After nearly two weeks of dryland training in Park City, Utah, the Canadian women’s cross-country team will pack up and head to St. George on Saturday. Saint what?
One of the fastest growing cities in the U.S., St. George is tucked in the southwest corner of the state about 300 miles (483 kilometers) from Park City. It requires about a five-hour drive south, and the group is going to the 75,000-population metropolis to train through Wednesday.
According to women’s coach Eric de Nys, this will be the first time the team has added the destination to its annual Park City camp. In an email, he wrote that they sought St. George for its lower elevation (2,860 feet or 872 meters) compared to Park City (6,900 feet or 2,103 meters) and Soldier Hollow in Midway, Utah (5,463 feet or 1,665 meters).
“St. George is something that I decided we would add on only for the ladies,” de Nys wrote. “It should be fun, hard work and our last dose of summer temps until the spring. We have some fun things planned for down there for team building, too.”
FasterSkier: All are the women’s World Cup team members (Perianne Jones, Chandra Crawford and Dasha Gaiazova) there, along with development-team skiers Alysson Marshall and Emily Nishikawa, and Amanda Ammar (independent)?
Eric de Nys: Yes, everyone is here. Dasha is following a plan in conjunction with our men and has joined us for two intensity sessions [as of Wednesday]. The group has been a great compliment to each other and have been working very hard.
FS: Who’s writing Gaiazova’s plan, and what is she doing differently?
EDN: [Men’s assistant coach] Louis [Bouchard] is writing Dasha’s plan and it was felt that the men’s regimen would give her what she needs at this point in her development. She is doing less than the men but starts the various workouts with them and goes about her plan at her pace etc.
FS: What’s been the objective for your women in PC?
EDN: The objective for the women’s team has been a continued building of team environment with our women’s group in conjunction with some exposure to altitude training and then finishing off the camp with some intense efforts at a lower altitude in St. George. Essentially, we are starting to gear up for the racing season.
FS: How’s the training going?
EDN: The ladies are doing very well and are in a very different place than they were at this time last year. … [They] are far fitter and are moving faster in workouts. … I know this is true based upon a few tests we have done at home.
FS: Who has made noticeable improvements this season and in what areas?
EDN: I would say that all the ladies have made significant strides forward this training season and I am excited to see them race.
FS: Have you had any time trials or joint workouts with the Americans?
EDN: We haven’t had any time trials yet and we may have Liz and Jessie join us [Thursday] for an intensity session. All of our hard work has been interval based so far and we plan to have a TT in St. George.
FS: Are your athletes doing any testing? Are you able to use USSA’s Center of Excellence [COE]?
EDN: I guess you could say that every day is somewhat of a test : ) but no, we haven’t had any formal testing to speak of down here. The COE is not available for our use and even if it were, it sounds like it is a busy place these days with many of the US athletes lined up for their annual fall pilgrimage of testing.
FS: When you get back north to Canmore, what will be the focus at Frozen Thunder?
EDN: Specific intensity on snow and race preparation!
Alex Kochon (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.