Brent McMurtry of the Pierre-Harvey National Training Centre and Foothills Nordic Ski Club said he and teammate David Greer were unhurt after his car slid off the road while driving from Silver Star to Rossland, British Columbia.
The accident happened near the town of Midway, slightly more than halfway into the 370-kilometer (230-mile) trip. Several cross-country skiers and teams traveled the same route to prepare for the second set of NorAm races in Rossland this weekend.
The roads had been dry throughout the afternoon, said McMurtry, the two-time runner-up from the first set of NorAm races in Sovereign Lake.
While driving about 100 kilometers an hour in his personal vehicle, a Toyota Corolla, McMurtry said he drove over a depression in the road where it went over a creek. The car hit black ice and began sliding into oncoming traffic.
McMurtry said he overcorrected and swerved into a cement guardrail. His car slid along the barrier and into a ditch.
“I was just hoping it wouldn’t flip over,” he said. “Luckily we came to a stop in the ditch.”
A little shaken up but uninjured, McMurtry and Greer stepped out of the car and removed their luggage. Without collision on the vehicle, McMurtry knew it was a loss. He had no cell service but police came within minutes.
Three people stopped and told McMurtry they slid on the same spot earlier that day. Five minutes after his accident, a gravel truck drove up to take care of that exact section.
“Kind of bad luck,” McMurtry said. “I guess locals know.”
About 10 minutes behind them on the road, the Thunder Bay National Development Centre team came to their rescue. With two 15-passenger vans, its members made room for McMurtry, Greer and all their belongings.
“It’s kind of surreal to crash my car and 30 minutes later never see my car again,” McMurtry said. “(But it) did enough damage to my ’99 Corolla that it wasn’t worth getting it fixed.”
He bought the car from a friend for about $2,000 Canadian dollars two years ago.
“It’s not a super-valuable car to start out with,” he said of his decision to leave it with the police.
He will next try to find a ride to Canmore, Alberta, after this weekend’s races and then he will deal with the car. He wasn’t too concerned about either.
“I’m not too stressed about it,” he said. “There’s lots of people from Canmore here so it’ll be pretty easy to find a ride home.”
On Wednesday, McMurtry said everything was normal and he was training as usual.
“I’m fine,” he said. “I feel 100 percent.”
A video from Brent McMurtry detailing his trip to Silver Star, taken before the accident.
Alex Kochon (email@example.com) is the former managing editor at FasterSkier. She spent seven years with FS from 2011-2018, and has been writing, editing, and skiing ever since. She's making a cameo in 2020.