Tag Archive | "Thunder Bay"

Werner Schwar Defends Lappe Nordic Ski Club 24-Hour Solo Title

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April 11, 2013 (Thunder Bay, ON) – The 16th Annual 24 Hour Relay, in support of the Lappe Nordic Ski Club and the National Development Centre wrapped up Sunday morning at 11am. This year’s event included the traditional 24-hour event, as well as new 6 and 12 hour events. Twenty-eight teams took to the trails starting Saturday at 11 am with many goals in mind. Participants skied on teams, in pairs, and even alone. This year’s events brought many skiers from out of town, including St.Paul, MN and Winnipeg, MB.

Werner Schwar defended his 24 Hour solo men’s title with a total of 285.15km covered. Event organizers were thrilled to have enough snow for the event as in the past it has been cancelled due to lack of snow. This year, there was enough snow for the event, and to make things more difficult for skiers snow continued to fall well into the evening….

Read more HERE.

Annual Kamview Tour in Thunder Bay – Feb. 9

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February 08, 2013 (Thunder Bay, ON) – The annual Kamview Tour is tomorrow and it’s not too late to register. Drop by the chalet today, or download a registration form online. Race day registration is available-but why wait? You can ski a 5, 15 or 30km distance and enjoy a hot pizza lunch and great awards from Fresh Air Experience and Wilderness Supply. Find the registration form HERE.

Kamview-SkiTrax Special Offer!
Kamview-Thunder Bay Nordic Trails Association and SkiTrax Magazine, the largest cross-country ski magazine in North America, have teamed up to bring you great savings. 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 skitrax.com.

Kamview/TBNT members save 30% off regular subscription prices – try a SkiTrax-Pedal Combo Deal and get Pedal Magazine as well – to order click HERE.

Profile on Kamview Nordic Centre and TBNT in your first issue!

Kam Jam – Feb. 16
Frank Pollari and crew will be hosting the second annual “Kam Jam” on February 16th. Everyone is welcome for this fun evening of skiing and music. Fabulous Friday after Five rental and trail pass rates will apply. A perfect night to introduce a friend to cross-country skiing at Kamview.

Sleeping Giant Loppet – Mar. 2
Online registration for the Sleeping Giant Loppet ends on Tuedsday February 26th. Click HERE to register. Our special edition pins are reserved for the first 500 registrants, so don’t delay! Remember our Park n ‘Ride service is free this year, thanks to sponsorship from Lakehead Marine and Industrial, e-mail info@sleepinggiantloppet.ca to reserve your seat. Make 2013 your ROOKIE YEAR !

Kamview Ladies Day – Mar. 6
Yes-we will be having a Kamview Ladies Day! Mark Wednesday March 6th on your calendars for a day of great skiing and an amazing lunch prepared by Chef Kerry and the Kamview crew.

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.

NDC-Thunder Bay Announces New Head Coach Mark Doble

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March 19, 2012 (Thunder Bay, ON) – The National Development Centre – Thunder Bay (NDC) is pleased to announce that Mark Doble will be the new Head Coach for the 2012/2013 season and beyond. Mark will be taking over from Eric Bailey, who has held the position for the past 8 years. After bringing NDC Thunder Bay to new heights of performance and consistency, Bailey sees the program evolving even more in the capable hands of Mark.

“At NDC-Thunder Bay, we have built systematically and sustainably and are now at the point where a new Head Coach can take the reins of the program and continue to deliver the highest quality program. The capacity of the program has surely risen, but at NDC, quality will always trump quantity. It is a core value of our program. Working with our other staff, our new Head Coach will continue to develop all aspects of the training and racing environment. It has been very gratifying to develop this program and its athletes over the past 8 years and I am very confident it will continue to progress and evolve to meet the needs and goals of its athletes in the years to come.”

