Far away from the World Cup buzz in Quebec City there are NorAm races scheduled at Sovereign Lake Nordic in Vernon, British Columbia. A 10/15 k mass start classic and 10/15 k freestyle are on on tap, and the field is expected to be quite competitive between the domestic Canadian and American field on top of international skiers racing as a tune-up before the Canmore World Cup next weekend.
FasterSkier’s Canadian correspondent was on-site at Soverign Lake on Friday to take in pre-race thoughts and goals from some of the athletes. Results will be available after each race on Saturday and Sunday at Zone4.ca.
On Goals for this weekend:
Emily Nishikawa, NDST, AWCA: Definitely winning is a possibility and that what I am hoping for. I will just go out there and do my best.
Matt Wylie, AWCA: This weekend I don’t have super high expectations for the distance races but I hope to keep building my fitness for next weekend.
Graeme Killick, AWCA: [I expect to] battle it out with this guy [Graham Nishikawa] and all the other Noram contenders. We’ll see, maybe, a different story this weekend.
Brittany Webster, Highlands Trailblazers: This weekend, I think is going to be really fun. It is going to start out with a 15k mass start, so that has got to be one of my favourite races. Just go out there and have fun and enjoy getting a really good race in and a great workout. I was considering not racing on Sunday, but I am pretty sure I am going to now. That’s a 10k skate. It is going to be the same course, the same 5k loop. It’s always hard, this course never ceases to amaze me how hard it is. I’ve been working on my skating a lot, classic is always a stronger technique for me, but I am hoping the skate will go well.
On Sovereign Lake/Silverstar:
Colin Abbot, Yukon Elite Squad: So much warmer than the Yukon.
Knute Johnsgaard, Yukon Elite Squad: It is nice to have some natural snow. It feels a little bit different, faster, more…
Colin Abbot, finishing Knute’s sentence: … nicer to ski on. It is nice to have some touring trails to just cruise around on and not always be skiing the race trails.
Emily Nishikawa, NDST, AWCA: I have been coming here since I was fifteen. It is so much fun, it has that really wintery feel, and the races are always super hard but tons of fun, and the course are great here and the organizers do an amazing job. I love coming here.
On Canmore World Cup Goals:
David Greer, Yukon Elite Squad: I would like to do well in the World cup, but that’s in two weeks and there is not too much time to prepare for that, but we will see how that goes. The main focus for me this year is to race a strong second half of the season and do well in the overall Noram spots and maybe earn a world cup spot for next season.
David Greer, Yukon Elite Squad: It is an added bonus to have the World Cups in Canada but I don’t think any of us were trying to peak to get one of those spots because if you are peaking that early in the season you might have pretty rough last half.
Emily Nishikawa, AWCA: My whole team is looking super strong right now and we are all kind of gearing up for the World Cups coming up in Canmore so I expect great things from all my teammates.
Brittany Webster, Highlands Trailblazers: [At the world cup] I’m just going to go out there and enjoy myself. I had surgery in October on my leg so right now it is just working on fitness and getting back the race shape. Yeah, just continuing to enjoy the process and not really having that many expectations.
On Declining His First World Cup Start:
Matt Wylie, AWCA: My coaches and I felt that because of my sub-par preparation this fall that staying in the west and coming to Silverstar and getting a couple of decent finishes in. Ideally preparing for Canmore would set me up for a top result rather than travelling back and forth across the country. I talked to my coaches and my girlfriend and my parents and a couple teamates; that was the decision that I arrived at. It was one of the hardest choices I have had to make, turning down that kind of opportunity.
On last week’s Canmore NorAms:
Graham Nishikawa, AWCA: Last weekend was not stellar, but I am focussing on the world cup and hoping this weekend is a little better and using it as prep for a big race next week.
Graeme Killick, AWCA: It was a good start for me. Normally it takes me a few races to get in race shape, but I was able to win last week so that is a good sign.
Matt Wylie, AWCA: I struggled a bit with injury and illness this fall so my shape has been getting better and better so I was really happy with my qualification and happy to qualify for the world cups, but definitely expecting more in the heats.
Emily Nishikawa, AWCA: I have done one weekend of racing so far, and it was okay, not my best racing. A good start and I want to build off that for this weekend.
Brittany Webster, Highlands Trailblazers: Last weekend was great, actually. I haven’t raced in a while and just to get out on the classic horse and ski a good race, I was really happy with it. [She won.]
On forming a new team:
John Parry, Yukon Elite Squad: We have also had some really unique summer training experiences, some training camps that can’t be offered anywhere else in the world. We skied on a glacier outside Skagway Alaska last year called Denver glacier at an elevation of 1200m, one of the lowest glaciers, elevation-wise, you can ski on anywhere in the world.
Colin Abbot, Yukon Elite Squad: I think the overall mood is good and the excitement and energy we have for the team, the enthusiasm we have to be on this team and being part of something we helped build and create is really important to all of us. That has lent me some energy and more of a drive to achieve some new personal bests.