Sunday, December 19, 2010

Rossland - wrap up

I am currently sitting in the YXC airport (aka Cranbrook) waiting for my flight to Calgary and then on to Edmonton. The last couple of days have been a whirlwind with an awesome skate race and then the pursuit start classic race today.

One of the other wax team members was kind enough to drive me to Cranbrook and due to uncertainty with the weather, we actually left before today's race was even finished.

Here are some highlights from the past couple of days:

The inside of our wax tent for the skate distance race.

My office for the week was on the far left. It is nice when there are indoor waxing facilities, but these tents were a good compromise and trapped the sun well.

The ski depot - skate race. Nice and sunny, great weather again!

Two of our crates of equipment. These are what followed us up to the race site each day, however there are a lot more of these back at the hotel. It takes a lot of equipment to service twenty athletes.

At work.

Looking out the window of our kitchen. Some of the nice accommodations we've enjoyed.

Getting ready to harden bases for today's classic race.

Ready to make the powder application. As an interesting side note, I just came through security at YXC. Having that mask in my carry-on luggage caused me to be the subject of one of the most intensive airport searches I have ever had the pleasure of enduring.

The same ski depot from the picture above. Snowy today though, but still warm.

The women's field getting organized for the pursuit start.
Fuel for wax techs. It got pretty ugly last night - to bed at 1:00AM and up not many hours later.

Overall, it's been an awesome trips but I'm excited to get home and see everyone.

FT peeps.
Head FT peep.
We're on a boat.
 My flight is about to board at any moment, but I'd like to address an issue that I noticed on Facebook. There appears to be some suggestion that I can't grow a beard:

Proof of beard growing abilities. Boom.
That's all for now from BC. Check for the final mini-tour results.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Rossland - stage 1

Today was the first stage of the Rossland mini-tour. We had a great day with many strong results. Just like at the Tour de France, the results of this set of races are decided by the cumulative time for all three days, with certain time bonuses for different placings.

Tomorrow is the skate race - 5km for the ladies and 10km for the men. With such a short race the intensity will be high.

Looking backwards on the sprint course into the stadium. We've been incredibly lucky with weather so far this year!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Rossland - part deux

Today was our first full day here in Rossland. The athletes did an intensity session on classic skis and we tested grip and glide solutions.

The morning started out by frantically making a few more klister skis for athletes who forgot to put their gear on the wall last night. For those who don't know, the heel of your hand + your thumb is the best tool for spreading klister. This is what happens after a few dozen pairs.
The venue at Rossland. Beautiful day for testing skis. The forecast is looking slightly colder for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (race days), but not too bad.
Dan, our awesome ski tester and an Olympian. He has 1,000 x 30 seconds dialed - the quintessential ski testing workout.
Our afternoon project was getting skate skis ready for athletes to test tomorrow. That pile is several layers deep.

Chris and me in the wax room. We've spent more than a few hours in similar rooms over the past few weeks.
Powder test - not actually from this race, but I don't want to give away all of our secrets.

Tomorrow we'll be at the venue early to finish dialling in our paraffin, powder, and structure calls. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are all race days, so updates may not be forthcoming until I am home next week. Stay tuned to for results.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Rossland - Nous sommes arrivés.

After a lot of loading up vans and a bit of driving, we are in Rossland. Here is the rundown.

We stopped for lunch at a little town called Greenwood. Super cool coffee shop, sunshine, and +7C made for good times.
As we got higher into the mountains things got snowy...
... and by snowy, I mean kind of sketchy.
Our accommodations in Rossland. Very decent.
Living room and dining room.
Now we eat supper. Again, very decent.
Test skis - powder, classic, paraffin, structure.

After supper we made twenty pairs of klister skis for the athletes to train on tomorrow. My plan is to check out the course, investigate snow, and have some fun.

