National Team Members Praise Conditions
May 15, 2006 – While most skiers have put away the skis for the season and dusted off their bikes and roller skis, Canada’s elite Nordic skiers returned to the Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre (host venue of the 2005 Greater Vernon World Cup) this week for some on-snow spring training.
Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre Manager Mike Edwards was approached by an elite ski team from Alberta about hosting a spring camp earlier this season. â€œIt’s something we’ve wanted to do for a while,â€ said Edwards, while on skis and enjoying the sun himself Sunday. â€œWhen this team indicated that they wanted to come back for some off-season training, we thought it might be a good opportunity to put the word out and see who else was interested. Judging from the success of this first camp, we’ll consider making this an annual event.â€
The Sovereign Lake Race Team, who have been enjoying the snow and skiing since the race season ended, were joined by dozens of skiers and biathletes from all over BC and Alberta, and even as far away as Quebec and Nova Scotia. They enjoyed daily expert grooming on a variety of trails and through the Biathlon range. While the snow is mostly melted on the mountain, the trails which were packed and groomed all winter are holding up well against the Okanagan sun.
â€œThe snow conditions are unbelievable,â€ said Rocky Mountain Racers coach John Jacques, who brought 10 athletes from Canmore and Banff. â€œYou simply can’t beat skiing on this quality of snow under beautifully sunny skies in the middle of May. It’s great early season training for our athletes, and we’re all enjoying it. Everyone should be here.â€
Four male athletes from the Canadian National Cross Country Ski Team even took the opportunity to get back on-snow for a few days. Olympian Chris Jeffries commented on the benefits of the facility being available to skiers in the off-season. â€œWe’re able to ski a great hour-long loop on different trails. This is the best spring skiing I’ve ever seen. It’s such a nice, relaxing way for us to get in some long training sessions together on snow. Plus, in the afternoons, we’re heading down to town and enjoying the beach, just taking it easy and enjoying this part of our season.â€
â€œWe’ve skied here quite a bit before, especially this year before the World Cup, and it really seems to work for us,â€ Jeffries added. â€œWe’re familiar with the area, we’re comfortable here. We had our best season ever last year, and we’re looking to continue with the things that work for us as we set our sights towards 2010.â€ The team plans on staying until Wednesday before heading off to another training camp.
The Spring Snow Camp continues to Thursday and skiing is free for Sovereign Lake Nordic Club pass holders. The conditions are best before noon. Call 558-3036 for more information.