mathieupurdon(1)Trent doesn’t have a cross-country ski team, but don’t tell that to Matthias Purdon.

He will be representing Trent in Italy as a cross-country skier at the 2013 Winter Universiade. He was one of 12 Canadian cross-country skiers that were selected for the team based on times and results from races in the past season. “I’m really excited,” gushed Purdon.

If you’ve never heard of the Winter Universiade, it is an international sporting event that brings university student athletes from around world to compete against each other. It is held each year in a different location, and this year, it happens to be held in Trentino, Italy. On the Universiade website, it claims to be “only second to the Olympics” in winter sporting events. Two-thousand-five-hundred participants from more than 50 countries will participate.

There will be 12 different sports at this year’s Universiade: Alpine skiing, biathlon, curling, figure skating, freestyle skiing, ice hockey, Nordic combined, speed skating, short track speed skating, ski jumping, snowboarding, and, of course, cross country skiing.

Purdon has been cross-country skiing since he was four years old, but his interest really picked up in highschool.

“I just love it. There is just something exciting about being outside in the cold, working hard and competing,” explained Purdon.

The Owen Sound native first went to Carleton University to pursue his undergraduate degree in environmental sciences. Now at Trent, Purdon is researching renewable energy, particularly wind power, for his graduate degree.

“I’m looking a lot at the debate on wind power. There is a strong grassroots movement against wind turbines that has come up [but] I’m not saying it is good or bad. I’m just looking at both sides of the debate, and the reasons for the movement against turbines,” said Purdon.

To get ready for the 2013 Winter Universiade, Purdon is training as he does year-round.

“It’s just year-round training, weights, running. You have to keep your cardio and strength up,” Purdon said, explaining his workout regimen.

Looking ahead, Purdon says he’d like to race for Trent next year at Canadian events, “Whether that is by myself or starting a team up, I’d like to do it.”

But for right now, Purdon will focus on the exciting adventure that awaits him in Italy. “I will be representing Trent University, and also Canada, in Italy,” said Purdon. “I have a [Trent] backpack and jacket which I will be showing off over there.”

He leaves December 8 for Italy.