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Posts Tagged ‘Training’

After the bad week and last episode of rain 14-days ago, the awesome 2013-14 Winter was back on track. The Polar Vortex 2 moved in time for the Ottawa Masters to use their no skin suit rule last Wednesday. The temperature moved away from the deep into the -20s just in time for Saturday.

Saturday January 25 : Edelweiss

The Strief ski run opened for the previous weekend, but we were away racing at the neighbouring hills. Prior to the trail opening, Strief had a few big mounds of snow on it which was probably moved after the rain, then it got real cold.

Saturday morning was covered with 10cm layer of fresh snow. As usual, instead of making fresh tracks, coaches were making a fresh course down a steep Streif. I couldn’t believe the amount of snow that was blown at the entrance and in the pitch of a still closed Shotgun trail. I’m taking meters high. A few poachers defied patrollers and ducked the rope or sketched down on the edge of Strief behind the pipes.

Today was the return to awesomeness of our great winter weather with fresh snow, big flakes falling and -6c in the afternoon.

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Sunday January 26 : Edelweiss

Our Winter hasn’t been only about the snow, but also the cold spells. A freezing -29c start which would warm up to -18c later in the afternoon. Shotgun mounds of snow were roughly flatten, but I think the trail was still closed and some people were still poaching it.

It didn’t matter, it was a hero snow day on Strief. When it is this cold, snow doesn’t slide much. Hard lovely carveable cold artificial snow on the steep pitch, I could have stayed for hours if it wasn’t for my frozen hands and toes. Morgane was giving her ski lessons, not easy to ski with young kids when it is this cold.

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Tuesday January 28 evening : Edelweiss

Another 10cm feel on Ottawa on Monday with continued cold conditions, awesome skiing and -18c. Coaching on Strief again, but with the U10s and U12s for a training evening under the lights. For the three outings in four day, I still skied exclusively on Streif.

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Wednesday January 29 evening : Fortune – Back on course (Racing)

So Winter was back on course…now it was time for me to get back on course. Back to ski racing. I’m taking babysteps in Winter 2014 in my return to Ottawa Masters ski racing after a hiatus due to health issues. I’m still not over them and I’ve been skipped two of the first three races struggling with my anxiety. Wednesday was my first slalom race since March 2011. A slalom on Slalom was the order of the evening. I hesitated before leaving the house, however I managed to overcome my demons for this night. The stress level was slightly better than my first race back two Wednesdays ago, but the results were again far from my normal handicap. Skiing at 88%, second last in the Beer Points again. Although the conditions were nice, the course was down to the blue ice layer from the rain event. The skis weren’t tuned, but that wasn’t important, the goal was showing up for the race.

Next race is already tomorrow: a GS at Edelweiss.

Tonight’s Results and Beer Points

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After a brutal cold -23c Saturday in Ottawa, it was time for a +23cm powder day at Edelweiss.

Unfortunately I couldn’t go skiing on the cold part of the weekend 🙂 as it was that time of the year for Christmas shows and kids. So one week after my last outing on groomed awesomeness…it was time for a rare real local powder day.

Not sure how much snow had fallen on Ottawa when we left, I just know that it was deep trackless driving on my street. We arrived shortly after 8:30am and the lift had open earlier than announced. I hurried up and joined the team. As we got to the lift, it might have been the first I’ve seen the GM ski. We joked that he had the lift turned on and was skiing since 3am.

The kids were training their stances and balance in light champagne powder. No gates on a powder day. Give them some mileage and work on some different conditions. Morgane was also out with the team to get some practice runs.

The guns were blazing on Yodeler, but Ullr wasn’t being out gun by machine; it started really puking in the afternoon.

In one week, Edelweiss had added Trou du Diable, Pitch and Rue principale to Easy Street and Chemin des bois. The patrol dropped the rope on the steeper Yodeler and the short Chute. They were also busy trying to bust people for skiing closed runs like Zoomer.

I started skiing with my old Atomic slalom skis as the kids all had they race skis, but I had issues with one binding which popped off a few times. Not sure what was wrong there? The afternoon was spent on my fatter skis with a touring binding.

