Tag Archive | "XC skiing"

Win a Free Birkie 2012 Entry – Enter By Feb. 5

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January 27, 2012 – Greetings Skiers and Friends! Enter by February 5 to win one of five FREE Birkie Entries, courtesy of SmartWool, one of our Birkie 2012 sponsors. The 39th Annual Birkebeiner takes place February 23-25. Click HERE to enter. Visit www.birkie.com to learn more about the American Birkebeiner.

Sun Peaks Students Learn to Cross Country Ski

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January 27, 2012 (Sun Peaks, BC) – Students at the Discovery Centre for Balanced Education at Sun Peaks Resort will be giving a new sport a try as part of their school curriculum this February.

The Nordic Ski School at Sun Peaks Resort will be teaching 45 students (K-7) the basics of cross country skiing at three upcoming classes: February 8, February 15 and February 29.

The Discovery Centre first opened in September 2010, with a new twist on standard education. In between math and spelling lessons, taught both in person and via Skype, the students have an opportunity to learn about winter sports. Whether it be alpine skiing at lunch, or going on a class snowshoe tour, and now…an introduction to Nordic skiing.

The Nordic Program is one that has taken huge steps to expand this year, with a two-day Nordic instructional camp this weekend with former Olympic Coach Gunner Rasmussen, to a 24 kilometre race coming up on February 26. Plans for additional programs and classes are already in the works for the 2012-13 winter season.

For details on Nordic programs at Sun Peaks Resort, click HERE.

For more information on the Discovery Centre for Balanced Education, please contact info@balancededucation.ca.

Tour de Twin Cities Skate Sprints – Bender and Reynolds in Charge

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January 26, 2012 (Minneapolis, MN) – Skiers have reached the midpoint of the 5-stage Tour De Twin Cities. On Wednesday evening, racers contested a prologue skate sprint under the lights at Wirth Park. The 1.4 kilometer course started on the high point of Wirth, gradually descended 60 feet, and then climbed back to the top.

With temperatures sitting right around 32 degrees, the man-made snow transformed to the point of being lightning fast. From the side of the course, it was apparent that some athletes were struggling to find the line between skiing with power versus slipping into a frantic tempo. The results confirmed a fast course: the top four male athletes finished within the same second, and the top three women were split by only one second.

The men’s race saw three new athletes on the podium. Tim Reynolds (Craftsbury Green Racing Team) took the win and the $250 bonus awarded to the sprint winner. Second and third went to Patrick O’Brien (Craftsbury) and Mark Iverson (APUNSC). Just 8 tenths of a second out of the win, and 1 hundredth of a second behind Iverson. Samuel Naney (Methow Olympic Development/Madshus) was oh-so-close to the podium in fourth.

On the women’s side, Jennie Bender (CXC) recorded the win and claimed the $250 bonus. With the overall victory in mind, Bender says, “I am in a little bit better position for this weekend.” Second place went to Lauren Fritz (APUNSC), and Caitlin Gregg (CXC) was third.

This was the last Minneapolis event of the Tour, as the races move to the St. Paul area for next weekend’s final events. With three races complete, Team Strong Heart’s Matt Liebsch (fifth in the sprint) has a solid lead in the overall classification with Sylvan Ellefson  (SSC Vail) 19 points behind. After her win, Jennie Bender has the lead in the overall classification by just 4 points over Caitlin Gregg.

FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup 2011/12 Contest Standings after Dolomitenlauf

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January 26, 2012 (Toronto, ON) – We are pleased to announce the standings for the inaugural SkiTrax Fantasy FIS Marathon Cup 2011/12 International Contest after the 38th annual Dolomitenlauf. With over 200 teams in the mix, Team legrandbo has assumed the lead at 194 points, while anty ski holds second spot at 187 points.  Team 2012RedAlert is in third place with a total of 172 points.

View the full contest standings HERE.

The next event on the FIS Marathon Cup calendar is the 70km classic technique Marcialonga in Italy on Jan. 29.

FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup Prizes

* 1st Prize OneWay Premio 10 WCup Skis, Diamond Storm Premio 10 Poles, SNS Premio Pilot Bindings. (value $1,350)
* 2nd PrizeNipika 4-nights for 2 people in luxurious cabin, including Trail Fees (value up to $1,160)
* 3rd Prize
Alpina ESK Ski Boots (value $449)
* 4th Prize Halti XC Race Suit Hemmo Set (value $269)
* 5th Prize  Fischer RCS QF poles  (value $225)
* 6th PrizeCross Country Canada e-Store Gift Certificate (value $200)
* 7th PrizeFresh Air Experience or High Peaks Cyclery Gift Certificate (value $150)
* 8th PrizeRottefella Xcelerator Skate/Classic Bindings (value $120)
* 9th PrizeAuclair Micro Mountain Olympic Gloves + Earbags (value $65)
* 10th PrizeBuff Headware (value $40)

Thanks to all of our great sponsors, including One Way, Nipika, Alpina, Halti, Fischer, Cross Country Canada, Fresh Air Experience, High Peaks Cyclery, Rottefella, 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).

Fast and Female XC Ski Event in Canmore Report

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January 24, 2012 (Canmore, AB) – At the age of 12, Canmore’s Sara Renner attended the 1988 Olympics as a spectator. That moment changed her life and prompted her to aim for Olympic dreams of her own.

With a career that was highlighted by an Olympic silver medal claimed at the 2006 Games in Torino with Beckie Scott in the team event, retired cross-country ski star Renner now inspires others to reach for the skies. This Sunday, she did just that as 80 aspiring female champions between the ages 9 to 19 joined the Fast and Female XC Ski event for an afternoon of motivation.

“When I was your age, I was exactly like you,” told Renner to the captive group of skiers coming from all corners of Alberta and even British Columbia. “I loved cross-country skiing, and one day I qualified for the Alberta Winter Games. That was such a thrill and really the beginning of my desire to train and work hard.”

“With experience, I learned that what made a big difference for me to reach the next level of performance was to focus on that 10 percent of the race that hurts the most,” explained Renner as her Olympic medal circulated amongst the girls in the crowd. “I knew that if I gave it all in that segment of the race, then I would do my best. That’s how I began to judge all my races – asking myself how much I had pushed myself in that 10 percent of the race when you just want to give up,” added the 2005 bronze medalist in the individual sprint at the World Ski Championships.

Held in conjunction with the first-ever FIS (Federation International de Ski) World Snow Day, the Fast and Female XC Ski event featured team building activities, one hour of on-snow ski drills, healthy snacks, Zumba dancing and Renner’s inspirational presentation. In keeping with Fast and Female’s mission, all activities were aimed at motivate girls to stick to sports and the healthy lifestyle. It is believed that girls are six times more likely to drop out of sports than boys.

On this special occasion, Renner was joined by a dynamic group of tremendous female role-models including current and past national team athletes, World Cup Academy racers, and provincial team competitors such as Alysson Marshall, Emily Nishikawa, Janelle Greer, Annika Hicks, Kendra Hicks, Marlis Kromm, Rebecca Reid, Heidi Widmer, Kate Brennan, Natalie Hull, Brooke Gosling, and Karen Messenger. Many of these ladies were onsite to take part in the Haywood Western Championships and volunteered valuable time to join the Fast and Female event.

Founded by Olympic gold medalist in cross-country skiing and active World Cup racer, Chandra Crawford, Fast and Female strives to counter this phenomenon by hosting fun, non-competitive sporting events with inspiring female athletic role models all over North America. The organization is currently involved in sports such as alpine skiing, biathlon, ski cross, snowboard, cycling, and running. A key ingredient to Fast and Female’s success in impacting the lives of girls lies in the quality and wisdom of its ambassadors.

“When I qualified for my first World Cup, it wasn’t at all what I expected,” shared Renner. “You could have flipped the results page around and found my name all the way at the bottom. Over time, I was very lucky to have awesome teammates. We really demanded a lot of each other and that’s why we were able to turn things around and achieve such successes.”

In closing, Renner told the girls: “As an athlete, you’re always being judged for your performance, your body fat composition and so on. Ultimately, that doesn’t define who you are. What you have to know is that people around you will love you no matter what,” concluded the mother to two young girls.

This unique event was made possible thanks to the financial support of Fast and Female’s national financial and in-kind sponsors – including exclusive platinum sponsor Best Buy as well as Buff Multifunctional Headwear, CLARINS, Cold-FX, Cross-Country Canada, Lululemon Athletica, LUNA Bars and LIT Glitter. The Canmore Nordic Centre also provided free access to the venue and trails. We would also like to thank all volunteers who helped at the event. For a complete list of Fast and Female national program supporters and sponsors, please click HERE.

The next Fast and Female event will take place on February 4, 2012 at Blue Mountain Resort in Ontario with members of Canada’s national Ski Cross team. The off-snow activity will feature an afternoon of inspiration for girls involved in Alpine skiing and Ski Cross. The online registration page can be found HERE.

Fast and Female Event Video

More photos HERE.

Cross Country Canada Names OPA/Convergence Tour Team

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January 24, 2012 (Canmore, AB) – A second group of young Canadian skiers has been selected to gain valuable international experience while representing Canada at OPA and Scandinavian Cup races in early February. The OPA and Scandinavian Cup circuits are the European and Scandinavian equivalents of the Haywood NorAm series. A team selection synopsis will follow shortly.

Cross Country Canada named 7 athletes that will wear Canadian colours at races in Switzerland, Latvia and Estonia:

– Alysson Marshall (Larch Hills Ski Club)
– Zoe Roy (Rocky Mountain Racers)
– Alana Thomas (Nakkertok)
– Phil Widmer (Canmore Ski Club)
– Graham Nishikawa (Whitehorse Ski Club)
– Brian McKeever (Foothills Nordic Ski Club)
– Michael Somppi (Lappe Nordic Ski Club)

Eric Bailey of the National Development Centre in Thunder Bay will be the team leader. The Canadian Team will leave Jan. 29th, 2012 and race:

– Feb. 3-5 – Campra, SUI – OPA Cup
– Feb. 8, 9 – Madonna, LAT – Scandinavian Cup
– Feb. 11, 12 – Albu, EST – Scandinavian Cup


EISA Bates Carnival Days 1-2 – UVM Scores

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January 24, 2012 (Rumford, ME) – The EISA season kicked off with the Bates Carnival from Jan. 20-21. The alpine races were  contested at Sunday River in Newry, Maine, while the Nordic events were held at Black Mountain in Rumford, Maine.

Day 1
EISA schools patiently awaited the start of Carnival races over the past few weeks. When racing finally kicked off today (Jan. 20) with the Bates College Carnival at Sunday River and Black Mountain in Maine, the University of Vermont could not be thwarted.

On the opening day of the Bates Carnival, Vermont didn’t just fire the missiles; they launched the nukes. Of a total twelve podium spots up for grabs, Catamount racers locked up eight and scored a head-turning 531 points.

Lucy Garrec (UVM) won the women’s 5km freestyle race and was joined on the podium by teammate Caitlin Patterson. It was Garrec’s first collegiate freestyle victory, and after the race she noted, “I felt like the [5km freestyle] course suited me and allowed me to be light and quick.” Sophie Caldwell of Dartmouth finished third. The Bates women made an impressive move into third place with solid results from Beth Taylor, sixth, and Hallie Grossman, eleventh.

The Big Green retaliated in the men’s 10km freestyle race when Sam Tarling took second, Eric Packer third, and Gordon Vermeer fourth for Dartmouth. Race winner Patrick Johnson has returned to his Middlebury team with evidenced strength this season, and Vermont’s Franz Bernstein found the podium in third.

Day 2
Led by a second alpine podium sweep in the men’s races on Saturday (Jan. 21), the University of Vermont extended its convincing lead to take a noteworthy win at the Bates Carnival. The Catamounts once again broke the 1000-point mark, tallying 1004 total points over runner-up Dartmouth who posted 837. Middlebury was third with 699.

