Moving on from last season, the Canadians are a calculated bunch and ready to get the World Cup season started — with a goal of not overemphasizing early results in order to peak for the Olympics. For the entire team, the Tour de Ski is part of the plan.
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.”
During his recent visit to California for a training camp with his Black Jack Ski Club, former Canadian National Team Head Coach Dave Wood met up with FasterSkier’s Nancy Fiddler and shared some intimate thoughts on the sport. “You can’t improve by just going to Europe to race,” Wood says. “You have to figure out a way to cut 45 seconds over 15 kilometers before going.”
Earlier this month, Devon Kershaw packed his bags for Europe, where he’ll spend essentially six months between the World Cup, Tour de Ski and Olympic competitions. It was tough, he said, but an opportunity he couldn’t pass up between seeing his girlfriend, Kristin Størmer Steira, and training with the Norwegian men’s team in Val Senales, Italy.
A middle-of-the-pack skier who competed until 17, Simon Boisvert secured a national-team job this summer at age 21 as a Canadian World Cup wax tech. “When I got the call, I was really happy,” the M.S.A. native says. “It was one of my dreams that came true.” Interview and article by Stéphanie Drolet, in both English and French.
On Thursday, a classic-sprint showdown among some of the top Canadian and U.S. nordic skiers took place on Frozen Thunder. “Let’s be honest,” men’s winner Dakota Blackhorse-von Jess says. “Winning a race against [Andy Newell and Simi Hamilton], even in a tune up event, even with a relatively small field, even in October, it still makes a good time even better.”
At first glance, one might not see much of a difference on the Canadian World Cup Team: mostly the same faces looking fit as usual. But head coach Justin Wadsworth said there’s a lot that’s gone on behind the scenes this training season, especially in monitoring recovery and priming his athletes for what he hopes to be their best seasons yet. A new camp in Truckee was part of the plan.
Two days after arriving in New Zealand, Andy Newell romped the men’s field in the opening sprint of Winter Games NZ, winning his qualifier and each heat thereafter for the overall win. That’s a good indicator for one of the world’s best sprinters after a summer of mostly rollerskiing, running and biking.
Perianne Jones has no problem jumping into workouts with the guys. And keeping up with teammates like Lenny Valjas, Ivan Babikov and Devon Kershaw? Piece of cake. Those are the training partners the 28-year-old Canadian World Cup member has been dealt for the time being, and according to Jones, she’s off to a great start.
The Sochi Organizing Committee showed off, for the first time, the beautiful meals that will be up for grabs at the Olympics in February. Across the nordic sports, North Americans could medal in, we estimate, four events – and if you start talking a little crazy, maybe almost a dozen sets of the handcrafted hardware could come back across the Atlantic.