Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Code

"Accepting dorkiness is the first step to embracing dorkiness. Without embracing dorkiness you can't make fast skis" Z. Caldwell, 2010

In other news, and in case you missed the grin on my face that was several kilometres wide, Madeleine is going to the Olympics and that is pretty cool. You should read her update here - Madeleine's update.

Today we had a great day of testing at Valcartier with some really conclusive results.

I'm heading out tonight with Julie, Catherine, and Paul here in Quebec. It'll have to be pretty chill as tomorrow is another big day of testing and ski prep.

Things are looking good.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Olympic Trials - Sprint - Boom

That's what I'm talking about!

PS - I realize the quality is kind of bad, but you get the idea. Final results are here - results.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Silverstar - wrap-up report

Good news: I'm sitting in the Kelowna airport enjoying the observation tower. In a sweet turn of events the temperature as dropped to -173°C across the Canadian west. As a result, my flight back to Edmonton has been delayed by two hours or so. Pretty standard for a Canadian race trip.

The flight to Kelowna was uneventful and arrived on time. Christian picked me up and after negotiating some intense traffic we made it to Silverstar (see 2008 post for pictures of this place - it is amazing - Silverstar). We got right to work that night and made a powder test on the Fischer test fleet. This consisted of ten varieties of powders from Solda, Swix, Holmenkol, and Vauhti. The snow was cold and new and we quickly began to see some patterns in our testing.

From there we moved on to paraffins - a quick test of five options revealed a clear winner and we made the call. The real differentiating factor in making skis in on the powders and topcoats, so no need to waste too much time on paraffins.

End of day one. Boom.

Nope... that was a false alarm. Making fast skis is all about hard work so when we got home we had some supper and moved on to the night shift. Thursday night was all about setting up the test skis (11 pairs) for Friday to maximize our efficiency. At this point we narrowed our focus to a few powders and focused on topcoats (too many to count) and hand structure. As it turned out the hand structure was not making a difference.

Ok... real end of day one. Boom.

Day Two - repeat day one but with refined variables. We also did a second session of testing in the afternoon as the changes in temperature offered another window from 4:00 - 6:00.

Friday night was all about setting up race skis for Saturday. We were feeling confident in our plan and the team executed it perfectly.

End of day two.

Day three - As someone once told me, "eat a double helping of Wheaties because you'll be dragging ass by now and we're just getting started." Race day. Game on.

We were at the race site early to focus on testing topcoats to make a final call. Sweet, but not very interesting. What was interesting is that Gord Jewett qualified for the Olympics in one of the most gutsy performances I have seen in a long time. It was amazing to be out on the race course and listen to the splits come in over the radio as things unfolded. Truly inspiring.

Madeleine also had a wicked race to finish as the second Canadian. This leaves her in a very good position going into Canmore and the Olympic dream is very much alive. I'm feeling very confident as to how things will unfold.

End of day three.

Today was our last day and consisted of a skate sprint. Conditions were classic Sovereign Lakes for sprint races - ridiculously cold, windy, and snowy. I don't think there has ever been a sprint here that didn't fit that bill.

It was a mixed bag in terms of team results with some athletes not starting the race and others using it as a training event.

Next week we are off to Canmore for the final bout of Olympic trials. It is going to be an exciting weekend.

End of day four - nope. False alarm. The end of day four will depend on West Jet. Stay tuned here (WS422) - flight time and click here for a live map - flight map.

More this week...

Friday, December 4, 2009

Update - Canmore

Tired after a long week and a crazy night of packing. L-R: Zach, Miller, Patrick, Nathan, Swede

Swede - offset technique

This was after the sprint race, which was entirely in the shade. It was cold in the trees and we were happy to get back in the sun.

Making race skis. 15 minutes to start.

Patrick - one skate.

More one skate.

I am awesome. Boom.

Testing isn't all about wax. The skis are the most important.

Making a powder test. Regretfully, my mask was back at the hotel. Self-boom.

The contents of the infamous satchel.


All set up and ready to rock.

Upon arrival.

I am in Canmore now at the Alberta Cup event. The Academy is using this as a tune up race to get ready for the trials races over the next couple of weeks. It's cold here - really cold. Tomorrow's race will go ahead but Sunday is not looking good.

Here are some pictures from West. Some of them you have seen already and all are courtesy of the Swede.

Also, the pictures went up in a random order and above the text. Sorry - it's too late to fix it.