September 27, 2012 (Canmore, AB) – It’s funny. The athletes came into this training season more excited than ever, when one would think that after such a successful last season it would have been just the opposite. The amount of work this team has done over the last two years has been exhausting and I thought maybe people would slow down a bit and need to be encouraged back into training mode. Well, that couldn’t be further from the case.
Champing at the bit, the athletes travelled to Bend, Oregon for an on-snow camp combined with the US ski team. We had amazing skiing and weather which helped make this our best spring camp ever. Everyone on the team came into this camp fit and pumped up to get things going-it was great!
A few weeks after the Bend camp, our newly formed women’s team, led by Coach Eric de Nys, went north to Alaska for a half dryland and half on-snow camp with the US women’s team. This camp was a major success, with one of the largest (and for sure best) women’s training groups ever assembled in North America. Although the weather on the glacier wasn’t exactly sunny the women laid down some serious K’s and hours and came away more fit than ever.
While the ladies were in AK, the guys and I were hammering up from sea level to 10,000 feet on rollerskis on the island of Maui. The men tallied up more than 60,000 feet of vertical over 12 days, while camping high up on the volcano. There are other places to do altitude camps but nowhere else where you can do this kind of full-on vertical training. By far this was the camp where I saw the biggest changes in the guys, and everyone knew they had just gone up two notches in fitness. Straight from Hawaii we finished off the altitude training at the Haig Glacier in Alberta with 3 days of skiing at 3000 meters.
Since we have camps almost every month with most lasting around two weeks, I thought this summer would be a good time to give our athletes a six week break to settle in, train, and visit friends and family. During this period, Joel Jaques from our technical team and Perianne Jones from the women’s team got married and it was a celebration shared by many in the Cross Country Canada family.
In late August the women’s team joined forces with the Alberta World Cup Academy (AWCA) in Whitefish, Montana for another large women’s camp. Once again energy was high and the women focused on a good mix of intensity and distance, with a couple hard time trials to start engaging the racing legs. Chris Jeffries, Head Coach of the AWCA, and Eric de Nys worked well together and the energy coming out of this camp would carry everyone for weeks.
During this same period, the men were in on-snow in New Zealand banging out big hours and focusing on skiing technique. Coach Louis Bouchard and I were extremely happy with the work done there and left excited for the real winter to come.
Both the men’s and women’s teams are now off to Park City, Utah. Although the teams have different schedules, we’ll be doing some workouts together and eating dinners as a group. It’s our last dryland camp of the year and it will be fun to get everyone back together.
We’re all back to Canmore after Park City for skiing on our “kept” snow for our famous Frozen Thunder event. The Canmore Nordic Centre scrapes off the sawdust used to insulate the snow during the summer and rolls it out Oct 15th. It’s such an advantage for us to know we can start getting the edge on our competition by skiing so early, and right at home!
The World Cup races start Nov 24th in Gellivare, Sweden, and then move on to Kuusamo, Finland for the first mini-tour of the season. From there it’s time to head back to Canada for the much anticipated Quebec City and Canmore World Cups.
Our team is in a better place than ever and it’s an exciting time for everyone involved in cross country skiing in Canada. Without the support of our CCC members, fans and partners we would not be where we are today. Thank you!
From left: Lenny Valjas, Coaching Consultant Torbjorn Karlsen, Coach Wadsworth. Location:Canmore, AB