Two areas of weakness for the Catamounts were capitalized upon by other teams. In the men’s 10k classic at Black Mountain, Eric Packer of Dartmouth timed his decisive break perfectly in the final kilometer to secure the victory. He noted that his coach’s specific training plan leading into the season was beneficial, “Ruff [Patterson] frequently had us do head-to-head intervals to mimic the chaos of mass start racing, and that type of workout really paid off today in the hectic, short distance mass start.” He was flanked on the podium by Vermont’s Franz Bernstein in second and Middlebury standout Patrick Johnson in third.

The women’s 10k classic leader board developed predictably with UVM and Dartmouth duking it out in alternating fashion. Vermont’s Caitlin Patterson returned to her familiar spot in the winner’s column while fellow Catamounts Amy Glen and Lucy Garrec finished second and fourth, respectively. Dartmouth’s Sophie Caldwell snagged third and the Big Green placed its other two scoring racers, Anne Hart and Isabel Caldwell, well inside the top 10.

EISA action continues Jan. 27-28 with the University of New Hampshire Carnival at Attitash Mountain Resort and the Jackson XC Center.

Final team scores at the conclusion of the Bates Carnival:
University of Vermont – 1004
Dartmouth College – 837
Middlebury College – 699

Results HERE.
Full breakdown of team scores available HERE.

Youth Olympic Games CAN-US Update – Classic Sprints

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January 20, 2012 (Innsbruck, Austria) – The second xc-ski event of the Youth Olympic Games – a skate sprint – took place on Thursday at Seefeld, Austria. Canada’s Maya MacIssac-Jones qualified 15th behind Silje Theodorsen of Norway, to move on to the quarterfinals in the women’s competition.

In the third quarterfinal, MacIssac-Jones was drawn against the #5 and #6 qualifiers from Austria and Switzerland and Chun Ma from China, who had qualified only 0.3s back of MacIssac-Jones. MacIssac-Jones qualified for the semis quite comfortably in first, with Nadine Faehndrich of Switzerland 0.3s back in second, well ahead of the rest of the pack.

Racing in the second semifinal, MacIssac-Jones finished fourth, at 4 seconds off the pace of Jonna Sundling of Sweden. At this point, it was unclear if the gap was due to a fall or other issue on the course. Sundling ended up second behind Theodorson of Norway. MacIsaac-Jones finished a strong eighth overall.

Team USA’s Heather Mooney qualified for the quarterfinal, but did not advance and finished 24th.

In the men’s event, USA’s Patrick Caldwell landed a fantastic fifth place in the final, after he placed 18th in the qualifier. In the quarterfinal, Caldwell placed fifth for one of the lucky loser spots and just squeaked through to the semi’s. He repeated his good fortune in the semi’s to make the final, where he grabbed his top-five result.

Canada’s Matthew Saurette was 23rd in men’s qualifying, as Norwegian Andreas Molden was the top men’s qualifier. Saurette skied in the 5th and last quarterfinal for the men, with Chrisander Holth from Norway, the #3 qualifier, and Caldwell. Marcus Ruus from Sweden won the heat with Saurette finishing a bit back at the tail end of the pack. It was a fast heat, allowing both Holth and Caldwell to qualify for the semis as the “lucky losers”.

The men’s race was won by Molden. Saurette ended up 29th overall.

Women’s Results HERE.
Men’s Results HERE.

The races finish up on Saturday with the mixed relay, biathlon, cross country men and women.

With files from Cross Country Canada.

Save 25% on Gatineau Loppet Registration – Offer Ends Jan. 21

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January 20, 2012 (Gatineau, QC) – With just one month to go to the Gatineau Loppet, ski conditions are excellent in the Gatineau Park, with a good snow base on 94% of the trails. Numerous skiers have been heading for the hills since the holidays to take advantage of North America’s most beautiful skiing network, located right in our backyard! We’d like to remind them that there’s only a few days left to save 25% on Gatineau Loppet Registration. This offer ends on January 21st.

Click HERE to register.

Calling for Volunteers!
The Gatineau Loppet needs over 300 volunteers each year to fill a variety of positions. We’re looking for motivated people willing to help in the following activities:

– Feeding stations
– Officials
– Skiers’s bags
– Master of Ceremonies
– Polling
– Coffee and promotional material stands
– Security and parking

Volunteering for the Gatineau Loppet means being part of the biggest cross-country ski event in Canada. As a volunteer, you’ll be in contact with some of the best skiers in the world and celebrate this skiing event with great friends!

Click HERE to register as a volunteer.

A distinguished visitor

During the January 10 Gatineau Loppet Press conference,  announced the participation of Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip in the next Gatineau Loppet. A passionate skier who has taken part in several Worldloppet events, Mr. Ansip will ski the 51 km classic race on February 18. The Embassy of Estonia will mark the event by offering a souvenir to every child who participates in the Mini Sport Échange Outaouais.

Video with Aidan Lennie, Winner of the 2011 51 km Freestyle Race
Click HERE to view the video.

Gatineau Loppet / SkiTrax Special Offer
The Gatineau Loppet 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.

Gatineau Loppet participants save 50% off regular subscription prices. You can also try a SkiTrax-Pedal Combo Deal and get Pedal Magazine as well. Click HERE to take advantage of the Gatineau Loppet – SkiTrax special offer.

Dolomitenlauf Games Kick Off with Sprints on Jan. 20

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January 19, 2012 (Lienz, Austria) – The Dolomitenlauf Games will kick off this coming Friday with the Dolomites Sprint, held in Lienz/East Tyrol since 1987. Austrian sprint specialist Harald Wurm could write history this year in this head-to-head battle, and overtake Markus Gandler. After all, both have three victories under their belts already.

The Dolomites Sprint will be marking the start of the Dolomitenlauf Games this Friday 20 January 2012. This cross-country sprint comprises 6 heats and finals of 5 athletes each. The Dolomitenlauf Games will then begin with the 42 km long classic style Dolomites Classic Race on Saturday and the 38th Dolomitenlauf run (42 km free-style) in Obertilliach on Sunday.

“The sprint is particularly exciting and action-packed for the athletes and visitors alike due to its technical challenges and sophistication,” says OK Manager Franz Theurl, who organised the first cross-country sprint in the world in Lienz with his team in 1987. 30 sprinters from 10 nations will be entering the sprint arena in Lienz’s main square at 19:00 where a 5 m high ramp, downward starting curve, hairpin bend and ski jump present a particular challenge. “It’s a man-to-man battle! And we battle it out for every metre,” explains the 28-year old Tyrolean Harald ‘Wurmi’ WURM who, following 3 Dolomite spring victories (2010, 2009, 2008), represents Austria’s best chance to beat his ÖSV sprint colleague, Bernhard Tritscher. But for Wurm, this is about much more than winning the Dolomites Sprint for the 4th time. He also wants to overtake the Olympic silver medal winner and World Champion Markus Gandler, who already has 3 victories under his belt.

Strong Austria Representation
In addition to the 2 candidates for victory, Tritscher and Wurm, the ÖSV (Austrian Ski Association) is also sending Martin Stockinger, Thomas Ebner, Markus Bader and the rookie Aurelius Herburger to the Dolomites Sprint – 6 athletes with good prospects while more than 5,000 visitors look on! Austria will undoubtedly put up some strong competition and is also presenting a newly founded amateur national team (a new trend in cross-country skiing): the Skinfit Team Austria with Thomas Stöggl, Lukas Weitgasser, Philipp Bachl, Markus Keplinger, Michael Eberharter and strong German skier, Thomas Freimuth. The Tyrolean sprint champion Clemens Frischhut will also be taking to the starting line.

Strong International Competition
Strong sprint specialists from abroad will no doubt put up a good fight against the Austrians too: Czech sprinter Stanislav Rezac (leader in the FIS Marathon Cup) will be taking on the challenge, as will Swedish Vasaloppet winner Daniel Tynell and last year’s winner of the Dolomitenlauf, the Italian Fabio Santus. Frederik Byström is the second Vasaloppet winner in the start line-up. The Italian Christian Zorzi showed that he feels completely at home with sprinting too at the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, where he won a bronze medal for the sprint discipline. This was followed by a gold medal in the team competition in Turin. “We have a very strong starting line-up in the sprint this year and for the first time, there will also be a national team from Switzerland and Estonia,” says Franz Theurl of the show.

The Dolomitenlauf Games will be declared open this coming Friday at 18:30 with the Dolomitenfeuer band. And there will be plenty of music and catering to enjoy in Lienz. In addition to the Lienz brass band, organisers have also booked Werner Otti, the man with two voices, who is famous from the ORF talent show ‘Die Grosse Chance’.

Favourable Weather Forecast
The arrival of winter means that the routes for the Classic Race and Dolomitenlauf race are ideally prepared, including the start and end points in Obertilliach. “And fantastic weather is forecast for the weekend,” says Franz Theurl. Those interested in cross-country can still register on the homepage www.dolomitensport.at until Wednesday as well as just before each race.

Alex Harvey and Davos Red Bull NordiX Highlight Video

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January 19, 2012 (Davos, Switzerland) – Check out this great highlight video from the 2011 Red Bull NordiX competition in Davos last April. Harvey, along with other stars of the cross country ski world, compete on a roller-coaster sprint course in which the races are typically won and lost on the downhills rather then the uphills. Every race is filled with action and surprises!

Watch the video HERE.

Haywood NorAm Westerns – Schedule Change

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January 19, 2012 (Canmore, AB) – After consultation with the organizing committee, and in consideration of the weather forecasts, the race jury has made the decision to alter the event schedule as follows:

1) Friday, January 20: Interval start classic race (previously on Saturday)
Race start at 11:00 AM – 15 second intervals

2) Saturday, January 21: individual sprint free technique race (previously on Friday)
Qualification and heat times as per the race notice

3) All existing registrations for the interval start will be transferred into the new Friday time slot.

4) In the event that the Friday interval start race is not able to be held because of cold weather, it will be put back to Saturday, as part of a two day pursuit-with-a-break, and the sprint event will be cancelled.

5) Persons who are not able to accommodate the new race schedule (for example those who had previously registered for only Saturday and Sunday races) are asked to contact the Race Secretary to explore alternative arrangements.

Race Secretary: Greg Thompson – competitionsecretary@albertaworldcup.com
OC Chair: Ken Hewitt – khewitt@albertaworldcup.com; 403-680-4141

*** Please forward this info to others who may need to know.

Ken Hewitt
Organizing Committee Chair

Race info HERE.

SkiTrax FIS Fantasy Tour de Ski 2012 Contest Final Standings and Winners

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January 18, 2012 (Val di Fiemme, Italy) – We are excited to announce the winners of the SkiTrax FIS Fantasy Tour de Ski 2012 Contest after the final 9km FR Stage 9 up Alpe Cermis and apologize for the short delay. Team Rob has made up ground in the contest’s final leg to leap ahead of the competition and take home the first prize, a Rossignol Xium WCS2 ski and boot package w/Rottefella Xcelerator skate bindings valued at $1,195, with a grand total of 1,252 points.

The battle was heated, however, with Team alpha super awsome cool dynamite wolf squadron trailing the leader by only one point to score the second prize, a Mont Ste-Anne lodging package valued at $800. The fabulous third-place prize – a choice of Salomon SLab Skate or Classic boots valued at $400/$450 – went to Fasterbutwithmoregriptds, who finished off the contest with 1,248 points.

Congrats to all of the winners and thank you to all the teams for participating in the SkiTrax FIS Fantasy Tour de Ski 2012 Contest!

For the final Contest Standings following the final Stage 9 Alpe Cermis 9km FR click HERE.

