A beautiful morning driving West on the snow covered highway. I hadn’t been to Calabogie Peaks since last year’s Masters’ Final. This time it was my daughter carrying two pairs of skis and doing the racing. Actually Steepmomo has been here the last few days for the Speed Camp and Super G the previous day. It was the Art Tommy Memorial Race with a Super G on the Friday and two super combine (Super G and Slalom each day) on the weekend.
Picture used with permission from the Canadian Ski Museum:
Who is Art Tommy? He’s a member Canadian Ski Hall of Fame and was Canadian slalom champion back in 1955. He was one of the best skiers in his generation, unfortunately wasn’t able to compete at the 1956 Olympic Games in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy due to an injury. The Tommy is part of the big skiing families in Ottawa’s history. His brothers Andy (Hall of Fame) and Fred (1960 champion) were also part of the National Team. After their competitive careers, they coached and became involved in the ski business starting Tommy and Lefebvre Sports store and the Edelweiss Valley Ski and Golf Resort. The next Tommy generation included Mike who was also Canadian champion in GS (1983) and Slalom (1984). Mike’s binding ripped off his ski at the Olympic slalom at Sarajevo in 1984 (the Mahre victory). You might hear about his two teenage kids in a few years from now.
More on Art Tommy in his biography located in Canada Ski Museum website.
Edelweiss used to host of the ATM race, but it was moved to Calabogie Peaks a couple of years ago. Although my daughter races and we have a season pass at Edelweiss, I prefer this hill. The vertical is only 30 meters higher (230m), but it fells taller and I prefer the layout and variety of runs. Actually prefer CP to Mont Ste-Marie which is the tallest (381m vs 230m) between Tremblant and the Rockies in Canada. Why don’t we have a pass here and choose Edelweiss? Simple: location, location, location and price. Calabogie is double the time and distance. I can easily night ski for a few hours after work; there is no night skiing at Calabogie Peaks. The last few seasons the area has been aggressive with their snowmaking opening terrain for the Holidays. If we would live in the West end of Ottawa in places like Kanata then it might make more sense for us.
We got to the hill just prior to 8am. We could see the Whistlin Paddy all prepped up from the road in the clear early morning dawn. Woohoo!!! It was usual race morning chaos in the lodge with an edge, we noticed the coach wasn’t there. After some time, a fellow ski racer parent turned at me and mentioned, “your coach”. We distributed the bibs, I tried to find out the race details and spoke a coach I knew to found out the coach meeting was already done. I hurried to get ready and out the door. Kids were out, as I was leaving the lodge, the coach arrived. He missed that turn 30km ago and continued west. I told him to catch up to us. The course wasn’t open for inspection, but the kids preferred to wait instead of taking a free run. I skied down solo to see if the coach was coming. It was a fast run on a almost trackless velvet Black Donald. A couple of inches of snow covered the groomed run. At the bottom, I found out the coach was already up, so I got to make a few runs before the start of the race. Skied Black Donald and the few trails that were cut off from the rest of the trail do to the top to bottom closure of WP for the Super G. I had the runs virtually to myself the end of the inspection.
The Super G Course on Whistlin Paddy.
Note the start hut for the slalom on skier’s right.
After that I became the jacket shuttle and spectator. Workcrew was working hard removing the fresh snow from the course, you don’t want to hit fresh snow at 90kmh. Morgane was racing on some 168 GS skis (13cm longer than her normal GSs which aren’t short) and is the smallest skier on the hill, some of the girls at this level were as tall and heavy as me on 196s. Yep, I’m talking K2s (13-14). The race also included a number of Juniors. The format of this Super Combine race is one run of Super G in the morning and one run of Slalom in the afternoon. It was a nice -7c today, really a nice day. At the end of the race, we headed back home to get the skis and sleep.
Flat top of lift.
Steep Momo at the start coral.
Heading into the final pitch.
Top of Black Donald and Calabogie Lake.
On Sunday morning the coach was there and hand me a radio to relay messages. Edelweiss/Descente (the two clubs from the same ski area merge for coaching purposes) only has 4 athletes, unlike the bigger club like Fortune, Vorlage and Ste-Marie. It was slightly colder this morning (-11c) and snowing. I didn’t rush out the door of the lodge this morning and got at the lift at 9am. Two runs and then I stationed myself at a tricky section on the lower part of the course between both pitches. Some skiers with a late at the gate could totally lose at the knoll. In fact one girl crashed and broke her arm.
Calabogie Peaks under the snow
At lunch I got chat with a bunch of people. I raced Masters over the years with a few of the other parents from the other clubs. I also meet up with the son of my first good old friend’s sister which lives in the Abitibi 8 hours away. Their ski club races in the Abitibi, Northern Ontario and came down for the Art Tommy. We talked about my friend and my early childhood ski memories, from Mont Sutton where his family often skied to our cottage near Mont Tremblant Lodge where he was forced to ski with his mom, the younger sister. He’s even featured in a few pictures at Beaver Lake when we were toddlers. The last time and first in many years, I saw Éric was after a day at Owl’s Head, he had invited me over to his B&B in North Hatley back in 2000. He passed away two years later after a long disease. At his funeral, I saw my friend’s sister, son and mother. I saw his mother again at my mom’s funeral last year.
Also chatted with my best friend’s cousin from Ottawa. The last time I saw him was at my friend’s wedding back in 1995. I recognized his daughter’s last name and asked my friend if that girl was related to his cousins. I know his older brother from going out in bars and stuff a long time ago. Turns out he went to the same High School as my daughter. I remember that they lived in the school’s neighbourhood when we paid them a visit on a day that we skipped High School and drove to Ottawa at 100mph in my mother’s car. Enough of the incriminating evidence. Second run is about to begin.
As for the previous day, the start was lowered for the slalom. Patrick Biggs of the National Team was forerunning, however like many of the competitors, he missed a gate or something. He still finished, however many of the competitor didn’t. The top of the course was icy and hard. Morgane finished, but was a bit disappointed by her results. She is the smallest, lightest and never raced at this level. I’m pretty proud of her. Although it was snowing, the skiing wasn’t as good as the previous day. It was -2c and when you look at today’s log, the atmosphere was changing throughout the day.
Patrick Biggs is on course.