Cross-Country ski racing is…..

………hard. First off, Happy New Year to all. I hope that everyone enjoyed the holidays and have reflected on their years. I’ve been doing a different start to the winter this year. Over the past few seasons I’ve been talking about ski racing and never actually put my name on a sign up sheet. It’s been a great opportunity to train for something new and learn about another sport that I’ve actually been doing for ten years. In 2007 I entered a 7 km classic race after only a season or two of skiing. It wasn’t pretty and the biggest memory was doing the splits around a corner with one foot stuck in the tracks and yard sailing down an embankment. Skis, poles and myself were everywhere. 

Over 10 years later and I decided it was time for the first “skate” race. Skiing started a lot earlier this year with a one week winter camp at Silver Star resort to ski their trails and Sovereign Lakes. I had some good instructors with past ski racers and Olympians; Brittany Webster and Jenn Jackson were the instructors and pain inducers for the mountain bikers, with myself, Catharine Pendrel and Keith Wilson. We skied a lot and were powered by some tasty food and baking.

On December 2nd Nickel Plate Nordic was hosting their first race of the year and it was one of the earliest for any places around. After the 10 km loppet race I skied with the Telemark club for a couple hours.  As previously assumed, it was confirmed with that cross-country ski racing is hard.. I had one week to “sharpen my sword” until I threw myself completely into the deep end at a combined Canadian Nor Am Series and US Super Tour series race at Sovereign Lakes in Vernon. Without any ranking points it meant I started almost first out of the 130+ person mens field. It was interval starts every 30 seconds from last ranked to first ranked skiers. Luckily with the help of a few people I had the fastest wax job my skis have ever experienced and, not to complain, but they were almost too fast for my skill/balance level! Not a problem that a good skier has.

Thanks to everyone out there cheering and to the waxers. It wasn’t pretty and I wasn’t anywhere near finishing in the the middle of the field, let along the front. The loop was 5 km and we did 3 laps for a 15 km race. On my final lap is when the fastest skiers were taking off; one by one they came whistling by me as my speed slowed. It was a great experience to try out racing at high level in a different sport. Next up: Telemark Loppet race at my home club on Jan 14. 

Happy Holidays!

-Evan