SkiTrax FIS Fantasy Tour de Ski 2012 Contest Final Winners

Rob – Roberto Dallavalle – Croviana, Italy
1st Prize – Rossignol Xium WCS2 skis and boots, Xcelerator skate bindings (value $1,195)

alpha super awsome cool dynamite wolf squadron – David Greenberg – Durango, CO
2nd Prize – Mont Ste-Anne –  2 nights lodging w/breakfast + 3-day XC gift certificate, tune-up (value $800)

Fasterbutwithmoregriptds – Tim Haight – Saskatoon, SK
3rd Prize – Salomon SLab Skate or Classic Boots (value $400/$450)

Team Skibunzov – Cyrus Kangarloo – Kelowna, BC
4th Prize – Marwe 610c Roller Skis (value $349)

karlos team pl – Karol Daszkiewicz – Gdynia, Poland
5th Prize –  SkiGo Kickwax Package (HF, LF & XC) and Scraper (value $235)

Flying Oosik – David Smullin – Bend, OR
6th Prize – Sporthill Women’s Glacier Top (value $140)

lafrasse – Christiane Ruet – Le Grand Bornand, France
7th Prize – Bliz Proflip Visor (value $129)

Skeila – Sheila Kealey – Ottawa, ON
8th Prize – Rottefella Xcelerator Skate/Classic Bindings (value $120)

Broken Poles – Jan Rossiter – Ottawa, ON
9th Prize – Auclair Micro Mountain Olympic Gloves + Earbags (value $65)

anty ski team – Andri Milov – Parnu, Estonia
10th Prize – Buff Headware (value $45)

Rest Day Leader Prizes
Jan. 2 – Fresh Air Experience $100 Gift Certificate – anty ski team – Andri Milov – Parnu, Estonia
Jan. 6 – High Peaks Cyclery $100 Gift Certificate – karlos team pl – Karol Daszkiewicz – Gdynia, Poland

Thanks to all of our great sponsors, including Rossignol, Mont Ste-Anne, Salomon, Marwe, SkiGo, Sporthill, Bliz, Rottefella, Auclair, Buff, Fresh Air Experience, and High Peaks Cyclery.

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).

Alex Harvey and Devon Kershaw Earn 2011 Canadian Sport Awards

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January 18, 2012 (Ottawa, ON) – The True Sport Foundation today announced the winners of the 39th Canadian Sport Awards, which recognize and honour excellence in Canadian sport including the sporting achievements of Canada’s finest athletes and the contributions of others in 2011.

“The Canadian Sport Awards play an important role in honouring our hard-working athletes, sport leaders, volunteers and corporations for their accomplishments and contributions to Canadian sport in 2011,” noted Peter Leyser, Executive Director, True Sport Foundation. “These winners, along with all finalists and nominees, have earned the praise of all Canadians through their immense talent, ongoing commitment and unwavering dedication to Canadian sport.”

2011 Canadian Sport Awards Winners

The Athletic Performance Awards recognize outstanding athletic performance. Winners include:

– Male Athlete of the Year: Patrick Chan, Figure Skating
– Female Athlete of the Year:
Christine Nesbitt, Speed Skating
– Junior Athlete of the Year:
Alex Harvey, Cross Country Skiing
– Team of the Year:
Jeff Stoughton (skip), Jonathan Mead (3rd), Reid Carruthers (2nd), Steve Gould (lead), Garth Smith (alternate), Curling – Men’s Team
– Partners of the Year:
Alex Harvey & Devon Kershaw, Cross Country Ski, Men’s Team Sprint

The Leadership Awards recognize and celebrate an individual’s outstanding contribution to the betterment of sport:

– Leadership in Sport Award: Tom Quinn|
– Volunteer Achievement Award:
Judith Tutty
– Athlete Leadership Award:
Michael Smith

The Corporate Excellence Award recognizes and celebrates a corporation who provides outstanding support to Canadian sport: Forzani Group

The Spirit of Sport Story of the Year category recognizes and celebrates Canadian heroes: Ottawa Senators Women’s Bantam AA hockey team

About the Canadian Sport Awards
Established in 1972, the Canadian Sport Awards brings together leaders from the sporting and corporate communities who represent the pinnacle of commitment and competition: Canadian amateur athletes, coaches, sport leaders and volunteers. The annual awards promote sporting excellence across Canada and remind Canadians how sport lifts the human spirit. It is a tribute to the hard work, dedication and victories of our country’s finest athletes. Managed by the True Sport Foundation, the Canadian Sport Awards boasts a strong relationship with its modern day founding partners, which include AthletesCAN, Canada Games, Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, and the Commonwealth Games Association of Canada.  For more information about the Canadian Sport Awards, please visit www.canadiansportawards.ca.

About the True Sport Foundation
The True Sport Foundation is a national charitable organization that promotes values-driven sport.  As a leader in the True Sport Movement, the Foundation is focused on building and enriching communities and the lives of individuals by providing a safe, welcoming, and rewarding environment for all participants, at all levels of sport. The True Sport Foundation is committed to ensuring that sport makes a positive contribution to Canadian society, to our athletes, and to the physical and moral development of Canada’s youth. The Foundation also plays a pivotal role in the Canadian sport system by bringing together leading sport organizations to promote, celebrate and recognize sporting excellence. For more information about the True Sport Foundation, please visit www.truesportfoundation.ca.


For complete nomination rules and guidelines, and more information about the Canadian Sport Awards, please visit www.canadiansportawards.ca.

Dusseldorf, Car Races, Christmas and Such…

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January 18, 2012 – My return to the World Cup this season definitely didn’t start off as I had envisioned but it certainly ended on a positive note! After a slightly better but still disappointing sprint day on Saturday in Dusseldorf, Germany, I was encouraged by a better feeling body and regrouped for Sunday’s sprint relay.

I teamed up with the towering Lenny Valjas and together we put in a great day of sprint racing. We went into the sprint relay not really knowing what to expect as we had both had disappointing results in the individual sprint qualifier the day before. However, after the qualifying round was finished with, we knew that today would be different.

Len and I posted the third fastest qualifying time of 28 teams and after the disqualification of a German team, ended up being the second ranked qualifiers on the day. Going into the final, our attitude quickly changed.  We started the day with the goal of just making it into the final, now the podium was in our sights. We stuck to our race plan, skiing conservatively, conserving energy and staying out of trouble.

This meant that we were often at or near the back of the pack but as others burned  energy fighting for a position or two, Len and I managed to ski relaxed and then go for it on our final laps. Thanks to an impressive finishing kick from Len, we were able to pass the Austrian team down the final stretch and lock up 5th place, just 4 seconds out of the top spot!

Unfortunately it was too little too late to justify staying on the World Cup circuit so I returned to Canada to pick up the start of the NorAm series in Silver Star. As is often a result of hectic race/travel schedules I came down with a cold the day before the first races in Silver Star and consequently missed that weekend of racing and the following weekend in Rossland. A total bummer but not a whole lot you can do about it! If there was a positive to missing the pre-Christmas NorAms it was that it allowed me to get in some really good training volume over the Holidays in preparation for the second half of the season.  I had a great Christmas at home in Red Deer with family before returning to Canmore for another week of volume consisting of some great days out in Kananaskis. I even managed to sneak out into the backcountry for an awesome day of charging knee deep pow with Brent McMurtry and Phil Widmer.

It’s now a new year and with a lot of racing ahead I’m looking forward to the weeks to come. Hopefully I can get back in the mix and join the race for the NorAm spot on the World Cup this spring!

As a final thought, I’d like to comment on what I’ve seen happening with increasingly extreme weather patterns around the globe.  It’s really concerning to see what can only be explained as the early signs of climate change. It’s not news that humans are having a profound impact on our environment and climate but as I experience the increasing extremes of weather around the globe, it really drives home the fact that we need to be ever more conscious about what we’re doing to our planet.

Whether it’s seeing pouring rain just kilometers from the Artic Circle in late November, hurricane force winds in the City of Calgary or a complete lack of snow around the globe, it’s worrying to think about the impact that this will not only have on the planet but on the sport that I love. This is certainly not a new concept but I really feel like I need to reiterate how important it is to make environmentally conscious decisions every day and continually evaluate how those decisions impact the planet. For a list of the top 10 things you can do to make a difference have a look here: http://www.davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can-do/top-10-ways-you-can-stop-climate-change/

Have a great 2012 everyone!

-Drew Goldsack


“Ugh, I’m soooo tired” –Devon Kershaw, the night before an awesome race.

In the Tape Deck:

Artist: Lana del Rey, Track: Video Games

Artist: Mumford & Sons: Track: Awake My Soul (Live at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London)

Artist: Mumford & Sons: Track: Little Lion Man (Live at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London)

On the Tube:


This blog and others can also be found on www.drewgoldsack.ca!

Youth Olympic Games CAN-US Update – 5/10km Classic XC and Ski Jumping

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January 17, 2012 (Innsbruck, Austria) – The inaugural Youth Olympic Winter Games are underway in Innsbruck and Canadian and U.S. athletes are already making headlines. Here are the latest Team USA and Team Canada updates from the Youth Olympic Games newsroom.

Canada’s Chef de Mission Beckie Scott visits Seefeld Venue
Beckie Scott, who was the first Canadian to win a Cross-Country Olympic Gold medal, has paid a visit to Seefeld Arena to support her nation’s athletes and also check out the track.

Describing her experience as Chef de Mission of the Canadian Team at the Innsbruck 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games as “mellow so far”, Scott was accompanied by her husband and their four-year-old son Teo, who was kitted out for some fun on the slopes.

Scott enjoyed time on the track, testing the challenging hills at Seefeld as Innsbruck 2012 athletes trained in preparation for the start of the Cross-Country on Tuesday.

Read full story HERE.

Selyaninov Grabs Gold in 10km Classic, USA’s Caldwell 16th
Alexander Selyaninov (RUS) took victory in a time of 29:28.8, gaining a +11.4 advantage over Kentaro Ishikawa (JPN). Bronze went to Kazakhstan’s Sergey Malyshev, who finished +28.7 behind. Conditions were ideal, with packed snow, partly cloudy skies, and temperatures hovering around -7 C.

Patrick Caldwell (USA) was the top North American finisher in 16th place and +2:01.3 back. Matthew Saurette (CAN) finished 29th.

Results HERE.

Sedova Scores in 5km Classic, USA’s Mooney 13th
Anastasia Sedova (RUS), sister of World Cup racer Peter Sedov (RUS), won gold in the women’s 5km Classic at the Youth Olympic Games. Sedova won in 14:18, nearly +20s faster than silver medalist Anamaria Lampic (SLO). Lea Einfalt (SLO) made it a double-medal day for Slovenia when she secured the bronze.

Team USA’s Heather Mooney logged the best North American result with a 13th-place finish at +2:00.8. Maya MacIsaac-Jones (CAN) finished 17th.

Results HERE.

Takanashi Wins WSJ, Canada’s Henrich 5th
Sara Takanashi (JPN) won the Women’s Individual Ski Jump event with two jumps of 76.5m. Germany’s Katharina Althaus finished second with jumps of 71.0m and 72.5m. and Ursa Bogataj (SLO) took home bronze with a pair of 71.5m jumps.

Canada’s Taylor Henrich finished fifth with a leap of 64m in her first run and 66m in her second. Emilee Anderson (USA) completed the competition in ninth place after a first-round jump of 59.5m on the HS75 hill. She fought back to jump 65.5m in the second round.

Results HERE.

Lanisek Tops in Men’s Ski Jumping, Canada’s Korek 8th
Anze Lanisek (SLO) won the Men’s Individual Ski Jump competition in Innsbruck with two solid jumps. The first was 78.2m and the second 77.5m. Mats Berggaard (NOR) took home the silver medal, with Yukiya Sato (JPN) earning the bronze.

Canada’s Dusty Korek was the top North American with an eighth-place finish and two consistent jumps of 77.5m and 77.3m each. Team USA’s William Rhoads finished 19th.

Results HERE.

Canada’s Crawford and Jones Comment on Winning Historic Team Sprint Bronze in Milan

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January 16, 2012 (Milan, Italy) – Canada’s Perianne Jones and Chandra Crawford won bronze in the women’s 6×1.4km team sprint FIS WCup in Milan on Sunday – their first-ever medal together and Jones’ first time on the WCup podium.

The moment was made even more special by the fact that Jones and Crawford had the honour of sharing the limelight with their American friends, Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall, who grabbed the silver medal – a North American first.

But their medal was not a given however, as a crash in the semis by Jones put their spot in the finals in jeopardy. Ten teams of two skiers made it to the final, including the Canuck duo, who worked efficiently together in their exchanges and skied excellently to earn their podium spot.

“This feels great. Today our whole goal was to relax, stay on our feet and kick when it counts,” said 28-year-old Crawford. “It is dynamite to be on the podium with Peri. We are a real team out here and want each other to succeed and it is awesome to share this with her.”

