Tag Archive | "Canada"

The Way I See It – Birkie Ski Foundation, Telemark Lodge, CCC Board of Directors…

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June 27, 2013 – The Birkie Ski Foundation and Telemark Lodge (closes again) – Am I the only one who sees what should happen here, especially as the Birkie’s race calendar continues to fill out with more and more “silent sports” competitions? Yes, they should buy Telemark (!!!!) (Read about it HERE). No, I am not crazy! It is the perfect match and makes sense for the guarantee of the future of the race or races, BSF’s business direction and further growth in their “silent sports” business.

I know, where is the money going to come from? I’d like to think that a business plan could, or would be put in place, as the reason and means to justify the move or venture to make this happen.

Think of what lies ahead – not just the guarantee of all of the current races – as BSF would own all the land (I understand 900 acres), which is critical to putting on all these events, but also the situation to grow more silent sports events and everything around them from a business point of view. I understand a real estate venture has been suggested to support this plan. You could also move all your offices to the Lodge making it BSF’s operation central.

Your goal would be to make this the “Silent Sports” capital of North America, and host everything that makes these organizations run – all the way from their AGM’s, training camps, seminars, clinics, international conferences, World Championships, events at all levels, World Cups and of course have all the necessary facilities and staff to support these events and programs at a Class A level.

I’m sure that there are 20 or more “silent sports” that have thousands of members, competitors and staff that run these organizations, and BSF could be there “go-to location” because it covers all of the bases and the needs to pull off any type of function or event of any level.

The new ED, Ben Popp may just been the young energy to make such a giant step forward able to happen!

Of course, I’m just touching the tip of the iceberg and I’m a dreamer – but, as many athletes know – their dreams do come true.

Totally Dumbfounded – Please read this here and and now read this here HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?

I know of Ken Read and he has alpine ski racing tattooed all over his body and has held just about every position there is when it comes to the domestic and international functioning of alpine ski racing in the world. Everyone knows Ken Read in the alpine world and beyond, and now cross-country skiing is going to get to know him through his new position, as a member of the CCC Board of Directors (BOD).

That is if he hangs around the BOD meetings longer then he did on election weekend – about three hours I hear. Just long enough to present himself to the board and answer a few questions… then a quick disappearance act. But, more importantly, why did this happen?

It just so happens Dave Wood (read more here) had brought his name forward for one of the available board positions this year. One would think someone with Wood’s credentials would be a huge asset to the team, but according to rumors coming out of Canmore, Ken Read, “Mr. Alpine”, was sought out to fill the position by the powers that be.

There has to be some payola down the road in the future, as I can see no other good reason to bring Read on board. The “politiking” within the present members of the association who vote for these candidates worked. Yet I’m sure they could have made it work if they’d chosen a Nordic candidate… then it wouldn’t look quite so obvious as to what they had just pulled off.

The difference between Read and Wood for this position is like night and day, especially when you consider the level of hands-on international cross-country experience of the current board. Read brings nothing Nordic that I know of, yet Wood has done it all from Jack Rabbits to Olympic medals – what a shame to lose first-hand access to all of this.

The controversy surrounding Wood’s resignation/firing back in 2010 lives on. CCC loses again.

Talk To You Soon.

PS – In all the assorted conversations I had over the past couple of weeks and articles I read, a couple of things became new information that I didn’t know – one being CCC’s masthead for administrative and technical staff (view it here and here). We’re talking close to 30 paid positions. You can do this with $6 million. So, congratulations on marketing the team and the programs and for the success in the tracks. But, only one podium like the team had in Val di Fiemme, Italy at the WSC this past winter could see this $$ number cut in half. A lot of the assistants, and assistants to the assistants, will be headed down the hill come next spring – the program is called OWN The Podium. Lets hope the magic is back!

Talkin’ with the Gravy Train – Interview w/Chandra Crawford Part 2

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June 22, 2013 (Canmore, AB) – Talkin’ with the Gravy Train is pleased to present Part 2 of our interview with Canadian cross-country skiing star Chandra Crawford from Canmore, AB, of Olympic fame who is training on her own for the Sochi 2014 Games… listen to Part 1 HERE.

We caught up with Crawford in Canmore, AB… she was enthusiastic and happy and addressed such topics as her decision to take a step back from competition last February, how well her training is going, and her preparations for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games next February.

Chandra also talks with eloquence about what it’s like to recharge the batteries after what she called a “solid burnout”, and how she has found the joy in skiing and training again. The Canmore, Alberta native also speaks about health and happiness in this inspired interview. At the end, one thing is certain…Crawford will be a force to be reckoned with this coming season.

Interview with Chandra Crawford – Part 2


Cross Country Canada’s Inside Edge Episode 8 – 2013-14 Early Season Testing

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May 31, 2013 (Canmore, AB) – We are excited to bring you Cross Country Canada’s “Inside Edge” video series. With action, interviews, strategy and much more, Inside Edge gives you unprecedented access to our National Ski Team as it takes on the world’s best.

In this eighth episode of The Inside Edge, we take an inside look into Senior World Cup Team early season testing on the roller ski treadmill. Athletes Devon Kershaw, Perianne Jones, Ivan Babikov and Len Valjas talk about their goals for the season ahead.

Thanks to our partners at Twin Zebra Productions. More episodes coming soon! To view Episodes 1-8 click HERE.

The Inside Edge Episode 8: 2013-14 Early Season Testing

CBC/Radio-Canada Seals Agreement with TVA Sports for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games

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May 08, 2013 – Today, CBC/Radio-Canada, the official rights holder broadcaster of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, and TVA Sports announce that an agreement has been reached to provide TVA Sports access to broadcast portions of CBC/Radio-Canada-produced Olympic programming during Sochi 2014 in French.

“In acquiring the broadcast rights to the Sochi Olympics, one of CBC/Radio-Canada’s primary objectives was to connect as many Canadians as possible with this unparalleled sporting event.” said CBC/Radio-Canada executive vice-president Louis Lalande. “Our agreement with TVA Sports represents a major milestone in helping us achieve that objective.”

“We’re very proud that the TVA Sports network was chosen to be one of CBC/Radio-Canada’s Official Cable Broadcasters and actively involved in presenting the largest sporting event on the planet. TVA Sports will be giving viewers the opportunity to get an up-close look at this major international competition and follow how Canada’s and Quebec’s athletes fare in their Olympic disciplines,” adds TVA Group’s president and CEO Pierre Dion.

“We’re pleased to have extended our relationship with TVA Sports as they become an Official Cable Broadcaster for Sochi 2014,” said Jeffrey Orridge, Head of Sports Properties and General Manager, Olympics at CBC/Radio-Canada. “This agreement provides an even greater opportunity for Canadians to enjoy every minute of the Olympic experience in either official language.”

Details about content to be aired by all channels will be available in the coming months.

CBC/Radio-Canada is the place to be as we count down to Sochi 2014. With coverage across all platforms — including TV, radio, online and mobile — Canadians can connect with the biggest stories and the latest content whenever and wherever they want it. Through world-class storytelling and the best performance coverage available, CBC/Radio-Canada will introduce viewers to Canadian athletes poised to take on the world in 2014. Canadians can engage with CBC leading up to and throughout the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games online in English at cbc.ca/olympics as well as on Twitter @cbcolympics (#cbcolympics) and at facebook.com/cbcolympics and in French at Radio-Canada.ca/olympiques and on Twitter at @RC_Sports #RColympiques and on Facebook at facebook.com/radiocanada.sports.

Kershaw Report – Spring 2013

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April 22, 2013 (Canmore, AB) – The 2012/13 racing season is now long over. The snow, clinging desperately to the mountains, rocks and trees, is in deep discussions, begging to let go, turn to water, spurring the “actual” beginning of next season – one of growth, new beginnings and if you are me – debilitating allergies: spring.

Spring is losing here in Canmore as of now. Snowstorms still blow through the valley and the ski touring is still light’s out delicious in the ranges behind the Bow Valley. But winter is waging a losing battle and while all good things come to an end – so too will the snowy peaks, cold temperatures and well, winter.

Speaking of winter – it’s no secret that I envisioned last season going better. I was coming off a career best season in 2011/12. Those feelings of winning World Cups, finishing 2nd overall and 2nd in the distance cup were definitely fresh in the mind. Throughout the training season I was feeling stronger, fitter and faster physically for months on end – even though emotionally I could have been categorized easily by any high school girl within 30 seconds of hanging out with me as “a total mess.” I can admit it. Still though – I was sure that this year I was going to be able to take that next, last little step needed after the strong foundation laid in 2011/12.

Instead, back in November I took a little step in the wrong direction – on a stronger concrete foundation in the shape of stairs – and tore a ligament in my foot. Not the best move only a week out from the season opener. I let myself get the better of myself – if you follow that – and instead of taking a step back and recovering fully I pushed on – taping it, getting therapy, icing it and wishing with all my energy that it’d heal magically.

It didn’t and for the first 8 weeks of the racing season I had plenty of reminders that sometimes no amount of wishing and hoping can combat reality. I kept it within the team and asked that the team not discuss it publically. I guess I was just so motivated and hungry to have a good season, that if people started talking about it – it would get more real. It’s hard to explain if you aren’t an athlete and maybe you don’t understand, but I felt as though if I was racing – even if it hurt – then it wasn’t a huge deal….

As the winter rolled on, the results remained disappointing. I had some glimmers of “ok” feelings – a few top tens, 12th overall at the Tour de Ski, 4th at the World Championships with Alex in the team sprint – but on the whole I just wasn’t feeling myself. Gone were the weekends of winning and on the podium. Coupled with the torn ligament, I contracted some rough food poisoning in France that reoccurred three more times from mid January to late February which wasn’t a barrel of laughs either.

These aren’t excuses – I know that I made some mistakes in my training season, we made some mistakes with regards to my race calendar, and some other smaller ones along the way, too, that seemed to have a bigger impact that we thought. I take full responsibility for that – but it wasn’t the best to having health issues on top of that. At this level, it’s a precarious place to hang out – between success and failure. Everything needs to come together and sometimes things just don’t work out the way you planned or wanted them to for whatever reason.

The last month of the season continued to be tough. I had some more stomach issues early at the World Championships – which translated into one race where I felt good (the team sprint with Alex). After the World Championships – the spring World Cup was a rough period for our team too – as we just weren’t able to deliver the results and good feelings that we’d become accustomed to when the World Cup heads back to Scandinavia in the spring.

Looking back, it’s amazing that we had the success we had at the World Championships at all – which I think speaks volumes of our team as a whole (staff, athletes, techs, everyone). Alex won a historic bronze in classic sprint – traditionally one of his weakest events. Babs was 4th in the 15km skate, and Alex and I finished agonizingly close to the bronze – 4th – in the team sprint.

Now it’s time to inject some positivity – the cool and simply reality of spring is that things melt and start growing again. Those feelings of disappointment are melting away – we’ve had great discussions about what we did, what we can do better, and what we’ll do moving forward and I’m 100% confident that we still have a great team and new plan moving forward.

I was pretty tired emotionally/mentally upon arriving in Canada and I’ve spent most of my time in the mountains back country skiing – healing the mind and letting go of all the disappointment. I’ve got out 14 days of the last 20, which has been both fantastic and rejuvenating. For me, in the spring time there’s nothing better than backcountry skiing – you are way back in some mountain range with just you and your buddies, no internet, phone, nothing – it’s simplicity at it’s best and it’s amazing.

Up next in the two-pronged “get ready to rock and roll” is the “real” rest – as I’m off to Maui tomorrow to check in on Lenny’s tan – kidding! It’ll be awesome to get some vitamin D, eat some delicious fish and tropical fruit, get completely thrashed in the waves and vibe out. I know that after that I’ll be 100% ready to go for the Olympic training year. Hard to believe that this quadrennial came and went so quickly. I have some unfinished business there after finishing 4th and 5th in the last Games in Vancouver – so this year will be about simplifying things, training well, making good decisions and enjoying it.

We’ll learn, adjust and attack going forward. My good friend and Canadian sports psych’ extraordinaire likes to quote Andre Agassi’s “I can live with disappointment, but I can’t live with regret.” Damn right. I was disappointed with how the season went – no question. But I don’t regret it. I did what I thought was best at the time – it ended up being wrong. I made mistakes, I’m learning from them, and I’m fired up moving forward.

Lao Tzu wrote, “Succeeding is the coming together of all things beautiful and perseverance is the foundation of all actions.” I couldn’t agree more.

Enjoy your spring everyone and thanks for the support!


2013 Masters World Cup in Asiago Report – Canada Wins 20 Medals

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April 12, 2013 – Asiago, Italy, home of Rode Wax, world-famous cheese and the 2013 Masters World Cup! Between February 15th and 22nd, 103 Canadians were among the 1,173 skiers from 25 nations who competed in the annual event which is open to athletes aged 30 and older. Skiers race in 5 year age categories – in 2013 the oldest woman was 86 and the oldest man 89. (In 2011 when the Masters World Cup was hosted by Sovereign Lake Nordic Club in B.C., the oldest competitor was a 93 year old American man). Competitors can choose to race classic or freestyle in each distance, which varies from 5 km to 45 km, depending on age and sex.

Asiago lived up to its reputation and hosted a lively and unforgettable event, under sunny skies on immaculately groomed tracks. Spectators lined the course to cheer on the participants and the multi-lingual announcers kept up a lively commentary in the stadium. A large refreshment tent served hot meals, baked goods and lashings of coffee and hot chocolate, and prior to each race competitors energetically prepared their skis in the crowded wax tents. Old friends greeted one another – many of the same racers attend the World Masters every year and lasting friendships are formed even if the only form of communication is a broad grin and a hug or a handshake.

