The past two weeks have been some of the best training of the year. For those of us traveling from a warm Thanksgiving in New England, we were entering a different world. After spending a night in a hotel across from the Kelowna airport, and eating one of the most delicious hotel breakfasts I have ever consumed, we headed off in a coach bus to Silver Star, gradually breaking through the cloud cover and finding ourselves surrounded by feet of snow, 30 degree weather, and our reliable gold and purple houses.
The next couple of days were marked by exclamations of awe and adventures in which each ski seemed to be better than the last. Snow fell reliably almost every day, and skiing along the Paradise trail that circles the mountain through tunnels of frosted trees could not have been more perfect. My only complaint was that whipping down some of the black diamond trails on especially snowy days transformed the soft snow flakes into pellets attacking my face. But when too much falling snow is your only complaint, how can you really be complaining….
After a couple of days of adjusting, we entered the first of three intensity sections of the two weeks. Saturday was made up of a 30 to 40 minute L3 intensity session, Sunday hit us with L4 ladder intervals followed by lifting, and Monday culminated with a 3 to 4 hour over distance ski. By the end of the 72 hour section, the girls were definitely feeling ready for our Tuesday off day, a day that was marked both the midpoint of the camp and a second particularly delicious breakfast of the week.
The rest of the week leading up to the NorAm races scheduled for the weekend were a mix of distance, a few intervals/speeds, and an exciting down hill training practice (a personal favorite). Norpining adventures were, of course, also interspersed among the practices as Lydia wowed us all with her acrobatic-esque ability to twirl and float in all directions down the slopes of the alpine trails.
After a week and a half of hard training, the NorAm races were a great chance to see the results of some of our time on snow, but also a particularly tiring weekend. Freestyle sprints were on Saturday, and it was really exciting to see so many green suits whipping around the rollercoaster of a course during the qualifiers. An impressive group of girls advanced onto the quarterfinals, and the junior girls (Taryn, Emily Hyde, Lydia, Cally and I) enjoyed doing some close racing in the Junior races, emerging with strong 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th place results in the A and B finals. I know that Saturday was one of my personal favorite days of the camp, as getting back into racing and dancing with the our girls team before heats has always been one of my favorite parts of nordic racing.
Sunday was also a very exciting race and we partook in a 10 K Freestyle race that looped twice around the World Cup course. The race seemed to be made up disproportionally of uphill and per usual the snow was falling pretty hard, but nonetheless the Dartmouth girls emerged with some strong finishes from Emily Hannah, Molly, Taryn and Lydia.
Monday and Tuesday were spent trying to conquer the last of the trails left untravelled and after a final Classic over distance on Monday morning, I think everyone was ready to head home.
After an entire semester of excited build up, I think everyone could agree that the camp met and exceeded our hopes for snow, training, and bonding. I am so in love with our team right now and sitting here typing in Boston with 50 degree and raining weather, I am longing for snow once again.