Spending her winter carving up ski hills from coast to coast was something Paige Hickey was willing to do in her desire to pursue the sport at the university level when her high school days are behind her.
The 16-year-old Corner Brook native just wrapped up a whirlwind alpine ski season that culminated with her representing Team Atlantic at the 2018 Whistler Cup in British Columbia.
A week before heading west to tackle Whistler against some of the best U16 skiers in Canada and the eastern United States, Hickey was hitting the hills with Team Atlantic at the Can-Am U16 female championships that followed her appearance at the 2018 national ski championships in Collingwood, Ont.
The top six female and male skiers in Atlantic Canada were chosen to represent the region at the Can-Ams, while only the top three male and female athletes qualified for the Whistler Cup — an event that hasn’t seen too many Newfoundland athletes reach when compared to alpine skiing hotbeds like Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia.
“I definitely put on a lot of mileage, but it was fun though,” Hickey said Wednesday of her hectic travel schedule this past season.
Being a road warrior is something Hickey is willing to embrace in her desire to be the best she can be. It is tough being away, usually a week at a time, because it requires a lot of commitment and hard work. But, she also misses a fair amount of time in the classroom so she has to be good at time management to have a fine balance of athletics and academics.
“It’s fun to be able to miss some school and go do what I love, but then you also have to catch up on all that schoolwork you missed and I still have to do most of the schoolwork that I’m missing while I’m gone away,” she said.
Marble Mountain is where she began the journey, but she quickly realized that the only way to get better was to travel to where the competitive athletes converge and that’s on the big hills scattered throughout the country.
It’s the only way she sees her goal of racing for a university really coming to fruition so she’s going to spend the next two years doing what she can to improve her chances of being lured to a university who wants her on the team.
“It makes me a better skier all around and the more time on snow I have the better I’ll be, and the more I can live up to what I want to be in my potential,” she said. It is something not a lot of people get the chance to do and I’m definitely very happy that I get to do it.”
Having a vision for the future is half the battle so now she just needs to put it a lot of work.
“I’d really love to ski for a university. That’s definitely one of my No. 1 goals just so I can stay on snow as long as I possibly can and, yes, I definitely want to go away somewhere and get a good education, as well,” she said.