Canadians did well in podium results, winning 6 gold, 9 silver and 5 bronze medals. This was one of the largest Masters World Cup Canadian teams for a European venue – usually the number is between 30 and 50 when the competition is held in Europe. Included in this year’s team was Pierre Harvey, who finished 4th in the Men’s 45 km classic race. Complete race results can be found at www.mwc2013.com

The Masters World Cup (MWC) in cross country skiing is actually a Canadian invention. It became an outgrowth of the masters movement in Canada – the Canadian Masters Cross Country Ski Association and the Canadian Masters Cross Country Ski Championships – initially conceived and formalized by Bill Gairdner of Ontario. Bill was the first president of the Canadian association and very quickly took the masters cross country skiing concept to the world stage to form and lead the World Masters Cross Country Ski Association which is now responsible for ensuring that an annual MWC happens.

The first MWC was held in 1980 at Morin Heights, Quebec and was organized principally by Jan Hansen of the Viking Ski Club. The following year did not see a MWC as the FIS (International Ski Federation) sorted out what to do with the demands of this bunch of old skiers who wanted a World Championship. However in 1982, after the FIS agreed to a “World Cup” concept, Sweden stepped into the breach and the MWCs have been held annually ever since.







2013 Haywood Ski Nationals Videos – Interviews w/McMurtry, Heidi Widmer, Kocher + Race Footage

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April 01, 2013 (Whistler, B.C.) – SkiTrax was on site at the 2013 Haywood Ski Nationals held March 23-30 at the Whistler Olympic Park in the Callaghan Valley to catch all of the action. Get the scoop about the competitions straight from racers Brent McMurtry, Heidi Widmer, and Zina Kocher, as well as some exciting footage from the finish of the Men’s 50km Free and the start of the Juvenile Girl’s 7.5km Free.






FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup 2012/13 Final Contest Standings and Winners Announced after the Engadin Skimarathon

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March 27, 2013 (Toronto, ON) – We’re sorry for the delay and thrilled to announce the overall standings and winners of the second annual SkiTrax FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup 2012/13 Contest after the Engadin Skimarathon 42km  free technique race held in Switzerland on March 10. Read our coverage of the 45th Engadin Skimarathon, including final overall FIS Marathon Cup standings here.

Team dom managed to defend the lead to the end with 650 points, while teams beaujo and legrandbo made last-minute charges to earn top-three finishes with 644 and 640 points, respectively.

For the final contest standings after the Engadin Skimarathon, please click HERE.

Congratulations to the winners and thanks again to all contestants and our great sponsors including Nipika, Marwe, Yoko, Halti, Skiwax.ca, 2XU, One Way, Fresh Air Experience, High Peaks Cyclery, Auclair, and Buff.

FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup Prize Winners

– dom – Dom Berrod – Fleurie, France
* 1st Prize – Nipika Lodge
– 4-nights for 2 people in luxurious cabin, including Trail Fees (value up to $1,160)

– beaujo – Rene Berrod – Vivier, France
* 2nd Prize –  Marwe
610c Roller Skis (value $349)

– legrandbo – Guy Ruet – Le Grand Bornand, France
* 3rd Prize – Yoko
9100 Poles (value $299)

– Redl… – Agris Krievans – Naukseni, Latvia
* 4th Prize – Halti
XC Race Suit Hemmo Set (value $269)

– fleur – Simone Berrod – Fleurie, France
* 5th Prize – Skiwax.ca
Racer Kickwax kit (value $235)

– swedish – Vincent Ruet – Montalieu Vercieu, France
* 6th Prize –  2XU
Long Sleeve Thermal Compression Top and Elite Socks (value $195)

– lafrasse – Christiane Ruet – Le Grand Bornand, France
* 7th Prize – One Way Snowbird Glasses (value $120)

– bondin – Alex Moiroud – Montalieu, France
* 8th Prize – Fresh Air Experience
or High Peaks Cyclery Gift Certificate (value $100)

– littlebig – Nadine Moiroud – Montalieu, France
* 9th Prize – Auclair
Micro Mountain Olympic Gloves + Earbags (value $65)

– rgsnow – Guillaume Ruet – Fleurie, France
* 10th Prize – Buff
Headware (value $23)

SkiTrax is North America’s leading Nordic skiing publication and the official magazine of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and Cross Country Canada (CCC).

CCC Launches National Marketing Campaign to Increase XC Ski Participation

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March 21, 2013 (Canmore, AB) – Cross Country Canada will ski into communities across the country with a one-of-a-kind marketing campaign that showcases the universal appeal of the sport to Canadians of all ages and abilities in an effort to drive participation.

The innovative campaign showcases the many advantages of cross-country skiing by directly targeting other sports with catchy slogans, including:

“The cross-country ski community in Canada lives and breathes the sport’s unique characteristics, but we want the rest of the country to realize how fun, cool and edgy our sport really is,” said Alex Harvey, the two-time World Championship medallist who is featured in one of the ads and whose fan base in Nordic communities around the world rivals some of the world’s hottest rock stars.

“This campaign highlights not just what makes cross-country skiing so great, but that it is accessible for nearly every man, woman and child in the country. We believe the sport of cross-country skiing has finally arrived in Canada, and it is time for the sport to take its place,” added Harvey.

The initiative was created by Brandhealth Communications, an independent marketing agency based in Peterborough, ON that specializes in health and well-being.

“We wanted to give cross-country skiing the ‘cool factor’ that it deserves. Cross-country skiing is unlike any other sport. It’s completely pure. There is something about being in a forest in the middle of winter gliding across the snow that refreshes your body and mind. Are other sports envious of cross-country skiing? We think so,” said Rick Kemp, creative director at Brandhealth.

The campaign has two primary goals: first, it will promote and grow the profile of the sport across Canada, providing messaging and branding that CCC and its 330 member clubs around the country can use to grow membership and participant bases. Second, the campaign will help celebrate and draw attention to the National Ski Team’s journey to the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games as they travel the globe in search of medals on the FIS and IPC World Cup circuits.

“Feeding off the success of our National Ski Team, there has been increased interest in our sport across Canada – both through public attention and participation on ski trails in all provinces,” said Matthew Jeffries, director of business development, Cross Country Canada. “The more people we expose to the sport, the better the nation’s chances are at finding, fostering and developing Canada’s next Olympic and Paralympic medallists. Working with our member clubs, this unique campaign will play a key role in helping us accomplish our goals.”

The campaign will be rolled out to ski clubs and provincial associations in the coming months through a mix of print, online and social media platforms. CCC- licensed merchandise bearing some of the campaign’s messaging will also be available for purchase through the CCC online store (www.cccski.com) and at select CCC events across the country.

Earlier this year, Cross Country Canada also introduced the organization’s first-ever mascot. Symbolically created to support the sport’s introductory Jackrabbit ski programs, Klister, an oversized Jackrabbit, makes regular appearances at Cross Country Canada events and races across the country in a continued effort to inspire kids to get involved, have fun, and enjoy the sport.

“Cross-country skiing has evolved so much at the elite level to be more spectator-friendly with lots of action and excitement,” said Jefferies. “The sport is exciting and fast and has no boundaries for age or skill. Our goal is to feed that excitement to the grassroots level. You never know what corner of the country Klister may be able to find Canada’s next Olympic or Paralympic champion.”

Stockholm WCup CL Sprint Qualifications – Gaiazova 4th, Newell 10th

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March 20, 2013 (Stockholm, Sweden) – Canada’s Dasha Gaiazova placed fourth in the Stockholm classic sprint qualifications led by Finland’s Anne Kylloenen. Fellow Finn Kerttu Niskanen qualified second, with Slovenia’s Katja Visnar in third. American results include USA’s Ida Sargent 11th, Kikkan Randall 22nd, and Holly Brooks in 26th. Jessie Diggins (USA), Rosie Brennan (USA), Liz Stephen (USA), and Emily Nishikawa (CAN) failed to make it through to the heats, placing 34th, 40th, 44th, and 47th, respectfully.

On the men’s side, USA’s Andy Newell logged the top North American time to qualify 10th with Norway’s Eldar Roenning leading the charge, followed by Russia’s Nikita Kriukov, and Emil Joensson (NOR) in second and third. Other top favourites, Dario Cologna (SUI) and Petter Northug (NOR) qualified fifth and seventh, respectively.

USA’s Torin Koos was the next-highest North American qualifier in 24th, while Canucks Devon Kershaw and Len Valjas managed to just squeeze into the top 30 in 28th and 30th, respectively. Alex Harvey (CAN) did not make it through with a 32nd place qualifier, along with teammates Michael Somppi and Ivan Babikov in 48th and 50th, respectively. USA’s Noah Hoffman was 52nd.

Women’s Qualifications HERE.
Men’s Qualifications HERE.

FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup 2012/13 Contest Standings after the American Birkebeiner

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March 15, 2013 (Toronto, ON) – We are pleased to announce the standings for the second annual SkiTrax FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup 2012/13 Contest after the American Birkebeiner 50km free technique race held in Hayward, Wisconsin on Feb. 23. Team dom has jumped into the lead with 473 points, knocking Team Redl into second with 456 points. Team asterion is now ranked third with 447 points.

Read our coverage of the 2013 American Birkebeiner and how husband and wife duo Brian and Caitlin Gregg won the men’s and women’s races, respectively here.

For the contest standings after the American Birkebeiner, please click HERE.

These are the only FIS Fantasy Nordic contests of their kind worldwide so don’t miss your chance to enjoy fabulous top level xc ski racing and win fabulous prizes –  good luck to all contestants.

FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup Prizes

* 1st Prize – Nipika Lodge – 4-nights for 2 people in luxurious cabin, including Trail Fees (value up to $1,160)
* 2nd Prize –  Marwe 610c Roller Skis (value $349)
* 3rd Prize – Yoko 9100 Poles (value $299)
* 4th Prize – Halti XC Race Suit Hemmo Set (value $269)
* 5th Prize – Skiwax.ca Racer Kickwax kit (value $235)
* 6th Prize –  2XU Long Sleeve Thermal Compression Top and Elite Socks (value $195)
* 7th Prize – One Way Snowbird Glasses (value $120)
* 8th Prize – Fresh Air Experience or High Peaks Cyclery Gift Certificate (value $100)
* 9th Prize – Auclair Micro Mountain Olympic Gloves + Earbags (value $65)
* 10th Prize – Buff Headware (value $23)

Thanks to all of our great sponsors, including Nipika, Marwe, Yoko, Halti, Skiwax.ca, 2XU, One Way, Fresh Air Experience, High Peaks Cyclery, Auclair, and Buff.

SkiTrax is North America’s leading Nordic skiing publication and the official magazine of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and Cross Country Canada (CCC).

Job Opportunity – Own the Podium

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March 13, 2013 (Ottawa, ON) – Own the Podium is an innovative independent organization that was created to bring together the key partners involved in leading and funding high performance sport in Canada. The mandate of Own the Podium is to help more Canadian athletes win more medals at the Summer and Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. Own the Podium provides technical expertise and advice to national sport organziations in support of Canada’s podium performance goals.

Position: Director, Winter Sport
Reports to: Chief Executive Officer
Location: Calgary, AB
Application Deadline: 15 April 2013
Term: 4 year contract, start date negotiable

Scope of Position:
Individual responsible for leading the planning and implementation of ‘excellence’ programs for targeted winter sports.

Core Competencies:
• Demonstrates a sense of direction and purpose aligned with OTP’s vision, guiding principles and goals
• Driven by excellence in all facets, strives to be leading edge in own area of expertise and embraces opportunity for continuous improvement
• Continually makes efforts to understand client needs in an inclusive, outreaching, and adaptable manner
• Behaves in an open, transparent, respectful and fair manner and demonstrates these traits through ability to develop effective relationships with diverse groups of people
• Effective at leading and building teams
• Self-monitors work to ensure quality and accuracy

Roles and Responsibilities
1. Manage and mentor the winter high-performance advisors, as they undertake their responsibilities with NSOs, CSIs, ISTs and others
2. Assist with OTP interventions with client groups when and where appropriate.
3. Manage technical specialists (i.e. video analysts) working with the winter program
4. Build working partnerships with the winter sports to ensure common vision, goals and strategies to achieve excellence in targeted sports
5. Work effectively with Sport Canada, the COC,CPC, CSC/CSIs, IST staff and others to accomplish various tasks
6. Contribute to the establishment of annual business plans and be accountable for implementing these plans.
7. Work effectively with and under the direction of the CEO and with colleagues in other parts of the program, and specifically with the summer OTP program to ensure common approaches, policies and unified leadership for high-performance sport
8. Ensure staff reporting to the Director are fully integrated into sport science, medicine, research, technology, coaching and other OTP initiatives, and promote these opportunities to client groups
9. Formulate funding recommendations; lead the annual and other reviews of the winter sports (and assist with CSI and CSC reviews) to identify priorities that will produce podium results.
10. With others, develop new policies and programs that will assist achieving excellence at the Olympic and Paralympic Games
11. Promote excellence in Canadian sport and contribute to national communications strategies and programs to do so.
12. Undertake program evaluations during Games, training camps and competitions
13. Undertake intelligence gathering on international issues, trends, results etc.

• University Degree or College Diploma.
• Over ten years of experience working at a senior level in the Canadian high-performance sport system.
• Computer Skills and knowledge of the MS Office Suite is required
• Bilingualism is a preferred asset

The compensation package will be based on the successful candidate’s qualifications and experience.

Application Process
Apply in confidence by sending your cover letter resume by Monday, 15 April 2013 to careers@ownthepodium.org or by mail to:

Own the Podium
Attention: Director, Planning & Operations
Suite 120, 700 Industrial Avenue
Ottawa, ON K1G 0Y9

We thank all applicants for their interest; however only those selected for an interview will be contacted.

