Sonya Skinner began her impressive cross-country ski career on the familiar trails of Pasadena Ski and Nature Park, but she left her mark on Nordic ski parks across the country.
The 48-year-old Pasadena native, who now lives in Ontario, was inducted into the Cross-Country Ski Newfoundland and Labrador Hall of Fame in the athlete category in 2017. Because she was living on the mainland she was never presented with her Hall of Fame certificate so, during a visit to Pasadena during the holidays, she was finally presented with her certificate.
Skinner represented Newfoundland and Labrador on the national scene on six occasions. Her first appearance, at the junior nationals in Morin Heights, Que., she broke her new skis in her first race. She then had six-straight appearances, from 1986-1991, where she was among the elite in the country on the national stage.
Skinner set the stage for an impressive showing on the national level by winning four gold medals at the 1986 Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games in Corner Brook. That same year, the province wasn’t sending a provincial team to the Junior Nationals in Whitehorse, so Skinner raised money through the help of friends and family and threw in some of her own money to go and she finished seventh overall.
She represented the province on the Canada Winter Games stage on two occasions — her games debut coming in 1987 in Nova Scotia where she had a 13th place and 21st place to show for her efforts. She also represented the province at the 1991 Winter Games in Prince Edward Island.
Her best showing on the national stage came at the 1988 Junior Nationals where she came close to earning a medal, but had to settle for a 4th and 7th place finish in her races.
Skinner was involved with the national team development squad from 1986 to 1989. She never made it to the Olympics as an athlete but she did get to experience the Olympic spirit by serving as one of the forerunners on the Nordic ski trails at the 19888 Winter Olympics in Calgary.