Barren Ground Coffee is a proud sponsor of Frostbite 50 athlete Kerry Wheler. This will be Kerry's 5th race (2017, 2016, 2015, 2012). Previous highlights include placing first in the womans solo in 2015 and skiing with a large stuffed walleye attached to her backpack.
How did you get into cross country skiing?
I skied around the horse pasture as a kid, but didn't really learn about gliding until I was in University. I begged the coach to let me take a "learn to skate ski" class (normally reserved for phys.ed students and I was a music student). I fell so much and my legs burned but I just loved the motion. I ended up skiing on the Augustana Vikings ski team and am forever grateful for that opportunity.
What was your first FB50 like?
Awesome. I love skiing 50km. It becomes meditative to just repeat the same movement for that duration of time. In 2012 my first child was 1.5 years, so I remember it being one of the first days after becoming a mother where I could just be by myself, doing my own thing. I didn't need to do anything or think of anything.... just one leg in front of the other. It was so empowering to just move through the beautiful landscape.
What was the most memorable (or gruelling) FB50?
Well, as my husband Brett says, "It doesn't have to be fun to be fun". There are usually moments of discomfort in 50km but that's part of the fun of it. One year, Prospserous Lake was a sugar bowl of faceted snow and when you pole planted, it seemed like there was no bottom. I knew it was going to be a slog, but I just stayed positive to focus on ravens gliding above the island, and the incredible quiet that surrounded me. It turns out that is one of my best memories. Overcoming adversity feels good I guess.
How will 2018 FB50 play out?
It's always exciting to do the first lap on the trails and then head down onto the lake to create a long string of people moving across Back Bay. All participants are so supportive of each other and it's fun to share the camaraderie of skiing 50km together, no matter how fast or slow we happen to go on that particular day. It's a wonderful route and a wonderful event to be a part of.
Favourite Barren Ground Coffee pre-race?
I love the Peruvian Dark decaf. The beans are so fragrant and oily. I really appreciate that we can get such freshly roasted coffee in Yellowknife - it makes a big difference! I also value that BGC carries fair-trade organic, products.
Notable Yellowknife ski stats
2017- Jackrabbits Coach of the Year
2016-2018- Yellowknife Ski Club Events Director
2015 - Placed 1st womans solo FB 50
About Barren Ground Coffee's involvement in the FrostBite 50
"The goal of Barren Ground Coffee's Frostbite 50 partnership is to help local ski racers in Yellowknife," said Eric Binion. "We know that the racers are up against demanding odds in the 2018 FB50. The wind will be howling, probably in your face in all directions somehow. It will be cold. No one will have enough wax on their skis because it will get scrapped off and their feet will be going everywhere. People will be moaning as they go up and down on the snowmobile bumps across all the portages. In the least, they should have some nice, fresh, and locally roasted organic fair trade coffee in the morning before they go so they can remember those lingering tastes through out the day".
Barren Ground Coffee will be a proud sponsor of this years' Frost Bite 50 and will be providing free coffee before the event to racers and spectators. Head on down to the Ski Club on Saturday March 17 to cheer Kerry and everyone else off!