There’s something about getting into Canada that makes me undeniably happy. Everyone here is so friendly and nice, and even the customs officers knew what Cross Country skiing was and were quick to wish our team good luck! The atmosphere around town is similar to that of the West Yellowstone Festival…many people’s first time on snow in a long time, and the socializing that comes with any large group of skiers getting together. Frozen Thunder is, in my opinion, even better than last year. With an added loop and out-and-back section, the loop is closer to 1.4km and the snow is super clean and 3-4 ft deep in places! And yeah, you do end up going in circles for a long time, there’s no getting around that fact. But when you’re working on technique drills, doing intervals or time trials, or skiing with friends you haven’t seen in a while, it’s not bad.
For further demonstration of how awesome our Canadian friends have been to us: 3 hours after arriving in Camore, Chandra Crawford had the team over to her place for a delicious hot dinner. I haven’t seen her since Alaska in July, and it was so great to get a good hug in. Also, Patrick Moore, aka “Toque” drove down to help us wax and ski with us for a couple days! He is a wax tech on the World Cup for us during the winter, and then spends his vacation time hanging out with us nerds. So cool. I’m so excited to hang out with all my Canadian buddies this week!
Ok, ok, back it up a second…before I go on about how much I love Canmore, let me wrap up the Park City part of camp! The second week of PC camp was great, and while it had the potential to be really overwhelming with so many clubs and around 50 athletes attending, the coaches did a great job of finding safe roads with good terrain. Although there is still a certain corner at Soldier’s Hollow that I don’t enjoy going around in a group…
We had a rollerski time trial at Soldier’s Hollow, with no elimination in the rounds so that everyone could get in a great workout and practice tactics. There was moving around in the heats, however; if you won your heat, you moved up, and if you were last, you moved down. That way the groups were constantly changing and it made it a little more exciting. I was happy with getting to practice my starts off the line, since they were simply horrible last year (no way to feather that fact) and I’ve been working really hard on them all summer. The work is paying off and they are starting to improve!
We also had a beautiful if slightly mind-boggling ski up Wolf Creek Canyon, as we were in the sun the whole time but as we climbed higher we eventually saw frost on the road and piles of snow on either side. It was really beautiful!
Mike Engal, a great friend of the ski team who lives in Park City, once again hosted a fabulous dinner fundraiser for the USST. It was Russian themed (20 guesses why!!) and a real Russian catering crew served delicious little piroshkis while we met members of the community interested in helping us reach our goal of Best in the World. What a fun night!
Here’s a quick foot update: I have been able to do plyos in the pool without any pain whatsoever, and I even got to try running this week – finally! It’s really nice to be back to nearly all the training modes full time. Later this week, I’ll get to do regular jumps and bounds out of the pool, and I was so excited I jumped for joy. Just kidding, that would be doing plyos. I did a little shuffle-skip dance instead.
So here we are, once again at the Rocky Mountain Ski Lodge in Canmore, Alberta, ready to go ski our brains out on Frozen Thunder!