Usually I’m starting the season in the west. Normally in the west of Canada, places like Silver Star, Rossland, and Canmore. Last year was the west of U.S.A. in West Yellowstone and Bozeman. This season I’m kickin’ the season off in all new venues. In my 9th year of training center life, it’s exciting to be exploring new ski locations!
October 30th I traveled with NDC T-Bay to Foret, Quebec for an on-snow training camp. The man-made loop was 2.36km and I put in 500km over the roughly two-week span I was there. It was a good opportunity to get some real skiing into the legs ahead of the race season.
|NDC teammates getting after it in Foret, Quebec.|
I hung out in Quebec City for a couple nights and caught a plane to Sweden where I met up with the rest of the National Ski Team. The next week was spent training in Gallivare, a small Swedish town roughly 100km north of the Arctic Circle. The short days (light from 7:30am to 2:30pm) were a new experience me, but it really did seem so dark as all the fresh white snow made it feel brighter. The skiing was beauty and I was stoked to get the racing started!
|White everything in Gallivare, Sweden|
|Managed to catch a rare sighting of the sun rising above the Canada truck set-up|
Bummer was, I would have to wait until the following weekend to start my race season. I came down with a head cold and was sidelined for the tune up FIS races in Gallivare.
November 27th I stood on the start line of the World Cup season opener in Ruka, Finland and took a couple deep breathes. Being my first race of the season I had no idea how it would go. I survived the weekend, completing the Ruka Triple in 81st place. I was hoping to accomplish more than simply making it to the finish line, however missing the tune-up races set me back and made the weekend more about finding my race form than competing for a standout result. Positives are I made the time cut after two days of racing and didn’t get lapped out on the third day despite racing on a short 2.5km course and starting at a 2:30 minute deficit. The hard efforts will benefit my racing moving forward.
|In action at the Ruka World Cup (photos courtesy of Nordic Focus)|
I’m in Lillehammer, Norway now, preparing for the 30km Skiathalon on Saturday. The race-course is beast. Climb, climb some more, fly back down, hard corner and back up again. Repeat. That’s essentially how the 3.75km course skis. Of course, the competition is the other intimidating feature; with 20 Norwegian men on the start list to go along with the rest of the normal World Cup field this is going to be a serious challenge.
|Near the top of the course in Lillehammer. Crossing my fingers race day is this nice!|
Who said a challenge was something to be afraid of though?
“To be a champion, I think you have to see the big picture. It’s not about winning and losing; it’s about every day hard work and about thriving on a challenge. It’s about embracing the pain that you’ll experience at the end of a race and not being afraid. I think people think too hard and get afraid of a certain challenge.”
- Summer Sanders
I’d like to send out a big thank you to the Kenora ski community for hosting a spaghetti dinner fundraiser to raise financial support for Kenora’s athletes and myself. I’m honoured to have your support!
Here’s the video I made in Gallivare to say thank you:
Racing in Finland I often have people inquiring about my heritage due to my last name. After Saturday’s 10km race the Helsinki Sanomat interviewed me. I had no idea at the time, but it turns out that’s a big deal as the newspaper is the largest in Helsinki. There was a small mix-up in names as the article reads, “I do not speak Finnish, but my girlfriend Tarja Kiviranta speaks pretty well”. Tarja is actually my girlfriend’s mother who grew up in Vammala (Sastamala) Finland. My girlfriend’s name is Britt and she does indeed speak Finnish very well. Here's a link to a translated summary of the article on ski-lines.
|Article in the Helsinki Sanomat|