One year ago was the Ottawa Masters Finals at Mont Cascades and for the first time since the 2002-03 season when I was in Europe, I wasn’t going to race in it. I had taken a sabbatical from my ski racing since the first race of the season at Fortune.
After a terrible Spring Break which turned out to be gray, rainy, I was back in Ottawa. The skied the previous day at Edelweiss helping out for today’s K1 (now U14) championship race was held at Edelweiss. Prior to heading to Cascades I dropped off Morgane, broken leg and all, to volunteer for her club race and see her friends, then back off to the Masters Final at Cascades.
The morning weather was eery with low visibility and thick fog. The morning fog was intensified by the warm weather which was melting the snowpack. Forecast for today was sunny warm +14c. Temps were lining to head in the Summer type mid-20s celsius temps during the week; the Winter Hating Heatwave would spell the end of the local skiing and at many others ski areas across the East. That morning, some of the staff at Edelweiss were worried about the odds of skiing the following weekend at the Edelweiss club’s BBQ while people at Cascades were more confident: for the record, both areas as well as other locals wouldn’t make it to the following weekend.
The biggest concern was holding a the race on soft snow where there wasn’t a real freeze at night. The two-run GS was scheduled for the morning and two-run slalom for the afternoon. Everyone worried about the slalom, especially if it gets real warm, concern was that racers would rut-it-up to the ground. Bags of fertilizer were bought to firm up the surface on the course. In the afternoon racers were asked not inspect in the course not to remove the fertilizer and let it ice up the snow. Safety concern were also brought up after the 1st run of the GS as the soft outside the track made it dangerous for injuries. The race committee, after consulting with a few racers, decided to go ahead with the second run.
Here is the run down by the Ottawa Masters’ prez:
The Season Thus Far
We have been really lucky. The races have been most excellent. Not too cold. good conditions.
The Race results for the season have been very tight. On the Ladies, Allison has run away with every race she entered – however, despite her wins, her attendance has hurt her top line. The Bronze is clinched, but can she improve? Will she take home all the bragging rights? She has to be there! Kathleen is in solid second. Carmen is holding third. With three races left to go, the title is on the table and up for grabs. It’s going to come down to the last race.
The Mens race is stunningly close. Ron opened strong but faded in the last couple races earning only a single point on his bailout effort at Cascades. Lucky for him, the yungun Gary suffered the same fate. Gary has been charging hard throwing down impressive times and it’s paid off. A late start is being made up for with consistant podium times. So far, though, it’s all about Benoit. He took the lead from Ron early and has been holding on to it vigorously – like a pit bull on a rubber ball.
The real race is in the Beer Points.
Chris Z has taken over the lead, the result of putting up consistent numbers and full attendance. 100% attendance coupled with 100% never-say-die-persistence leads to gold and the coveted Beer Mug Trophy. It’s all about attendance folks. Aaron and Chris E knows all about that also. Also with full attendance, they are breathing fire. It’s still too early to get a prediction, but this is true: The beer point winner will need to attend the remaining races AND ski much better than average.
Still a GO!
Aside from the 17 degree forecast this weekend, Cascades thinks that we will be able to run on Ex. Their plan is to push snow from the competition side. We will follow up with them on Friday.
Finals Notes Pay Attention! Important Stuff!
The good news: Race is ON!
The bad news: It ain’t gonna be pretty!
The weather has been great. If you like mush. I don’t have to tell you it’s been a challenging week, all you need to do is look out the window. We have been talking daily with Cascades and they are committed to pulling off the finals for us tomorrow. They will be pushing snow around from the competition side on to the exhibition side to ensure we have a track.
We will be buying fertilizer to firm up the snow.
You must not ski, slip, slide or even think about about skiing the course, while the fertilizer is setting up. You must inspect the course from outside the lane.
Safety is our primary goal. We are committed to bringing you a safe and fair race. Everybody must inspect! There is no shame in quitting. Ruts will form, so if you feel that it is too deep or knarly for you, take a pass and meet us in the bar.
The Finals Schedule
The Finals run this weekend, Sat March 17 at Cascade!
Registration in the Exhibition Lodge.
Registration: Day of Race starts at 8:15 AM
insp 8:30 – 9:15am
first run 9:30
sec run 10:30
lunch 11:30 12:30
SL (set by 12:30)
insp 12:30- 1:00
first run 1:00
2nd run 2:15
Awards Ceremony and party 3:30 in the MAIN LODGE.
We will have tons of prizes. And real good ones too!
If anybody shows up for the finals who is not a member, and wants to race both races, we will not enforce the “Gotta join the club after one free race rule ”
Each race: $15.00
Lift ticket: $15.00
Lunch: $10 (non members racing)
$15 (spouses non-racing)
FREE for members
The weather is warm and we are working closely with Cascades to pull this off.
Notices and updates will be posted on fb first.
Watch the facebook site.
The Prize Table
I went shopping with Renee last night at Kunstadt Sports for finals prizes. We have almost $3000 worth of prizes to give away! Some of the swag on the table you’ll see is:
Pro Waxing Iron
Ski Tuning equipment
Uvex Team Canada Helmet – Worth $220
Kunstadt Calabogie racing bike- worth $750 !!!