Hailing from Barrie, ON, Doble brings a vast level of experience working with and developing the athletes and organization of Team Hardwood. An NDC-Thunder Bay alumnus, Doble expressed his excitement to return to Thunder Bay and to be a part of the city’s great ski community. “Racing and training in Thunder Bay was one of the highlights of my ski career. The support that the community has for skiing and ski racing and for the NDC program was phenomenal then and I am looking forward to being a part of it in a different role.” A natural leader with a passion for helping others excel, Mark is known for his enthusiasm and for producing some of Canada’s top junior aged skiers during his tenure with Team Hardwood. When asked what unique qualities Mark brings to the organization, Bailey stated: “Mark has an immense passion for the sport, a keen desire for excellence, and an acute knowledge of sports science. His coaching style and philosophy meshes very well with the program and the team at NDC-Thunder Bay. He will treat athletes with a great deal of respect, which has always been a cornerstone of our team philosophy at NDC-Thunder Bay.

Mark’s natural leadership abilities are evident and his commitment to high performance will serve the program and its athletes extremely well. At NDC-Thunder Bay, an important component of athletic excellence has always been to really enjoy every day and every step on the high-performance pathway. This belief is well-understood by Mark and one he will undoubtedly integrate uniquely and effectively.”

During his time at NDC, Bailey created a culture of excellence that Doble hopes to continue. “I am looking forward to working with the strong board of directors and within the community of Thunder Bay to drive this organization forward and am excited about the opportunity to work with the NDC staff and athletes to help the program continue to produce some of the best skiers in Canada.”

The organization is looking forward to their future with Mark and to helping him develop the next generation of cross country ski racers that will continue to represent Canada and Thunder Bay well into the future.

Mark will begin on April 23rd and, with Bailey, will represent NDC Thunder Bay at the National Team Selection Meetings in Canmore, Alberta.

Holmenkollen Insider Wrap Up – Relays, One Way, Aalberg, Toferer, Bjoergen’s Personal Waxer, Oslo Cathedral

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March 09, 2011 (Oslo, Norway) – Sorry for the delay but we ended up with very slow internet connections over the final few days of the Oslo competitions, and also traveling home made for more sketchy internet connections. Here are some last impressions about our final days in Oslo.

Women’s Relay – Day 9
Back to the races – on site! The end of the World Championships is approaching which means it’s time for the relays and the final “King” and “Queen” of the distance races. Over the past few days there have been some holes in the crowd as many fans have had to return to work or school but tickets are more or less sold-out for rest of the Championships and we expect some intense racing!

As mentioned before, we have observed great sportsmanship here and while skiers are certainly competitive and driven, they are also very gracious and dare I say “normal” people despite their status. As journalists here we have seen what’s been written and how it was written, as well as the athletes in action, on the trails, and at the press conferences and there is somewhat of a difference.

The headlines do not always give the true picture, though it seems that some controversy can be good for the sport since we seem to survive the headlines. It’s only natural that some characteristics of a skier are either highlighted or ignored and skiers sometimes exchange words with each other that seem unnecessary – but taken out of context these things are sometimes made into a bigger deal than the skiers themselves think they are.

Aside from watching the races and enjoying the incomparable level of energy in the stadium, after a “recovery” dinner, we ventured over to the Finnish Team’s hotel to have a celebratory piece of cake with the medal winners, their teammates, and the coaching staff – see more photos HERE.

We also caught up with Andreas Bennert from One Way:

Men’s Relay – Day 10
We thought yesterday was crazy and loud (Women’s Relay). But Wow – today was even louder. Are these Norwegian fans just getting “warmed-up”? Today’s racing was unbelievable!! (but you’re all aware of the results already, so I will not go into detail. Suffice it to say that this race also required spectators to go find recovery food and drink after the competition. Whew.

Before the race started a group of old guys walked into the stadium. They looked like they were familiar with all of the hoopla… in fact, they looked very familiar. They were none other than Oddvar Brå, Harald Gronningen, Tormod Knutsen, Gjermund Eggen, Odd Martinsen and Vladimir Smirnoff!

Those guys hold more medals than any group you could possibly find “by accident” on the race-course. This is definitely the mecca of Nordic skiing. Thomas Alsgaard was a regular commentator on NRK (Norwegian TV), Bente Skari was Chief of Competition, Yelena Välbe was seen regularly (she is coaching now), Björn Daehlie was hanging out… and this is just to name a few of the medal winners and former World Cup and Olympic skiers that were at Holmenkollen.

Here are some of the folks we sought-out/ran into today.

