Marie-Catherine Bruno wants to convince Vernonites that it's never too late to become healthy and active. How does she do it? By leading by example. She is owner/manager of The Sole Mate Custom Orthotics & Footbeds in Vernon on Coldstream Ave. near Fishers Hardware.
M-Cat is the only female instructor in North America to have achieved the highest level of certification in both xc skiing and telemark. She also represented Canada at Interski (a prestigious international event held every 4 years) in telemark skiing. What is surprising is why she took up telemark skiing in the first place, you can find out by listening to the podcast.
There aren’t many things she has not done! She says she was a late bloomer in life so it took her a while to find her niche. In her own words:
I started with a degree in physiotherapy from McGill University in Montreal, and then was all set to start a biomedical engineering Master’s degree when I got offered a lecturing job in the rehab program. I couldn’t pass that up. At the age of 25 I was the younger professor on staff.
I taught for a few years all the while working part time in sports physiotherapy until I moved to Whistler. The commute to Vancouver was too long so I gave up my teaching position and started writing instead. Writing was just a different way of sharing my knowledge. I was also working part time in a ski shop making custom footbeds and in a physio clinic. Busy times! But it quickly became clear to me that my favorite job was making custom footbeds so I went back to school to do a diploma in pedorthics.
At the time I was still racing xc skiing so living in Whistler wasn’t the best for training and racing. I’d been eyeing Vernon/Silverstar for years and finally in 2004, with the encouragement of my dad who said “sometimes in life you have to gamble”, I sold my practice in Whistler and moved to Vernon. It meant starting from scratch, rebuilding my clientele and making new friends. It was a scary move but every time I would visit the Okanagan it felt like home so I had to!
I remember finding this inexpensive office on Coldstream avenue. The owner Ernie Ahl was the sweetest man ever and made it easy for me to settle in. Not long after, while I was buying supplies at Fisher’s Hardware across the street, Larry Fisher took the time to pull out a piece of paper and started writing names of health professionals in town, saying “you go see them, tell them Larry Fisher sent you and they’ll send you patients”.
Right in this moment I knew I had made the right move....
I no longer race – I reached my life long goal of a top 15 place in a world cup in California in 2011 – and happily retired from xc ski racing after that! I still live a very active life though, living on the trails at SilverStar Mountain resort I ski, bike, trail run and motorbike practically every day. I also represented Canada at Interski (a prestigious international event held every 4 years) in telemark skiing and to this day am still the only female instructor in north america to have achieved the highest level of certification in both xc skiing and telemark.
I have joined the firehall up there as well and devote quite a few hours weekly to my Lieutenant position. I also am the Technical Representative for the Pacific region with the Canadian Association of Nordic Ski Instructors – a volunteer job that eats up quite a few hours as well!
I still write and manage my orthotics business in town – The Sole Mate Custom Orthotics & Footbeds.
Someone once said to me, about volunteer organizations: “when you need someone to do something, look around the room and ask the busiest person. They’ll find a way to get it done.”
I’m afraid they were right!!!!
What is something that you wish more people would know about either you or your business?:
Stop putting off making an appointment! The sooner we see you, the easier it is to help your body heal!
What a great ending of this podcast as Marie-Cat answers the one question that I have tried to ask all of my local guests "what is it that you love about the Okanagan?" Her answer was spot on, and so well put.