Sleep High, Train Low: Canadians Finish Up Altitude Camps in Park City

Kieran JonesNovember 8, 2010

Since taking the job as the head coach of the Canadian National Ski Team (CNST), Justin Wadsworth has been a man living out of a suitcase.

Upon returning to Canmore from the team’s latest camp, a three week stint in Park City, Utah, Wadsworth hadn’t even managed to unpack yet. Despite the heavy schedule, Wadsworth remained upbeat and enthusiastic – “that’s just what you gotta do,” he said in a recent interview with FasterSkier.

According to Wadsworth, the goal of the camp was to get three weeks of solid altitude training to capitalize on the lower elevation for the last CNST session in Quebec earlier this fall.

The team lived at a high altitude in Upper Deer Valley, Utah, and for the first week, they struggled with adjusting to the altitude. However, the aim for that period was to do all their workouts down low, to allow the athletes to acclimatize before piling on the distance and intensity at altitude.

As for the response from the athletes, Wadsworth said he thought that “everyone came through the camp really well.

“Nobody’s in a body bag, which is good,” he said.

The key workouts at the camp were the time trials. While the Canadians have had competition and time trial experiences this summer (their camp in New Zealand featured some competitive races), Wadsworth emphasized that the athletes “really put their game faces on” for two hard efforts in Park City.

In addition, Wadsworth noted that the athletes were responding remarkably well to the increase in altitude by the end of the camp. When the workouts rose to around 3,000 meters in elevation, “they were going along like it was sea level.”

In Park City, the CNST were joined by a lengthy list of American talent as well. Kikkan Randall, James Southam, Katie Ronsse and Morgan Smyth, among others, jumped in for a variety of workouts, including a mixed sprint relay, which was won by Randall and Stefan Kuhn. Wadsworth was enthusiastic about the American participation.

“I think they brought a really positive aspect to the camp,” he said.

After a few recent trips up to Sunshine, a Canmore-area ski resort, for some additional time on snow, the Canadians finally departed for Europe on November 6, with their eyes on pre-World Cup races in Scandinavia.

As for those looking for predictions from Wadsworth for the first World Cup in Gallivare, he refused to speculate. However, he did say that the entire Canadian World Cup distance team would be entered in the first weekend of races, while the sprinters head to a Scandinavia Cup sprint race.

Kieran Jones

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