Finnish Member of FIS

Chief of Competition – John Aalberg

Catching up with Atomic’s Roman Toferer

Taking a look inside the Norwegian wax truck with Knut Nystad

Chatting with Marit Bjoergen’s personal wax tech


Wrap Up
The races were followed up with some Italian food with our cousin/niece. Ritva balanced out the racing excitement with a trip to a concert with her cousin (Tord Gustavsen – Norwegian jazz musician – if you like jazz, especially piano jazz, I recommend looking up this guy and/or his trio – the music takes you to another place).

The concert was held in Oslo’s Cathedral (more info HERE), which recently re-opened after some renovations. The church is beautiful, but the pews sure are hard to sit on after a day of running around Holmenkollen!

On Saturday morning, Ahvo returned to the US for the Junior Olympic action while I stayed in Oslo, but opted to stay in town and take in the excitement from another vantage point. Part of me wishes I had gone up to the race course as the sun finally came out but I opted to try something new. My flight on Sunday left early enough in the evening that I had to read up about the 50km later.

The trails will seem a bit quieter after this experience, but I think it is safe to say that both Ahvo and I have some really fond memories of this trip. I know that he has wanted to watch the Word Championships in Norway for a long time (15 or more years), and I decided that I wanted to watch the WC in Norway after watching his videos from the Lillehammer Olympics in 1994 and experiencing a little Nordic World Ski Championships in 1995 when the whole family went to the WC in Thunder Bay.

I am still trying to figure out if this want/need to go to Holmenkollen for the WC is a result of nature or nurture. I doubt that any country can stage the Nordic Worlds as well as the Norwegians can, and I have a hard time imagining that there could be a more ski-crazy nation. I also wonder who makes the Norwegian flags… they must have a pretty fat checkbook by now.

At this point I would also like to mention the hotel that we stayed at – the Hotel Guldsmeden Carlton Oslo (more info HERE). The hotel was on the smaller side and has only been open since about October. They are currently polishing off a spa in the basement and have very comfortable rooms, a tasty breakfast buffet and nice location not too far from the harbor, public transportation and Oslo center.

The staff were fantastic during our stay. I have never met a more hospitable and friendly group of hotel staff in all of my travels. Should you be traveling to Oslo in the near future, check this place out and say hi to the hotel manager Kim (who speaks impeccable English and is actually from Denmark).

For a quick look around the lobby with Kim, check out this video:

That’s it for now! We hope you all have enjoyed reading about our adventures (and secrets) and also hope that at least some of the excitement from this event has been transferred to you through our coverage here at SkiTrax. An event like this is an excellent reminder of the many positive things that can be experience and absorbed from our sport.

Keep on skiing!

Somppi Report – My First Taste of International Racing

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February 15, 2011 – Sure I’ve raced in the States and I did race the classic sprint at last year’s Canmore World Cup, but Estonia was my first real taste of international racing. It marked my first trip overseas for racing and I’m thrilled to report it was everything I dreamed it to be.

Only three days after arriving in Vierumaki, Finland it was on to Otepaa, Estonia. Two days skiing on the race courses and on my sixth day in Europe I was racing a Classic 15km Individual Start World Cup on what is touted as one of, if not the, hardest race courses on the World Cup circuit. That distance course was the hardest race course I have ever done. The majority of the course was very flowing, with challenging climbs but nothing ridiculous aside from one monstrous climb. This particular climb started at the base of the Otepaa ski jump hill and ended right at the top. It was so steep even the best World Cup athletes were forced to step out of the track and herringbone. The boisterous crowd and TV cameras lining the side of the entire climb were intimidating and acted as motivators to get up that mountain of a climb as fast as possible. With 3 laps of the 5km course my lower back was left aching for 6 days afterwards. Even that didn’t stop me from smiling once I cross the finish line. In my mind, I just conquered the hardest World Cup course; what else do I have to be afraid of now? I finished 62nd out of 75 competitors. Not exactly a note worthy result, but hey, I’ve got to start somewhere right?

The next day I managed to climb out of bed and race the Classic Sprint World Cup. The race course was much tamer and had some cool elements with bridges and laps through the stadium (which by the way is massive). My race again was nothing spectacular, finishing 66th out of 77 competitors. At least I wasn’t last! It was impressive watching Daria Gaiazova race to a personal best 8th place, huge props to her for an awesome race. Daria on the big screen duking it out in her semi-final.