Last season in Dusseldorf Crawford landed on the podium in the team sprint with teammate Daria Gaiazova taking home the bronze. In Saturday’s individual sprint Crawford was 7th and her bronze in Milan on Sunday was her second WCup medal this season, after she won silver in the individual freestyle sprint in Rogla, Slovenia in December.

Jones was 12th in the individual sprint matching her career-best finish on the World Cup earned in Stockholm, Sweden last season. Her first visit to a WCup podium is a dream come true for the Almonte, Ont. skier and SkiTrax caught up with Jones after the team sprint event:

You lead off today – how was the start?
Perianne Jones: The first lap was totally crazy, I crashed in our semi-final, so I was just trying to stay out of trouble and read the rest of the people around me to make sure that didn’t happen again. There were lots of broken poles, and crashing everywhere, but we stayed out of trouble.

Is this is your first Team Sprint with Chandra – what kind of prep did you do?
PJ: Chandra and I have teamed up a few times in Dusseldorf, so this wasn’t our first time racing together, but we just practiced our tags a few times, and chatted briefly, but we have total confidence in each other after training so many hours side by side, so we didn’t talk much just went out and did our thing.

How were your skis today and conditions on the track?
PJ: Skis were amazing today, our techs are the best. The track held up really well too, so it was super fast.

Talk about the congestion on the Milan course and your exchanges.
PJ: We totally nailed the exchanges today, in the semifinal we figured out what worked, and we stayed with it through the final, and were always making up places in the exchanges.

You’ve been making steady solid gains with your skiing – what are you doing differently?
PJ: Nothing drastically different, just building on the fitness I have and being able to handle more training.

This is your first-ever WCup podium – how special is it for you?
PJ: It feels pretty great to hit the podium, it’s been a goal for a long time, and it’s also great to share it with Chandra. We have been teammates for a long time, since we were juniors…and being up there with Kikkan and Jessie was a real bonus.

All the best Peri – we are really proud of you guys.
PJ: Thanks!

The Sasseville Report – Milan Sprints and Other Things

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January 16, 2012 – I’ve got to hand it to Juerg Capol and Vegard Ulvang from FIS. They truly have made an effort to bring cross-country skiing to the people of the world. The Tour de Ski with it’s various interesting stages concluding with a climb up a downhill slope is a great example of how they have turned what was once a boring sport to watch into something that is exciting for every kind of fan.

Another example of this is the city sprints like the ones in Milan, Italy, this past weekend. Milan rarely has snow and the Milanese usually have to travel a long way to ski. To bring the best sprinters in the world to this city is brilliant.

What is also brilliant is how well skiers from North American are doing on the World Cup this year. Kikkan Randall, Devon Kershaw, Alex Harvey, and Chandra Crawford have all consistently been at the top of the results list and it has become a pleasure to report on their success this season.

As well, Len Valjas, Ivan Babikov, Perianne Jones and Dasha Gaiazova from Canada as well as Simi Hamilton, Andy Newell, Sadie Bjoernson, Holly Brooks and now Jessie Diggins have also had good races and have scored World Cup points and in some cases have been on the podium.

Every week it seems that someone different from Canada or the US is standing on a podium. The most consistent has been Kikkan Randall who finished 2nd twice in Milan, once on her own in the individual sprint and a second time with young sensation Jessie Diggins in the team sprints.

Diggins had dominated the domestic racing scene in December after a stellar junior career. She is a legitimate talent who has the speed and endurance to be a star on the World Cup.

Chandra Crawford, after a 7th place in the individual sprints, hit the podium again this time with Perianne Jones in the team sprints where they finished right behind the Americans in 3rd. Chandra has been consistently in the top 10 over the past few races and is now a contender in every sprint race.

Len Valjas was the best of the North Americans in the individual sprints finishing in 14th. Simi Hamilton continues to improve finishing in 19th while Andy Newell continued to struggle in heats finishing in 26th after qualifying 8th.

Randall is showing incredible endurance by continuing to race in every World Cup. She has said that she wants to race every one and, barring illness, she will. She continues to lead the Sprint World Cup and sits 4th in the overall World Cup. I have stopped thinking of her as a sprinter. She is now a great overall skier who can succeed in any race.

Kershaw, Harvey and Babikov have taken a much needed rest this week before returning to the World Cup circuit next week in Otepaa, Estonia. There will be classic sprints on Saturday followed by classic individual start distance races on Sunday. The course in Otepaa is one of the hardest in the world and it is one where the best classic skiers and climbers in the world can shine.

This race is another example of how the FIS has created a World Cup circuit for everyone. It appeals to the traditional fan who likes to see an individual start and classic technique race like the old days – 15 years ago!

One last question that I would like to ask all of you – do you think that the Tour de Ski with 8 races over 11 days is as hard as a professional cycling tour that would be the same number of races? Do you think that it is as hard as the Tour de France or the Giro d’Italia? And finally what makes it harder or easier?

Russia Wins Men’s Team Sprint in Milan

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January 15, 2012 (Milan, Italy) – The Russian duo of Alexey Petukhov and Nikolay Morilov scored the win in the men’s 6×1.4km free men’s team sprint at the FIS WCup Sunday in Milan. Sweden’s Calle Halvarsson and Teodor Peterson took the silver medal, while, to the delight of the Italian crowd, David Hofer (ITA) and Fulvio Scola (ITA) sprinted to bronze.

The U.S. squad of Andy Newell and Simeon Hamilton did not advance to the final, finishing off with a 19th-place ranking. No Canadian team was entered in the event.

Results HERE.

Brooks Blog: The Penultimate Race of the Tour de Ski

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January 11, 2012 (Toblach, Italy) – Oh Italy….. I am finally back in connectivity after no Internet for days. There is a theory that Internet is especially sparse in Italy due to some Mafia thing but that has yet to be confirmed. Alas, my apologies for those of you that have checked back only to find my blog without recent updates. It’s been out of my control, for sure! (This also creates a huge back log in correspondence so if I haven’t written you back yet, this is why!)

This afternoon we have our second to last race of the Tour, a 10k classic mass start race at Val di Fiemme. I will make this post brief because I need to get ready but I really want to get something up to let you all know what has been going on.

As I’m sure some of you have seen or read in other publications, I took a slip on the ice Christmas day while running in Ramsau, Austria. It’s taken a while to get a proper diagnosis…. this has included lots of fitful reading on wikipedia, Web MD, and all of those other scary Internet sources where you diagnose yourself and then continue to have nightmares…. However, I was finally able to get both an x-ray and MRI, mid-tour in Oberstdorf, Germany. We were able to deal with an Orthopedic specialist but lots of the medical lingo was lost in translation and there was a fair amount of uncertainty- plus, we were literally trying to get on the road to arrive at the next stage of the Tour. It was quite a debacle of a day but more on that later.

The conclusion from the MRI is/was that I have a non-dislocated fracture of the distal radius bone. They were initially worried about the scaphoid-lunate ligament as well but that appears to be okay which is terrific news.

The second I fell on the ice I knew that something was terribly wrong. My hand was extremely swollen and my range of motion was poor. Christmas was literally 4 days before the beginning of the Tour and it was hard to know what to do. Since then, I have been racing every day, doing my best to compete. While my results have been extremely sub-par, I feel the need to complete the Tour. I’ve worked so hard to get here – and there are so many people who have helped me out along the way. I know there are a handful of other skiers from the US who would have loved to have the start opportunity and I feel the need to represent the US. I often wonder if the decision to keep racing is tough or just plain stupid. I was concerned about the potential of permanent damage to my arm but have been told since that it’s probably just pro-longing my recovery period.

Coming into the Tour my goals included fighting for a top ten stage results and finishing in the top 20 overall. While those goals are completely out of the question now, I continue to race because each time I put a bib on, I learn something valuable. With each stage of the Tour has come another World Cup start, another experience at a new venue, and some pointers and direction towards my results here (hopefully) next year, not to mention later this season.

Also, Val di Fiemme, (where we are now) is the site of the 2013 World Championships so while I’m racing today, I will literally be trying out the course for next year’s Championships. After yesterday’s “inspection ski” I was really psyched – I think the courses suit me well and it gives me a ton of direction for summer and fall training.

I promise a more complete update with tons of pictures soon. In the meantime, THANK YOU SO MUCH TO EVERYONE WHO HAS SUPPORTED MY JOURNEY!!!! YOU ALL MEAN THE WORLD TO ME AND I WILL BE FOREVER GRATEFUL! This injury has been especially difficult in that part of me feels like I’ve let some of you down but I’ve been told that I cannot think that way… and I know I can’t. Nonetheless, THANK YOU and I will continue to do my best to represent you all and get some stories and photos as soon as I possibly can!


Rudy Project Skiers Finish #1 at US XC Ski National Championships

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January 10, 2012 (Rumford, Maine) – This year’s snowless winter isn’t getting the best of the cross country ski season – it’s in full force and Rudy Project athletes continue finishing ahead of the competition.  At the 2012 USSA Cross Country Skiing Championships this past Tuesday in Rumford, Maine, U.S. Olympic skier and Rudy Project sponsored athlete, Torin Koos, found himself at the top of the podium, winning the men’s freestyle 1.6km sprint. Winning the women’s 1.4km sprint was another Rudy Project athlete, Jessie Diggins.

The event at Black Mountain, originally scheduled for last Monday, was cancelled early that morning as a result of temperatures being too warm for snow making on the barren course.  However, as Mother Nature often does, within 24 hours, she chilled the 40-degree temperature to a frigid 15 degrees, cold enough to make snow for Tuesday’s competition.

In the men’s 1.6km sprint, Torin Koos was victorious, ahead of Blackhorse-von Jess in second, and Tyler Kornfield of the University of Alaska in third.  Koos crossed the finish line wearing his Rudy Project Ekynox SGV Mask, an older model that Koos has been swearing by for years.  “Most days, I’m usually rocking the Rudy Project Prestige Sunglasses. But on race days, I pull out the old school Ekynok SGV Mask with the double-layered racing red lens,” said Koos. “They are kind of like my lucky charm on race day,” he added.

While crossing the finish line in her Rudy Project pink fluo Noyz sunglasses, Jessie Diggins took the gold in the women’s 1.4km sprint.  Finishing second was Caitlin Gregg and Jennie Bender in third, all sporting their Rudy Project shades. “As an official supplier for USSA, Rudy Project is honored to see so many Rudys out there on the championship course,” remarked Paul Craig, President and Co-Founder of Rudy Project North America.  “We are especially thrilled to see so many top athletes crossing the finish line in Rudy’s fluo colors,” added Craig.


US XC Ski Championships Day 2 Interviews w/Diggins, Elliott, Gregg and Ellefson

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January 06, 2012 (Rumford, Maine) – Famed sports reporter and commentator Peter Graves was on site in Rumford, Maine at the US XC Ski Championships and spoke with women’s 10km FR individual start winner Jessie Diggins (USST-CXC) after her race. Sport insiders have spoken often over the last year about the near limitless potential of  the 19-year-old. Graves also caught up with 15km FR men’s winner Tad Elliott, Caitlin Gregg (formerly Compton), and Sylvan Ellefson.

Interview with Jessie Diggins

Interview with Tad Elliott

Interview with Caitlin Gregg

Interview with Sylan Ellefson

SkiTrax FIS Fantasy Tour de Ski 2012 Contest – Standings after the 3km/5km CL

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January 06, 2012 (Toronto, ON) – We’re pleased to announce the SkiTrax FIS Fantasy Tour de Ski 2012 Contest leaders following the 3km/5km CL races in Toblach, Italy. In an exciting development, Team Siggy’s Speedsters has broken the tie for first and moved into the lead with 508 points. karlos team and Team Skibunzov are now tied for second spot with 493 points apiece, with Team virtualprofit in third with 485 points.

For the Contest Standings following the 3km/5km CL races click HERE.

Enter our FIS Fantasy Marathon Cup Contest HERE – final deadline is Jan. 7/12.