SkiTrax FIS Fantasy Fiemme Worlds 2013 Contest FINAL Standings and Winners Announced

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March 11, 2013 (Toronto, ON) – We are thrilled to announce the winners and final overall standings of the SkiTrax FIS Fantasy Fiemme Worlds 2013 Contest following the one week waiting period that recognizes the Doping De-Points rule.

Check out the contest standings after the Men’s 50km CL, the final event of the Val di Fiemme 2013 Worlds HERE and read about how Sweden’s Johan Olsson delivered an astounding historic win in the event after a 35km-solo effort HERE.

And now for the winners… Team Northug – antoine-briand was able to hang on to the lead with a total of 335 points to claim the fabulous grand prize a Salomon SLab package including skis, poles, boots, bindings (value $1,497).

The second place prize, a cool pair of Alpina ESK ski boots, goes to Team CATZ4LYFE with 280 points. And Team Rob in third place with 270 points receives an awesome pair of Fischer Carbonlite poles.

Congratulations to all winners and thanks again to all contestants and our great sponsors including Salomon, Alpina, Fischer, Bjorn Daehlie, One Way, 2XU, Ski*Go, Fresh Air Experience, High Peaks Cyclery, Auclair, and Buff Canada.

For the complete final FIS Fantasy Fiemme Worlds contest standings, please click HERE.

SkiTrax FIS Fantasy Fiemme Worlds 2013 Contest Winners

– Team Northug – antoine-briand – Antoine Briand – Sept-Iles, QC
1st Prize
Salomon SLab package skis, poles, boots, bindings (value $1,497)

– CATZ4LYFE – William Spiller  – Ketchum, ID
2nd Prize
 – Alpina ESK Ski Boots (value $419)

– Rob – Rob Ragotte – Toronto, ON
3rd Prize – Fischer
Carbonlite Poles ($339)

– Redjacket – Connie Johnson – Calgary, AB
4th Prize
 – Bjorn Daehlie Exclusive US XC Ski Suit (value $300)

– peaches – Sebastien Townsend – Chelsea, QC
5th Prize
 – One Way Skate 7 Roller Skis (value $250)

– asterion – Elise Ruet – Montalieu, France
6th Prize 
2XU Long Sleeve Thermal Compression Top and Elite Socks (value $195)

– Max’s – Max Liles – Superior, CO
7th Prize
–  Ski*go Large Wax Box with XC kickwaxes/cork/scraper (value $190)

– rgsnow – Guillaume Ruet – Fleurie, France
8th Prize
Fresh Air Experience or High Peaks Cyclery Gift Certificate (value $100)

– Redbird – Craig Cardinal – Northfield, MN
9th Prize
 – Auclair Micro Mountain Olympic Gloves + Earbags (value $65)

– beaujo – Rene Berrod – Fleurie, France
10th Prize
 – Buff Headware (value $23)

SkiTrax is North America’s leading Nordic skiing publication and the official magazine of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and Cross Country Canada (CCC).

Canmore Winter Meltdown 2013 Alberta Winter Triathlon Provincials – Mar. 23

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March 11, 2013 (Canmore, AB) – The 2013 Alberta Winter Triathlon Provincials take place on Saturday, March 23 at the Canmore Nordic Center. There will be full-distance, novice distance, and duathlon events. Course will be on the packed ski trails at the Canmore Nordic Center. Expect to ski bike and run on snow! Great Draw Prizes for Competitors and Volunteers.

Start: 9:30am
Location: Canmore Nordic Centre
– Full Distance: 10km Cross-Country Ski, 10km Mountain Bike, 5km Run. Categories: Individual – Male & Female Pro/Expert and Age Group categories. Relay – Male, Female & Mixed
– Novice Distance: 4-5km Cross-Country Ski, 5km Mountain Bike, 5km run
– Duathlon: 5km Run, 10km Mountain bike, 5km Run

More info at www.canmorewintermeltdown.com


SkiTrax FIS Fantasy Fiemme Worlds 2013 Contest Standings after the Women’s 30km CL

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March 06, 2013 (Toronto, ON) – We are happy to present the standings for the SkiTrax FIS Fantasy Fiemme Worlds 2013 Contest after the Women’s 30km CL competition. Check out our coverage of the race that saw Norway’s Marit Bjoergen score the world title, while USA’s Liz Stephen logged the best North American result with a strong 16th place – here.

Team Northug – antoine-briand is still leading with 255 points followed by Team CATZ4LYFE in second with 245, while Team beaujo moved up into third spot with 220 points.

For the complete contest standings after the Women’s 30km CL, please click HERE.

SkiTrax FIS Fantasy Fiemme Worlds 2013 Contest Prizes

* 1st Prize Salomon SLab package skis, poles, boots, bindings (value $1,497)
* 2nd Prize Alpina ESK Ski Boots (value $419)
* 3rd Prize – Fischer Carbonlite Poles ($339)
* 4th Prize – Bjorn Daehlie Exclusive US XC Ski Suit (value $300)
* 5th Prize – One Way Skate 7 Roller Skis (value $250)
* 6th Prize 2XU Long Sleeve Thermal Compression Top and Elite Socks (value $195)
* 7th Prize –  Ski*go Large Wax Box with XC kickwaxes/cork/scraper (value $190)
* 8th PrizeFresh Air Experience or High Peaks Cyclery Gift Certificate (value $100)
* 9th Prize – Auclair Micro Mountain Olympic Gloves + Earbags (value $65)
* 10th Prize – Buff Headware (value $23)

Good luck to all contestants and thanks to FIS, Fiemme 2011 and all of our great sponsors including Salomon, Alpina, Fischer, One Way, Bjorn Daehlie, Fresh Air Experience, High Peaks Cyclery, Auclair, and Buff Canada.

SkiTrax is North America’s leading Nordic skiing publication and the official magazine of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and Cross Country Canada (CCC).

Canada’s Dupont 11th in Legendary Vasaloppet

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March 04, 2013 (Mora, Sweden) – Canada’s Andrea Dupont, known for her sprinting prowess on the Haywood NorAm circuit, finished an impressive 11th in the women’s field of the fabled 90km Vasaloppet in Sweden to log the top Canadian result in a time of 4:51.46, trailing women’s winner Laila Kveli of Norway by 0:29.24. The event drew nearly 15,000 participants, including almost 2,000 women.

Dupont represented Canada in the sprint events at the recent FIS Nordic Worlds in Val di Fiemme, Italy, and stayed on in Europe to race the Vasaloppet marathon.

“Pretty good for a sprinter,” said Rodney Ruddock of Ski*go Canada.

For full Vasaloppet results click HERE.

Norway Claims Men’s Team Relay Gold at 2013 Nordic Worlds – USA 10th, Canada 12th

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March 01, 2013 (Val di Fiemme, Italy) – Like their female counterparts the Norwegian men, took the gold in the 4x10km relay event at the FIS Nordic Worlds in Val di Fiemme, Italy on Friday and once again defended their title. But spectators were on the edge of their seats as a late race bid by Sweden’s Calle Halvarsson threatened the four final contenders including the famed Petter Northug (NOR).

Northug responded on the final Zorzi climb as he and Halvarsson shook off Russia’s Sergey Ustiugov and Italy’s David Hofer making it a two-horse race. Halvarsson was still leading over the final bridge to the finish but Northug quickly caught his rival and took over the lead down the finishing lanes for the win by a 1.2s margin.

The battle for bronze was won by Ustiugov who sprinted fiercely for third over Hofer denying the host nation spot on the final podium. It was a close finish in the 40km event as the top five all crossed the line within 12s of one another. Teams USA and Canada finished 10th and 12th, respectively.

Waxing played a large role as race day dawned at a balmy 10°C. The pack stuck close together on the first two laps of the race as Sweden’s Daniel Richardsson and Russia’s Evgeniy Belov set the pace. Germany’s Hannes Dotzler was also high up in the fray, animating the action with an attack on the final lap, which was marked by Norway’s Torde Asle Gjerdalen. The USA’s Andy Newell was well positioned near the front throughout the race and was a strong 5th at the exchange. Canada’s Len Valjas skied well over the first two laps as well but dropped to 11th as the 10km-leg ended.

Leg #2 saw Germany’s Tobias Angerer leading a seven-man group, including Norway, Sweden and USA. However, a motivated chase group soon caught back on to double the size of the lead group, that included the USA’s Kris Freeman who was well-positioned near the front as Russia’s Maxim Vylegzhanin assumed control at the front. Canada’s Devon Kershaw in 12th tried to bridge to the leaders.

Local fans cheered loudly as veteran Giorgio Di Centa (ITA), at his 9th Nordic Worlds, seized the opportunity to attack on the Velena climb on final lap. But Swiss superstar Dario Cologna jumped on his tail, followed by Vylegzhanin, Angerer, Johan Olsson (SWE), and Eldar Roenning (NOR) to create a lead group of six. Freeman and Kershaw did not make the selection, with the American skier handing off to Noah Hoffman in 9th at 1:14 back with Kershaw tagging Ivan Babikov in 12th.

The start of the third leg saw the top six nations stay together with Norway, Russia and Sweden exchanging the lead. Japan’s Nobu Naruse, whose squad was putting together a brilliant race, chased in seventh, followed by the Czech Republic in eighth. USA’s Noah Hoffman had a strong leg with the 5th fastest time but the team remained in 10th as Babikov fought in vain as well. On the final lap Sweden’s Marcus Hellner attacked as Russia’s Alexander Legkov responded along with Sjur Roethe (NOR) as four leaders charged to the final transition as Germany and Switzerland suffered behind.

The final leg of the race started slowly as the strategizing began at a training pace. Suddenly Germany’s Axel Teichmann was able to regain contact with the lead group, while the other trailing skiers also gained back time including the USA’s Tad Elliott. On the second lap of the leg, Elliot was positioned in seventh as Finland’s Matti Heikkinen put in a surge and bridged to the front group putting his team back into contention. Canada’s anchor, Alex Harvey, was too far back to fight for contention.

As the finish approached, the lead group – now six strong – picked up the pace forcing the chasers to dig even deeper. Sweden’s  Halfvarsson finally initiated the attack before the on the last climb up Zorzi and the only skier able to respond was Northug. But the Norwegian veteran was on to Halfvarsson like bees to honey and suddenly they emerged at the front of the race alone contesting the gold. The storming Northug gave Norwegian fans what they were hoping for and defended Norway’s relay title yet again. The USA finished in 10th and Canada ended up 12th.

Full results HERE.
Full results detail HERE.

SkiTrax FIS Fantasy Fiemme Worlds 2013 Contest Standings after 10/15km FR Individual Start

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March 01, 2013 (Toronto, ON) – We are pleased to report the standings for the SkiTrax FIS Fantasy Fiemme Worlds 2013 Contest after the 10/15km free technique events. Read our coverage of the race, including Canada’s Ivan “Bulldog” Babikov’s stellar fourth place – the best result by a Canadian male in the event at a World Championship – here. Then check out the recap of the women’s 10km event in which USA’s Liz Stephen scored a career-best fifth – here.

In the contest, Team Northug – antoine-briand managed to break the suspenseful three-up tie for first place to take the lead with 205 points. Team CATZ4LYFE sits in second spot with 185 points, followed by Redjacket in third with 170 points.

For the complete contest standings after the Fiemme 10/15km F races, please click HERE.

SkiTrax FIS Fantasy Fiemme Worlds 2013 Contest Prizes

* 1st Prize Salomon SLab package skis, poles, boots, bindings (value $1,497)
* 2nd Prize Alpina ESK Ski Boots (value $419)
* 3rd Prize – Fischer Carbonlite Poles ($339)
* 4th Prize – Bjorn Daehlie Exclusive US XC Ski Suit (value $300)
* 5th Prize – One Way Skate 7 Roller Skis (value $250)
* 6th Prize 2XU Long Sleeve Thermal Compression Top and Elite Socks (value $195)
* 7th Prize –  Ski*go Large Wax Box with XC kickwaxes/cork/scraper (value $190)
* 8th PrizeFresh Air Experience or High Peaks Cyclery Gift Certificate (value $100)
* 9th Prize – Auclair Micro Mountain Olympic Gloves + Earbags (value $65)
* 10th Prize – Buff Headware (value $23)

Good luck to all contestants and thanks to FIS, Fiemme 2011 and all of our great sponsors including Salomon, Alpina, Fischer, One Way, Bjorn Daehlie, Fresh Air Experience, High Peaks Cyclery, Auclair, and Buff Canada.

SkiTrax is North America’s leading Nordic skiing publication and the official magazine of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and Cross Country Canada (CCC).

Canada’s McKeever and Carleton Stomp to Gold at IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships

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February 28, 2013 (Solleftea, Sweden) – Brian Mckeever and his guide Erik Carleton cranked out another gold medal at the IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships in Solleftea, Sweden on Wednesday.

Feeding off a hard-fought victory in the sprint race earlier in the week, the Canadian duo stomped the field in the men’s 20-kilometre skate-ski visually impaired race, capturing their second-straight World Championship title with a time of 51:18.9.

“We are still feeling jetlag a bit so we tried to pace things as best as we could today,” said the 33-year-old McKeever. “It was pretty warm with wet and variable snow conditions so we started conservatively, stayed in control, and were able to step on it when we had too.”

With many of the top Para-Nordic skiers in the world running out of gas for the finish, the dominant Canucks pulled away from the field, finishing nearly one minute ahead of the silver medallists.

Russia grabbed the next two spots on the podium. Nikolay Polukhin and his guide, Andrey Tokarev, clocked-in at 52:16.8. Sergei Chokhlaev and Maksim Pirogov skied to the bronze medal with a time of 52:52.7.

“All of the focus right now is setting us up for Sochi,” said McKeever. “We are just trying to be at our best because we know the Russians are not going to want to lose at home. We are doing everything we can so that we are well prepared this time next year.”

