Lawrence Park junior finds delicate balance between soccer, skiing

Maddy Skinner overcame falling during the giant slalom to reach OFSAA podium

A DELICATE BALANCE: Last year, Maddy Skinner made the decision to focus on soccer over skiing. That allowed her to compete at OFSAA in the giant slalom. She won bronze.

The biggest hill to climb for Maddy Skinner was not at the Blue Mountain Resort in Collingwood. It was her own personal decision to choose soccer over skiing.

But her school, Lawrence Park Collegiate, is all the happier she chose ball over ski as she was able to race for the team at OFSAA this year. And she earned a bronze medal for her efforts too.

The 16-year-old was not without a few bumps and bruises from her two competitions Feb. 26 and 27. Skinner raced in both the open girls’ slalom and open girls’ giant slalom runs. Open is for students who ski with clubs outside of the school.

Given her decision to choose competitive soccer over skiing outside of school, she hadn’t hit the slopes as loyally as she had in the past.

“I think in terms of I haven’t really trained this year. We had Cities and a day on the course,” she said, in a late February phone interview. “For the circumstances, I was pretty proud of myself.”

On the first day in Collingwood, her OFSAA numbers were impressive, skiing slalom in 49.52 on run one, and then 50.1 on run two. That was good for third, just behind the Bishop Strachan School’s Steffi Ralph.

Day 2 was when disaster struck. While sitting in second place — after her first run of 45.2 — she slid close to the finish line on her second run.

“I felt I was having a really fast run,” she recalled. “I got caught in softer snow and I tried to pull my feet back in and the ski got caught. I went with it.”

Her mother Melissa LaFlair had just arrived after watching son Jeffrey ski, and she witnessed the unfortunate event.

“She was in contention for the GS but she fell on her second run,” LaFlair said, adding with a soft sigh, “Such is life.”

Skinner still takes to the slopes, but as an instructor to 7-year-olds, teaching the basics. Alpine skiing may be over, but Skinner will be back to work with the Panthers’ soccer team. They met on Feb. 28 and will be hungry for an OFSAA return.

“We had a really good season. I was really proud of the team,” she said. “It’s a fun team and a great community. I’m really excited for this year.”

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