SkiTrax FIS Fantasy Tour de Ski 2012 Contest Prizes
*1st PrizeRossignol Xium WCS2 skis and boots, Xcelerator skate bindings (value $1,195)
*2nd PrizeMont Ste-Anne –  2 nights lodging w/breakfast + 3-day XC gift certificate, tune-up (value $800)
*3rd PrizeSalomon SLab Skate or Classic Boots (value $400/$450)
*4th PrizeMarwe 610c Roller Skis (value $349)
*5th Prize –  SkiGo Kickwax Package (HF, LF & XC) and Scraper (value $235)
*6th PrizeSporthill Women’s Glacier Top (value $140)
*7th Prize – Bliz Proflip Visor (value $129)
*8th PrizeRottefella Xcelerator Skate/Classic Bindings (value $120)
*9th Prize – Auclair Micro Mountain Olympic Gloves + Earbags (value $65)
*10th PrizeBuff Headware (value $45)

Rest Day Leader Prizes
Jan. 2 – Fresh Air Experience $100 Gift Certificate
Jan. 6 – High Peaks Cyclery $100 Gift Certificate

Thanks to all of our great sponsors, including Rossignol, Mont Ste-Anne, Salomon, Marwe, SkiGo, Sporthill, Bliz, Rottefella, Auclair, Buff, Fresh Air Experience, and High Peaks Cyclery.

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).

Bjoergen Takes Over TdS Race Lead on Stage 7 – Randall Now 5th

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January 05, 2012 (Cortina, Italy) – Marit Bjoergen (NOR) finally claimed the red leader’s bib over her closest rival Justyna Kowalczyk (POL) on Stage 7 of the 2012 Tour de Ski, a 15km free race with handicap start. The two were tied at three wins apiece before the stage, but at the end of the day, Bjoergen edged ahead grabbing the win and the leader’s bib for the first time during the nine-stage contest.

While it’s a small margin of seven seconds it’s the first time Bjoergen has ever been the Tour’s overall leader. She is now poised to become the first Norwegian to win the TdS. Team mate Therese Johaug (NOR) raced in a lonely limbo, maintaining her third place ranking and finished +3:16.9 behind.

The USA’s Kikkan Randall had a solid day, finishing fifth after starting fourth. She didn’t have the best first half but as her engine warmed up she picked up the pace. Krista Lahteenmaki (FIN) caught and passed her on the second lap to claim fourth on the day and is now 4th overall. Randall won a hard-fought race for fifth in an all-out sprint with Marthe Kristoffersen (NOR) and Charlotte Kalla (SWE), who settled for sixth and seventh, respectively.

Temperatures on race day were a comfortable minus 3 C when Kowalczyk pushed off first, 4.8s ahead of Bjoergen, who proceeded to bridge to her. Together, Kowalczyk and Bjoergen maintained their head-to-head battle over the entire 15km distance, neither able to shake the other.

When Bjoergen launched an attack on the second lap, Kowalczyk responded, refusing to be shaken. The race was decided in the final metres, when Kowalczyk made a small technical mistake, allowing Bjoergen to surge away and gain precious seconds for the win and the overall lead.

Johaug, in third place overall, now trails the leader by 3:20 and will have a hard time making up lost ground on the final two stages of the Tour. Randall also has her work cut out as she is 15 seconds from Lahteenmahki in fourth but is being hunted closely by Kristoffersen at only four-tenths of a second behind. In fact, sixth through 11th place are all within a minute of the American.

Women’s 15km FR results HERE.
Women’s 15km FR results detail HERE.
Women’s TdS Overall HERE.

Cologna Breaks Northug on TdS Queen Stage 7 – Strong Kershaw Still 4th Overall

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January 05, 2012 (Cortina, Italy) – Switzerland’s Dario Cologna pulled away from Petter Northug of Norway on Stage 7, the Tour de Ski’s Queen Stage, a 32km point-to-point freestyle race, breaking his Norwegian rival with a convincing win.

Cologna, who was in a league of his own today, turned what had been a meagre 13.5-second lead into a much more significant gap of one minute and 28 seconds. Skiing alone out front for all but a few minutes of the the race, Cologna stopped the clock at 1:09:25.2.

Canada’s Devon Kershaw, had a strong race as well posting the third fastest time finishing 4th on the day, to retain his 4th place overall position. Kershaw looked smooth and skied much of the day at the front of the chase group of five skiers that formed behind Cologna in the latter half of the gruelling race.

“This is a race I have been thinking about all year for 365 days. I was so nervous last night and this morning it was unreal,” said the 29-year-old Kershaw. “This is probably the best skate-ski race I have ever had.  I couldn’t have imagined to have skied this strong.”

His teammate Alex Harvey, who was skiing with a second chase group, also had a good day, managing to hold onto 9th overall, although he lost a few seconds and is currently at 3:07.8 behind Cologna.

While Northug managed to hold on for second in today’s stage, he struggled early on and is now in a dogfight to stay on the podium at this year’s Tour. Cologna led out today’s handicap-start race with a 13.5-second lead over the Norwegian but Northug charged after him and quickly closed the gap. His push cost him tho’ as his Swiss rival accelerated soon after Northug caught him but the Norwegian could not match Cologna’s pace and quickly faded.

Northug was soon caught by Russia’s Alexander Legkov and the two skied together over the top of the long initial climb at 11.5km. The duo was eventually caught at about the 22km mark by a chase group of three that included Kershaw, Marcus Hellner (SWE), and Maurice Magnificat (FRA).

Entering the stadium just over a minute after Cologna crossed the line, the chase group of five was left to battle for the final two spots on today’s podium and the bonus seconds that came with them. Northug, who had been lurking at the back most of the time, showed off his classic finishing speed and out-sprinted the small pack to the line, followed by Legkov and Kershaw.

Cologna retains his overall lead in the Tour, but gave up time to all of his nearest rivals except Northug. There are now five skiers within a minute and half of Cologna, with two hard and decisive stages to go.

Also having a good day today was the USA’s Kris Freeman, who finished 42nd to moved up to 29th overall at 6:48.3 behind Cologna. Canada’s Ivan Babikov also skied well to move up from 43rd to 35th today and sits 6:56.1 behind the race leader.

Men’s 35km results HERE.
Men’s 35km results detail HERE.
Men’s TdS Overall HERE.

Hop on the Team Canada Bus During TdS 2012

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January 03, 2012 (Toblach, Italy) – Justin Wadsworth, head coach of the Canadian Cross-Country Ski Team, along with athletes Devon Kershaw, Alex Harvey and Ivan Babikov bring you on the team’s unique bus they are using to aid in rest in recovery while traveling through Germany and Italy as they compete in the ultimate grind of high-performance sport – the Tour de Ski. Modeled after the Tour de France in cycling, the world’s best all-around cross-country ski athletes will compete in nine races in 11 days while traveling to five cities in two countries.

Check it out HERE.

Legkov Victorious at TdS Stage 5 as Cologna Now Leads – Kershaw Top North American in 18th

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January 03, 2012 (Toblach, Italy) – Russia’s Alexander Legkov finally broke through for his first podium of the season, a victory in today’s 5th stage of the Tour de Ski, an individual start 5km classic race in Toblach, Italy. Legkov finished today’s race in 13:49.5. Norway’s Eldar Roenning came in 2nd at 1.7 seconds followed by Dario Cologna (SUI) in third at 2.0 seconds back as he takes over the race lead from Norway’s Petter Northug was a little off the pace today, finishing in 12th.

The Russians were out in force in today’s race and surely nailed the wax or made the best of their zero skis, after placing six men in the top 11. Canada’s Devon Kershaw lead the North American men placing 18th as he finished 24.6 seconds behind Legkov. His teammate Alex Harvey had a bit of an off day, placing 29th at 37.5 seconds back of the leader. Ivan Babikov, who is nursing an injured arm after crashing in the Skiathon on Jan. 1, finished in 72nd place.

It was another tough day for the US team as well, with Simi Hamilton pulling out the Tour prior to today’s race, the victim of a stomach virus, according to Head Coach Chris Grover. The sole remaining US man in the Tour, Kris Freeman, finished 52nd on the day.

Cologna moves into the overall Tour lead after today, while Northug drops to 2nd, followed by Legkov in 3rd. Legkov’s victory today, including a 15-second time bonus for the win, has closed the gap to Northug  to less than 30 seconds, so the Tour is beginning to look more like a three-man race.  Kershaw holds onto 5th place, while Harvey has dropped to 15th overall after today’s disappointing result.

5km CL results HERE.
Tour de Ski Overall HERE.

The 33rd Annual Rendezvous Race Set for Mar. 3

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January 03, 2012 (West Yellowstone, MT) – The Rendezvous Ski Trails in West Yellowstone, Mont. are in great shape with the entire trail system groomed for both skate and classic skiing. Elevation and natural snowfall have been our friends this season, and skiers here have been spoiled with fantastic, mid-winter conditions all season.

Make plans now to enjoy some of the best skiing in the world, and mark your calendars for the 33rd annual Yellowstone Rendezvous Race, on March 3, 2012, sponsored by Yellowstone National Park Lodges.

The Yellowstone Rendezvous Race is a cornerstone of cross-country skiing in West Yellowstone, and is part of the American Ski Marathon Series. There are six different races offered for skiers of all ages. Marathoners can enter the 50 kilometer freestyle race, which consists of two laps around the perimeter of the Rendezvous Ski Trail system. Racers can enter the 25 kilometer events under classic or freestyle technique, with the 10k as a great choice for those preferring a shorter distance. The 5k and 2k races are geared for kids… bring the whole family!

The Rendezvous Race is a fun, festive event in a unique location. The camaraderie at the start is evident and follows racers along the course. To support racers in the 25 or 50k division, local community groups staff feed stations along the trails, and the theme this year is “Pirates”. Look for eye patches, hooks, hats, and of course, treasure. Bragging rights are on the line. Racers vote for their favorite feed station and the winners gloat for the rest of the year.

For most skiers, crossing the finish line is the goal. The fastest skiers will be rewarded with medals and cash prizes at the awards ceremony on Saturday evening. All racers are invited to treat themselves to the complimentary desert bar at the Holiday Inn after the race.

For more information, please visit www.rendezvousrace.com.

Canadian Video Highlights and Interviews from Day 1 at the Tour de Ski

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December 30, 2011 (Oberhof, Germany) – Check out this great video courtesy of the Canadian Team during Day 1 of the Tour de Ski, including training clips, action in the wax room, race footage, and post-race interviews with the athletes, including Ivan Babikov and Devon Kershaw.

Kowalczyk and Northug Claim Prologue Victories at Tour de Ski – Harvey 6th and Randall 10th

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December 29, 2011 (Oberhof, Germany) – Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland staked her claim to the women’s Tour de Ski overall crown with a win in today’s opening 3.1km Prologue stage in Oberhof, Germany. Kowalczyk bested World Cup overall leader, Marit Bjoergen (NOR) by 0.4 seconds over the 2.5km course. Sweden’s Hannah Brodin was third.

Among the American women, Kikkan Randall finished a solid 10th, with teammates Liz Stephen and Holly Brooks (who is suffering with an injured wrist – read more HERE) coming in 37th and 53rd respectively.

Meanwhile, Norway’s Petter Northug backed up his intentions to win the Tour this year with a win in the men’s 4.0km Prologue, beating Tour arch rival Dario Cologna of Switzerland by .7 seconds. France’s Maurice Magnificat finished third.

The Canadian men had an excellent day, with Alex Harvey finishing 6th and Devon Kershaw 12th. Ivan Babikov was further back in 38th position while Andy Newell had the top result for the US squad in 29th place, followed by Simi Hamilton and Kris Freeman in 63rd and 64th respectively.

Full women’s results HERE.
Full men’s results HERE.

The Eve of the Tour de Ski

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December 29, 2011 (Oberhof, Germany) – So…. I haven’t said much on my blog yet about the Tour de Ski but here it is – starting TOMORROW!  As there is no World Champs or Olympics this year, the Tour is kind of the pinnacle of the race year. Many of the top athletes have been aiming to perform well here all year. I was a last minute addition to the US Tour roster after having performances during period one of the World Cup this fall.

I am ecstatic to have the opportunity to race this event. As a distance skier and high volume trainer, I absolutely LOVE the thought of racing day in and day out, challenging myself physically, mentally, and emotionally. I have no idea how I’ll do or what will happen to by body as the days of fatigue add up but this is a great time to try it and I couldn’t be more excited for the challenge.

