Ski bags were strapped to the roof. 4L of ice cream was strapped to the hood.
Wax boxes and duffle bags were stacked by a world class Tetris champ.
Athletes were jammed in around the gear[each with a seatbelt in accordance with Canadian traffic laws].
Groceries were stacked on laps, stuffed in glove compartments and crammed in the stow-and-go compartments [kudos to Leif for that stroke of genius].
We made that Caravan WERK for it’s money.
The drive to Rossland doesn’t seem that bad when you’re looking at a zoomed out version on google maps.
The reality is that it’s a borderline nightmare. BC mountain passes- in winter- at night. Thank goodness rental cars in BC come with winter tires.
Driving through the Bonanza and Strawberry Pass we encountered many fun driving signs such as;
-‘WATCH OUT FOR SUICIDAL DEER’
-‘THIS ROAD FLASH FREEZES’
-‘SPEED LIMIT 70’ followed 10 meters later by ‘SLOW DOWN THIS CORNER IS DEADLY’
And, just in case deer, ice and deadly corners weren’t enough…
-‘AVALANCHE AREA- DO NOT STOP!’
Strawberry pass should really just be re-named Death Valley.
Anyway I’m exaggerating a bit and while it was a bit stressful we arrived in Rossland perfectly safe.
Skiing in Rossland over the next 4 days was pretty great. The snow conditions weren’t as pristine as in Silverstar but hey- whose being picky. We skied through aromatic Hemlock forests coated in frost, through pastoral fields and up some really big hills.
The Races: Mostly Good.
The weekends races were both Freestyle- a sprint on Saturday and a mass start on Sunday. The sprint course was a tough 1.6km with a long gradual climb out of the stadium followed by a small downhill and some rolling pitches. One banked downhill in particular proved to be a challenge for the Open Men’s quarterfinals. With race skis soaked in fluro’s the men came screaming around the corner like they were in a Velodrome. The next I saw the tree’s were shuddering and people were running.
Luckily the NDC’s Michael Sompi [pictured in red] came out of the crash ok and managed to move to on finally placing 4th in the A Final. Our five athletes [Matthias Purdon, Scott Hill, Adam Birosh, Greg Kilroy and Leif Lennie] had alright races but were ready to refocus for the next days mass start.
Sunday’s race was a 15km mass start race looping a 3.75km course 4x. The concern over the mass start course at Blackjack centered around trail width. The start area could accommodate a chevron of seven tracks but within 300m the trail narrowed substantially. This became a factor in planning an effective race strategy.
Here’s a quick clip of the 1st lap from the men’s race about 1km into the race.
Ultimately I felt our men raced extremely well. From my vantage point on the long climb our men were skiing relaxed and efficiently- traits that will pay off more as the race distances get longer. Special mention to Matthias and Scott- Matthias is a force to watch over distance and Scott has consistently proven over the past two weekends of racing that although he’s a JB2 he’s a force to watch in the Junior Man category.
The next blog entry will be about skiing in Whitehorse….with Rudy…..get-ready-