Just like that, in a matter of seconds, the competition season is underway. After seven months of preparing it was time to put on a bib again and see what I was capable of on the race track. If you looked at ski racing in the same light as academics, you would expect after seven months of studying you should be extremely well prepared, and confident in how you can perform. Unfortunately, unlike academics, getting sick shortly before the big day can have surprisingly dismal impacts on the result, especially when you through antibiotics in the mix.
That being said, I was still super excited to be at the first set of races of the year at Sovereign Nordic located on beautiful Silver Star mountain. As far as Nordic skiing destinations go, there are not many places that top silver star, so go results or not its easy to enjoy time spent up there.
Once again this year the Sovereign NorAm was also a Supertour, the American equivalent, and to raise the stakes, even more, the race weekend was a part of USA Olympic trials. First up was the classic sprint, after a mediocre qualifier I was able to ski a solid quarter-final and win the B-final finishing 7th on the day and second Canadian. The American domestic field is always extremely deep, and in the early season before Christmas, they always seem to be firing better than us Canucks, so it was nice to see a fellow Canadian and NTDC Tbay athlete take the win!
Just five days after the racing finished at Sovereign it began again in Rossland B.C. I came to Rossland for the first time as a Junior four years ago and have loved coming back every chance I get. The quaint mountain town tucked away in towering forests with amazing ski trails is always super fun to come back to. As well, Blackjack Nordic usually holds a mini-tour race weekend in which the times from the first two days of racing are tallied up and the final day is started according to accumulated results.
I had a rough go the first day putting me behind to chase but after a bounce back in the skate sprint the second day I started in sixth overall on the final day, the 15km skate pursuit. Starting in 6th I was just ahead of where things started to bunch up and people start working together to chase down the leaders so I started strong then dialed it back until I was engulfed by the pack. Pack skiing is one of my favorite parts of ski racing, especially in a pursuit when everyone has a common goal in mind to try and reel in the guys ahead of the pack. I started to feel like I found a race gear by the third lap of the race and started to push the pace, I ended up finishing 4th overall in the minitour and fourth on the day.
The mini-tour wrapped up racing for 2017 it was time to head home for Christmas and prepare for things to come in the new year!