The Drive: Epic.
1 Dodge Caravan + 6x[skiers, ski bags, duffle bags] + 200lbs of wax equipment + a TON of groceries = a big problem.

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.

Oh! That looks like a nice 3h drive!

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.

BLAMO! THe last 50km are the WORST!

Driving through the Bonanza and Strawberry Pass we encountered many fun driving signs such as;
-‘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…

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.

The road to Rossland- looks much nicer in the daylight!

 Training: Good.
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.

Pretty big hill.

Pretty big hill.

A really big hill.

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.

This is not good.

Handlebar mustache dude hits Matt Wylie in the head with pole


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.

So- after a wild 16 day tour of BC I jumped on a plane, bid our athletes ADIOS and flew to Whitehorse where I will stay until Jan 4th.

The next blog entry will be about skiing in Whitehorse….with Rudy…..get-ready-


4 Comments on “Rossland.

  1. that’s actually matt wylie that the handlebar moustache dude hit in the head with his pole, not graeme….fyi..haha

  2. Pav-I can hardly wait to the next installment, skiing with Rudy, but it can’t be nearly as good as the Buckwheat race. I still have to laugh everytime I think about it.

  3. I’ll forward this one to Matt’s Dad. Matt’s grandpa and my Pops grew up together in Vernon. We miss you, Oliver always sits at my feet when he senses I am writing to you.

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