Louis Fortin retires after his quest to return to the Paralympics ends

Fredericton-area para-Nordic cross-country skier Louis Fortin is retiring from competition after failing to make the national team heading to the 2018 Paralympics in South Korea.

Fortin was on a quest to return to the Paralympics, after representing Canada in 2014 at the Sochi games.

But he was unable to earn a spot on the national team and that forced him to re-evaluate his future in the sport.

"The other athletes were on top of their shape and they raced well and I just didn't make it," said Fortin.

When it came to the decision to retire, Fortin said his age was a major factor.

"I'm close to 40 now and I've got a lot of other things going on at the same time," Fortin said.

"Maybe if I was 20 years younger, I could say well that's not too bad, I'll just keep on going and aim for the next one, and be really ready for those ones. But getting older, the body doesn't follow all the time as well."

Fortin was hoping for one more shot at international sporting success to add to his list of national accomplishments.

The Fredericton-area cross-country skier won three medals, including two gold, at the 2015 Canada Winter Games. He was also named New Brunswick's flag-bearer at the closing ceremony at those games.

Hard training in province

Fortin admitted it has been hard keeping up with high-calibre training while living in New Brunswick.

"I've been struggling for the past five, six years with finding the appropriate coach in order to know what to do at exactly the right time," he said.

There have also been financial struggles along the way as Fortin has tried to balance training for international competition and making the ends meet.

"I've been struggling to have enough money to buy equipment, to go to races, but also to just to pay for groceries," he said.

"So it's been a struggle to decide each day, do I accept work or go train, because that has an effect on your racing performance in the long term if you skip training days."

Fortin thanked all his supporters over the years on his FundRazr site Wednesday, saying his career would not have been possible without their contributions.

While he's leaving competitive skiing, he'll still be enjoying the sport, he said.

"We have such a good winter here, it's just a good way to appreciate wintertime, and being outside and being active. So for sure, I'll keep skiing."

Fortin said he hopes he'll also be able to do some coaching to share his experience and knowledge.