A winner of 10 medals in three trips to the Paralympics with his brother Robin as his guide, McKeever and his Calgary-based childhood friend, Erik Carleton, have been nearly perfect since teaming up with each other for the World Championships two years ago.

“I don’t think the guides get nearly as much recognition as they should,” said McKeever. “It is tough being the guide because you are out front and not skiing your own race. He needs to be out front and controlling the pace. When I need him to hold off he has too, and when I need him to increase the pace he needs to do that as well.

“There are lots of little things that make a great guide. Erik has learned so much in the last year and was great again for me today. It is definitely a team effort out there, and Erik needs a lot of credit for our success.”

The IPC Nordic World Ski Championships continue on Thursday in Sweden with the start of the biathlon competitions.

The IPC World Championships can be viewed on the IPC’s YouTube Channel at www.YouTube.com/ParalympicSportTV. Next up on Solleftea are the distance races on Tuesday.

For complete Canadian and IPC World Cup results, please click HERE.

Interview w/Ivan Babikov after Snagging 4th in 15km FR in Val di Fiemme

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February 27, 2013 (Val di Fiemme, Italy) – Check out this video interview courtesy of CCC with Canada’s Ivan Babikov after he narrowly missed out on the podium in the men’s 15km individual start free race at the 2013 FIS Nordic World Championships in Val di Fiemme today. His performance marked the best-ever result by a Canadian male in the 15 kilometre individual start skate-ski race at the Nordic World Ski Championships

2013 Haywood Ski Nationals – Canada’s Best Nordic Skiers to Race at Whistler Olympic Park

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February 20, 2013 (Whistler, B.C.) – Join Olympic and World Cup gold medalists Devon Kershaw and Alex Harvey, along with rising stars Len Valjas and Perianne Jones as they compete in the Haywood Ski Nationals – the last major domestic racing event before the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

More than 600 of Canada’s best cross-country skiers will race in the 2013 Haywood Ski Nationals, the largest of three Nordic national championships to be held at Whistler Olympic Park, March 23 – 30, 2013.

The Olympic Park is the site of the Sea to Sky Nordic Festival where Canada’s elite winter athletes will compete in Biathlon Nationals and North American Biathlon Championships, Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined Canadian Nationals.

With hundreds of athletes on site for biathlon, cross-country, and ski-jumping/Nordic combined, the event will “return us to the excitement of 2010 Olympics,” says event chair Sherryl Yeager.

“We’ll have more athletes, more races and more adrenalin pumping in this two-week period than we did in 2010,” says Yeager. “This event is going to give you non-stop all-day high-level racing from Canada’s best.”

Whistler Olympic Park is the site of the 2010 Winter Olympics and offers world-class racing trails and a picturesque recreational trail system that meanders through old growth forest in the Callaghan Valley. This is only the third time the Ski Nationals have been hosted in the Sea to Sky Corridor in 20 years. They were first held in Vancouver in 1991 and at Whistler Olympic Park in 2008.

All events are free of charge for spectators.


Watch Canada’s Jones and Gaiazova Score Women’s 4×1.25km CL Sprint Bronze at Sochi WCup

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February 06, 2013 – Check out this great video of the FIS women’s 4×1.25km team classic sprint in Sochi, where Canada’s Perianne Jones and Dasha Gaiazova snapped up a thrilling bronze medal with an incredible surge in the final leg.

Interviews w/Canada’s Gaiazova and Jones on Their Podium at Women’s CL Team Sprint in Sochi + Video

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February 04, 2013 (Sochi, Russia) – SkiTrax caught up with Canadian Ski Team members Dasha Gaiazova and Perianne Jones after their bronze medal women’s team sprint effort in Sochi. It was a thrilling finish to the women’s 6×1.25km Classic Team Sprint as Gaiazova started the final leg in fourth, then stormed on to pass the USA’s Sadie Bjornsen in third, and then chased down Russia’s Natalia Matveeva to barely miss out on silver in a photo finish. Check out what the ladies had to say about their race.

Perianne Jones


Dasha Gaiazova


FIS video HERE.

Canadian Men 7th, Women 10th in Relays at IBU Junior Biathlon World Championships – Photos

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February 01, 2013 (Obertilliach, Austria) – The Canadian squad finished an impressive 7th in the Junior men’s 4×7.5km relay at the IBU Youth and Junior Biathlon World Championships in Obertilliach, Austria, while their women’s teammates placed 10th in the Junior momen’s 3x6km event.

The Norwegian men’s squad took the top spot in a time of 1:18:33.2 with a total of 13 shooting penalties. The second place French team shot much cleaner with only six penalties, but they had to settle for silver at only 14s back from the leaders. Team Russia grabbed the bronze with 16 penalties and trailed by 50s.

The Canadians, Menno Arendz, Christian Gow, Jasper Mackenzie, and Macx Davies, amassed nine penalties and finished 4:55.2 behind.

In the Junior women’s race, the Germans were in a league of their own, acquiring only one penalty to finish in a time of 52:39.4, a whopping 2:03.4 ahead of second place, Ukraine, with eight shooting penalties. The Russians finished third with 11 penalties and a 2:24.8 deficit.

The Canadian team of Rose-Marie Cote, Julia Ransom, and Emma Lodge were 3:52.1 behind with 10 penalties. No Americans completed in either relay.

Junior men HERE.
Junior women HERE.

USA’s Patterson, Bjornsen Lead NA Skiers at U23 Nordic Worlds 10/15km FR Titles – Haga, Ustiugov Win

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January 24, 2013 (Liberec, Czech Republic) – On Day 4 of the 2013  U23/Junior Nordic World Ski Championships, Ragnhild Haga took home  the first gold medal for the ambitious Norwegian team winning the women’s 10km FR race. The men’s 15km FR competition was clearly dominated by the Russians as they won gold and silver.

Team USA’s Caitlin Patterson and Erik Bjornsen led the North Americans, placing 14th and 15th in the women’s and men’s competitions, respectively.

Kazakhstan also celebrated their first medal of the championships winning silver in the women’s 10km thanks to Anastasia Slonova, while the bronze medal went to Italy, courtesy of Debora Agreiter.

USA’s Sophie Caldwell finished 17th in the women’s race, with teammates Annie Pokorny and Elizabeth Guiney in 29th and 42nd, respectively. Heidi Widmer posted the top Canadian women’s result in 28th place, while Annika Hicks finished 37th, Andrea Lee placed 40th, and Marlis Kromm took 43rd.

Bjornsen’s men’s teammate Sam Tarling finished 39th in the 15km event, followed by David Norris in 50th and Eric Packer in 54th. Top Canadian man was Colin Abbott in 63rd. Patrick Stewart-Jones (CAN) finished 71st.

Women’s 10km Individual Free – Haga Scores First Gold for Norway
Fifty one women set off on the demanding course in Vesec on Thursday morning. The conditions were worsened by thickly falling snow and hard frost. Nevertheless, only two skiers failed to reach the finish.

“I am really satisfied. Today, it was a real exhausting race; I could not afford to relax. Two years ago, I triumphed at the junior world championship so I am happy that I managed to pick up on this success,” said winner Ragnhild Haga.

Haga literally flew through the course and left second-placed Slonova half a minute behind. She was especially strong in the second half of the race. It was the young Kazakh, however, who performed admirably after the unsuccessful first third of the race when she overtook seven competitors and got a well-deserved silver.

Anastasia Slonova: “I feel good after the race. I am really pleased with the result. We watched the weather carefully, so we were able to prepare the skis very well. It is a great achievement for us, indeed. We picked up on the successful performances during the World Cup competition which took place in Liberec few days ago.”

Debora Agreiter: “I do not know what I lacked for being the second placed. I guess I did not have enough strength at the end; after all, it was a difficult race. But I am still excited about the third place.”

Men’s 15km Individual Free – Russian Dominance
The strong Russians again confirmed their role as favourites of the cross-country competitions. The 15km freestyle was won by Sergey Ustiugov ahead of Evgeniy Belov. The bronze medal goes to Germany thanks to Thomas Bing.

Just before noon on Thursday, 84 competitors set off on an extremely demanding course in Vesec. Conditions were really difficult, as the skiers were slowed down by freshly fallen snow.

Ustiugov dominated the whole race and was the fastest at all split times. In the end he triumphed with a lead of nineteen seconds. The twenty-year-old Russian followed his great performance of last year at the WC in Turkey, where he won four gold medals. His countryman Belov won his second medal at these championships. On Tuesday, it was silver in the sprint.

“It is fantastic! I feel really wonderful. I achieved my goal: I was in first position for the whole race. I feel really happy,” rejoiced the confident winner Sergey Ustiugov from Russia after the finish.

Evgeniy Belov: “I am really satisfied with the result of the race. Today´s race was just a training for the next month – I will started at the FIS Nordic World Ski in Val di Fiemme in Italy, so I did not expect medal. That pleased me more.“

Thomas Bing: “I am incredibly happy. Today, it was a really tough race. I did not want to overvalue the start; I saved my energy for the end. And it was worth it: as time went on, I worked my way to the fourth place – thanks to the cooperation with Clementini from Italy, as well. And then, I got enough strength in the finish.”

Women’s 10km Free results HERE.
Men’s 15km Free results HERE.

Complete results are available at www.liberec2013.cz.

Canadian Tire Supports Canada’s Paralympians

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January 24, 2013 (Toronto, ON) – The Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) is pleased to announce that Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited (CTC) is now going for gold as a multi-year Premier partner supporting Paralympic athletes across Canada, through to 2016.

“Canadian Tire is an iconic brand and we are thrilled to welcome them to the Canadian Paralympic family,” said David Legg, President of the Canadian Paralympic Committee.

“Not only will Canadian Tire’s investment in high performance sport help our athletes achieve excellence at the Paralympic Games, it will also help us foster the next generation of Canadian athletes through their support of our grassroots funding programs, helping make the benefits of sport accessible to more Canadians.”

As part of this partnership, the CPC will work with CTC to increase opportunities for Canadians with a disability to participate in organized sport and active living.

“At Canadian Tire, we believe in the power of sport to inspire greatness and change the lives of all Canadians,” said Duncan Fulton, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited and Chief Marketing Officer, FGL Sports, Ltd. “From playground to podium, we will play a role in helping Canadian families and amateur athletes succeed and are pleased to work with the Canadian Paralympic Committee in communities across Canada to promote participation in sport and active living.”

Benoit Huot and Summer Mortimer, multiple gold medallist swimmers from the London 2012 Paralympic Games, were onsite for the announcement of the partnership, which will continue through the next two Paralympic Games – Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016.

“To achieve greatness requires commitment and Canadian Tire has shown its commitment in spades here today, to Paralympians and to the country itself, by helping ensure Canada’s strong and vibrant sporting heritage,” said Huot, a 19-time Paralympic medalist and Canada’s closing ceremony flag bearer at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Mortimer, who won four swimming medals in London, added: “It is thanks to the investment by corporate partners such as Canadian Tire that I can maintain my focus and ensure I am properly prepared to represent Canada on the world stage with my teammates at the next Paralympic Games in Rio.”

In addition to its agreement with the CPC, CTC also confirmed new and expanded partnership agreements with the Canadian Soccer Association, Skate Canada, Hockey Canada, Alpine Canada Alpin, Canada Snowboard, all designed to inspire Canadians and encourage lifelong healthy and active living through the ‘power of sport.’

CTC and Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities also plan to work with Own the Podium and the Canadian Olympic Foundation to help more kids get in the game.

Kershaw Report – Tour de Ski 2012

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January 17, 2013 – The 2012/13 Tour de Ski is over and remains in all our rearview mirrors. There were Canadian highlights abound during his year’s German and Italian odyssey – the major ones being Ivan’s career-best 7th overall, Lenny Valjas’s two podiums, Alex’s podium and 4 top 6 results and last but not least – the bulldog’s absolute annihilation of Alpe Cermis  – where he posted the 2nd fastest climb up that nasty, nasty slope.

It was a great completion for Canada, yet I must say my own Tour de Ski was a disappointment. Ok, a big disappointment. It was a good thing that Ivan, Lenny and Alex threw down because my body was no help – as it just wasn’t recovered and ready for such an arduous event. While there were a couple glimmers of “ok-ness” during the week – for the most part I was missing that top gear needed to compete atop the results page.

After a nice 9 days in Switzerland over the holidays, it was off to the Tour and first up was the fog engulfed hilltop village of Oberhof. While the weather is some of the worst I experience every year, traditionally I love the courses and race well through the grey half-light. Not wanting to disappoint, Oberhof stayed true to its reputation and was pretty warm and foggier than San Francisco’s “June Gloom” by a factor of 7. The snow barely held up for the first few races under the German grey – with some sections of the 3.75km loop showing some black pavement during the 15km classic!

The races this season in Germany though did not go well. After a great intensity workout a few days before the Tour – the first in awhile – I was hopeful that the Tour would start well. It didn’t. The prologue was more of the same – I’d start controlled and then have no gear to switch into for the last kick to the line. The 15km classic (pursuit start) the following day felt like Groundhog Day – as the feelings in the body were the same – feeling great until I didn’t – struggling home and losing oodles of time in the last lap of that 4-lap race to finish in 27th. Conditions were tough – soft and slushy snow – which are usually favorite classic conditions of mine, but this season my legs felt like they were as stiff and had more weights attached to them than a whole group of tanned geriatrics working out on a Miami Beach boardwalk.

After a small turn-around in feelings and celebrating the MAN Lenny Valjas’ 4th career World Cup podium on New Year’s Day on the tough sprint in Val Mustair, Switzerland (Len was 3rd, I ended up 15th), it was off to Italy for the last 4 stages in a row in Toblach and Val di Fiemme.

