Sunday, 4 November 2012

Halloween Skiing and Frozen Thunder Mental Tactics!

The past few weeks in Canmore have been solid awesome. As I mentioned a few posts ago, the Canmore Nordic Centre stockpiled a ton of snow last winter, stored it under a sawdust blanket all summer and rolled it out into a 1.8km ski loop on October 13th. Titled "Frozen Thunder", skiers from all over Canada and loads from the U.S of A have come to test out this October ski wonder. It's been super fun and energizing to see so many athletes, coaches and even rec skiers out enjoying the loop and getting stoked for real winter! The video below gives a bit more info on the track and some cool views.

Aside from getting a little cold 2 weeks ago and missing the "WinSport Frozen Thunder Classic" sprint race, training has been going great. It was a drag to miss the race but I did get out to watch the heats and did my best to cheer on teammates and pick up some tips from how the fastest racers were skiing. I'm back to full health and have been feeling better and better on my skis as the days go by.

Our team happened to have an interval session on Halloween and just to keep things fun a few of us wore our costumes to the workout. Unfortunately, I didn't engineer the rabbit ears of my costume well enough and they were rather a hindrance on the downhills. I was able to wear the complete costume for the warm up but was left with only my tail for intervals - I'm not sure if that makes me a more-dedicated or less-dedicated ski bunny!

Trailside Halloween - picture thanks to Heidi.
It's a major luxury to have groomed, good-quality skiing in October and we haven't just been goofing around in costumes and skiing loop after loop! Each workout on snow has technical goals and often a specific set of drills, sprints or intervals to keep us focused. I didn't get on snow until late November last winter so every day before the end of this month feels like bonus skiing. I love dryland training but being on Frozen Thunder the past few weeks has reminded me that real skiing is what I love most. The feeling of charging up and over hills then whipping down the other side in a tuck or free skate is simply unbeatable.
Some have commented that it's easy to get bored skiing around just a 1.8km loop. This makes me think back to the days of skiing the "Hamster Loop" at Hardwood around Christmas when there wasn't much snow. Coach Jack would remind us to "Be glad you aren't a swimmer, the only view they ever get is that black line!". Having spent most of my free time as a kid competitve swimming, I was horrified to hear that people could think that swimming would be boring. In swimming every minute of every workout is broken down into structured sets on the clock of different strokes and drills so the mind is always occupied and never bored. I've found it helpful to use some of this swimming mentality to make the most of my Frozen Thunder time.
Thanks for checking in and be sure to get your snowdance on! 

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