Dave Wood on New Blackjack Ski Program

FasterSkierFebruary 25, 20112

Marty Hall (MH)– Hi Dave, it’s been 9 months since your departure from the Canadian National Team, what’s been happening with you and your career—bring us up to speed?

Dave Wood (DW)—In the spring I began working with the Black Jack Ski Club in Rossland, BC. The program here has younger skiers ages 13 to 17, all in high school. We have an ideal natural environment for Cross country skiers in Rossland. Most of the training can be completed “out the door”. We have to travel for Roller skiing to find different terrain, but we have everything from flatter gentle terrain to long continuous uphills (10 to 25 km). The trails are superb and with the Red Mountain alpine area only 15 minutes running from town we can do as much ski simulation on foot as one can stand!

The program had a couple of training camps in the summer, the Haig Glacier, and a dryland camp in the Bow Valley. This is an opportunity to begin to introduce these skiers to training at altitude. We began skiing in Early November up at the Paulson trails (local). There are 3 areas for Cross Country here, and the Paulson trails (maintained by the Castlegar club) have snow a little earlier than Black Jack.

I went to Boston in September for a NENSA seminar. I made a presentation and sat in on the rest of seminar. Always good to get into other areas. As well I went to a COC function (Olympic Excellence series) for summer sports in November.

The club hosted a very successful NorAm in December. I did not have involvement with the event, except I worked with the club to build a better sprint course. The tracks and the event were well received.

The club and the Red Mountain Academy are joining forces to create an educational component to our Nordic Program. Al Fisher (Racing Program Director) and I initiated this in the spring and over the summer when we hammered out the details. At the end it has been Wannes Luppens (Club President), Al Fisher and I that are spearheading this initiative.

Now we are into the racing season and going full blast.

Life in Rossland right now is being very good to Coach Dave Wood!

MH—Dave, with all this said, it sounds as if you’re in the midst of announcing a new high school aged skiing program in the midst of one of the best training and skiing locales in North America. Everything is out the door and skiing locally in early November while going to school and being coached by the ex-Head Coach of the National Team, what more could young skier want. So, Dave, tell us more about the Red Mountain Academy and its new educational component for your Nordic Program.

DW—The Red Mountain Academy (RMA) has been in operation for many years. It began as an academy program with the Red Mountain Racers (Alpine racing) and over time has expanded. The cooperation with the Black Jack Cross Country ski club was initiated this spring and we finalized the association this past fall with a three pronged program. Read more about the Academy here: www.redskiacademy.com

The Home Stay Plan—- Athletes that are not local in Rossland are placed with families in Rossland. We also have service providers such as physiotherapy, mental training, etc.

The home stay is organized and delivered through the administration end of the academy program. The athletes stay with families in the area. There is an education for the home stay families with respect to the nutritional needs of the athlete. The cost for this is $750/month, which includes some of the travelling needs. With their application to academy the process for home stay is initiated.

Another component of this program is transportation to and from the training venue to the school. In Rossland you can walk from “home” to school

The Educational Component of the Academy—is delivered at Rossland Senior Secondary school. This will provide the athletes with a flexible academic schedule that allows time for proper training and competition programs. Read more about RMA here: www.rss.sd20.bc.ca/

The third component of the program is the Training and Competition Program— that is managed and delivered by myself. I have several coaches and experts who are assisting me in the Black Jack Racing team. We provide an intensive, individualized training and preparation programs.

Athletes in the academy program will train alongside the athletes training with the Club Program. Currently we have athletes from Rossland, Nelson, and Trail that work with the Black Jack Racing Team.

General program for 2011/12

-May 1 is the training year start

– Will plan for a spring snow camp where it can happen, likely Vernon, however we can do it here in some years

-June is dryland, going into the local mountain trails as the snow melts

-July will have a week at the Haig glacier

-August will have two weeks in the Bow Valley with two trips to the Haig glacier

-Fall camp with altitude. Most likely the Bow Valley if the stored snow works out

-December NorAms

-World Junior trials

-National Champs

– Other racing as is available

In Rossland we enjoy the perfect natural environment for developing Cross Country Ski Racers. We have an extensive network of trails and paths that are ideal for running and ski simulation on foot. As well we have mountain trails that are up to 2200 meters in elevation. This means we can train between 400 meters and 2200 meters, an ideal situation for altitude training and lower elevation for speed work. We have long continuous roller ski climbs, up to 25 km, or we can have gentle rolling terrain to roller ski on. A lot of this roller ski terrain has very limited traffic. We have access to a rubber surface running track in Warfield (6km away), an aquatic center in Trail (10 km), gyms in Rossland, and the alpine area (Red Resort) is about 5km from town, a perfect distance for warm up for a hill session. This is as good as it gets for dry land training!

We have 3 areas where we can ski. The Black Jack Club (www.skiblackjack.ca) is about a 10 min drive from anywhere in Rossland. The club has about 30 km of trails that are groomed daily by one of the two Pisten Bulleys the club owns. The normal season at Black Jack would be December to April. There is a biathlon facility up the highway from Black Jack. There is a 5km loop with the shorter tracks inside the 5 km track. The biathlon facility is about 300 meters higher than Black Jack, and gets earlier snow (2 to 3 weeks) and the snow lasts much longer in the spring. Finally the Castlegar ski club operates a trail system at the Paulson Summit. This is about a 30 min drive from Rossland, and it is also higher (about 1500 meters) so it is another option for early skiing

We can offer a training environment that is very high quality and lets the athletes maximize their training time do to the proximity of all training venues.

MH- Dave, I think that wraps it up and I’m thinking for any young teenage skier it doesn’t get any better. Sort of a home away from home feeling with the Home Stay Program and one of the best facilities and training centered programs you could want to be involved with if you are looking towards excelling nationally as a skier in the near future.  Where do I sign up?


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  • Ben Arians

    February 26, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    Um, was this an interview for an article or an advertisement? Sometimes it’s hard to tell on FasterSkier.

  • Martin Hall

    March 3, 2011 at 9:58 am

    Ben—it doesn’t matter what you read or write, everyone is trying to sell you on something—it’s as simple as that.
    Even if I’m writing about the out come of a race, I’m trying to sell you on my opinion of the race, while if you watched the same race, and wrote your opinion, you’re trying to sell me on you opinion of what happened.
    Yes, this is whatever you want to call it—I see it as an opportunity to reach the crowd—young ski racers—that can benefit from such a program in furthering their careers—nothing more.

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