Canadian Women’s World Cup Coach Eric de Nys is in the process of starting a new junior-training program in Canmore after parting ways with the national team. “With the World Cup team being what it will be next year, it just can’t justify having that many coaches there,” he says. “We had to do some restructuring and part of that was eliminating a job.”
This past weekend, nearly the entirety of the adult population of Midwestern skiers made their way to Hayward for the annual get-together of the ski community: The Birkie. The American Birkebeiner (or Birkie, for short), is the biggest ski race in North America. For many skiers, the race represents their culmination of training for the whole year. Read a first-timer’s perspective on the race, the trail, and Birkie Fever.
With the Winter Olympics set to kick off in earnest with the Opening Ceremony on Friday night, the Canadian National Cross-Country Team is ready to go in the mountain village of Krasnaya Polyana, where it’s been training for the last few days. This is the story of how their team grew by two just a few weeks before the Olympics, shortly after the official nomination.
Following up on the Canadian Olympic team naming last week, FasterSkier caught up with four rookies who recently posted top results to earn their first trips to the Games from Feb. 7-23: Graeme Killick, Emily Nishikawa, Jesse Cockney, and Heidi Widmer.
Four racers proved they deserve a spot on Canada’s Olympic team this weekend in the freestyle sprints and 15/30 k skiathlons. Heidi Widmer (AWCA/NST) and Jesse Cockney (AWCANST) took home top honors in the freestyle sprint, while Graeme Killick (AWCA/NST) and Amanda Ammar (Team Ninja) won the skiathlon.
Canada’s Olympic Trials kicked off on Wednesday at the Canmore Nordic Centre with the first of two freestyle sprint races. With perhaps only two spots per gender on the Olympic team up for grabs, there is little room for errors for racers wanting to qualify for the Olympics.
Martin Johnsrud Sundby took off like a rocket on Friday and never looked back. The 29-year-old Norwegian had a 32 second headstart in the 5th stage of the Tour de Ski, a 35 k freestyle pursuit race, and he took full advantage of it.
In the last big North American race before the holiday break, Kevin Sandau (AWCA/NST) and American Kate Fitzgerald (APU) took home top honors on Sunday in the Black Jack NorAm 10/15 k classic individual starts in Rossland, B.C.
Cold temperatures couldn’t keep the Sovereign Lake NorAm classic sprint from going off on Sunday. Andrea Dupont and Patrick Stewart-Jones overcame windy and cold conditions to take victories in the classic sprints.
Bump up your strength routine with gymnast rings — and no, you don’t need to be the next Arthur Nabarrete Zanetti, (wait, who’s he?). FS contributor Katie Bono writes: “It’s fun, the rings are extremely portable and versatile, and the exercises develop strength, coordination, and stability. However, the main benefit is that ring training is HARD. Like REALLY HARD.”
The 2014 race season has arrived, and with it, the start of SuperTour racing. In an Olympic year, the elite domestic race series becomes even more important to aspiring skiers. Expect intense and highly competitive racing from the get-go!
Ivan Babikov is excited, to say the least, heading into his third Olympic season. At 33, Canada’s most-seasoned World Cup veteran knows what to expect and what not to get too stressed about. “[I’m] not trying to reinvent the bicycle,” he says.
At 22, Heidi Widmer’s suffered three concussions in the last four years, with her most recent resulting from a rollerski crash this fall. “I’m super lucky,” the Canadian NST member says. “There’s no internal bleeding, I’m functioning, I’m fine, but I just have to be able to take care of this and come out of it with some lessons learned for sure.”
Katerina Smutna of Austria topped U.S. Ski Team members Ida Sargent and Sophie Caldwell in Thursday’s on-snow sprint at Frozen Thunder, and Dakota Blackhorse-von Jess led an American sweep of the hypothetical podium in what was essentially the first race of the season.