MARQUETTE – The sound of skis sliding over snow, the sights of beautiful trails in Marquette County, the feeling of wind in her hair – cross country skier Abby Potts enjoys all these things. But skiing is something she does to win, not just for the fun of it.

Potts, 16, is a junior at Marquette Senior High School and skis for the Superiorland Ski Club in Marquette. She said her parents are big on skiing and that’s how she got into the sport.

“I started on the Northern Michigan University Ski ‘Cats in elementary but didn’t return to it in middle school,” Potts said. “Some of my friends were talking about the ski team and how much fun they were having, so I joined my freshman year of high school.”

In middle school, Potts said she didn’t stop skiing but only did it for fun. She even tried out downhill skiing for a while.

“I didn’t really like it as much as cross country,” Potts said. “I think it was just too intense for me.”

Potts said cross country is just more calming and relaxing than downhill and that’s why she prefers it.

“When I’m skiing there is always a smile on my face,” Potts said. “I can’t help but be happy when I’m on the trail.”

In competition, Potts said she skis 1K sprints and 5K classic and skate races. She’s participated in four competitions this year and has placed second and third in several events. Even though she competes in both classic and skate races, Potts said her favorite technique is classic.

“The motion of doing classic is more natural and feels more like running, and I like to run,” Potts said.

While out on the trail during a competition, Potts said she focuses on thinking about her technique and keeping herself calm, but when she’s skiing for fun, her mind wanders.

Her favorite trail is Forestville.

“There’s a big lodge there, which is always nice to have to warm up in,” Potts said. “But my favorite part is there’s a point on the trail where you can see the whole bay. It’s really beautiful.”

Potts said one of her favorite parts about competitive skiing is being part of the team.

“We have a lot of fun with just joking around and skiing together,” Potts said.

Potts is skiing in the Michigan High School State School meet this weekend. She said her goal is to finish in the top 10 – but she’s going to try to finish in the top five.

Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-486-4401. Her email address is awhitefoot@miningjournal.net