So how does one reach the pinnacle of coaching cross-country skiing in Canada?
Well, for Dave Wood of Prince George, it all began in the mid-1970s when racing for the Hickory Wing Ski Club. Wood’s career path to coaching the sport he loves was influenced by Doug Gudwer, the 1999 Prince George Sports Hall of Fame inductee, who raced to 22 medal-winning performances at the Canadian Cross-Country Ski Championships.
Wood’s appreciation for the many demands required of a Nordic skier was enhanced through his friendship with Gudwer. Progressing from athlete/skier and general club volunteer at the Hickory Wing Ski Club, Wood became the B.C. team head coach for cross-country skiing from 1988 to 1990.
Wood then moved to a critical technical role as head wax technician for Canada’s national cross-country ski team. In 1994, he returned home to Prince George to open the Provincial Training Centre at the Otway Nordic Centre. Guiding Canada’s best young racers took Wood to Canmore, Alberta, where he was national team junior coach.
In 1998, Wood took over a struggling national ski team. Under his guidance as head coach and team leader, he rebuilt a program in disarray to some of its greatest successes. He coached Beckie Scott to gold in the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in 2002 and Chandra Crawford to a gold medal at the Turin Olympics in 2006. Wood guided the Canadian national men’s ski team to its best ever Olympic performances at the Vancouver-hosted Olympic Games in 2010.
From his early days of skiing the Prince George nordic trails, Dave Wood rose to become a world-class coach and deserving inductee into the Prince George Sports Hall of Fame.