SAULT STE. MARIE -- The Ontario University Athletics Nordic Ski Championships in Sault Ste. Marie has come to a close.

The event, hosted by Algoma University and the Soo Finnish Nordic Ski Club, finished on Sunday, Feb. 23. 

"Skiing is such a hard sport, that everyone bonds over how terrible you feel and how hard it is," said Meghan Burns, a skier from Carleton University. 

Burns says one of her best friends is McMaster University's Anna Vigneron.

"I went to high school in Ottawa and we met each other there, so like, there aren't really rivals in skiing," Vigneron said. "Everyone's supportive of one another and it makes it really rewarding in the end." 

Carleton and Lakehead Universities had two of the largest squads at the championships. They also brought home most of the gold.

"Both individual races, as well as, we had a very exciting finish to our team relay," said Lakehead's Alannah Maclean, who won three gold medals over the weekend. "Our anchor really crushed it there at the end. She helped put us over that line." 

Host's Algoma University had a much smaller presence, but still managed to impress. Rebekah Gwynn was the lone representative for Algoma and only joined the team this season. 

"I was asked to join because the team was in need of more people," Gwynn said. 

Gwynn managed to place second in a women's exhibition relay. 

"They said, 'if you have any interest in skiing, you should come out. So, I went for a few practices and really fell in love with it," she added. 

Many of the athletes said the friendships they made continue to bring them back to the sport every year. 

"It's about racing as much as it is about seeing people you know," said Aidan Kirkham, Carleton Skier. "It's a real community. Nothing beats that."