It was a big day, 24 runs at Edelweiss. The day started ungroomed and trackless; definitely one of my deepest days locally. The only people at the hill in the morning where the racing plus those in instructor training or coach taking the course. In the afternoon the mounds of loose snow were building up as the snow was being tracked up fast.

It is an awesome start to the season, just hoping it continues that way.

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Wednesday Nights has become over the years synonym for Ottawa Ski Masters racing, but it wasn’t the case for myself.

Where was I over one decade ago? I was stuck in a job, often working long hours and not definitely not skiing enough, especially since I started working and moved to Ottawa in the Winter 1995. During that 1994-1995 season, Caroline and I skied a few times around the locals hills, but I was bored. Mind you, I had grown allergic to small ski areas after spending 7 seasons racing for the UniversitĂ© de MontrĂ©al ski team (1986-1992). At the end of those years, I couldn’t barely set my skis on hills with a vertical less than 2000′. Once I arrived in Ottawa, I tried skiing local, but I preferred driving hundreds of miles per weekend than skiing here. This attitude, more demanding work, starting a family lead to fewer days on snow and felt depressed. I longed for more time, more quality ski days.

Many Canadians play in Adult Recreational Hockey Leagues, however I only played one year as a kid until I had to choose between hockey and skiing. Back in the Fall 2001, I was surfing on the net on this great website called FirstTracksOnline, which had tons of links. I discovered a link for the Ottawa Masters Ski Association. Read the website and called the contact person. I was informed of the format and invited to their open-house evening at host by Tommy and Lefebvre Ski Shop. Ski Adult racing was just what I needed to get out of the house, get some purpose driven turns and do something else with my life than being stuck at work.

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Fast forward to the first schedule race of the season: Camp Fortune Wednesday January 2, 2002. Heading up for my 3rd ski outings for a third day in a row, 4th day since the beginning of the season on December 7. Skied on the 31th with Morgane and my wife at Fortune and solo daytrip to Tremblant on New Year Day. Skiing on January 1st had become an annual thing, this was the 4th year in a row.

December 2001 had been particular warm with very little Winter in the air or on the ground. This evening would mark my return to ski racing; after a 9 years hiatus, I was going to renew with skiing against the clock. It would also mark my first time with my new skis, parabolic skis: the 183 cm short Atomic Beta Race 10:22. In the past few years, I’ve been skiing on 201cm long old straight Rossignol 7SK slalom skis.

I arrived at Fortune only to find out that the first race was canceled. Regardless the Masters were setup in the bar and selling lift ticket for $10 (normally you also have to pay for the race also which was $15). A great deal no matter how you count it. The GS would have probably been run on Slalom or maybe Marshall (I don’t recall if it was open), but Slalom didn’t have enough snow to open. Not much was open on this warm start to the season.

Instead of racing, a small 10-15 gates slalom course was up in the middle of Clifford, which was actually the side of the part of the open trail. Masters racers were welcomed to ski the course. I got a good feel for my new skis and trying to remember how to turn between gates. Although I had GS skis at 183, these skis were still shorter than the skis I was use to ski on and it slowly came back to me.

I got to know a few of the regulars that evening. As we were riding the quad with Bob and a couple other guys, he mentioned that they were going to move the guns on Slalom next in order to get the trail open soon. I thought to myself that he most work here and that his family are probably owners of the ski hill. It wasn’t until later that I realized that Bob was the owner with his brother, who knew? I found it pretty cool that someone roughly my age owned one of the most important ski areas in the region and actually ski gates with us.

Although I didn’t race on this evening and that my return to racing was postponed to the following weekend at Edelweiss. On this evening, I got to tryout my new skis and break the ice with fellow adults racers on the hill and in the bar afterward.

Fast forward to 2012, we were supposed to have the Masters first race of the season tonight, but lack of open terrain forced us to postponed the start of the season by one week due to lack of snow for the first time since that evening in 2002. This season the Ottawa Masters will be celebrating their 30th year, come out and race. You won’t regret it.

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