State champion skiers Calan and Karina Martel get more from sport than just accolades | TheUnion.com

State champion skiers Calan and Karina Martel get more from sport than just accolades

Calan Martel wasn't even two years old before he was making his way down a snow covered mountain on a pair of skis.

"I liked it from the beginning," the Nevada City resident and Colfax High School senior said. "Who doesn't like going down the slopes at a high speed? I just clicked with it."

His younger sister, Karina, wasn't even a year old before she was strapped into some skis and pulled around the slopes by her parents.

The Martel siblings' early introduction to the sport of downhill skiing has led to lots of accolades, including state championship titles for both, but has also taught them valuable lessons about life, leadership, time management and teamwork.

“They are the personification of how to lead, how to be a student athlete, and they’re very good with their teammates.”

— Casey McGlothanCalan and Karina’s coach at Colfax

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"It's really hard to go down a course that fast, and it's taken a lot of hard work to get to where I'm at." said Calan, 18, who won CNISSF State Championships in the men's slalom race and giant slalom race in early March. "That work ethic will carry on for the rest of my life."

Karina, 16, who won both the women's slalom and giant slalom races at the State Championships, said racing can often imitate life.

"Life is kind of like racing," she said. "Everything is coming at you super fast, and you have to make it through without crashing. And, when you get to the bottom, it's a big relief."

Colfax head coach Casey McGlothlan said the Martels ability to lead is what sticks out to him.

"They are tremendous leaders and tremendous students. They are good on and off the mountain," he said. "They are the personification of how to lead, how to be a student athlete, and they're very good with their teammates."

McGlothlan added what sets the Martels apart from the rest of the pack when it comes to racing is their experience, but also noted their approach is one of calm confidence, especially with Calan.

"It's like he has ice water in his veins," McGlothlan said. "He is something else. He doesn't get worked up. Calan can step up, know what's going to happen and execute it. It's pretty amazing actually."

Calan said earning the individual state titles this year was special because he failed to do so the year before, but added that winning the state championship as a team was equally important.

"It was just a really fun time spent with my friends," he said. "We couldn't have won the boys title if it wasn't for Logan (McGlothlan), Seth (McGlothlan), Nolan (Thomas), Austin (Conway) and Gentry (Owens). They all worked hard and deserve credit. They dedicated themselves to it."

Calan, who is also an accomplished soccer player and won All-Pioneer Valley League honors for his play with the Colfax team this season, is now deciding on where he will attend college. He hopes to play soccer at the next level and continue to ski, possibly for a club team. He added he wants to study engineering or bio chemistry.

"I just want to get the best education I can, get the college experience and hopefully play soccer," he said.

Karina, just a sophomore at Colfax, is still immersed in her ski racing season, recently competing at a Junior Olympic event in Alaska. She's not sure how far she wants to go with the sport, but said she does plan to keep defending her spot on the top of the CNISSF State Championship podium.

"My goal is to get it all four years," she said.

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email wford@theunion.com.

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