Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Skiers are Made in May?

And you thought I was joking when I said I was skiing last week...

Early May usually marks the start of training for most elite skiers - Depending on how good/bad your season has gone, some take the entire month of April off training, while others keep some level of activity in their lifestyle, but to be honest, I think it's hard for most to completely shut off the 'training' switch. But on May 1st, the fun stops and it's time for most full-time athletes to get back at work...

Over the past few years, Sovereign Lakes Ski Club (just down the hill from Silver Star Mountain), has been re-opening for 2 weeks in May, grooming a 10km loop for nordic skiers to enjoy. This year's abundant spring snow falls offered some incredible 'spring' skiing, and treated skiers to some great tracks to kick off the training year.

Can't beat a day like this...perfect tracks and an (almost) bluebird sky!

As for me...I've been so frustrated with the lack of sun in Canmore this spring, that I jumped on the opportunity to get out of town to do some early ski tests on snow with a few of our Team Salomon athletes. The information gathered here will help me later on in the year when it's time to select skis for all of our skiers. A tough job, but someones got to do it! (grin).

The NST boys cruising the trails - A total of 50+cms fell on the mountain over the course of the week!

I usually kicked off the days by setting up the Salomon tent (if the weather allowed it), and put out about 15 pairs of skis for athletes to test. Whether they actually ski on Salomon or not didn't matter as it is just good to get feedback/comments from as many skiers as possible. Amongst the teams on site were the National Ski Team, the Alberta World Cup Academy , the Canmore Nordic Ski Club, the Rocky Mountain Racers, the Sovereign Lakes/Silver Star Ski Team and a handful of keen local master skiers. In total, I'd say close to 100+ skiers hit the trails over the course of the week. Around noon, I'd wrap things up and spend another hour re-waxing all the skis to get them freshened up for the following day, and repeat... Overall, a great camp and opportunity to see the teams get back at work!

Back in Canmore...

I returned in time to catch the best day of spring so far (21C) - Nighbor, Crooks and I pointed our bikes West, battling a crazy headwind all to way to Sunshine to meet the Jeffries bros.

Nighbor and Crooks taking a 'natural' break in Banff

Nighbor: "Whaaat! I told you not to stand downwind from me..." Crooks: "Damn you Nighbor, you got my shoes!"

The ski posse gettin' rowdy on the 1A near Banff

So after a week of taking my work on the road, it's back home to get caught up with office work. TransRockies (Bike) is ramping up and will soon start to monopolize my time; the Salomon gig keeps chipping away while I try to get my laptop in sync with the head office - of course, for every new program I install, some little computer issue arises (damn Vista).

And training...Well, training is going pretty good. I've kept the variety up this spring to avoid injury and so far so good (knock on wood!). I try to get in at least 1 intensity session/week with Lanny Mann, my old mountain running training partner, and although he kicks my ass every single time, I feel like I'm finally getting more efficient. I'll be able to test myself over the next 2 weekends with the 5 Peaks at COP (May 23) and the Nipika Trail Run (May 30) - Regardless of the outcome, I know that I'm in for a world of pain!

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