There are a ton of friends, family, and even people I don’t know that have helped make it possible for me to be here. As many of you know, I’m responsible for providing my own funding and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the generous support and enthusiasm of many of YOU. I hesitate to name anyone personally because there are so many of you and I don’t want to leave anyone out but you know who you are.

The experience of needing support and needing it fast has really been really moving. I only hope that I can repay many of you back with the generosity someday be it in the form of a ski lesson, athletic inspiration, a smile, or perhaps one day, dollars to a cause important to you. I know that on Thursday, when I put a bib on, I will feel like I’m racing with the support of people from Washington and Alaska; Kongsberger Ski Club, Alaska Pacific University, and Snoqualmie Nordic Team. THANK YOU so much to ALL of you!

As far as challenges go, I feel the need to share something that’s been on the fore front of my mind lately…. Christmas Day I decided to go for a short run before dinner. It was dark out and icy in places. Just as I was about to turn around and head back to the Kobaldhof, I slipped on the ice, falling back, and caught myself with my left hand. I knew instantly that it was not good…. but I wasn’t sure how bad. And I still don’t know. The plan for tomorrow, and each day afterwards is to ice, tape, take some anti-immflatatory medication and go for it.

The US team doesn’t have a doctor here at the moment so this morning I went and saw the Norwegian Team’s Doctor and “Physio.” (The Euro name for PT). They were incredibly generous to see me and were encouraging in that they do not think my wrist has a scaphoid fracture – my greatest worry via a couple hours on email and web MD. (Always a bad idea and also guaranteed to give you nightmares). If Petra Madjic can win a bronze medal at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games with broken ribs and a punctured lung, perhaps I can race the Tour, and excel in it with whatever injury my wrist may have sustained. It’s not ideal but I’m certainly not the first athlete who has gotten a bit beat up.

Time for bed as often rest provides one with the best healing and rejuvenation powers! Thank you everyone for everything and I’ll do my best to keep you posted through this incredible journey!


Holly :)

Minocqua Couple Donates Millions to Protect XC Skiing

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December 28, 2011 (Minocqua, WI) – A couple from Minocqua, WI bought over 3,200 acres of land near their home and donated it to the Northwoods Land Trust with the goal of preserving the land for recreational use reports myFOXwausau.com. The couple has a long family history of recreating on the land from biking and hiking, to cross-country skiing – read the full article HERE.

Canadian XC Team in Davos – Photos

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December 27, 2011 (Davos, Switzerland) – When the Canadian XC squad was in Davos for the FIS WCup earlier this month, new CCC sponsor One Way organized a photo shoot for the country’s top skiers. Check out the pics and put on your shades for the ones where the team is decked out in their “yellow flash” parkas!

Chama Chile Ski Classic – Jan. 14-16

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December 27, 2011 (Chama, NM) – Come out and play in the snow at the Chama Chile Ski Classic, January 14-16, 2012 over the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend in Chama, NM! There will be 3 days of fun for everyone and 7 cross-country ski and snowshoe races! This winter event is held in the charming, quaint Village of Chama and the races are held on the Rio Grande National Forest between Antonito, Colorado and Chama, New Mexico. There’s everything from Freestyle and Classic style cross-country ski races and a snowshoe race to family events and a chile/chili contest, where you can taste some of Northern New Mexico’s best family recipes.

Families can take advantage of the Classic Cross-country Ski Techniques Clinic (there will be 4 instructors for beginner to advanced), broom hockey and Frisbee golf for the kids, and some of the ski/snowshoe/yurt tours being offered over the weekend. For even more fun, there will be a costume contest and snow sculptures at the ski race site.

In the evenings, there will be live music and beer tasting at the High Country Restaurant in Chama. Gary Gorrence from Pecos, NM will be playing on Friday, January 13th with his own style of country and southwestern rock. The Muddy Mountain Orchestra from Taos, NM will be playing Irish, rock-n-roll blues and bluegrass on Saturday, January 14th and the Porchlights from Dolores, CO will be returning with their original, “rocking acoustical mayhem”. Both the Saturday and Sunday bands will be playing before and after the Awards Ceremonies each evening.

For more information, on the weekend schedule and registration go to www.chamaski.com or call 575-756-2294 or email chiliskiclassic@yahoo.com.

For athletes, there are 2 days of cross-country ski and snowshoe races. On Saturday, January 14th there will be both a 7.5K and 15K Freestyle Cross-Country Ski race. On Sunday, January 15th, there will be 5K and 10K Classic Style Cross-Country Ski races and a 5 K Snowshoe race. Those who need more of a challenge can enter the combined 5K Ski/5K Snowshoe Race or the 10K Ski/5K Snowshoe Race. Skiers can also “go retro” in the wooden ski category or enter a team in the 5K Classic XC ski race.

More advanced skiers and racers, can take advantage of the Telemark Skiing Clinic, Classic Style XC Skiing Techniques Clinic and Ski Waxing Clinic.

A Restorative Yoga class is being offered by Steve Ilg with High Performance Yoga on Saturday afternoon to help all skiers unwind from the day’s activities and prepare for the next day of races.

For the skier or snowshoer who doesn’t want to compete, there will be a guided XC ski/snowshoe tour to the Sargent’s Wildlife Area (now groomed for XC skiing & snowshoeing) and tours to a couple of the yurts located in the South San Juan Mountains near Chama. After the races on Sunday, everyone is welcome to ski the race course.

An Avalanche Rescue Techniques Clinic offered on Saturday, January 14th in the afternoon, is a must for skiers and snowmobilers who venture onto snowy, mountainous terrain.

The races and many of the events are held on the Rio Grande National Forest through a special use permit.
For more information go to www.chamaski.com or call 575-756

Thank you for supporting the CCSC.

Heading Home…

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December 21, 2011 – After the ski racing scene made a stop in British Columbia’s SilverStar Mountain, I headed six hours south down the Okanogan Valley to my old stomping grounds to the Wenatchee Valley. Highway 97 might not have the most recognizable name, but traveling the two lane road takes you through some of the finest agricultural country in the west. It’s always interesting to head through mostly rural, largely geographically isolated towns, like those that trade in names such as Pentecton, Oroville, Brewster or Chelan, where signs from a different era and brick storefronts replace the Chevrons and Golden Arches. The locals have a little more presence, a little more personality and, I suspect, reflect more the life of the people who live there.

Heading home, though, has not brought an end to the mostly snowless winter. Snow is patchy at best. The first day I hit the trails I couldn’t head to my familiar haunts like the little Ski Hill in Leavenworth or trails that meander along the Wenatchee River. That first day I skied the first day in an alfalfa field, rolled with an Arctic Cat snowmobile in Plain, Washington. For the meager amount of snow, and limited terrain, the skiing wasn’t more than what one could expect. Also, it’s always interesting to skate and glide in some new locale. That the Plain ski venue in the alfalfa fields sits next to the only road I’ve ever seen the backseat of a Crown Vic on – for rollerskiing outside the fogline up Beaver Hill – brought back some remembrances.

Getting back home also gave me the chance to catch up with Mr. Peck and his 5th grade class. With Christmas Break now upon them, and the schoolwork assignments giving way to Christmas parties, the girls have told me they think I am their lucky rabbit’s foot. It’s been great to get back in the classroom – especially that I finished my own finals for the university learning – to catch up with Mr. Peck and connect with the kids. Yes, the days in Pacific Northwest are the perfect place to be, even if I wouldn’t mind for a few more snowflakes to fall any day yet.

Until the next time,


USST Members to Give Free Clinic to Methow Valley Home Team – Dec. 21

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December 21, 2011 (Early Winters, WA) – This year, the Methow Valley Nordic Team has no less than four graduates who are skiing at an elite level in international competitions. Sadie Bjornsen and her younger brother Erik Bjornsen are members of the U.S. Ski Team, hoping to make the 2014 Olympic Games.

Brian Gregg, ranked among the 10 fastest skiers in the country, has been invited by the U.S. Ski Team to compete in Europa Cup races and has earned World Cup Start rights by leading the overall Super Tour.

Casey Smith, named Junior Biathlete of the Year by the U.S. Biathlon Team, and is near qualifying for the U.S. Biathlon European Championship Team

All four of these elite athletes will be giving back to the community and their home team, by giving a free ski clinic on Wednesday, Dec. 21, at the Mazama Community Center, for members of the Methow Valley Nordic Team. Over 30 kids have pre-registered!

Click HERE to view the announcement on Sadie Bjornsen’s blog.

Crescent Lake Challenge Jan. 15 – Registration Open

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December 20, 2011 (Crescent Lake, OR) – Registration for the Crescent Lake Challenge freestyle ski race and citizen tour, set for Sunday, January 15, 2012, is now open. The event, which takes place on a 22km course on the groomed trails and rolling hills around scenic Crescent Lake, Oregon, in the central Cascades is popular, and due to limited space in the lodge for the free hot lunch, entries are limited to 120 skiers.

Organizers are adding a classic track set (conditions permitting). All levels of skiers are welcome but be prepared to ski 14 miles.

Start Time: 10 am Sunday, January 15th

Learn more and sign up HERE.

Q & A with Kikkan Randall – Drafting

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December 08, 2011 – In this week’s edition of Kikkan Randall’s Q&A, biathlete Carsen Campbell asked an interesting question about drafting in racing. Kikkan responded with some valuable tips and a word of caution…. Check out Randall’s Training Rap HERE and check her MAILBAG for all Q&As thru the season.


Q&A Drafting

Hello Kikkan,

I am a biathlete from eastern Canada and am trying to take my raceing to a new level, my question regards drafting. How effective and important is this? Any insight you could provide and tips for effective drafting would be of great help to me.

Good luck, and keep up the great results.


Carsen Campbell

Hey Carsen,

Thanks for your question. Drafting is always a curious topic. Sometimes it can really make a difference and sometimes it doesn’t seem to really work at all.

From my experience, if you can tuck in behind a good skier and follow their rhythm, it can help teach you how to make efficient movements and stay relaxed in your own skiing. You can also save up a little energy for that last punch you need at the finish.

The only thing to consider when drafting is that you are at the mercy of the skier ahead. They get to take whatever line they want, they could fall or bobble and you may have a hard time getting around them when it counts. So my advice is to practice skiing behind others in practice and learn to always be ready for something to happen.

Good luck in your racing!

Kikkan :)

Beckie Scott and Milaine Theriault Named Chairs of CCC Women’s Committee

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December 08, 2011 (Canmore, AB) – Cross Country Canada has named two of Canada’s best-ever female cross-country skiers, Beckie Scott and Milaine Theriault, as chairs of its Women’s Committee. The Committee has recently been given a fresh mandate that will improve the profile of the Committee as it facilitates opportunities for girls and women in all facets of cross-country skiing.

The Women’s Committee is an operational committee of Cross Country Canada (CCC) which exists to ensure equality of opportunity for girls and women as participants, competitors, coaches, officials and leaders in cross-country skiing in each of its five regions across the country (Atlantic; Quebec/Nunavut; Ontario; Manitoba/Saskatchewan/Alberta/ NWT; and British Columbia/Yukon).

Both Olympians, Theriault, of St. Quentin, N.B. and Scott, a two-time Olympic medalist from Vermilion, Alta., take over as co-chairs from Maureen Kershaw who has successfully chaired the Committee for several years now.

“Milaine and Beckie played a critical role in creating a competitive culture of excellence for our program in Canada during their careers which has inspired thousands of young Canadians to start cross-country skiing,” said Davin MacIntosh, executive director, Cross Country Canada. “These two Olympic heroes are role models on and off the snow to women and young girls across the country, are passionate about the sport and know what it takes to succeed.”

Theriault and Scott, along with Sara Renner, formed one of the strongest women’s cross-country ski teams in the history of the program. The Canadian women followed a steady progression throughout their career that saw them grow from participants who finished near the bottom of the results sheet at their Olympic debut in 1998 to medal winners in 2006 prior to their retirement.

“For some time I have been thinking of how to get involved and give back to the ski community in appreciation for all of the support I received as an athlete,” said Theriault. “Co-chairing an initiative that I’m very passionate about, with a great teammate and friend in Beckie is a perfect fit for me. I believe we can draw on our experiences to make a difference and I look forward to the challenge.”

