After a brief hiatus, the World Cup gets underway again in Canmore, Alberta. The weather is sunny and warm, the skiing firm and fast. There is not much snow, but the courses are in great shape. The race loops are packed with athletes and coaches testing skis and getting ready for tomorrow’s distance race.
If you have never been to Canmore, the skiing here is amazing. The venue is stunningly beautiful with amazing trails, excellent facilities and enthusiastic fans. Many of the top Canadian skiers are either from Canmore or live and train here now. So there is a passionate following.
There is a very strong field here for these World Cups. Only the Norwegians, Finns and French do not have their top teams on the start list. However, all of the athletes we talked to today are clearly focused on the Olympics. The races over the next two days are being viewed as tune-ups.
Of course for the large contingent of Nation’s Group skiers for Canada and the US, who will not be going to the Olympics, these races are an important opportunity to race an international field and improve their points.
We were able to catch Petra Majdic (SLO) and her coach in the finish area after an interview with FIS. The Slovenian team arrived just yesterday.
After spending some time talking with athletes (the whole Canadian team was available to the media), we headed out to preview the course. Check back later tonight for a video course preview. Suffice it to say, the 5km loop for tomorrow’s 10/15km freestyle individual start is hard. Ivan Babikov (CAN) likes this course, and if Babikov likes it has to have some big climbs.
We are also putting together a complete preview of tomorrow’s race – up later this evening.