Oro, ON – Over 100 committed young cross country ski racers from across Ontario will converge on Hardwood Ski and Bike this weekend for the 2011 Southern Ontario Training Camp, an intensive 5-day dryland training camp designed to help prepare for winter competition. Joining them will be a contingent of athletes from the National Development Centre (NDC) in Thunder Bay, led by coaches Eric Bailey and Timo Puiras, as well as Canadian National Ski Team members Len Valjas (Canadian Sprint Champion) and Michael Somppi. The Southern Ontario Training Camp promises to be one of the largest and most successful training camps for cross country skiers conducted in North America this year. Organized by the host racing club, Team Hardwood, in collaboration with Cross Country Canada, NDC, Cross Country Ontario, and Hardwood Ski and Bike, the Southern Ontario Training Camp aims to give developing and high performance athletes a competitive edge over their rivals elsewhere in Canada and abroad. Camp participants will engage in a variety of training sessions under the supervision of Ontario’s top coaches, and that are designed to improve their physical strength, power, and endurance, as well technical and tactical skills on skis.
Camp participants will have the opportunity to train in the presence of top coaches like Bailey, Purias and Ontario Team coach, Pavlina Sudrich, and to test themselves against athletes like Valjas and Somppi, who will serve as role models and mentors for the younger athletes. A highlight of the camp will include a session on sprint tactics to be led by Valjas and Harry Seaton, who together (representing Team Hardwood) won gold in the Team Sprint at the Canadian Championships in 2010. Valjas, who grew up skiing and racing at Hardwood, exploded onto the international racing scene last season with a top-10 finish in World Cup sprint competition and a 15thplace at the 2011 World Ski Championships in Oslo, Norway. Valjas will share his experiences from the World Cup and World Championships in an evening keynote presentation next Tuesday (August 30) at Hardwood Ski and Bike. In addition to its focus on athlete development, the Southern Ontario Training Camp will also include a coaching symposium comprised of afternoon workshops and presentations on topics such as overtraining and motor learning. Over 20 coaches from across Ontario will attend. The coaching symposium has been made possible through the generous support of the Canadian Sport Centre (Ontario) and Cross Country Ontario.