance his time between his hobby and academics and other UCC obligations.
“I make sure to let the teachers know in advance when I will be missing class, and collect the work needed for each day to do over the days I miss,” says Norton. “I do not take part in many extra-curricular activities at UCC in the winter as the time is needed either for skiing or to keep up with school work.”
“I truly believe JV football and UCC helped his fitness, focus, confidence and good sportsmanship characteristics, thus contributing immensely to this win,” says Jack’s father, Brent.
Provincial races for skiers under age 16 will be held throughout January, February and March, with North American championships following in Mont Tremblant, Que. later in March and world championships taking place in Whistler, B.C. in April. Norton hopes to qualify for all of them and see where that leads in the future.