WHISTLER, B.C. – Friday was an official-training day for the cross-country athletes, but the Sea to Sky Nordic Festival isn’t all about cross country. While biathlon wrapped up earlier, ski jumping and nordic combined had their first competitions on Friday. Fast and Female hosted an event, and there were lectures on coaching female athletes.
Our cross-country coverage has focused on the open categories, which is just a small part of the event. The vast majority are Canadians, with 696 athletes eligible for national titles in four age groups, CCUNC (university students), and two para-nordic categories.
The U.S. is well represented with 25 athletes. Norway has seven athletes, largely representing U.S. colleges. Switzerland and Slovakia each have two athletes. Australia, Belarus, the Czech Republic, Spain, France, Japan, the Netherlands, and Peru have one athlete each.
Biathlon had 175 competitors for four competition days, ending March 20th, with about 40 athletes from the U.S.
With the addition of female ski jumpers to the 2014 Sochi Olympics, it is no surprise to see that a significant number of the competitors are female (12 of 40 competitors on Friday). The new frontier is female nordic-combined competitors.
There were seven women who went on to complete the 5k skiing portion. Jumping and nordic-combined results are posted here. There are about equal numbers of Canadian and U.S. athletes.
Fast and Female held an event at the race venue on Friday morning. FasterSkier’s representative was not able to attend, being neither fast nor female, but a lot of female athletes, both young and role models, appeared to be having fun.
The CCC Women’s Committee held a coaching session with sport’s psychologist Sharleen Hoar and National Team women’s coach Eric DeNys titled, ‘Maximizing the Potential in your Female Athlete’.
A Conversation with Champions featured Olympic Champion rower Marnie McBean and World Champion mountain biker Catherine Pendrel. Pendrel has been doing cross-country ski races as part of her training the last few winters.
Official training for cross country was also on the program with the stadium and intersection controls set up. A few hundred skiers took advantage of the opportunity to ski the courses and get familiar with the stadium setup, starting at -2 degrees Celsius and warming up to 11 Celsius by mid-afternoon.