With only 4 days until my next race and the major focus of my trip, the World U23 Championships 15km Skate Individual Start, it was time to utilize all the recovery techniques available to me, the cold tub, sauna, stretching, foam roller, and Normatech and rest up.

Thursday was the big day, the Skate 15km. My lower back was still aching however I did my best to forget about it and focus on racing. Thankfully the race organizers did not include the monstrous ski jump climb in the Junior/U23 race courses so the 3.75km race course for Thursday was much more manageable. I started strong up the first climb out of the stadium then settled into my race pace. The individual start format made it easier for me to dissociate from where and who I was racing and focus on myself. By the 3rd lap I was struggling to maintain a high pace. Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, Kevin Sandau blew by me at the start of the final 3.75km lap. I knew this was a decisive moment in my race and my competitive instincts kicked in, go with Kevin. It was exciting skiing behind Kevin who was getting splits that he was challenging for a medal. I was careful not to step on his skis or poles because every second counted for him. We came into the finish with the cameras trained in on us. I crossed the line and was surprised to see 7th place beside my name. I knew 15 fast guys were still coming behind me… how many would beat my time?

When all was said and done, I finished 14th place! Big props to Kevin for a very impressive performance finishing 5th. It was a bittersweet result for me as the Cross-Country Canada selection criteria states you need to place top twelve to qualify for the National Team and I was only 10 seconds from 12th. Initially I was somewhat disappointed. Afterwards I took as step back and I realized I have to be satisfied with all I have accomplished this season. 14th in the world isn’t too shabby. I mean I was super pumped just to qualify to race here. I had never really given much thought to what my goals would be if I happened to actually make Canada’s U23 Team.

I was exhausted after the race. Completely wiped. Though I desperately wanted to race the classic sprints, I knew one day off wouldn’t be enough to recover and race fast again. So I made the decision to skip the classic sprint and focus on the 30km Pursuit. It was exciting watching the U23 guys and gals duke it out in the sprints. Congrats to Jess, Lenny and Allyson on their awesome races, finishing 6th, 7th, and 12th respectively.

After 3 training days I was feeling very good again and ready to race fast Monday. I hopped on my warm-up skis and headed out on the Tartu Loppet trails to start warming up. The tracks were rock hard. The day before the classic tracks were soft and dry with no moisture. How did they firm up so much in one night? Surely I thought with how little moisture was in the snow on Sunday the track would still break down on race day. I was wrong. I had picked the wrong skis. I should have picked a soft, easy kicking ski to race on, not a stiffer, soft track ski. After testing my race skis and confirming I had no grip, my next plan was to load up on grip wax. Surely with enough grip wax I would still be able to kick them and at least get by in the classic portion of the pursuit. Nope. After plenty of layers of kick wax my grip was only slightly improved and to make matters worse the sun came out and the classic tracks started to marginally glaze over.

I’m not going to go into detail about the race [30k Pursuit]. Let’s just say it was a long day and I would rather remember my 14th place result in the skate than my 40th place in the pursuit. I crossed the finish line pale white and feeling sick with disappointment. It seems for every high moment in racing a low moment emerges to bring you back to reality.

Besides the pursuit race my European racing experience was phenomenal. The team was great and the coaches were very helpful. My first taste of international racing was a delicious one and I’m craving more.

After a brief training period here in Thunder Bay I’m off to race the Eastern Canadian Championships on Feb. 11th – 13th.

Until next time,


Haywood NorAm Thunder Bay Classic Sprint Video

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January 12, 2011 (Thunder Bay, ON) – Here is another video  courtesy of Team Hardwood’s Graham Longford with highlights from the Classic Sprint heats and finals at the 2011 Haywood NorAm WJr/U23 Trials at Lappe Nordic Centre in Thunder Bay, ON last weekend. Brent McMurtry took the men’s win over Stefan Kuhn and Jess Cockney, who also snagged the U23 victory. In the women’s race, it was Dasha Gaiazova who chalked up another win to her name. NorAm leader Perianne Jones took the silver, while Alysson Marshall doubled as the senior bronze medalist and the best U23 – read more HERE.