The Committee’s focus is on educating women on the roles they have an opportunity to pursue in cross-country skiing and facilitating the participation of women in areas where affirmative action is required. “Creating new opportunities to get involved in cross-country skiing that will change the lives of women in every corner of this country, with the ultimate goal of developing more young girls into elite skiers” is what Scott says will drive her interest in the project.

Reporting to Cross Country Canada’s executive director, Theriault and Scott will work collaboratively with management Committee Members during their two-year term. While the program will be more formally launched in the New Year, the two Co-Chairs will concentrate their short-term efforts on filling the Committee membership which will include the following positions: an athlete representative; executive director; a member of the Board; appropriate staff persons to support activities and programs;representatives from any of the five Regions that wish to participate.


Celebrating the Success of Teammates and Thoughts on a Coach

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December 07, 2011 (Davos, Switzerland) – I just returned to “home away from home” Hotel Kulm from an exciting, high-paced World Cup weekend in Dusseldorf, Germany. While the weekend’s racing format didn’t explicitly compliment my skill set it was a great experience and more importantly, I was there to witness my teammates stand on a World Cup podium.

If you’ve been living under a rock (or perhaps you aren’t a ski news junkie and that’s perfectly okay)  Kikkan and Sadie won a silver medal in the team sprint yesterday on the city streets of Dusseldorf, Germany.  Ida Sargent and I teamed up for the sprint as well and unfortunately we were 2 seconds from making it through to the finals as “lucky losers.”  Although I was disappointed, it provided us with great viewing and cheering opportunities for the other girls.  Funny thing was, amongst the crowds, Sadie and Kikkan both said they could hear us screaming for them on course!!!!

Yesterday was an incredible day for my teammates and for all of US Skiing.  Once again, we have shown the Euros that WE can be in there.  That we are competitors, and even though we live out of a suitcase for months on end to do it, they should not discount our fitness, courage or tenacity.

I have to admit, when it comes to taking pictures, I have no problem pushing to the front of crowds and getting my canon “powershot SD1300” out there amongst the 3-foot long lenses.  Also, perhaps I’m a horrible person for doing this but I may or may not have stepped in front of a small child to get some great shots! I couldn’t help it – how often do the girls you roller ski in the rain with (while everyone else is still sleeping off hangovers) stand on World Cup podiums? I mean, really?! Can you say Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center ROCKS?! I can!

While it’s easy to give all the congratulations to Kikkan and Sadie – and of course they deserve every ounce of it….. I’d like to acknowledge the coaches and particularly one person, Erik Flora for helping make this happen.  As a competitor that’s also been a coach and a wax tech, my perspective stems from all angles.  While there were only two people standing on the podium yesterday in D-dorf, Erik Flora has  gone above and beyond to make that silver medal possible, not to mention, my success over here too….

I don’t know anyone else in the world that loves skiing more than Erik does. The guy could literally inspire a rock to get up off the ground and do some burpees. (A really hard exercise that combines a push up and a jump.)  He is a student of the sport spending his night-time hours watching the latest video, corresponding with other coaches from around the world on theories, testing our skis by headlamp once everyone else has gone home….. some may say he’s crazy but isn’t there some kind of saying that says something like, “Great things happen when people break the norm” or something to that effect?

In 2006, the APU program was in transition.  Erik saw the opportunity to create a World-class ski team in a setting where the time was right.  He seized the opportunity.  Since then, everyday for the last five years he’s been working 12-23 hours a day to make us fast.  To make us competitive. To give us every advantage he possibly can.

Erik turns any hardship into an opportunity (it may be white-out fog and blowing wind but THIS could be CHAMPIONSHIP conditions one day!) and exudes the excitement of a 6-year old on Christmas morning on a DAILY basis.  His work ethic and his dedication to the betterment of the sport and to the athletes he coaches is impressive and admirable. When times are tough and confidence is low he has a special ability to find the bright side of any situation. He never underestimates anyone or tells them they can’t or they won’t or they shouldn’t.

Yesterday, when I was standing in the crowd looking up at my teammates on the podium I was envisioning three people up there: leg one and two of the team sprint relay along with their coach who had the biggest grin from ear to ear that you’ve ever seen.

Thanks to Erik Flora for his dedication and to all the coaches and support stuff out there that help athletes realize their dreams and inspire others to do so as well.

Oh – and here are a couple of other shots from D-Dorf…. the Germany Christmas bazaar was amazing! I wish I had more than 1/2 hour to check it out.

Thanks for reading and thanks again for the words of support and encouragement!

Holly :)

Canadian Men’s Team – Livigno Update Video

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December 05, 2011 (Livigno, Italy) – Canada’s Devon Kershaw just tweeted this entertaining video of the men’s National XC Ski team in Livigno, Italy. Viewers are treated to wine-tasting with Alex Harvey and clips of the team training, all with some great background beats. Check it out.

SkiTrax FIS Fantasy WCup 2011/12 Contest – Standings after Sjusjoen REVISED

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November 27, 2011 (Toronto, ON) – With the 2011/12 Viessmann FIS XC World Cup season officially underway, we are pleased to announce the SkiTrax FIS Fantasy WCup 2011/12 Contest standings after round one of the series in Sjusjoen, Norway this past weekend and apologize for the delay. Leading the contest is team Paulleloupbleumauvevertgrisnoirblanc with 174 points. Probably the winning team trails by 6 points and is tied in second with team domy.

The World Cup series moved to Kuusamo, Finland this weekend for round two and we’ll have the contest standings following these races posted shortly.

For the Contest Standings after Sjusjoen click HERE.

SkiTrax Fantasy FIS World Cup 2011/12 Contest Prizes
* 1st Prize Fischer 11/12 Carbonlite Hole Skis, Xcelerator Bindings, Carbonlite Poles (value $1,100)
* 2nd PrizeSkiGo Carbon 780 Roller Skis (value $580)
* 3rd Prize
Alpina ESK Ski Boots (value $449)
* 4th Prize Bjorn Daehlie Exclusive US XC Ski Suit (value $300)
* 5th Prize Sporthill XC Pants/Tights and Glacier Top (value $220)
* 6th PrizeFresh Air Experience or High Peaks Cyclery Gift Certificate (value $150)
* 7th PrizeRottefella Xcelerator Skate/Classic Bindings (value $130)
* 8th PrizeBliz Proflip Visor (value $129)
* 9th Prize
Concept2 Goodie Duffle Bag (value $100)
* 10th PrizeAuclair Micro Mountain Olympic Gloves + Earbags (value $65)
* WCup BreaksBuff Headware (value $22) to top 3 contest leaders before the Tour de Ski

Thanks to all of our great sponsors, including Fischer, SkiGo, Alpina, Bjorn Daehlie Clothing, Sporthill, Fresh Air Experience, High Peaks Cyclery, Rottefella, Bliz, Concept 2, 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).

Peterson and Bjoergen Win Kuusamo Sprints – Career Bests for Randall in 4th and Valjas in 5th

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November 25, 2011 (Kuusamo, Finland) – Teodor Peterson (SWE) and Marit Bjeorgen (NOR) were victorious in today’s classic sprint races in Kuusamo, Finland, the first of three days of racing in the first Viessman FIS World Cup mini-tour event of the season. North Americans had a decent day, with a handful qualifying for the heats and the USA’s Kikkan Randall and Canada’s Lenny Valjas making it into the finals. Norway’s Petter Northug, a threat in any race, was a surprise 16th, after failing to make it out of his quarter final.

Racing in icy conditions with fresh snow falling in the tracks as the finals got underway, Peterson notched his first World Cup victory with a convincing win over Russia’s Nikita Kriukov and Norway’s Oeystein Pettersen. Canada’s Valjas recorded a career best World Cup result, placing 5th in the closely contested final. Finland’s Anssi Pentsinen, something of a surprise winner in the morning’s qualifier, delighted the stadium crowd by making it into the final, in which he placed 6th.

Bjoergen, who qualified 5th, once again demonstrated her power, taking control of the women’s final at the halfway mark and never looked back. Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla was second, with Vibeke Skofterud finishing third, just holding off the hard-charging Randall, who established a career-best in classic sprint result claiming 4th, and making her first World Cup final in the discipline.

A number of other North Americans qualified for the heats today in Kuusamo. Canada’s Chandra Crawford earned her way into the heats for the first time in five tries in Kuusamo, qualifying 10th, showing that her classic sprinting has come a long way. Crawford was  eliminated in the quarters and finished 22nd. Her teammate, Dasha Gaiazova, shook off the jet lag from her recent arrival in Scandinavia to qualify in 12th overall before also being knocked out in the quarter-finals and finishing 14th on the day.

The USA’s Andy Newell qualified 19th and Canada’s Alex Harvey was 29th. Both were eliminated in the quarter finals, with Newell holding at 19th and Harvey moving up to 24th.

It was a tough day for Canada’s Perianne Jones and Devon Kershaw, both of whom failed to qualify. Jones finished 44th and Kershaw 56th in qualification.



1. Marit Bjoergen (NOR)
2. Charlotte Kalla (SWE)
3. Vibeke Skofterud (NOR)

4.   Kikkan Randall (USA)
14. Dasha Gaiazova (CAN)
22. Chandra Crawford (CAN)
43. Ida Sargent (USA)
44. Perianne Jones (CAN)
47. Sadie Bjorsen (USA)
50. Alysson Marshall (CAN)
70. Holly Brooks (USA)
85. Liz Stephen


1. Teodor Peterson (SWE)
2. Nikita Kriukov (RUS)
3. Oyestein Pettersen (NOR)

5.  Lenny Valjas (CAN)
19. Andy Newell (USA)
24. Alex Harvey (CAN)
56. Devon Kershaw (CAN)
82. Kris Freeman (USA)
87. Drew Goldsack (CAN)
91. Graham Nishikawa (CAN)
100. Ivan Babikov (CAN)
102. Lars Flora (USA)
111. Kevin Sandau (CAN)
120. Noah Hoffman (USA)
122. Tad Elliot (USA)
DNS – Simi Hamilton (USA)

Women’s qualification results HERE.
Women’s final results HERE.

Men’s qualification results HERE.
Men’s final results HERE.

Talkin’ with the Gravy-Train – Andy Newell Interview

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November 24, 2011   – Check out the third installment of our new SkiTrax audio series, Talkin’ with the Gravy-Train, featuring legendary commentator and sports reporter Peter Graves. Our guest this week is US skier, Andy Newell, who just arrived in Kuusamo, Finland for this weekend’s Viessmann FIS XC World Cup races. Newell reflects on his performance last weekend in Sjusjoen, Norway and looks ahead to round two, which starts Friday.

Peter’s first interviewee was Kikkan Randall, and if you missed that interview, click HERE. For Peter’s interview with Kris Freeman, click HERE.

Audio Interview with Newell

World Cup News – Bauer Launches Season, Heikkinen Puts it on Hold

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November 24, 2011 – Tommorow, the Czech Republic’s top Cross-Country Skier, Lukas Bauer, will kick off his FIS Cross-Country World Cup season, while Finland’s Matti Heikkinen will sit out the second round of the series due to injury.

Friday will feature the classical 1.4 km sprint, Bauer’s favourite event: “Yes, my favorite classical sprint,” Lukas Bauer said with a smile.

Bonus seconds will be distributed to the top 30, with the winner of tomorrow’s race receiving 60 bonus seconds, while 30th place gains 1 second. Stage 2 of the “Mini-Tour” takes place on Saturday with 5/10 km Free technique individual start. The 10/15 km Classic Pursuit race on Sunday will determine winners of the second edition of Ruka Triple. The overall winner takes 200 points and 33 750 CHF, winner of the day will be awarded with 50 points.

“I’m not setting for myself any goals not only for the sprint but for not the Mini-Tour either. I can only surprise after the training drop-out. On the other hand be sure I’d like to confirm good feelings from trainings also in the race,” Bauer is warning his competitors.

The Czech skier started last year’s Ruka Triple with 104th position in the opening sprint. His fastest time in the third day brought him to a decent 9th place overall. Bauer sit out the opening FIS Cross-Country World Cup season in Norway and has been catching up after the training drop-out earlier in November.

