Season Opener

Lenny ValjasNovember 16, 2010

Three days ago the team travelled from the awesome city of Ostersund to the not so awesome village of Bruksvallarna. Bruks is a tiny little town in Northern Sweden with a population of a couple hundred. There is a hotel, a small grocery store, and xc ski trails… and thats about it.
Today was the first race of the season for me. It was a skate sprint against a pretty tough field. I qualified in 11th place. I was happy with my Qualifier result. It was a pretty flat course which meant there was almost no rest at all. The rest of the Canadians also skied well, 5 of the 7 men qualified for the heats as well as our two girls (Chandra and Dasha).
Since the course was so narrow and winding, it was very important to get the hole shot at the start of the heats. I was able to move through the quarter and semi-finals very easily using this strategy. I took the lead in both heats and just skied my own race in the front of the pack and made it to the A-final! I was so pumped to race in the final with my teammate Devon Kershaw. This morning I would have never guessed that I would have made it this far.
The A-Final was loaded with some of the worlds best ski racers(Emil Jonsson, Jesper Modin, Devon Kershaw, Richardsen, Onda). I think I was the only one there that has not won a medal on the world cup. I wasn’t able to get the hole shot in this heat, I had the worst lane choice and these guys are fast! I skied the whole race in 6th until the last steep climb where I passed two skiers as they got tangled and sprinted with Devon Kershaw to see who would take the bronze. I wasn’t able to get ahead of Devon so I ended up in 4th. Devon and I both agreed that the skis were a major part of our success today. The wax techs had those skis dialled in!

I had so much fun racing today, I couldn’t have asked for anything more. This was a great start to the season and I cant wait until my next race next weekend in Rovaniemi,  Finland.
Sorry for the lack of photos, I will try to track some down…
Here is an article written by

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This was the view from our hotel in Ostersund. This is a nice water tower with a killer restaurant on the top floor where we ate our first night.

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