2011 World Junior Trials Men’s 20km Pursuit Video

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January 11, 2011 (Thunder Bay, ON) – Here’s another great video by Team Hardwood’s Graham Longford with highlights of the Junior Men’s 20km Pursuit race at the 2011 Haywood NorAm and World Junior/U23 Trials held at Lappe Nordic in Thunder Bay, ON Jan. 6-9. Local boy Andy Shields won convincingly, skating away from the field in the final 10km to win by a 51s margin. Shields is now guaranteed a spot on the Canadian Junior Worlds team heading to Estonia.

Grey and Jones Earn 10/15km Skate Wins at Haywood NorAm WJ/U23 Trials

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January 09, 2011 (Thunder Bay, ON) – Competing on the domestic circuit as part of a plan to return to the World Cup circuit while their Olympic teammates wrapped up the Tour de Ski, Canada’s George Grey and Perianne Jones found their stride by winning the men’s and women’s skate ski races at the Haywood NorAms in Thunder Bay, Ont. on Sunday.

The 31-year-old Grey, of Rossland, B.C., is starting to discover the shape that helped him capture his lone World Cup medal two years ago in a team sprint with Alex Harvey in Whistler, B.C. The two-time Olympian captured his second victory of the weekend after completing the men’s 15-kilometre skate-ski race with a time of 39 minutes, 21.9 seconds at the Lappe Nordic Ski Centre.

“It was good race and a tough course today so I’m happy,” said Grey, who punched his ticket for a spot on Canada’s World Championship squad this weekend.

“Right now I’m going back to the drawing board. I’m working on my distance and getting my shape again. I have six weeks to go until Worlds so it will be good to get back around the team, and Justin (Wadsworth – head coach), to ramp it up to where I want to be.”

Grey has spent most of his summer and early season rebounding from knee surgery this spring.

“Motivation is tough to find for any athlete, and when you have injuries a dark cloud just follows you because you want to go but you have to be patient,” said Grey. “Everyone this weekend was peaking because it was trials for World Championships. To win twice I know I’m not far off so I’ll keep working hard at it.”

Grey was pressed for the podium by Graham Nishikawa, of Whitehorse, who claimed the silver with a time of 39:27.3, while Michael Somppi, of Thunder Bay, Ont., rounded out the podium in third (39:34.6).

Meanwhile Canada’s Perianne Jones is also patiently making her comeback to the elite international circuit. Jones, of Almonte, Ont., won her second race on North America’s premiere development cross-country ski race series after posting a time of 31:02.7 in the women’s 10-kilometre skate-ski event.

“I felt really good out there and I’ve known all year that I’ve just been feeling a lot better,” said Jones, who said her body felt a little bit up last year pushing the paces with the world’s best on the World Cup circuit. “My body was just really tired last year and it is nice to be building that confidence and racing professionally again here. I have been working hard on my technique and things have been going really well.”

Jones was put to the test this weekend with Daria Gaiazova, of Banff, Alta., who made her return from the World Cup. Gaiazova, who won a World Cup bronze medal in the team sprint earlier this year with Chandra Crawford, won the first two races of the weekend but was pushed to the second spot on the podium Sunday with a time of 31:18.3.

“It was awesome to have Daria here and bring the level of racing up a little,” said Jones. “It was a good reminder for me of how fast things are on the World Cup.”

Calgary’s Brooke Gosling claimed the bronze with a time of 32:27.5.

Full results HERE.

Results (brief)

Open Female

1.    Perianne Jones (Nakkertok/NST) 31:02.7
2.    Dasha Gaiazova (Rocky Mountain Racers/NST) +15.6
3.    Brooke Gosling (Foothills/CXC) 1:24.8
4.    Sara Hewitt (Foothills/AWCA) 2:01.7
5.    Brittany Webster (Highlands Trailblazers/AWCA) 2:23.4
6.    Heidi Widmer (Foothills/AWCA) 2:34.4
7.    Alysson Marshall (Larch Hills/AWCA/BCST) 2:36.3
8.    Annika Hicks (Canmore Nordic/AWCA) 2:40.6
9.    Anne-Marie Comeau (Club Nordique M.S.A.) 2:44.3
10.    Erin Tribe (Team Hardwood/NDC Thunder Bay)2:44.6