Thanks to Eric, Ron and Peter for their most excellent support and super huge donations!
For the Masters, racing at Cascades is always fun. It’s a challenging hill and you get a great view of the course from the bottom. The small World Cup lodge ads to the coziness of a having the hill to ourselves. Lunch and BBQ was set between the morning GS and afternoon Slalom.
As competitors were racing, I was cycling checking the conditions for the race, skiing and taking pictures. As the chair opened, the fog was stuck at the bottom and the sky was totally bluebird at top. Cascades isn’t the highest mountain, we are talking only about 160m vertical. As the skiers raced down the GS course, the fog moved up the hill. Everything was clean, hot and corny in the afternoon. You could see the snowpack receding. Taking pictures from various locations as standing in place makes all the pics look alike. I preferred having fun, skiing as at the same time, trying to get all the racers on each of their runs in GS and Slalom. The results of the day was over 750 pictures (which I would be to happy to sell at a reasonable price – see link at the bottom).🙂
The race features some excellent skiing and some spectacular crashes. Who’s did what?
Courtesy Kunstadt Sports : Enjoying some corn turns between races
Courtesy Kunstadt Sports : Gary the prez, Kim and MadPat
The old gang showed up to race; Bob won followed by Gerald who brought it up a notch this season and been racing great. Younger newcomer Charles beat out Ben and Ron for 3rd place. It was a tight, 5th place Ron was within 1.5 seconds from first place. Newcomer were smoking, Gary scored the fastest run while Hal had the 4th fastest run, but both either crashed or DNFs on one of their first run. Gary lost his skis on both runs, either on the course or at the finish area. If they would have done equally well, the podium might have been totally different. The Slalom should be interesting. Shaun on the other hand sounded like me had been shot. He had a twisting fall near the finish and never got up. You could hear the screams all the way to the start.
Bob also won the slalom with Hal and Gary getting two great run and putting space between veterans Bob and Gerald who finished 4th. Ben, Ron and Charles came up next. finish The top 3 racers were within 0.8 seconds on the combine times.
Despite both wins, Bob finished 3rd in the season World Cup points just two points behind Ron. Ben won it as he just needed to ski on-par. Bob’s downfall was that he missed 4 races this season. Gerald and Gary ended up in 4th and 5th, it could have been very different final standing if they would have missed 2 races or finished in more races. Gary was within one win to second place.
For the girls, Allie dominated the field in both races once gain with one-time regular Laura showing up from Southern Ontario to take two 2nd places. The 3rd positions were up for grabs between Kathleen, Carmen and Kim. The standings of the GS were reflected in the slalom’s 1st run; Kathleen, Carmen and Kim were respectively 3rd, 4th and 5th.
Winner of 3rd place in the GS, Kathleen was sitting in 3rd place after the 1st slalom run, but Kim took advantage of Kathleen DNFs on the second run to jumped from 5th to 3rd place above Carmen. Carmen placed 4th in both races. For the World Cup standing, it was Allie, Kathleen and Carmen.
A spectacular push for the season Beer Point Award. Chris Z was leading one month ago, but was surpassed by Vladimir by winning for the GS this weekend and placing in the top 3 in the last 4 races of the season. Congrats Vladimir!
A few extra runs where gone at the end of the race as it was too good to ski perfect corn in warm weather. Some preferred skiing the race track which was solid and firm with the fertilizer while I preferred the deep corn stuff. I loved skier on the Competition side of the trail (skier’s left) and jump off the small lip and navigated through some bare patches on the edge of the woods. A few of us were milking as much as possible before moving to the other side to the bar by skis or car if we were parked in the miniscule parking lot at the bottom. Prizes, food and beer were to be enjoyed by many of us.
Courtesy Kunstadt Sports : Family picture
On a sad note:
Allie showed up with, long-time Masters competitor and Fortune skiing father this season, they had a father and daughter duo to be taken seriously. Pierre Pelletier also brought his other daughter this winter, he was always the competitor, always going for the extra run at the end of the race. Pierre passed away suddenly last Summer being active and it was a shock to the most of us, as Pierre was in better shape and faster than most of us. He was missed this season.
Videos by Martin
Ottawa Masters Ski Racing finals at Mont Cascades, March 17, 2012.
Music: Wooden Shjips : Flight
Gary Jones crashes at the 2012 Ottawa Masters Ski Racing Finals.
Music: Bush : Machinehead
SPAM: BUY BUY BUY !!!!
PICTURES TO SELL to finance this website and blog. You can have them printed and delivered, digital download once or the whole series. There are over 750 pictures to choose from. If you were at the race, odds are that I have at less 3 of your 4 runs. From a single digital download, single print to downloading the whole album for just over $15.
SATURDAY – SATURDAY – SATURDAY – MARCH – 16 – 2013
This year, on Saturday March 16, 2013, the Finals will be at Edelweiss on Strief (conditions permitting).
2010 : Calabogie Peaks’ Whistlin’ Paddy
2011 : Camp Fortune’s The Chute
2012 : Mont Cascades’ Exhibition
2013 : Edelweiss’s Streif
See you on Saturday.
For more info, check out ottawamasters.ca or on Facebook at Ottawa Masters Ski Racing Club.