NorAm Notes and Quotes: Sovereign Lake (with videos)

Alex KochonDecember 12, 20111

With the first two NorAm races of the season over and done, here are a few tidbits that didn’t make it into the recaps of the classic sprints and distance races from Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre in British Columbia:

On coming back to Canada after racing overseas in the World Cup:

“Jet lag seemed to take a big grip on me for the first couple (days),” said Kevin Sandau, who returned about two weeks ago. “Normally when I get back from Europe it’s easy. I think because it’s midway through the season and I’m tired so it’s easier to get there. Now it’s like I get back in December and racing here hasn’t really started yet.”

At least there’s snow in British Columbia.

“(There’s) way more snow here than Europe,” Sandau added. “It’s nice to be able to warm up on a snow loop or ski on a 15 k loop.”

On Sunday’s distance course:

“I’m still trying to figure out what my strengths are. I’m not sure what my ideal course is in a classic, but I liked it.” — Jessie Diggins (CXC), 10 k winner

“I really like hills. There were quite a few out there.” — Kate Fitzgerald (APU), 10 k runner-up

“I think this course in general is really good for me. The altitude and the amount of climbs is kind of what my strengths are. I would say this course in general, I love it for skating but obviously for classic it worked out pretty well, too.” — Caitlin Gregg (CXC), third in 10 k

“This was a really challenging course. It’s a climb, I feel like for the whole thing. … I kind of just died in the second lap a little bit. It happens, but it’s all right. I feel like I need a little break.” — Jennie Bender (CXC), eighth in 10 k after placing fourth in Saturday’s sprints

These hills, they just came at you. Every lap … you barely got a breather and then you were right back into it again. That said there was enough rest but you still had to be really smooth on the hills and not waste energy.” — Leif Zimmermann (Bridger SF), fifth in the 15 k

“The first two hills were really hard. This first hill, you pretty much climb from (the start) and you climb for, I don’t know, a ‘k’ and a half, just right off the bat. Wham.” — Reese Hanneman, ninth in the 15 k

I tend to do a little better on a more double pole course. There was quite a bit of double pole in this, but there were a lot of hills. I was tired.” — Erik Bjornsen (APU/USST), 13th in the 15 k after placing third in Saturday’s classic sprint

“It’s a World Cup course so it’s hard. I normally would like this course but I didn’t have it today.” — Sam Tarling (Dartmouth), 32nd in the 15 k

On how a sprinter approaches a tough distance course:

“I just wanted to see how the body was. I started relatively conservative, just tried to build throughout the race. I had good skis.” — Phil Widmer (AWCA), 23rd in the 15 k after placing sixth in Saturday’s sprint

On the conditions for Sunday’s classic distance races:

“I think the classic skiing today was perfect. Fresh new snow, a little bit greasy in the track so they have to learn to kick the skis, so it’s fun.” — Erik Flora, APU head coach

“It was a little glazy out there so it was a little tricky I think to nail the kick, but my skis were fast.” — Leif Zimmermann (Bridge SF), fifth in the 15 k

On Saturday’s sprint:

“The course was really good. It’s a little bit soft, a little bit sugary, especially after all the rounds. It’s great having wide lanes, hard track like three tracks everywhere. They just do a great job here making the course nice and smooth.” — Mike Sinnott (SVSEF), who won the 1.4 k classic sprint

“When you have six guys with experience skiing together you’re pretty comfortable skiing in close quarters. I think as long as people aren’t being aggressive in places where there’s no need … there’s sort of some contact and people on your skis a little bit, but if you relax and pay attention to what’s going on (it’s fine).” — Brent McMurtry (CNEPH), second in the sprint

“The trails are amazing. They’re perfect, it’s some of the best skiing I’ve ever done.” — Sylvan Ellefson (Homegrown), eighth

On how good wax makes a difference:

“The skis were awesome. The coaches did a great job, good kick, good glide. It was perfect. Lots of good work out there.” — Kate Fitzgerald (APU), second in 10 k

“My teammate Karl (Nygren) had a really good race (Sunday) so I was pretty happy to hear that. … If you had the same wax on it’s like, ‘Oh, he’s having a good race and we’ve got the same stuff on.’ … We had some great skis today. Jason (Cork) and Gus (Kaeding) did awesome.” — Brian Gregg (CXC), seventh in the 15 k

On the significance of these races:

“The first sort of big, important race for me started (Dec. 4) with an Alberta Cup. These NorAms this weekend and next weekend are important for FIS regional spot and hopefully sort of see where my season takes me.” — Brent McMurtry (CNEPH), second in the sprint and 15 k

On racing in Canada:

“I really like it up here. It’s been beautiful, the weather’s been perfect. That really helps. Like in the sprints yesterday, you’re not freezing your butt off between the rounds so that’s always really nice.” — Jessie Diggins (CXC), who won both women’s races on Saturday and Sunday

“I love coming to Silver Star. I think it’s a great venue, great organization that puts on the races. It feels so good, oh my gosh it feels so good coming in (to lower elevation). I spend most of my time training down at sea level. I had one two-week training block (at altitude) the entire year. I’m pretty excited to even go down further.” — Caitlin Gregg (CXC), third in the 10 k and 11th in the sprint

“It’s just a good atmosphere. There’s so many trails and the course is always good and everything’s, I don’t know, its just fun.” — Rosie Brennan (APU), fifth in 10 k

“We’ve been here every year for the last five years. It’s one of my favorite places to come because the skiing is always really nice and the field is always really thick. It’s a great place to gain experience. And (Saturday) with all the rounds … everyone got to race a lot.” — Erik Flora, APU head coach

On how anyone could possibly manage placing fourth in five of the last six races:

“Karma.” — Matt Gelso (SVSEF), fourth in Sunday’s 15 k classic individual start

Alex Kochon

Alex Kochon ( is a former FasterSkier editor and roving reporter who never really lost touch with the nordic scene. A freelance writer, editor, and outdoor-loving mom of two, she lives in northeastern New York and enjoys adventuring in the Adirondacks. She shares her passion for sports and recreation as the co-founder of "Ride On! Mountain Bike Trail Guide" and a sales and content contributor at When she's not skiing or chasing her kids around, Alex assists authors as a production and marketing coordinator for iPub Global Connection.

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One comment

  • muskegflyer

    December 12, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    Great to hear so many positive comments about the Soverign Lakes – Silver Star area. Too bad next years World Cup schedule doesn’t also include a great weekend at Soverign. I started racing there in 1987 and all of the work the club has put into the facility has been extremely positive for all skiers.

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