If you would have told me that my best race feelings of the year to date after the Tour was over would be in the 35km loppet style skate race from Cortina-Toblach and up the fabled climb of Alpe Cermis, I would have laughed myself silly. But that’s how things ended up. The two classic races that I was most fired up for ended up being super disappointing (the 5km classic in Toblach and the 15km in Val di Fiemme), whereas in the two “special” skate races I ended up feeling “ok and ok ++” in. Especially the climb – which is usually the site of the annual “epically ugly/slow monkey skating filled with the hollow eyes and slobber beard that any golden retriever in a cheese factory would be proud of.”

I ended the Tour in 12th overall.  All things considered, I’m surprised I ended up there. Most days I felt drained and it was a difficult set of races mentally – as I was so hopeful and trying to stay in that positive “maybe today I’ll be back feeling good!” for the duration. I moved up for the first time ever on the climb – which was the personal racing highlight – from 18th to 12th.

While I was left wanting more and disappointed – the Tour was so exciting everyday for Canada. Lenny snagged two podiums – 0.1seconds away from his first ever World Cup victory in the 15km classic in Val di Fiemme, Babs was a total boss all around and blitzed the climb to move from 17th – 7th snaking the 2nd fast time on that beast in the process for his second World Cup podium – and Alex was a few centimeters behind Len in the exciting 15km to finish 3rd (we had two on the podium and Babs had a career-best classic race in 7th!!) and like I said up top – had four races in the top 6. It was a Tour for the ages again and the stoke is uber-high for us Canadian Nordies. The women are getting in on the action too and I’m psyched for Dasha’s 4th in Liberec a few days ago and for Peri’s career-best 9th in the same race. Momentum for the team is building, as the days get longer. Good news with the 2013 World Champs only 5 weeks away under the Italian sun. The “team behind the team” – our absolutely bad-ass/awesome staff are killing it this year too. The techs (Micke, Yves, Joel, Joel, Sacha, and Timo) were lights-out good during the tour (and every race so far this year!!), Anne (Osteo), Wolfman (need’s no introduction…) and Justin (the only coach on the ground at the Tour) were on their A ++ game, so huge thanks to them for their hard work and unwavering passion.

After the Tour, I fled to… Norway! I know right? Lenny went to the beaches of Egypt to recharge, Alex joined his girlfriend in Nice, France and I headed up to Scandinavia – I guess I missed the shorter days, brown cheese and waffles. There must have been a good reason right? Well there was – I really enjoyed spending time with Kristin who was coming off a boss 3rd place overall Tour de Ski finish and there was nowhere else I’d rather be. We hung out in Oslo for a couple days enjoying some great times with her crew there and then headed up to Sjusjoen for some quiet days at her cabin. It’s a beautiful spot and while the week went by far too fast – I had a great time and feel like my body did a decent job recovering from the stress and beat-down that the Tour does to a racer.

I’m now in France, in the small mountain village of Praz de Lys – which is about 45min from this weekend’s races in La Clusaz. I had never been here before, but I swear every year for the past 5 all Dasha can say when the question of “where should we go train in-between races?” comes up is an enthusiastic “Praz de Lys!” about 19 times in a row. Well Dasha, you were right. The skiing here is some of the best I’ve ever done. It’s unreal – gorgeous views of Mt. Blanc, meters of snow, and tons of perfectly groomed trails to enjoy daily with mountain views at every angle. Aside from Seisser Alm, Italy, it’s the best skiing I’ve had in Europe. I must say that seeing all the back country skiing happening leaves me with a sore neck (looking up the whole time!) but other than that – paradise.

I’m looking forward to this weekend to get some racing action in before another two weeks of World Champs prep/training “sans racing” before we head to Sochi to scope next year’s Olympic trails and scene.

Other than dreaming of ripping the surrounding powder – I’m listening to some older stuff these days – Wilco is on heavy rotation, as is the Shins, Kishi Bashi, and this band called “Say Hi.” (Formerly “Say hi to your mom”). I’ve also been spinning a lot of old school blues actually – some BB King (Live at the Regal), Muddy Waters (Hard Again/I’m Ready), and John Lee Hooker – eclectic I know. Reading-wise, I’ve been cruising through a Brent McMurty recommendation “the Leap” by Chris Turner (great book man!). The Globe and Mail’s review of it HERE.

SkiTrax FIS Fantasy Tour de Ski 2012/13 Contest Final Standings and Winners after Stage 7 in Val di Fiemme

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January 15, 2013 (Toronto, ON) – We are excited to announce the final SkiTrax FIS Tour de Ski 2012/13 Fantasy Contest standings after stage 7 in Val di Fiemme, Italy. In another dramatic turn of events, the top three spots changed completely, with Team Fratuzzi TdS leaping to the top of the standings with a total of 1,019 points. Team Powered by Biscuits secured second place with 1,002 points, followed by Team Kostroma Russia in third with 996 points.

Stage 7 saw the USA’s Liz Stephen score her second podium of the season with the second fastest time up Alpe Cermis, behind climbing star Therese Johaug (NOR), while Justyna Kowalczyk (POL) took home the overall TdS victory – read more here. On the men’s side, Ivan Babikov pulled through for Team Canada, claiming the second fastest time on the stage for yet another Canuck podium and his best-ever overall Tour result in 7th. The final stage up Cermis was won by Sweden’s Marcus Hellner and the overall men’s title was claimed for the first time by Russia’s Alexander Legkov – read more here.

For the contest standings after Stage 7 in Val di Fiemme click HERE.

As we wrap up the SkiTrax FIS Tour de Ski 2012/13 Fantasy Contest, we’d like to congratulate the winners, thank all of our contestants, and once again thank all of our great sponsors, including Mont Ste-Anne, Alpina, One Way, Marwe, Halti, 2XU, Fresh Air Experience, High Peaks Cyclery, CCC, Auclair, and Buff.

SkiTrax FIS Fantasy Tour de Ski 2012/13 Contest Winners

 – Fratuzzi TdS – Anton Burmelev – Minsk, Belarus
1st Prize
Mont Ste-Anne – 2 nights lodging w/breakfast + 3-day XC gift certificate, tune-up (value $800)

– Powered by Biscuits – Jacob Scheckman – Minneapolis, MN
2nd Prize
Alpina ESK Ski Boots (value $419)

– Team Kostroma Russia – Alexander Orlov – Kostroma, Russia
3rd Prize
One Way Premio Ski Poles (value $400)

– fleur – Simone Berrod – Fleurie, France
4th Prize
Marwe 610c Roller Skis (value $349)

– karukoobas – Rain Kuldjari – Harjumaa, Estonia
5th Prize
Halti XC Race Suit Hemmo Set (value $269)

– Maffe – Marius Urstad – Rogaland, Norway
6th Prize
2XU Long Sleeve Thermal Compression Top and Elite Socks (value $195)

– mlynek – Pawel Mlynski – Warsaw, Poland
7th PrizeFresh Air Experience or High Peaks Cyclery Gift Certificate (value $150)

– birks ski – Birgit Hanilane – Paulvamaa, Estonia
8th Prize – Two free CCC Inside Track Rewards Cards plus a $50 Gift Card to the CCC e-store (value $100)

– AndreFTW – Andre Marchand – Masham, QC
9th Prize
Auclair Micro Mountain Olympic Gloves + Earbags (value $65)

– RK Ski Team – Siim Sarapu – Virumaa, Estonia
10th Prize Buff Headware (value $23)

SkiTrax is North America’s leading Nordic skiing publication and the official magazine of the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) and Cross Country Canada (CCC).

Interviews w/Canada’s Gaiazova and Valjas after Liberec WCup Sprints

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January 14, 2013 (Liberec, Czech Republic) – Check out these audio interviews with Canada’s Dash Gaiazova and Len Valjas following the Liberec World Cup sprints on the weekend. Gaiazova had a stellar day on the 1.3 CL course, finishing just off the podium in fourth. In the team sprint, Gaiazova and Perianne Jones finished 11th. Gaiazova is coming off of recent podium finishes on the OPA Cup circuit.

Valjas was the top Canadian man of the day in Liberac’s 1.6 CL event in 10th place. It was the rangy Canadian’s first race back after the grueling Tour de Ski during which he delivered the country’s first World Cup medal of the season.



Canadian Para-Nordic Athletes Rack Up Five Medals at IPC World Cup in Wisconsin

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January 14, 2013 (Cable, WI) – Canada’s Para-Nordic squad teamed up to win five medals – one gold, three silver and one bronze – in middle distance cross-country ski races at the IPC World Cup in Cable, Wisconsin on Sunday.

Mark Arendz, of Springton, P.E.I., skied to his second-ever cross-country ski medal, winning the silver in the 10-kilometre skate-ski race in the men’s standing division. The 22-year-old Arendz, who has finished second overall in biathlon on the IPC World Cup standings the last two years clocked a time of 25:08.9.

“I’m very happy with the race. A lot of things were right where I want them, with my speed and fitness,” said Arendz, who now has 17 IPC World Cup medals in his career. “I was having a great race and knew I was on the podium, but it never sunk in until after the race that I was on track for a best-ever cross-country race. It shows that I’m in solid shape for the biathlon races later in the week.

Norway’s Nils-Erik Ulset won the division with a time of 24:07.9.

Brian McKeever and guide Erik Carleton, both of Canmore, Alta., teamed up to win the lone gold medal of the day. A winner of 10 Paralympic medals, the 33-year-old McKeever set the time to beat at 24:03.0 in the men’s 10-kilometre skate-ski visually impaired race.

The path to the podium continued to roll in the women’s races as Canada’s legendary Colette Bourgonje powered her way to the silver medal in the women’s five-kilometre sit-ski division. The six-time Paralympian from Saskatoon, who has skied on the national team for the last 20 years, clocked a time of 14:29.0.

Germany’s Anja Wicker won the women’s sit-ski race with a time of 14:17.0.

Canada also grabbed the silver and bronze medal positions on the women’s visually impaired podium. Robbi Weldon, of Thunder Bay, Ont. clocked a second-place time of 15:38.0 in the five-kilometre skate-ski race. Ontario’s Margarita Gorbounova and her guide, Andrea Bundon, celebrated the bronze with a time of 16:17.0.

The Canadian Para-Nordic Ski Team is using the Wisconsin event to start qualifying athletes, in particular development athletes, for the 2014 Paralympics. Five of the eight development-level athletes to hit the start line on Sunday met the IPC Paralympic qualifying standard.

The IPC World Cup continues on Monday in Cable, Wisconsin.

Results HERE.

Cross Country Canada Survey for 2014-2018 Strategic Plan

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January 10, 2013 (Canmore, AB) – As part of the creation of our 2014-2018 Strategic Plan, Cross Country Canada is currently undergoing a comprehensive and nationwide engagement process that involves our allies, partners, and stakeholders. By the end of this process, we want to identify the objectives we want to achieve by 2018 and renew our commitment to our organizational goals, mission, vision, and values.

Our engagement process will include interviews with key stakeholders, polls, planning workshops, and this national survey. The results of the entire process will be shared with the Cross Country Canada community and a draft version of our 2014-2018 Strategic Plan will be available at our AGM in June 2013.

We are inviting you to complete the national survey. We believe that your contribution will help drive the successful creation and implementation of our new Strategic Plan and help us determine the best way forward. The survey should take 10-15 minutes to complete depending on how much detail you want to add. The survey is anonymous and we hope you will provide as much honest feedback as you can.

Thank you for your ongoing commitment and interest in the development and success of cross country skiing in Canada.

Survey HERE.

Deadline: January 25, 2013

Interview w/Canadian Biathlete Rosanna Crawford

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January 09, 2013 (Canmore, AB) – Rosanna Crawford, the 24-year-old biathlete from Canmore, Alberta has had the most successful world cup start of her career thus far, regularly finishing in the top 30 and just out of the top ten at the Pokljuka World Cup Sprint with a career-high 12th-place finish.  SkiTrax caught up with Crawford as she prepared to return to Europe for the next rounds of World Cup racing and the World Championships to talk about her breakout season, how she spent the holiday break, and what she expects for the rest of the season.
How satisfied are you with your performance for the first part of the season?
Rosanna Crawford: I am really happy with how the start of the season went. My goal had been to get a couple top 30’s but after Sweden to be making top-30 every race and getting a top-12 was pretty exciting.
Has your skiing been what you expected?  How about your shooting?
RC: My skiing has improved a lot since last year and I am happy with how things are shaping up. I usually get faster as the season goes on. Shooting has been better than last year but still not where I want it to be. I think my shooting average is 81% and to be around 86% or 87% would be ideal for me.
What have you been up to since the last World Cup in Pokljuka, Slovenia?
RC: Since I got home I spent some time with my family and boyfriend and enjoyed the amazing Canmore Nordic Centre. Brendan [Green] and I also spent two nights up at Mt. Engadine lodge up the Spray Valley, which was incredible! It got pretty cold here over Christmas, so there was a lot of -25 classic skis!
What do you want to improve on during this next block of World Cup racing?
RC: For this next block of racing I would like to improve my shooting percentage in the four-bout races. And keep working on consistent loop times.
What are your expectations heading into the World Championships in Nove Mesto?
RC: For World Champs right now I am focusing on what I can control, trying not to think too much about results, but the process of biathlon. I think a good goal would be top 30’s and shooting average of 85%. I didn’t attend the World Cup race there last year, but it was tough shooting conditions – really windy and foggy. I’m flying over on Sunday and our first race will be the relay in Ruhpolding on Wednesday!
Good luck in the rest of your season.
RC: Cheers.

Haywood NorAm U23/Junior Trials in Thunder Bay – PHOTOS

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January 09, 2013 (Thunder Bay, ON) – Here are some great photos from last weekend’s Haywood NorAm and U23/Junior trials, Jan. 5-6, at the Lappe Ski Centre in Thunder Bay as athletes made their bids for selection to the various upcoming World Championship teams. Results HERE. Read more about the races: Day 1 HERE, Day 2 HERE.

