Perianne Jones knows how to take advantage of time off when she can. With her wedding coming up in July, the Canadian World Cup team member recently spent a couple of weeks in France with her soon-to-be hubby Joel Jaques.
One of the team’s year-round wax technicians, Jaques is pretty busy himself. The two spent the first half of their vacation visiting someone they saw all winter, head technician Yves Bilodeau, before heading south to the French island of Corsica.
In late July, Jones and Jaques will reunite with more of their close friends in Canmore, Alberta, where they live and will be getting married. But first, they wanted to fit in some R and R before training consumes them this summer. Jones said they hoped to get away for a couple of days following the wedding, but their time will be limited by team obligations.
As soon as Jones returned from her trip, the 27-year-old from Ontario said she renewed her contract with the Senior World Cup team before the May 4 deadline. Nearly two weeks later, the team roster had not yet been released and Jones remained the lone woman officially on the squad.
Before leaving for the team’s first training camp of the season in Bend, Ore., Jones talked about the changes around her and how she’s looking out for herself. Coming off a year marked by personal bests, including her first World Cup podium in the team sprint with Chandra Crawford (they were third in Milan, Italy), Jones said she was looking forward to another summer of training before racing again this fall.
FasterSkier: How did you react in March when you heard your team was going to be split into men’s and women’s training groups, with the women working with the Alberta World Cup Academy and its senior development skiers, Alysson Marshall and Emily Nishikawa?
Perianne Jones: I was pretty excited about the idea, and with Emily and Alysson, to be able to build toward something. Who knows what will happen, but to have a women’s program would be a really good thing. It doesn’t mean that we won’t ever see the men. They’re still our teammates and we’ll see them at a lot of camps that we do together, but to have a women’s only program, I’m definitely excited about the prospect. It’s nice to have some more female teammates to train with.
FS: Were you surprised?
PJ: It was definitely something that we had talked about and said, ‘It would be really cool if we had a women’s team,’ but I didn’t know that it was actually a possibility because it takes more time and energy and resources to have two different teams operating all summer and fall. Not that we’ll be operating entirely separately, but we’ll have us in Alaska while the boys are in another camp [in Hawaii] and the coaches have to split up and organize two separate training camps. In some ways that’s harder, but I think it will be beneficial both for us and the boys because we have different physiologies and different needs also so we can’t do the same things all the time.
FS: How will new setup affect you?
PJ: For me, things wouldn’t change much because [women’s coach] Eric [de Nys] has been my coach for the last couple years anyways. He’s still my coach and that’ll just remain the same, but we will do more things with the World Cup Academy, which will be fun and just working on more specific things, which he will be talking about with [national-team special consultant] Torbjorn [Karlsen]. There’s some different things happening, which is exciting. You always need to improve on things and make changes to make things better.
FS: Have you met Karlsen, the new women’s assistant (and former U.S. Ski Team coach and personal coach of Beckie Scott)?
PJ: I don’t know him at all. I just know him through Beckie and he came to one of our workouts in Park City. … He’ll be almost a consultant for the coach so he kind of looks at things from a different perspective from an outside point of view and makes suggestions that way. It’s good sometimes to have a different set of eyes. The coaches see what they see every day, but sometimes someone coming in and looking at us once in a while can almost be more helpful.
FS: What did you think you needed this season for support?
PJ: I’m pretty happy with last year. For me, personally, I had a lot of what I needed. I think the hardest part is we were always trying to connect with Emily and Alysson and get workouts with the academy and have their girls train with us. It’s tricky because the academy would be at a ski camp while we in Canmore and we’d be at a training camp while they were here. Now that we’re going to be basically on the same camp schedule, we’re going to be able to train in Canmore together and just be able to line things up a little more easily.
FS: What do you think about possibly being on a team of one or two people (with Crawford indicating she’d be back and Dasha Gaiazova pursuing other training options)?
PJ: I think that’s something I realized, I just have to take care of myself and let the other things happen around me. I have the academy, and one of my best friends is Amanda Ammar and she’s on her own this year so she’s happy to join me in all or any of my workouts. It’s great to have her. Meagan Imrie, one of the biathletes also, we’re pretty keen to work together, especially do some intensity and stuff. I feel like I have everything I need kind of in place, and I’ve worked on that to make sure I have what I need if Chandra and Dasha end up doing other things.
FS: How beneficial is it to train with the Americans in places like Alaska?
PJ: Alaska was great last year. It’s just good when you join a group of 15 or 20 women, there’s so much you can learn from everyone. It’s just a positive environment, a great training environment. It’s pretty cool that we can all come together and do that in Alaska and we’ll be doing that in Bend, too.
FS: So you’re going to women’s camps in Alaska and Whitefish, Mont., this summer while they guys go to Hawaii and New Zealand. How do you feel about that?
PJ: For sure, it’s tough when I’m going to Alaska and they’re going to Hawaii. They’re kind of like different ends of the spectrum. I guess first and foremost I’m a ski racer so I need to do what’s best for ski racing and for me, going to Alaska is definitely the smarter, better choice, but Joel’s going to Hawaii with the boys. At times it feels like they’re rubbing salt in the wounds, but I’ll get over it.
FS: Is Joel going to New Zealand, too?
PJ: [I think so]. There’s more skis to wax in New Zealand that there are in Whitefish. … We’re all going to be down in Park City [Utah] in the fall.
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.