“I’ve increased the training load step by step. At first I did only one hour skiing in the morning, in the afternoon I was walking around with ski poles and excercised some light strength training. The following day I did two 90 minutes skiing training sessions and the third day it was two times two hours of skiing and quality strength training,” Lukas Bauer describes. During the recovery Bauer was under the thorough surveillance of the team coach Martin Koldovsky.

“I did not want to do the come back with too much haste. I trained four days in the row having followed the training plan from Janko Neuber,” Bauer adds up.

FIS Cross-Country World Cup overall winner from the 2007/08 season has been aiming to prepare a good training base and to carry out quality fast workouts. “In spite of having been shortly after the training drop-out, the feeling from skiing was good. I was happy about that,” Bauer says.

Matti Heikkinen to Skip Ruka Triple Due to Injury
Finland’s World Champion from Oslo Matti Heikkinen has been forced to withdraw from the home World Cup in Kuusamo and will not be starting in Ruka Triple.

Heikkinen should have led the Finnish squad in the three-day Mini-Tour in Kuusamo but unfortunately will not appear at the start of tomorrow’s stage 1, classical sprint. Heikkinen injured his eye when he jumped over the fence and fell down afterwards. Heikkinen is to leave Kuusamo and is returning home.

“I’m naturally disappointed. I’ve been in Kuusamo since Monday and have been preparing for the competition. Now, I’m going home and have to rest for 3-4 days so that no sweat gets in my eye,” Heikkinen said at the Finnish press conference in hotel Rantassipi, Ruka.

Finnish national coach Magnar Dahlen revealed he would step in instead of injured Heikkinen. “Mikko Koutaniemi will be in the World Cup team and Teemu Harkönen will start within the national quota,” the coach explained.

The first stage of Ruka Triple starts tomorrow at 9:45 (CET) with qualification and 11:30 with quarterfinals.

Alberta World Cup 2012 Video

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November 24, 2011 (Canmore, AB) – Check out this breathtaking, heart pumping video that gives fans and racers alike a glimpse of the upcoming cross country skiing Alberta World Cup scheduled for December 2012.

Sjusjoen World Cup Opener Photos by Holly Brooks

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November 23, 2011 (Sjusjoen, Norway) – Check out the gallery of photos below from this past weekend’s World Cup opening races in Sjusjoen, Norway, courtesy of  the USST’s Holly Brooks. The women of the USST had a historic weekend, with personal best results in individual distances races by Kikkan Randall (8th) and Liz Stephen (18th), and a historic ninth place in the women’s 4x5km relay (anchored by Brooks), equaling their performance in the World Championships in Oslo last year. While the US men couldn’t match the success of the women’s team, they put in some good hard efforts, including finishing 11th in the men’s 4x10km relay, and will be looking to move up the results in Kuusamo, Finland this weekend.

For Women’s Relay coverage, click HERE.
For Women’s 10km Free coverage, click HERE.

The Sasseville Report – First World Cup is in the Can

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November 21, 2011 (Sjusjoen, Norway) – Without a doubt, one of the most stressful weekends for a cross-country ski racer is the first meaningful race weekend of the year. All of the skiers have trained for six or more months and it is not until you race these first races that you know even a little bit about where you stand in relation to your competitors.

This is the nature of cross-country ski racing. There are no personal best times or world record times in this sport. You can do all the testing you want, and compete in roller ski racers or early season time trials, but the only way that you can really measure yourself is racing against your peers.

This is true at every level right up to the World Cup and if you read the quotes from the skiers from Saturday (link to this article) you will see that a common theme is that they didn’t know how they would do before the start and that made them nervous.

Here are some of my thoughts after the first weekend in Sjusjoen, Norway:

– I think that the Norwegian women are going to dominate all year long. They had seven of the top nine on Saturday and their relay teams finished 1st and 2nd in the relay on Sunday. Only Charlotte Kalla of Sweden and Kikkan Randall of the US were able to break into the top 9 – it looked like a Norwegian championship race.

– Marit Bjoergen has lost nothing since last year. She won by almost 30 seconds in a 24-minute race. If they had been racing a track and field event she would have almost lapped the whole field. Last year Justyna Kowalczyk (POL) won the overall World Cup because Bjoergen was concentrating on winning at the World Championships in Oslo. This year is going to be different.

– it’s clear that the USA’s Kikkan Randall is better than last year – 8th in a distance race is a fantastic result. Watch out!

– I also think that the US women’s team is really improving. With Liz Stephen placing 18th on Saturday and then having a decent relay on Sunday – and Randall’s and Brooks’ strong legs – the team is now showing just how much they have improved.

– Johan Olsson is one of the best technical skaters in the world and when he’s healthy he’s certainly one of the best. He had a tough year last year after two bronze medals in Vancouver but it looks like he is back now.

– I think that NO ONE – and I mean no one seems to be able to beat Petter Northug (NOR) in a sprint. It was sad watching the last leg of the relay on Sunday. None of the lead skiers was willing to put it on the line and go for the win except for another Norwegian Sjur Roethe. The lead group was going SO slow that he was able to come from 45 seconds back to pass all of them and take the lead in only 5km. It looked like Northug was just playing with those guys. He has an almost unbeatable formula now for distance races. All he has to do is hang around the leaders, never leading and then in the last km he moves to the front and wins the sprint.

– but Northug IS beatable in the individual start races, despite the fact that he’s getting better in these events as well. He was second on Saturday and is having a much better start to his season than last year when he over-trained and did not have any good results until after Xmas at the Tour de Ski. I also think that he is pretty well a lock to win the World Cup this year unless someone can figure out how to beat him in a sprint.

– that being said Canada’s Alex Harvey may be the one to beat Northug. His 5th place showed that he is in great shape and his sprint win in Oslo over Ole Vigen Hattestad to win the Team Sprint gold at the Nordic Worlds have shown that he has the fitness and the sprint speed to win. He has beaten Northug in a sprint in the past and even Petter has acknowledged that Harvey can beat him. I think that if Canada wants to do anything in relays they have to have Alex on the team as the anchor skier. This is the second relay in a row including the relay in Olso that Harvey did not race.

Next weekend the World Cup moves to Kuusamo, Finland for a three day mini-tour de ski. The skiers will likely have to race on icy, man-made snow again, but it will be colder and darker and the hills will be bigger and steeper. It will be the first chance for the sprinters to come out and play as well as the classic skiers. Should be a lot of fun to watch.

10th Mountain Division Junior Championships set for Rumford and Fort Kent

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November 21, 2011 (Caribou, ME) – The Maine Winter Sports Center is pleased to host the 10th Mountain Division Junior Nordic and Junior Biathlon Championships in 2012. These events serve as Maine’s state-wide junior championships and offer Maine’s best young cross-country skiers and biathletes the opportunity to show their skills at the highest level of junior racing. For the 2012 season, the 10th Mountain Division Championships have been slated for Rumford and Fort Kent, Maine.

The Chisholm Ski Club will host the 10th Mountain Division Nordic Championships in conjunction with the USSA Cross-Country Skiing Championship junior 10km set for January 6th, at Black Mountain in Rumford, Maine. In the men’s division, look for Tom Rabon (Burke Mountain Academy) and Nick Michaud (Bates College) to battle it out for the title of Maine’s fastest junior man. If either should falter, Cam Reagan (Bates College) will be waiting. On the women’s side, Rachel Hall (Middlebury College) is the one to beat. Shelby Aseltine (Bowdoin College) should offer challenge.

The 10th Mountain Division Biathlon Championship will be run in conjunction with the January 21st Biathlon NorAm competitions hosted by the 10th Mountain Center in Fort Kent, Maine. The field is open on both the men’s and women’s side in this competition as a young crew of biathletes begins to grow. Chester Jacobs (Yarmouth) has the most experience on the men’s side, but Presque Isle natives Jesse and Jon Rochester will be hunting their first victory. The women’s field is crowded with young talent: Tara Humphries (Yarmouth), Danni Anderson (Mapleton), Emelie and Zoe Chace-Donahue (Freeport), and Anna Soderberg (Caribou) may all stake their claim to the title.

In hosting these championships for our young nordic athletes, the Maine Winter Sports Center looks to honor the role that the 10th Mountain Division played in not only helping to win the second world war, but also helping to found the modern ski industry in the United States. For more information, please contact the Maine Winter Sports Center at (207) 492-1442.


THE Update: If You Only Read One This Year, Make This It!

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November 18, 2011 – Wow, another race season is roaring into action already! With one race under my belt and my first World Cup start of the year just over a week away, it’s high time that I update you on what the heck I’ve been up to all summer! I apologize in advance for the lack of detail but in lieu of a novel, I figured it’d be best to just give you the Coles Notes…

As it seems to be the case with most summers of training, the time flew by. I regret not writing an update sooner but my website was being held hostage by my previous web hosting company (long story) and I have finally completed the arduous task of moving my website to a new host. I hope you enjoy the newly designed drewgoldsack.ca, check back often for updates throughout the winter!

As is the case with most years, I started off the spring pretty much living at the ski hill. Sunshine Village near Canmore is generous enough to comp NST members lift tickets, so come April I’m a full time hill rat. Springtime in the Rockies almost always brings big dumps of snow and I enjoyed some incredible steep and deep days this spring!

From the majestic snow covered peaks of the Rockies, I headed across the prairies to Eastern Manitoba and the rugged terrain of the Canadian Shield to try my hand at ranching. For a guy who grew up in the prairies, I am embarrassingly green when it comes to anything ranch.

However, it didn’t take long to tune into the cowboy blood that, as it turns out, has been coursing untapped through this Alberta boy’s veins…well at least that’s how I saw it anyway! I spent an incredible week horseback riding, crust skiing, sauna-ing, being entertained by newborn lambs, eating freshly laid eggs and relaxing next to a wood-fired stove.

Three lambs were born just before my arrival, which was good news as delivering lambs may have been just a little outside of my abilities. Plus, I got to experience all the fluffy cuteness and none of the gooey sponginess! After being repeatedly stared down and stomped at by the mama sheep, one thing’s for certain: “The older they get, the cuter they aint!” to steal a classic line from The Simpsons.

Though it was hard to leave the serenity of ranch life behind, the beach was calling, and I soon headed off to Miami for some sun and last bit of non-athlete fun before starting up with training for yet another season. Elated to find out that I had been named to the National Team for another year, I was also really looking forward to building on a great season of training with the Alberta World Cup Academy. This year’s training kicked off with the AWCA at an on snow camp in Silver Star in May, followed by a great road bike camp in Kaslo, BC in June.

From there, I made a quick trip up to the Haig Glacier (the best kind of trip to The Haig imho) with the National Team that was actually delayed for a week by TOO MUCH snow, so much snow in fact that they couldn’t find the buried Pisten Bulley on the glacier! The glacier camp was followed by a great month spent training at home in Canmore and a quick trip to the eastern beaches of Cape Breton Island for a friend’s wedding.

The late summer brought a training camp in Whistler with the Academy and then an incredible high altitude camp in Park City, UT with the National Team. From there, I headed back to Whistler with the NST for an intensity block which included four hard intensity sessions in six days and a week of torrential rain… luckily, spending the week shacked up at the Four Seasons Whistler offset the lousy weather!

With fall in the air and more leaves on the ground in Canmore than feral bunnies, I returned home for some much needed rest. It wasn’t long before Frozen Thunder (Snow stored under sawdust from the previous winter… I know, it sounds crazy but it actually works!) was rolled out at the Canmore Nordic Centre (October 15th) and before I knew it the ski season was under way! The last two weeks of October delivered outstanding ski conditions in Canmore and I was able to log a lot of hours on snow before taking off for Europe and the start of the World Cup season….

It’s shaping up to be a great year of racing, see you out there!

– Drew Goldsack

‘I’m going to log out of Facebook, Seriously.’ – Alex Harvey

In the Tape Deck:
Artist: Ben Howard, Album: Every Kingdom
Artist: Bon Iver, Track: Calgary (Cillo Remix)
Artist: Devil Makes Three, Track: Chained to the Couch
Artist: Active Child, Track: When Your Love is Safe

On the Tube: