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This builder of sport turned her passion for cross-country skiing, which she first developed as an athlete, into a lifelong commitment. Since taking her first coaching course in the 1980s, she never looked back, spending over 40 years as a dedicated volunteer, innovator and coach, providing opportunities to people of all ages and abilities.

Involved with the Lake Superior Ski Division, she helped grow the program locally and throughout the region and took on a variety of executive positions. While attending Lakehead University during the early 1990s, she did double duty, helping to coach their nordic ski team while pursuing her physical education degree. Her involvement with Big Thunder Nordic saw her serve as a Head Coach, and help develop their coaching system and the skills of many young skiers, some of whom went on to represent Canada at World Juniors, University Games and the Olympics. 

A course facilitator and evaluator within the National Coaching Certification Program, she helped revive the certification program in Ontario. Her over thirty-year involvement with Cross Country Ski Ontario saw her start as an assistant coach and go on to serve in a number of capacities including as a Coordinator of High Performance and Coaching Development, and serve on the provincial board from 1989 to 2020. Her exceptional leadership skills earned her the role of Head Coach for Team Ontario cross-country and para-nordic teams at multiple Canada Winter Games dating back to 1991 and up into the 2010s, often emerging as the top province at the national event.

Applying her knowledge in adaptive coaching techniques, she became a driving force behind the development of para-nordic skiing programs in Ontario and worked with Nordiq Canada to help build the para-nordic program in Eastern Canada. Her commitment and enthusiasm to encourage people to participate in para-nordic skiing has produced results, with athletes she has influenced bringing home multiple medals from Paralympic Games. 

Her contributions have not gone unnoticed, receiving the 2015 Firth Award from Nordiq Canada which is awarded annually to a woman who has made an outstanding contribution to cross-country skiing in Canada, a well as, receiving a 3M Coaching Award. Continuing to exhibit the same passion for the sport that she had when she first began skiing, chances are this outstanding builders' legacy still has more to be added to as she heads towards a half-century of involvement.

Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 17, 2022

Patti Kitler

Cross-Country Skiing
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