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Quebec City World Cup XC Ski Finals – A Few Thoughts and Photos

by Peter Graves

March 31, 2017 (Quebec City, QC) – And now a drum roll if you please. Upon reflection I’ve pondered the treasured beauty of the recently completed FIS World Cup Finals in Quebec City. This event really had to be seen to be believed.

 Legendary Bill Koch visits the broadcast room in QCity (l-r) Jacques Galarneau, Bill Koch, Randy Ferguson, Peter Graves [P] courtesy of Peter Graves

It had all the elements an extraordinary finale that it should have. Great racing, superb level of organization, and reported crowds on the final Sunday of more than 30,000 spectators.

Canadian xc ski legend Pierre Harvey proud father of superstar son Alex [P]
The GESTEV organizing crew is widely respected and their team came through once again with another magnificant performance. They went to extraordinary lengths to make it happen with excellence. Here’s hoping this becomes a regular stop on the World Cup tour, and that ultimately the USA will host a race in consort with them.

Patrice Drouin (Gestev Prez) [P]

The racing was among the best I’ve ever witnessed and I’ve seen alot. It’s simply that the vibe was so positive and so overwhelming. It also struck me that cross-country skiing and racing can be anything you want it to be. A quiet tour in the woods or the rock and roll magic of a big-time World Cup event. It was just great fun.

That’s the beauty of it.

Krista Pärmäkoski (l) and Kerttu Niskanen from Finland [P]
There were hundreds and hundreds of young fans waiting their turn in line for photos and autographs. And the athletes, for whom it’s all about, are only to happy to please fans. I witnessed many examples of the tender heartedness of the athletes who recognize that a moment with a child can change everything – how great is that? Young skiers simply flocked to the stars. We all have had our heroes that inspired us and many made real differences in our lives.

US fans (l) Ruth Brown (Simi Hamilton's Mom) and Liz Arky [P]
More than a thousand (perhaps more) USA fans made the trip to La Belle Province. I’m sure they are glad and inspired that they made the journey – what an adventure they had.

Ellis family (l-r) Diane, Don (Jeff's parents), Jeff and Breck (husband and son of Kikkan Randall) [P]
There could be so much more to write about this weekend. But the entire weekend left me with my heart smiling, and thinking of the sport in new ways. The huge fan base, the growing athlete talent pool in North America, along with some truly exceptional performances.

Sportful booth [P]
Alex Harvey, in particular provided the competition with a home-town flare that inspired everyone. Yet there were many stories of note and of merit and many special fans as well like Bill Koch who was reunited with his old plan Pierre Harvey who was beaming all weekend with fatherly pride.

Alex Harvey [P]

The whole thing was wonderful, and challenged me to think what could possibly have been better. I sincerely hope you enjoyed the whole of the experience as much as I did. And since play is important for a good life, we all did, in our own way do just that.

Laughter, joy, racing, friends…it doesn’t get any better.

(l-r) Carine Martin, Chantal Lachance, Marie-Michelle Gagné, Jalycia Boudreault, Élisabeth Anctil-Martin, Karine Desbiens, Josiane Marmet (Gestev) [P]
Sarah-Jeanne Lapointe (l) and Karine Desbien from Gestev [P]
Cross Country Canada's Dave Dyer (l) and Shane Pearsall [P]
VIP evening (l-r) Pierre Dion (Québecor), Martial De Rome (Québec Winter Events Corporation), Pierre Mignerey (FIS), Stéphane Lauzon (Government of Canada), Chantal Lachance and Patrice Drouin (Gestev) [P]

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