Open Male

1.    George Grey (Black Jack/NST) 39:21.9
2.    Graham Nishikawa (Whitehorse/AWCA) 5.4
3.    Michael Somppi (Lappe Nordic/NDC Thunder Bay) 12.7
4.    Brent McMurtry (Foothill) 55.0
5.    David Greer (Whitehorse/CNEPH) 56.1
6.    Erik Carleton (Rocky Mountain Racers/RMR) 58.4
7.    Jess Cockney (Foothills/AWCA) 58.8
8.    Graeme Killick (Banff Ski Runners/ NST) 1:20.9
9.    Pate Neumann (Canmore Nordic/AWCA) 1:33.0
10.    Kevin Sandau (Foothills/NST/AWCA) 1:34.1

Haywood NorAm Men’s 30km Pursuit Video

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January 07, 2011 (Thunder Bay, ON) – Check out these great video highlights of the final lap action taken by Graham Longford at yesterday’s Men’s 30k Pursuit at the Haywood NorAm in Thunder Bay won by George Grey who narrowly edged out Graham Nishikawa for the win. Grey’s performance earned him a spot on the Canadian Team for the Nordic World Championships in Oslo. Drew Goldsack finished third – read more HERE.

Gaiazova and Grey Top Fields at Haywood NorAm 15/30km Pursuit

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January 06, 2011 (Thunder Bay, ON) – Cold conditions and a moderate wind made for a frigid race, dropping to 20 below at Lappe Nordic Centre, but this did not dampen the enthusiasm and drive of 174 racers on site for the competitions. The continuous pursuit races held today were trials to determine who would qualify for positions on Canada’s team at the 2011 World Senior Nordic Championships in Oslo, Norway and the World Junior/U23 Championships in Oteppa, Estonia. A perfect set of classic tracks and a challenging, lung-bursting skate leg, greeted the skiers.

In the senior Men’s category National Ski Team (NST) member, George Grey, of Rossland, B.C. earned a spot to go to Oslo edging out Graham Nishikawa, of Whitehorse in the final meter of the men’s 30km race. The race was described by Grey as a tactical one with several unsuccessful breakaway attempts by NST members Drew Goldsack and Stefan Kuhn in both the classic and skate portions.

“Many of the skiers in this race are at a very similar fitness level so it was difficult to establish any gaps,” said Grey a two-time Olympian. In the end his World Championship spot was decided by toe over Nishikawa as NorAm leader Goldsack claimed the bronze.

“It was awfully tight and very technical out there today,” added Grey. “I don’t really have my shape but I think my experience put me in the front in the end. The last few weeks of training have been challenging because my fitness isn’t there. But it will come around. I’d love to be in Europe even just to watch Devon (Kershaw) and Alex (Harvey) because those guys are flying. It will be fun to get them home and train beside them again, and get ready to race with them again at the World Championships.”

In the Senior women’s category, National Ski Team member Dasha Gaiazova held off a skate leg charge by Brooke Gosling (Foothills Nordic/CXC) to take the win. Ottawa’s Perianne Jones took the bronze after skiing closely with Gaiazova in the classic portion but was overtaken by Gosling in the final 7.5km skate section.

“It was really hard today. I’m not going to lie,” said Gaiazova.“I had really good skis and it was fun to be racing in Thunder Bay. I have really good memories of racing here at the Nationals in 2006, and I was just excited to be racing in Canada and on these trails again.”

In the Under 23 competitions Kevin Sandau and Emily Nishikawa took top honors.  Sandau, of Canmore, Alta., was the top under-23 male, while Emily Nishikawa was the fastest under-23 woman.

Heidi Widmer of Banff, Alta., was the top Junior woman in their 10-kilometre pursuit race with a time of 32:38.8 while Thunder Bay-based National Development Centre skier Andy Shields dominated the junior men’s 20-kilometre pursuit. Shields skated away in the final 10km to a 51-second victory.  Both Widmer and Shields are now guaranteed to go to the Junior Worlds in Estonia.

Races continue Saturday and Sunday and predicted warmers temperatures will likely heat up the action.

With files from CCC.

Full results HERE.