Now we sleep.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Decent Day at the Office

It's been a week of hard work, but this morning we got to sleep in a bit and go for a ski. Conditions were amazing - the sun was out (first time this week) and it was about -1. The trails were immaculate and it was awesome to just ski for fun!
This is what we woke up to see out our kitchen window - amazing view.
Skiing, just for fun - no testing this morning. Conditions were amazing. Ironically, I was skiing on test skis as I didn't bring any of my own boards.
We skied up to the summit of Silver Star Mountain where we found the highest chairlift. The trails were totally deserted on the way up.
Once at the top, there was some question as to how we should get down. We settled on skiing down the alpine runs. Total time to the top - about 1hr. Total time to the bottom - about 10 minutes.
That building on the left is where we've been staying this week. Those trails on the right are where we skied. Decent!
Apres ski lunch on the patio at Bugaboos in the village. I know that normally I don't like eating outside, but today it was warm (but not hot), no wind, and no bugs (because it is winter, obviously). Amazing lunch on the mountain.
Now we have dessert. Apple strudel.
The athletes are just starting to get back from their training for the day and soon we will start getting things organized to pack up. We still need to put our test skis away and clean up all of our equipment. You could liken our team's travel to when the Canadian forces enter or leave a theatre - just loading and unloading the gear is a major operation on its own.

As a side note, don't forget that you can check out the website ( to see everything else that is there.

More to follow tomorrow when we get to Rossland.

Peace out.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Silver Star

Today we wrapped up the last race in Silver Star. After arriving on Wednesday, it's been a busy week. Here are a few pictures of the goings on. Note - the pictures are from my phone so they are a little ghetto.

This is what it looks like when we unload the ski bags for twenty athletes and a bunch of service staff. We travel with a LOT of skis.

I love finding Fast Trax ski ties in random ski bags. Fast Trax is everywhere.

Getting ready to test. The stadium up here is super nice - West Yellowstone, you should take note.
It is snowy here.

Homemade powder mix. This looks like Holmenkol cold, but that is just a container. Mixing your own wax is the new cool.

The "Performance Team" at work. Race skis to the max.

Sometimes in snows in Silver Star. Usually it snows a lot. This is what we drove through to get to the venue this morning.
Main street Silver Star. This place is like the inside of a snow globe.

On the technical front, we tested a lot of wax over the past few days and liked the following things:

Paraffins: Swix LF6 (always low liability and will never hurt you, may not win the test but never far out)

Powders: Vauhit Goldfox, Homemade mix

Top Coats: Swix FC7WS, Holmenkol Cold block

Grip: Swix VR 40 (binder), Magnar 2.5 (main), Magnar 3.5 (cushion), Star Blue (cover)

Tonight I'll head into Vernon to have supper with the Williams. Tomorrow is a training day for the athletes and on Tuesday we drive to Rossland for the next set of races. Next week is a mini-tour (where there are results for both individual races and also cumulative results, like the Tour de Ski), so that will be a new experience.

Now we shower. I haven't had time to do that since Friday evening.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

As promised

Today was a good day at the office. The team swept the medals in open men, had four in the top six in open women (including second and third), and our four juniors took first and third for men and first and second for women. Great day - full results.

On the skis front, speed was better in the afternoon for the heats. The service team did a great job completing a methodical test and settled on an awesome combination. We won't give away all the secrets, but Mike tweeted a big part of it:

Part of the recipe.
Tomorrow is a short classic race - 9km for everyone. The loop is tough, but not crazy hard. The key for that course is having classic skis that get consistent grip as the climbs are significant.

We are done eerily early tonight - Dieter and Peter finished up the base on the classic skis while we were testing so all that remains is to finalize topcoats, structure, and kick wax. We'll take care of that bright and early tomorrow morning.

Check Zone4 later for tomorrow's start list.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Canmore - testing day update

Here is the lowdown as to what we did today:

1. Tested five paraffins for feel. Eliminated the worst two and retested.

2. Tested five powders for feel. Eliminated the worst three and retested.
3. Tested the powders included in #2 in the speed trap. Highly conclusive results validated feel test.

4. Tested the paraffins included in #1 in the speed trap. Highly conclusive results validated feel test.

5. Tested hand structure for feel. 

6. Now we have lunch.

7. Made a call on paraffins. One of them was ludicrously fast.

8. Repeated powder and structure tests in the afternoon. As expected hand structure was far more useful in the afternoon.

