From November 10-21 I was in Canmore for our annual early snow camp. Snow camp is possibly my favorite time of year, it’s basically my birthday, Christmas and a really good cup of coffee combined. It’s a massive volume camp that usually sees our first days on snow for the year and will be our final chance for big gains and changes before race season starts. It also means about two weeks off school in one of the most demanding few weeks for students. I am extremely thankful to my university and my professors who moved papers and exams to make sure when I was at camp, I got to be focused.
The snow was late in Alberta this year. We rolled out of Camrose with bare ground and in tshirts, I had rollerskis packed in my ski bag and was not hopeful that the overly warm temperatures were going to provide us much to ski on. The first day we headed into Sunshine ski resort, not yet open to the public we started the camp with a 10 km run up the mountain as our coaches took our skis up the gondola. The run is was definitely worth it. Sunshine was groomed by skidoo tracks (classic training only today) and relatively untouched patch of quality altitude work. I had to take a minute to appreciate that exactly a year before I was still barely cleared to train after a bad round of anemia. This year hitting the snow like I had never been behind, Dave, Hans & Joan, my coaching heroes, I owe you.
Vikings Rocking Out SunshineAfter a day at Sunshine we spent the rest of our adventure at the Canmore Nordic Centre. CNC has an amazing snowmaking set up which is why they are on snow early and later than most of us. However, these miracle snowmaking abilities do require consistent temperatures below -5, otherwise it’s just a mess. Our first few days at CNC were on an 800 meter loop and with the promise not to use my Ipod to train this week, 800 meters for 3-5+ hours a day requires a bit of mental toughness. Here’s the trick, look at the snow a meter in front of you and then you don’t notice it’s the same snow you’ve seen the last 30 loops, otherwise tag up with Alex, my trusty roommate/training partner and push each other. Nordic kids are snow chasers by nature and we were not the only ones taking advantage of the 800 meters. Along with our team, the usual army of people training at CNC we saw, Quebec, USA and the all of the Cross Country skiers in the Bow Valley Area. The facility opened a little more loop every day and it was needed, HOLY CROWDED!
Best thing I learned from camp came from out new Spanish assistant coach Noel who says, “When you ski and think your technique works, when you don’t think, it can’t. If you want to ski beautiful all the time then you must always think, until one day you don’t have to think.”
After a grueling and amazing ten days I was back to Camrose and the demand of school. I was a paper writing machine which was difficult because snow had finally come to Camrose and I wanted to play!
Coaches Door After Our Weeks Away
In an effort to shake my legs out I entered in a cross country Alberta cup in the skate sprints. Biathlon is by no means a marathon but it is a heck of a lot longer than a 1 km sprint! Skate sprints which work in preliminary then elimination knock out practices are nothing short of lung busting. Props to all the NWT racing suits I saw tearing it up all over the place! Great experience and really helped get the jitters out before this weekend. NORTH AMERICAN CUP TIME!!!
Season opens this weekend with North American Cup in Canmore, Ab. This race is going to be nuts as it is the start of Alberta’s selections for Canada Winter Games and the race to pick the final spot for World University Games. After 7 months of training, the itch to lay it all out couldn’t be bigger so… BRING IT ON!
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