Featuring John and Lina Farra

Article by Amy Cheney-Seymour

For locals in the Lake Placid and Saranac Lake area, weather is a fickle friend. In just the past week we have had wind, hail, snow storms, blue skies and balmy temperatures in the high 50s. Unfortunately, Mother Nature’s mood swings have dismantled the pristine snow we enjoyed a few weeks ago. As the tireless Olympic Regional Development Authority employees continue the relocation of the much anticipated Junior National Cross Country Ski Championships from Mt. Van Hoevenberg to the Olympic Jumping Complex I was lucky enough to catch up with two skiers undaunted by weather, John and Lina Farra.

“Well, I consider myself a Lake Placid boy” began John, “this is where my journey began, cross country skiing and my love for skiing happened right here in Lake Placid."

“Well, I consider myself a Lake Placid boy” began John, “this is where my journey began, cross country skiing and my love for skiing happened right here in Lake Placid. I am thrilled that my daughter gets the opportunity to come to such a cool town, and compete in Junior Nationals as I did.”

No stranger to ski racing, John was both Junior National Champion and National Champion in his own right. John, the youngest of five children, spent many weekends at Mt. Van Hoevenberg with his family. He later attended National Sports Academy as a standout Nordic Skier and then was a member of the United States National team attending the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France.  “I am just really excited that all the skiers get to experience historic Lake Placid, and all the miracles that happen here. This is such a cool place.” The duo decided to have a little father-daughter time arriving in Lake Placid a few days early, a glide or two down memory lane and some point specific coaching for the challenging 2.5 k course Lina will face this upcoming week in four different races.

After retiring from the national team John returned to National Sports Academy where he worked as a teacher and administrator for several years with his wife, Tess.  The couple lived in a quaint log house right on the trails of Van Ho, Lina’s first home. Her first moments on the trail were only a few months old, happily snuggled in pulk ferried around Flatlander.  Travels later brought the family, and younger sister Hanna, to Maine, and now the Farras reside in Heber City, Utah, where John is the Paralympic Nordic Director for the United States Olympic Committee.

“I am looking forward to skiing in eastern conditions that I have not experienced yet. My hope would be to earn a top ten finish, and All American honors. It would be really special for me to accomplish this here.”

Lina, a junior at ­­­­­­the Winter Sports School, is amped up for her second Junior National Championships. The Winter Sports school has a slightly different schedule, classes April through November, which leave the competition season open for training, recovery and races.  Lina is excited to compete in here at her childhood home. “I am looking forward to skiing in eastern conditions that I have not experienced yet. My hope would be to earn a top ten finish, and All American honors. It would be really special for me to accomplish this here.” In addition to competitive ski racing, Lina is a talented singer.

In an ultra-competitive field of young ladies, with similar dreams, Lina heads out of the stadium for one more ski with John, who unfortunately will miss the races as he flies off with his Paralympic athletes to Pyeongchang, South Korea, the site of the XXIII Winter Games in 2018.

“Enjoy your process and the journey.”

Last minute advice from Dad to daughter? “Enjoy your process and the journey.”

Come on out and cheer Lina on as she pursues her goal of a top ten finish, as well as the other 300 athletes from all over our country. First race is Monday March 6th, at 10 am at the Olympic Jumping complex. Bring your cow bell!

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