CCC Announces 2013 U23/Jr. World Championship Team

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January 09, 2013 (Canmore, AB) – The CCC has announced its list of qualified athletes for the Junior and U23 World Championships in Liberec, Czech Republic, January 20-27, 2013. The following athletes are selected to represent Canada at the event. Find out more about the event HERE.

Junior World Championships

– Frédérique Vézina Club Nordique M.S.A – CNEPH
– Maya MacIssac-Jones Rocky Mountain Ski Racers
– Cendrine Browne Fondeurs – CNEPH
– Katherine Stewart-Jones Nakkertok
– Anne-Marie Comeau Club Nordique M.S.A – CNEPH
– Raphaël Couturier Skibec – CNEPH
– Alexis Turgeon Skinouk – CNEPH
– David Palmer Black Jack
– Ezekiel Williams Nakkertok
– Scott Hill Team Hardwood – NDC TBay

U23 World Championships

– Andrea Lee Strathcona Nordic – NDC TBay
– Marlis Kromm Foothills Nordic – AWCA
– Heidi Widmer Foothills Nordic – AWCA
– Annika Hicks Canmore Nordic – AWCA
– Andy Shields Lappe – NDC TBay
– Patrick Stewart-Jones Nakkertok – AWCA
– Russell Kennedy Canmore Nordic – AWCA
– Colin Abbott Whitehorse

Selection Synopsis
The following athletes are selected to the World U23 and Junior World Championships in accordance with 9.8 of the criteria.

1. Criteria 9.b: In accordance with the criteria the race winners in each event, including each of the four categories (U23 men and women; Junior men and women) were selected as follows:

– Frédérique Vézina Junior Women – 10K skiathlon
– Maya MacIssac-Jones Junior Women – sprint
– Cendrine Browne Junior Women – 10K fr
– Raphaël Couturier Junior men – 20K skiathlon, 10K fr
– Alexis Turgeon Junior men – sprint
– Andrea Lee U23 women – 15K skiathlon
– Marlis Kromm U23 women – sprint
– Annika Hicks U23 women – 10k fr
– Andy Shields U23 men – 30K skiathlon
– Patrick Stewart-Jones U23 men – sprint
– Russell Kennedy U23 men – 15K fr

3. Criteria 9.8.c: The remaining positions up to four men and 4 women for each class were selected considering on the balance between sprint and distance athletes based on consideration of the ranking lists (refer to 6.8.c) for men and woman from the designated selection events.

Junior Women
– Katherine Stewart-Jones was selected considering her third overall placing on the distance ranking list(172.11 CPL) including a 2nd place finish in the pursuit and 2nd place finish in the skiathlon10K;
– Anne-Marie Comeau was selected based on a force majeure. Due to illness, Anne-Marie did not race at the trials event. Anne-Marie was selected based on her demonstrated international potential to achieve the objectives in the criteria based on her results at the Canmore World Cup, NorAm events in December 2012 and her 18th place finish at the WJC 2012.

Junior Men
– David Palmer was selected based on being second on the distance ranking list (184.14 CPL) including 2nd place finish in the pursuit and15K.
– Ezekiel Williams was selected based on being third on the distance ranking list (183.75 CPL) including a 2nd place finish in the sprint, a 3rd place finish in the pursuit and a third place finish in the 15K.
– Scott Hill was selected based on being 4th on the distance ranking list (183.34) including 6th in the pursuit and 4th in the15K.

U23 Women
– Heidi Widmer was selected based on force majeure. Due to a significant fall in the sprint heats, Heidi was eliminated from the sprint competitions and was diagnosed with a possible concussion. Due to this mishap and based on medical advice, Heidi did not race in the 10K free event. Heidi was selected based on her demonstrated international potential to achieve the objectives in the criteria based on her previous international and domestic results. Consideration was also given to Heidi’s 2nd place finish in the pursuit and 2nd place qualifier position in the sprint,

No other U23 women were selected from the distance ranking list due to not being able to meet the U23 IPB distance standards(refer to 9.7 in the criteria) and being too far behind the distance ranking leaders in total CPL.

U23 Men
– Colin Abbot was selected on being 3rd on the distance ranking list (186.44 CPL). Colin placed 3rd in the skiathlon and 4th in the sprint.

Best Wishes from the selection committee to all the selected athletes and staff for a successful Championship in Liberec.

– Michael Badham CCC High Performance Committee
– Lisa Patterson U23-WJC Trip Leader, CCC HP Coordinator, Eastern Canada
– Stéphane Barrette CCC Director of Coach and Athlete Development
– Godefroy Bilodeau participating under a Level 5 coaching assignment
– Thomas Holland CCC Director of High Performance

On the Team Canada Bus – Interviews w/Babikov, Kershaw, Valjas, Harvey and Wadsworth

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January 07, 2013 (Val di Fiemme, Italy) – As the 2012/13 FIS Tour de Ski wrapped up on Sunday with the grueling handicap-style Alpe Cermis hill climb it was time for goodbyes until next time as teams dispersed and some were on the road soon after. We caught with the Canadians on their magic bus en route to Munich to get their final take on a very strong Tour.

Ivan Babikov, who won this stage in 2009, finished a fantastic second place to take seventh overall in this season’s TdS nailing a personal best along with the top Canadian result this year. Devon Kershaw posted a personal best 13th place on the Stage 7 ascent up Cermis to secure a respectable 12th overall in the Tour, followed by TdS rookie Len Valjas in 23rd on the day and 23rd overall. Alex Harvey was forced to abandon the Tour to protect his left leg, which was operated on in 2008, but scored a podium and showed his form is getting stronger. And finally we chatted with Head Coach Justin Wadsworth for his take on the Canucks at the Tour and beyond aka relay…

Ivan Babikov
– 7th overall

Devon Kershaw – 12th overall

Len Valjas – 23rd overall

Alex Harvey

Justin Wadsworth

Oberwiesenthal Classic Sprints – Canada’s Gaiazova on the Podium

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January 04, 2013 (Oberwiesenthal, Germany) – Canada’s Dasha Gaiazova was on the podium in the 1.2km CL women’s sprint in today’s Alpen Cup event in Oberwiesenthal, Germany, finishing a strong third in the final behind winner Doris Trachsel (SUI) and second place, Alen Prochazkova (SVK). Gaiazova qualified second behind Prochazkova. Perianne Jones (CAN) finished 14th and Chandra Crawford (CAN) was 21st after qualifying 12th and 14th, respectively.

Gianluca Cologna (SUI) won the 1.4km CL men’s competition after a fourth-place qualification. Baptiste Gros (FRA) and Rok Trsan (SLO) finished second and third, respectively.

Women HERE

Women HERE

Interview w/Len Valjas and Team Canada after their TdS 1.4km FR Sprint Podium

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January 02, 2013 (Val Mustair, Switzerland) – Find out what the Canadian men’s XC squad had to say after stage three of the 2012/13 FIS Tour de Ski 1.4km FR sprint in Val Mustair and the first Canuck medal of the season, courtesy of Len Valjas. Valjas and his teammates Alex Harvey and Devon Kershaw finally broke out of their shells on race day, with all of them landing in the top 15.

Canadian Sport Centre Pacific Announces New Name, Mission – Canadian Sport Institute

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December 27, 2012 (Victoria, B.C.) – After years of preparation, Canadian Sport Centre Pacific is excited to be evolving to Canadian Sport Institute*. The institute designation, recently granted by Sport Canada and Own the Podium, is a reflection of the organization now being a world class Olympic and Paralympic training environment. Leading nations across the globe also boast ‘sport institutes’ for high performance athletes. As a result, the name change indicates Canada’s strength and parity as a sporting nation on a global level.

To build a sport institute, you need excellent personnel, programs and facilities. Through hard work and careful planning, the Canadian Sport Institute has created a facility-based system to service Olympic, Paralympic and up-and-coming athletes across British Columbia. Having everything under one roof is the key to success. From performance planning, biomechanical analysis, physiology and sport nutrition to strength and conditioning, athletic therapy, mental performance consultation and massage therapy, BC-based athletes and coaches have all the help they need to win medals for Canada.

“Through the support of our national and provincial partners, we work to power podium performances for Canada,” explains Wendy Pattenden, CEO of the Canadian Sport Institute. “Now that we are recognized as a sport institute, this designation reiterates our desire to compete and win against the best of the best. Our team is determined to do everything possible to ensure BC and Canadian athletes and coaches succeed on the world stage.”

Canadian Sport Institute’s three main locations are found in Victoria at PISE, in Vancouver at the Creekside Community Recreation Centre, and in Whistler at the Whistler Athletes’ Centre. Here, athletes and coaches are serviced by 60 of the best scientists and practitioners in their fields, some of them Olympic medallists themselves.

A member of the national Institute network (also located in Calgary, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic), Canadian Sport Institute’s reach is province-wide. The Canadian Sport Institute provides provincial oversight on high performance programs and services for athletes and coaches in partnership with viaSport British Columbia and the PacificSport regional sport centres in Northern BC, the Interior, the Fraser Valley, the Okanagan, and on Vancouver Island.

For complete details about the Canadian Sport Institute and all of our programs and services, please visit www.csipacific.ca.

Quebec City WCup Sprints Highlight Video

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December 27, 2012 – Check out this great video featuring highlights from the inaugural FIS Quebec City World Cup sprints held earlier this month in the old city right by the Parliament buildings. The video was compiled by Zacharie Turgeon – it’s a must-watch!

Heidi Widmer Blog – Party in the Backyard

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December 24, 2012 (Canmore, AB) – The weekend I had been dreaming about all summer and fall has come and passed. Not an ounce of adrenaline was left unused in Canmore as we played host to the World Cup at the Nordic Centre as well as downtown. I put on a bib for the 10km mass start classic, skate sprint and 15km pursuit – meaning I’ve raced more World Cups this season than domestic!?

I can walk away from this weekend knowing I did everything in my power to lay down a good race, but yes, I am disappointed with the outcome. Outcomes or results are always hard to be completely satisfied with. As much as I focus on the process and journey of training and racing, there will always be a result at the end of the day and being able to take something positive from the experience is what I believe the result is there for. How will this result make me better? I can tell you one thing, dwelling on a number on a results page is not how to move forward but learning from the movement, actions and mindset that gave you that result will.

The 10km classic race was my first distance World Cup and being seeded at the back, I felt I had a great opportunity to make my way through the pack. First things first, I needed to be in the pack. Unfortunately, I was way too focused on staying with the pack than I was with skiing the way I needed to. My legs were blown, my lungs fried and mental mindset was just awful. The biggest blow ups seem to happen on the biggest stages and it took every fighting inch of me to finish this race. The fan support on the side of the trail didn’t seem to notice that I was taking up the rear – so I decided not to dwell on that either! Having an extremely hard race like this, however hard to swallow in the moment, was necessary preparation for me for the weekend.

Saturday was sprint day and the buzz of energy that had been brewing in me throughout the summer was about to be let loose! I felt confident, nervous (definitely nervous) and prepared. I raced that course the way I wanted to, the way I had practiced and channeled all the energy of the crowd into propelling me forward. I crossed the line in 31st position, needing a top 30 result to qualify for the sprint heats. It is so bizarre to think about a small fraction of time separating me from the top 30 having such an amplified effect. Taking a tighter line here, pushing harder there and being stronger would all have helped me get to the line a little faster which is what will keep me motivated for the future World Cups. I am getting closer. Slowly but surely. Patience is something I have never been good at but I feel like I have a good thing coming and know it will be worth the wait!

My final result of the day was 34th position but I live vicariously through my teammates today. My bro, Phil, in particular posted his personal best 15th overall on the World Cup. Jess Cockney can’t be left unmentioned either, qualifying 2nd?! So inspiring having fast people around – talent and fitness are contagious right? Or maybe it’s through osmosis that I’ll get my boost.

The last bib of 2012 for me was in the 15km Pursuit. Nervous? Yup. Tired? Definitely. I was adamant that I wouldn’t go out without a fight and was so thankful that I had that within me today. I finished today as the 50th woman across the line and over 6 minutes back from the leader but as far as a distance World Cup goes – it was amazing. I had a fight, put it to good use and gradually picked off racers in the pack. I am really happy with the end to the weekend and will be using this momentum to propel me forward in the next couple weeks of training.

An incredibly HUGE thank you to the support of the volunteers, sponsors, families, friends, community and event organizers for putting on such an amazing show. Canmore has truly made a name for itself on the world stage.

I have some time in the Bow Valley to get in some quality training as we have a break from the racing circuit until the New Year. Our next big races are in Thunder Bay, Ontario for the U23 and World Championship qualification. My performance there will determine the shape of the rest of my season and I couldn’t be more excited about dat.

In the meantime, I have some Christmas crafting to do and training to tackle.

Happy holidays and Merry Christmas!

Gravey’s Grapevine – Thank You Canada

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December 21, 2012 – I arrived back at my Vermont home yesterday from Canmore and the World Cup tour with my mind racing from all manner of things – to be sure, there was some measure of fatigue from the last several weeks of working on the road – but inside it all, my heart was smiling.

I’ve been trying to get my hands around all that I – and we – had witnessed at the Canadian FIS World Cups in Quebec City and Canmore. It was now a time of reflection, for looking back – and for looking forward.

One of the things that struck me about both of the events was the extraordinary enthusiasm of the fans, from both sides of the border. I saw old friends in Quebec City, that I hadn’t seen for years – keen, knowledgeable racing fans that turned the weekend around the old fortress in Quebec into a wonderful, utterly enjoyable cross-country skiing nirvana.

Cheering fans, ski hats, backpacks and flags – and cheering voices – were all that was needed for the price of admission.