9. Conducted initial top coat tests.

10. Applied paraffins to race skis and made test skis for tomorrow.

11. Tidy up work area.

12. Now we have supper.

Tomorrow is a skate sprint. Stay tuned to Zone 4 for results. Qualification starts at 9:15 for men and 9:29 for the women. Heats should happen sometime around 4:15 (crazy late). You can check out the startlist here - startlist.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Quick Canmore Update

Tonight I made the regular trek to Canmore to meet up with the team for this weekend's Alberta Cups. This drive seems to be getting shorter every time!

Chris and I met up at his house and headed up to the wax room to make test skis for tomorrow. He already had our three test fleets waxed, scraped, and brushed so it was a simple matter of settling on the powder test to make. We put together five great options and made the test skis. Holmenkol, Ski*Go, Toko, Vauhti, and Solda are in the mix.

Tomorrow morning I will coordinate the wax testing and assist the athletes with race ski selection. We have a skate sprint on Saturday that is qualifying for Canada Games, so things are serious.

The ski depot at a Canmore World Cup. With all our athletes and test skis, it's going to look something like this tomorrow. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Do this NOW

You should all help out my friend, Marcelo Lafuente

 1. Go to Salomon Nordic on Facebook and like their page. 

2. Scroll down and find his comment it should involve Fast Trax Run & Ski Shop.

3. Like his comment. 

This will win him a pair of skis, the race is ridiculously close.

A prize to the first person to do this....

Small print --> there isn't actually a prize.

West Yellowstone - A Better Update

After a ridiculous day of travel (see update here - By the Numbers) on Monday, I finally made it to Bozeman. As I had missed my ride due to the debacles with flights, I arranged a shuttle into West Yellowstone. That actually worked out quite well as the roads were terrible. Highways were shut down everywhere, and in fact the race originally scheduled for Wednesday had to be moved to Thursday; partially because it was brutally cold, but mostly because the timing crew and equipment got stranded in Idaho (see article on Faster Skier - article). Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself...

Monday night in West Yellowstone consisted of getting the Boulder Nordic Sport trailer organized and ready to work. For those of you who remember the trailer, this is very similar. Unfortunately, moving the trailer to the front of the hotel, where it would sit for the week, meant that we immediately got stuck. There was a lot of snow.

Tuesday we were up early and out testing skis. With temperatures hovering around -23C and howling winds, it wasn't looking promising for the race. Nevertheless, we braved the cold and went out to test some wax (Tuesday results). Given the wind and falling snow, using the speed trap was out of the question and we resorted to testing by feel. Ski*Go was running well and Chris and I decided to go with a base of Swix LF4 covered by Ski*Go C380 on the race skis. In the end it wasn't relevant and the race got moved to Thursday. Boom.

Wednesday was more of the same - cold temperatures and blowing snow. We ran some more tests and C380 continued to run well (Wednesday results). We continued with the same setup and spent the evening working up race skis for Drew. 

Thursday was race day and Drew stomped the field. This race was basically just a points grab to help the US sprint field improve their FIS rankings. It's an odd event, but the organizers held two sprint qualifiers (classic then skate) back to back with no heats. Weird. We were on old school Ski*Go -2 - -15 kick wax and Holmenkol Cold powder.

Friday was the skate race - generally a good day but room for improvement. Moving on...

Saturday was probably the most interesting race day of all. The field was super tight with the leaders changing throughout the race. Drew had some tough luck breaking a pole and probably would have challenged for the win otherwise. Nish and Graham Kilick were right in the mix too. Really great.

Is there more to report on the weekend? Probably, but I'm getting hungry and the all day breakfast upstairs at BZN is calling. Here are some pictures, stolen from Drew, to give you an idea of just how much snow there was.

Jeffries, Butler and Nish check out one of the many snowed in team vehicles.

A Yellowstone Parks building - mad snow.

Downtown West Yellowstone looking more like the Antarctic than Montana.

Friday, November 26, 2010

West Yellowstone - non-update

It has been brought to my attention that my frequency of updates from West Yellowstone has been poor at best. In my defence, it's been really busy and the internet connection is like something out of the early '90s. The good news is that I'll have the pleasure of spending five hours at the Bozeman airport on Sunday. Look for something good to come out then.

In the meantime, here are a couple of pictures of us making race skis for tomorrow's classic race.