In Canmore, I felt blessed to see dear friends I had worked with during the 1988 Olympic Winter Games of Calgary. I hadn’t stepped in the announce booth at Canmore since the last day of the 1988 Games. Some of my buddies looked older, some heavier, including me, and some looked almost the same. It reflected a powerful, shared experience, and our strong sense of camaraderie.

The experiences of both week’s Canadian World Cups, was so wonderful as to be delicious, so joyful to our sense of belonging, that it reminded me how lucky we are that the Canadians have found a way to host these brilliant events, and for those of us Yanks that live near by, are only too happy to come up and cheer. It’s time for us in the USA to host an event sooner rather than later, and pony up for the fine work the Canadians have been doing hosting high level events, like World Cups.

From a sport perspective the events all ran like clockwork, we were entertained and inspired by watching our USA and Canadian athletes successfully challenge and in some cases beat some of the world’s elite. Many others were so close that they are knocking on the door of greatness. Yet, it wasn’t so much about nationalism, but more – in my view – to share an experience that united North Americans in an overwhelming way. Many of us are lucky enough to have treasured skiing friends on both sides of the border. Our respective national teams train together and share a close bond.

Thank you Canada for playing host to these most amazing events that celebrated the best our sport has to offer and the best in the human spirit. I will remember these last two weeks in my heart forevermore.

The Way I See It! Canmore World Cups, Breaking Down the Barrier, Canadian Team, FIS Live Timing…

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December 17, 2012 (Canmore, AB) – Canmore World Cups – Can there be any better place in the world for cross-country racing, blow-away scenery, dynamic courses, skilled and knowledgeable race and organizing committee, and a town that knows what racing and training are all about (they get to see it every day)? This was one exciting weekend of World Cup races. Sponsors and Alberta government got worldwide exposure and helped to spread the word about skiing in Canada.

Having said this last week in my column: Really Quick Evaluation – If you weren’t in the top 30 in Sunday’s race and in the finals in the team sprint on Saturday, it’s time to look at what you are doing – really at what you aren’t doing. For the really young people – 22 yrs and younger, you most likely aren’t doing enough hours and not spending enough time on upper body strength.

There were a lot of NA skiers who made the move this weekend here in Canmore actually there were some huge breakthroughs and it was exciting and fun to watch them take place.

I almost dropped out of my chair when I came back to my computer from letting the dog in and saw that Jesse Cockney had qualified 2nd in the sprint – this was a very, very good sprint field. No fluke here as he progressed to the semi-finals. A big barrier now broken down for him and many others.

Noah Hoffman, not a rookie and has been scoring WC points but skiing in the top 3-4 skiers for most of that 30km race in both techniques – he’s a “big baller” now.

How about Graham Nishikawa – getting on in years has had WC experience, but not like Sunday. I wonder if he scared himself when he saw what he had done…put himself in the lead pack from start to finish and mowed down a few “big baller” guys at the end.

Sadie Bjornson, had an injury-plagued summer and fall and was invisible until late fall (I wrote about this in an earlier column, MIA) both sprinting and distant races she was hunting down WC points. Her teammate Sophie Caldwell was scoring in the sprints and then we may have another star arriving on the scene in Eda (Euro’s say it this way) Ida Sargent as she is smoking the trails both in the long and short races. The US girls team is getting deeper.

Message to Bill Marolt, CEO USST, these guys need more $$$s, they can win medals in Sochii!

Skyler Davis – always wondered how he made it on the US Team – he showed me this weekend. Tad Elliott had to be scratching his head as I’m sure there were times he wished he had stayed on his mountain bike but WC points on Sunday and half of his effort was in classic – his weak technique.

OK you guys, the barrier is down – this was a stronger field then I thought it would be – now you are learning how the game is played. Each time you go out there you have to take chances and make sure you get yourself in position early in those races. Holly Brooks was a perfect example of this in both distance races here in Canmore – she is on the low octane right now, but in the lead group out of the gate – always scoring WC points, but getting them from the front end not coming from the back.

As one of my old coaches use to say, “Go get ’em tiger” – only here it is tigers.

Live Timing (message to FIS) – is the pits, as way more information could be listed on this system, but FIS has always been a conservative organization. The streaming banner that runs across the top of the page could do updates, DNSs, DNFs, snow conditions, track conditions, sponsor advertising, DSQs, promote the next broadcast and times and I’m not even trying to come up with ideas. Talk to us out here in ski racing land, please.

Canadian Team – is in disarray – in these situations it’s always interesting to hear the excuses. Yes, it is a tough schedule but somehow the other 120-130 skiers are scrapping through it. This is a pretty big load for Ivan to be carrying by himself – also, he is a top tenner, but not a podium guy. He has one win to his credit on the WC in Val Di Fiemme in the hill climb in 2009.

Last year the two “big boys” Kershaw and Harvey were slow out of the gate, especially Kershaw, and they’ve done a good job of following that plan again.

The women’s team is doing the same thing it did last year – ducking every distance race they can (coaches direction). Emil Joensson, the Swedish sprinter, is stronger than ever as the last two years he has added way more distance races to his schedule and is leading the overall WC right now.

Four years ago, Kikkan Randlall, was just a sprinter, and dabbled in a few distance races and was nowhere on the overall or sprint cup standing. Simple solution – add more distance races each year – and now she is #2 on the overall WC list and #1 in the sprint cup.

This is so obvious, but the Canadian coaches know better as how to get these ladies in shape and keep them there – no distance races. This will soon lead to not qualifying in the sprints and they will get out of racing shape. There is talent being undeveloped.

It didn’t work last year, why should it work this year?

Talk to You Soon!

Inside the Fence – Canmore Course Preview w/USA’s Bjornsen, Interviews w/Kershaw, Wadsworth and More

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December 13, 2012 (Canmore, AB) – Check out the latest edition of  FIS’s Inside the Fence – the Canmore preview. Follow the USA’s Sadie Bjornsen for a lap around the women’s 3.3km classic course, and watch interviews with Vibeke Skofterud, Kristen Stoermer Steira, Devon Kershaw and Justin Wadsworth.

Behind the Scenes Interviews w/Grover, Wadsworth, Flora, Dyer, Jeffries, Whitcomb at the FIS Quebec City Sprint WCup

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December 12, 2012 (Quebec City, QC) – SkiTrax caught up with a few North American behind-the-scenes players at the inaugural FIS Quebec City Sprint World Cup this past weekend to get the inside scoop on how the event played out for their respective teams.

Interviews include US XC Team Head Coach Chris Grover, CCC Men’s Coach Justin Wadsworth, APU Head Coach Erik Flora, and an elated US XC Team Women’s Coach Matt Whitcomb. Plus, the legendary Peter Graves speaks with CCC Director of Events Dave Dyer and CCC Director of Business Development Matt Jeffries.

Chris Grover

Justin Wadsworth

Eric Flora




Get Rewarded While Supporting CCC and Your Local Ski Club – Inside Track Rewards Program Launched

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December 07, 2012 (Canmore, AB) – For just $30, The Inside Track Rewards Program provides members with exclusive, year-round discounts on a variety of great products and services from Cross Country Canada partners. This program is designed with the cross-country ski community in mind. With benefits ranging from discounts on sporting goods and apparel (including ski gear!), travel and emergency roadside assistance, the Inside Track card will help members save money while growing our sport and providing critical program funding at both the national and local levels. For each card sold to a CCC member, $10 will be directed back to that member’s ski club. The balance of program proceeds will go towards providing critical funding for CCC development programs such as Jackrabbits and Track Attack, as well as the National Ski Team. Questions? Email us at rewards@cccski.com.

Join HERE today.

Our Partners – Your Benefits
Save on CCC merchandise: Inside Track Rewards Program members benefit from a 10% discount on all merchandise purchased at the Cross Country Canada store both online (www.cccski.com) and onsite at events across the country. Take advantage of this great discount on officially licensed CCC products and National Ski Team apparel from CCC suppliers such as One Way, Auclair, Eload, Smartwool, Suunto, EC3D and Bliz.

Get Roadside Assistance: Receive access to roadside assistance with no annual fee from Dominion Automobile Association. Drive with peace of mind knowing that you’re covered with comprehensive roadside protection anywhere in North America. This coverage, a $25 value, is available at no cost to all Inside Track Rewards Program members. For those times when you do need Roadside Assistance it’s available at a discounted rate of just $59.95 per call, negotiated on your behalf by Cross Country Canada. This service will be available to members approximately the third week of December, 2012. Members will be notified when it is available. Full details available HERE.

Save at Delta Hotels: Founded in 1962, Delta Hotels and Resorts has grown to become Canada’s leading first-class hotel management company. Today, Delta boasts a diversified portfolio of 46 city-centre, airport and resort properties. Inside Track Rewards Program members will earn 10% off the Best Available Rate (BAR) at participating Delta Hotels and Resorts. The discount applies only to the BAR rates and will not apply to any other rates that may appear on the Delta Hotels & Resorts website or to which the traveler may otherwise have access.

Save on Ski Trax Magazine: The Official Magazine of Cross Country Canada, SkiTrax keeps you up to date on all the latest Nordic news, ski gear, adventure and recreational skiing, including race reports from across Canada, the USA, and around the world – check out www.skitrax.com. Inside Track members will save 35% off regular subscription prices.

Save on sporting goods: Inside Track members will save 10% on regularly priced merchandise online (www.freshairexp.com) or in person at Fresh Air Experience’s Ottawa store. The official retailer of the National Ski Team, Fresh Air Experience has been providing Ottawa and area with high quality outdoor goods and service since 1969. They specialize in cross-country skis, bicycles, clothes, and many other great products.

Get Special Association Rates: Inside Track members have access to Special Pooled Association rates on Health, Dental, Critical Illness and Travel Insurance through Manulife Financial. Manulife Financial has been providing Canadians and Canadian skiers with “peace of mind” insurance solutions for 125 years. This fine tradition of cost-effective, comprehensive insurance coverage and customer confidence continues to grow even today as Manulife Financial becomes a proud partner of Cross Country Canada’s Inside Track Rewards Program through a Special Pooled Association Plan. More details available HERE.

Kershaw Report: November Scando Racing Madness

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December 06, 2012 (St. Ferreol les Neiges, QC) – It’s December. I almost had to tell myself out loud of that fact this morning when I rollerskied through the ice and grime that covered the streets of St. Ferreol les Neiges hugging the tarmac like the hair on my upper lip this past November. I guess I also had to remind myself of the month – because it’s a rarity these days that I’m back in Canada during the winter months.

November is always a busy month – lots of racing, lots of travel all coupled with very little sunlight and culinary disaster. I’ve already raced three weeks this season, two of which were the first two World Cup stops of the 2012/13 year. I’ll take a moment to fill you in on the happenings of Northern Scandinavia – with some brief race reports from the opening weekends of racing this November.

Also – big thanks to all that donated to “Movember” and “the Snow Mos” this year – together we can make a difference in men’s health. In that spirit get a load of these two beauty shots of Lenny – bringing his Mo to the next level.
Ostersund/Bruksvallarna, SWE

It may sound like I’ve written this report before – and that’s probably because I have last year. The past few years our team begins our winter campaign smack in the middle of Sweden. In a slight plot twist, I traveled to Oslo November 2nd for a fabulous week in the Norwegian capital before meeting the team in the Jämtland capital of Ostersund for our annual pre-season on snow Euro camp.

Like last year, there was no natural snow, and my first ski in Sweden was an uninspiring burn around a 2.5min loop. The dizziness subsided every couple days as the loop gradually improved thanks to a wonderful group of passionate volunteers and staff of the Ostersund Ski Club – as they spread out the saved snow from last winter (like what Canmore does now with their “Frozen Thunder” project) to prepare the trails for the World Cup of biathlon season openers that take place there. By the time we left Ostersund they had 4km of great skiing available.

On the training side of things, November is a busy month – not only with racing but also with hours. To be ready and keep consistent in the meat of the season (January, February, March) we’ve realized that I need to log a decent amount of miles – short loops or not – so I trained quite hard both in Ostersund, and afterwards.

The “actual” racing season started over in Bruksvallarna (the site of the Swedish FIS openers – a 3hr drive West of Ostersund) and conditions there were fairly decent with thin natural snow cover, longer skiing options (for training), and great snow cover on the race courses – which are twisty with no real huge climbs or working sections. Think – ghetto amusement park rollercoaster.

After some discussion, Justin and I decided to compete only in the 15km skate (what I did last year) and like last year I was brutal finishing a disappointing 10th – blowing up fiercely in the last 3km of the course, where I gave up a whopping 50 seconds. Racing is hard – super hard – but at this time of year, it appears I struggle to digest the heavy load of training I’m under, leaving me feeling flat for some weeks. I guess it was a better outing than last November – when I finished outside the top 30 – but I was both exhausted physically at the end (the last tuck down the last hill made a bit of a buzz on Swedish blogs for my unorthodox tucking technique (think: hands on knees with straight legs trying as hard as I can to not just fall over) and obviously disappointed with the result.

Gallivare, SWE – World Cup Opener
While Ostersund can be grey and windy – the town itself is great and the giant/beautiful lake (5th largest in Sweden apparently) is stunning. It’s actually a beautiful little city all around with great little cafés, nice walking streets – a cool place to hang out. Gallivare by contrast is…well… different. For starters it’s dark. I mean, hella’ dark this time of year – the sky brightens for some hours between the hours of 10:30 – 13:30, but aside from that it’s like what I’d imagine living in a freezer would feel like. Sometimes there’s some light (when someone opens the freezer drawer), but for the most part in the late autumn it’s black and cold. The town itself is of course smaller, doesn’t have a lot going on – but that’s fine seeing how we are there for the specific purpose of ski racing – and it does have a great little café downtown with stellar espresso.

One thing Gallivare does have this time of year is natural snow, great skiing, and very enthusiastic volunteers and fans that love to cheer on their local hero, World and Olympic Champ – Marcus Hellner – who has lived there for roughly 10 years.

The weekend of racing got of to a bit of a rough start. The 15km skate on the Saturday wasn’t great. While I didn’t blow up – I was never able to get going – stuck in that threshold type speed. I started controlled, but I wasn’t able to convert later in the race (when I needed to change gears and start charging for the last 5km) finishing a distant 44th. Of course, I was pretty disappointed – but the beginning of each season seems to be a lesson in patience for me. Last season I was 37th in the same race (in Sjusoen, NOR), and the season before (in Gallivare), I ended up in the 50s – 58th I think. A far cry from the podiums I expect later in the year.

The bright spots of the weekend was Babs’ 16th place finish Saturday, and Sunday’s 4×7.5km relay. I skied the 2nd (a classic leg) leg and the feelings were much better. I still felt I lacked that punch/snappy feeling but better I moved well and made up some ground for our team. When it was all said and done, our team made some history with a Canadian World Cup best finish – 5th! We were only seconds from the podium and it gave us all a lot of confidence for the World Championships later this year. If we are all in good form, I really believe that we are capable of something really special.

The Ruka-Triple (mini-tour) – Kuusamo, FIN (2nd stop on the World Cup)
After Gallivare we all crammed into vans and rolled East into Finland – driving the 6 odd hours south(kind of)east through grey skies and hordes of reindeer that seem completely indifferent to traffic – like they are props in a Santa Claus parade instead of wild animals and have been told not to move for anything or anybody.

The Ruka triple consists of 3 races in 3 days – a classic sprint first (1.4km – on the Friday), followed by a 10km skate (Saturday) and finishing it off with a pursuit start 15km classic (Sunday) – the best cumulative time takes the win (like the Tour de Ski type format).

Day 1 was awful for the Canadian men. Ooohhhhh lordy, was it rough – I liken the speed to attempting to swimming through a pool of full-fat eggnog. No Canadian men qualified for the top 30, and I ended up a dismal 62nd place. Not where I wanted to be. I felt like there was just no power whatsoever in the body – especially in double pole. The bright spot was that Peri matched her best-ever result on the World Cup with a 12th place finish and Dasha with a solid 14th in the women’s race.

The following day – the 10km skate – was very similar to Gallivare’s 15km. I felt like I was stuck in zone 3. I started conservatively and when I willed my body to turn it over – again, there was no gears to switch into. I ended up 35th – again, not where I wanted to be. I was actually really, really disappointed with that one. I didn’t even check results when I finished and finished my cool down – instead I just ate lunch quickly and crawled into bed for a nap. It was a huge effort (the race), and I knew the velocity was too slow. I was so bummed out – and broke my “no being bummed out when you get back to the hotel from the race site” rule.

After an hour of sulking at a pretty extreme level, I re-focused on getting ready for the last day – Sunday’s 15km classic. After two not-so-great races I started further back in the order – 36th – compared to what I’m used to (in Falun last year by contrast in a similar style mini-tour I started the last day sitting 3rd…) and in the race itself worked through the field slowly but surely – finishing in 22nd overall. I moved up 14 places and had the 16th fastest time on the day – which was a solid step in the right direction. Again, the body felt heavy and again I lacked the power/snap and on the climbs (Kuusamo’s courses are notoriously steep and long) I felt terrible, but I stayed present as best I could and willed everything out of my body I could muster. Finally all our men were in the points (the top 30) with me finishing 22nd, Alex 23rd and Babs’ 25th in the overall standings. It’s coming.

The feelings I had for the first three weekends of racing are almost identical to how I felt last year – as are the results in those races. It seems the pre-Christmas races are a true lesson in patience and perspective. I know I’ve done a plethora of high quality work this year and I believe in our plan to be 100% ready to rock and roll come late February/March – but as a competitor it’s hard to unplug, be patient, stay positive and be good to yourself (ie. not beat yourself up too badly) when the results aren’t where you want them to be. Like a hockey player that grips his stick too hard – his once loose hands turning instead to concrete – it’s hard not to press and do what you know you need to do – mainly to “let go” knowing that as long as you give your full and absolute best effort race in, race out – the outcome will most definitely only get better.

I didn’t have a ton of time to dwell on November, as after the race on Sunday we flew to Helsinki to spend a (very) short night there in an airport hotel before we began the long journey back to Quebec on Monday – which is where I am right now.

It feels great to be back in Canada and I feel so grateful for the opportunity to race at home. I’m hanging out at Alex’s house (with Lenny staying here as well) in MSA, and while there is no snow on the ground, the vibe is awesome. We had such a great dinner last night when we arrived (thanks Alex’s awesome GF – Sophie!), and to be in a comfortable home instead of a hotel is a really nice change. Watching Monday Night Football last night was a pretty nice perk too I must say.

We don’t have a whole lot of time to enjoy “normal” life as this Friday the Quebec World Cups begin in the province’s capital. First up is the team sprint, which Alex and I are really looking forward to – followed by Saturday’s 1.7km individual sprint competition. While my body has been feeling sluggish and lacking power/snap which are both so necessary for sprint racing, I know that things can change fast. Regardless how the results end up – I’m so excited to race in Quebec and it’s hard to believe it’s the first time the province has held a World Cup competition. It’s going to be an amazing show and the support and passion in the province for cross country skiing is far and away the best in the country – so to race in front of so many fired up fans will be exhilarating.

That’s the long-winded news from me. As for now, I think I’ll retire to the couch with a glass of egg nog, watch a ski movie and then prepare an amazingly boss dinner of fresh halibut & scallops (Len will stick to steak) before hitting up a (hopefully) long, restful sleep.

On a completely non-ski related topic…

November I crushed three decent books – here’s what went down this month:

–       “1982” by Jian Ghomeshi. I thought the family history sections were great and entertaining. The word “David Bowie” was perhaps printed a thousand or so too many times, but enjoyable none-the-less. If you aren’t familiar with Jian’s CBC radio program “Q” – it’s worth checking out. Plus – 1982 was the best year ever. Just saying (thanks mom and dad).

–       “Hotel on the corner of bitter and sweet” by Jamie Ford. A story dealing with relationships during the Japanese internment of World War Two in Seattle. Pretty moving story, ok-written. A bit far fetched, and kind of a Romeo/Juliet thing going on (if you’ve read it you’ll understand that loose link) but it’s a novel after all.

–       “Sarah’s Key” by Tatiana de Rosnay. Another WW2 story – dealing with the Holocaust and the Vel’ D’hiv round-up in Paris in 1942. Again – I enjoyed it, I found it powerful, sad at times and again – decently written.

–       In addition to the books, I’m still on a diet of a New Yorker a week. Standard awesomely written articles – great for traveling.

Spinning in the headphones is the same tunes as normal. Back to listening to a lot of Wilco, Rural Alberta Advantage, Band of Horses, Shins, Radical Face, etc… I don’t know what it is about N. Scando – but I crush depressing music up there. As well, “This American Life” and “Planet Money” – both NPR podcasts that are always both entertaining and well done.

On the movie front – while I don’t watch many movies, shows, etc… very often on the road – preferring to scratch away very poorly on my guitar I lug around, read and listen to music – we have watched some of the latest ski movies released this autumn. We’ve gone through “Superheroes of Stoke, The Dream Factory and a Norwegian film “Being There (which I thought was really well done!)” and re-watching last year’s “All.I.Can” so far. Perhaps a little dangerous so early in the racing season – as I’m getting fired up for spring ski touring already – which probably isn’t the best seeing how December just begun, but what can you do. The powder will be there come April (at least that’s what I tell myself to fall asleep at night).

Rock and roll – if you’re in the Quebec City area come on out and watch the action Friday and Saturday (check HERE for all the info) and if you are in Canmore from December 13th – 16th (assuming the world won’t end of course the day before…) come on up to the Nordic Centre and watch. I mean, you won’t find a better World Cup venue on earth – their website for all the deets’ is HERE.

Biathlon Canada Auction Now Live

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November 27, 2012 – Biathlon Canada’s online auction is now live just in time for your holiday shopping! Shop for great deals on apparel and equipment, including National Team items only available through Biathlon Canada and Vancouver 2010 memorabilia. Click HERE to start bidding! Auction runs from November 15th to 29th.

Canadian Cross Country Ski Team Ready to Launch 2012/13 Season in Sweden

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November 15, 2012 (Canmore, AB) – After gearing up with the WinSport Frozen Thunder event, presented by Buff, the National Ski Team (NST) is ready to take on the world this weekend, with FIS competitions in Bruksvallarna, Sweden.

Racing action starts Friday with short, classic, distance races. Saturday includes longer distance skating events and they are followed by skating sprints on Sunday. Schedule

The majority of the team have been training in Ostersund, Sweden for the past week, with Dasha Gaiazova and Ivan Babikov making the trip over from Calgary on Tuesday.

The skiers will be racing one or two of the three races depending on their program. As they are arriving shortly before the competitions Dasha is expected to only race Sunday`s sprint, and Ivan to compete in the Saturday skate race. Ivan will be joined by Devon Kershaw, who will only race the skate race due to a minor ankle injury.

Perianne Jones, Chandra Crawford, Alysson Marshall and Alex Harvey are planning on entering the classic race and sprint, with Kevin Sandau racing both distance races. Kevin and Alysson qualified for the trip as the Haywood NorAm leaders from the spring. Lenny Valjas will be spectating as he continues to recover from a broken finger.

Check back later for updates and results.

Olympic Medallists Raise Funds in Saskatoon to Support Athletes

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November 08, 2012 (Saskatoon, SK) – The Canadian Olympic Foundation is proud to partner for another year of successful Gold Medal Plates fundraising events. The cross-country series of fundraisers continued tonight at Prairieland Park in Saskatoon.

“The money raised here tonight helps make athletes’ Olympic dreams a reality,” said Saskatoon native and 2008 Olympians Kelsie Hendry. “All the athletes here tonight are very proud to support such an important event. It is so good to see Saskatoon come out to support Canadian athletes.”

“Not only does Gold Medal Plates bring first-class events across the country, but it benefits our Olympic heroes,” said Canadian Olympic Foundation Chair and Canadian Olympic Committee President Marcel Aubut. “These events help us build the Canadian Olympic Foundation into Canada’s leading philanthropic organization, funding sport and high performance athletes.”

Canadian Olympians Adam van Koeverden (Canoe-Kayak), Kyle Shewfelt (Gymnastics), Kaylyn Kyle (Soccer), Kelsie Hendry (Athletics), Jacki Nichol (Sotball), Brian Gyetko (Tennis), Michelle Cameron Coulter (Synchronized Swimming), Al Coulter (Volleyball), Viola Yanik (Wrestling), Cyprian Enweani (Athletics), Mike Robertson (Snowboard), Jeff Christie (Luge), Ian Cockerline (Luge), Craig Mackay (Speed Skating), Chandra Crawford (Cross Country Skiing), Rosannagh Crawford (Biathlon), Brendan Green (Biathlon), Marie-Ève Marleau (Diving), Jason Parker (Speed Skating), Nicole Cargill (Synchronized Swimming), Herb Pinder (Ice Hockey), Marcia Gudereit (Curling), Janice Betker (Curling), Joan McCusker (Curling), Nathan Gafuik (Gymnastics), socialized with guests.

This year’s event featured chefs Robin Andreas (Sheraton Cavalier Hotel), Derek Cotton (Bliss Restaurant), Darren Craddock (Riverside Country Club), Kevin Dahlsjo (Two by Dahlsjo), Klarke Dergousoff (Amy’s on Second), Brent Lloyd (Simple Chef), Moe Mathieu (White Birch Catering), Trevor Robertson (Radisson Hotel) and Dan Walker (Weczeria Food & Wine), competing to represent Saskatoon at the Canadian Culinary Championships in Kelowna in February.

Net proceeds from the event support high performance athletes through programs such as Own the Podium.

CCC Events Committee Letter Regarding Distance Races at Ski Nationals

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November 08, 2012 (Canmore, AB) – In response to recent comments on reducing the distances of the Open 50 and 30 km mass start events at the Ski Nationals the Events Committee would first like to acknowledge the importance of the National Championships as a celebration of our domestic racing program. We would also like to recognize the hundreds of hours of volunteer time invested in making the Ski Nationals and our other sanctioned events a success every season.

The concept of change was first raised at the April High Performance Meeting in Canmore citing among other things the opportunity of junior and senior skiers in the event racing against one another with our World Cup team on the start line. Our top athletes and coaches at the meeting thought that this was an interesting idea and that the shorter distance would appeal to more skiers given the rigors of just coming off of the World Cup circuit and the prospects of reduced training time for those in Canada because of spring snow conditions.

From the Events Committee perspective it was felt that the concept could further the re-introduction of a Canadian Long Distance Championships during February. The lull in national racing focus during this period has been recognized as a challenge for domestic skiers after the January NorAm period and the Ski Nationals.

Recent comments suggest the tradition of the distance event in offering a unique challenge to participating skiers would be lost. The committee appreciated that for some this is a very important race, but in the same vein, an opportunity of increasing the profile and prestige of our larger loppet events and developing closer ties with these events is also important in forming strong ties within community. In fact a singular mid season distance event could enhance the profile of the distance champion.

The 30 /20 km combined distances resonated well with the Ski Nationals Organizing Committee in June, as the change represented a shorter day for volunteers after what all Ski National organizers feel is a very grueling week. Ending the on snow portion of the final day earlier would lead nicely into a more controlled Awards banquet in the early evening.

Over the next couple of weeks the Events Committee will review the recent on line comments provided by athletes and others and have a second look at the schedule for March 30 in consideration of typical snow and temperature conditions for this period, plans by the Organizing Committee and developments within the sport.

Please do not hesitate to email your comments directly to the Committee c/o ddyer@cccski.com.

Thank you for your input.