Perianne Jones has no problem jumping into workouts with the guys. And keeping up with teammates like Lenny Valjas, Ivan Babikov and Devon Kershaw? Piece of cake.
If you caught a glimpse of the Canadian World Cup Team during its recent on-snow camp in Bend, Ore., chances are you saw Jones kicking it with men from the national team.
“The boys are great,” she said Sunday on the phone from Canmore, Alberta. “I have a small fleet of rollerskis now so I can just pick and chose the right speed and hop in behind them.”
With Chandra Crawford training independently this summer and Dasha Gaiazova working with Louis Bouchard in Quebec and B2ten in Montreal, that leaves Jones, 28, as the lone remaining female in Canmore. From May 19-29, she was the only women’s World Cup Team member in Bend as well.
Lucky for her, the U.S. Ski Team was there, too. Jones said she consciously coordinated two or three workouts with the American women, but mostly met up with them by default. When she wasn’t skiing with them or other Canadian women, Jones was on a fast pair of rollerskis behind Valjas, Kershaw and Babikov, or training with her coach, Eric de Nys, or her husband, Joel Jaques, a national-team wax technician.
“I don’t think I’ve done a single workout by myself yet this year,” Jones said. “I am not lonely.”
FasterSkier: How was Bend?
Perianne Jones: It was an awesome camp. There was a little bit less snow than there was in the past, but skiing was still perfect every day. Good spring skiing, just what we needed.
FS: How did you recharge in April before the start of the season?
PJ: Joel and I went to Hawaii and chilled out for a while … around 16 days. It was awesome. … We ran into Ida [Sargent]. She was there with her sister. At the end of the season, everyone was talking about what they were going to do in the spring and she said she was going to Kauai and we were going, too. We knew that our trips would overlap a couple days, but it just so happened that we were out on a hiking trail and we ran into her, so that’s funny.
We stopped in San Francisco for a night because Joel really wanted to visit Alcatraz. Then we came back to Canmore and were here for a couple weeks before we went to Bend, which was nice because we hadn’t really spent that much time in Canmore since, I don’t know when, before the ski season.
FS: How are you feeling now after your first training camp?
PJ: I came out of the Bend camp as healthy and the least tired than I have in the past. Sometimes it’s a big shocker to get things going with skiing and that many hours in Bend. Last year, I came out of that camp and got sick so this year I feel pretty good and I’m able to still train here in Canmore and do normal stuff. I’m feeling good about things.
FS: Did you do anything differently in Bend, besides train with the guys more often?
PJ: I think the camp structure was pretty much identical to what we did last year. I did a little bit less super-hard intervals and my intervals were a little more controlled, Zone-3 kind of thing. I took a good rest and then kind of gradually built into things before Bend so I had some training under my belt before I got there. It wasn’t too much of a shock. It was still a shock (laughs).
FS: How are you feeling about your training situation this year, especially without Chandra?
PJ: Chandra’s done what’s best for her and I totally support that. The most important thing to me and to her is that she races fast in the winter so whatever way she gets there that’s the most ideal for everyone.
Dasha’s going to do most of the training camps with us so we’ll be in New Zealand together and her and I will be in our fall camp together, so that’s a good six weeks of training right there that we’ll do together. She’ll be in Canmore a little bit and I will probably go out to Montreal for a little bit in the fall, and I’ll combine that with a trip to Ottawa. Dasha and I are going to be working together better than ever which is pretty exciting, and Louis [Bouchard] is totally onboard with that. Louis and Eric have been planning things and making sure there are opportunities for her and I because I think that was something that we all missed last year, more opportunities to get together until we were on snow.
We are three of the best women in the country so the most effective way for us to train is together sometimes. In terms of training partners around here, there’s no shortage of people to train with in Canmore and I’m sure Chandra and I will meet up and do some intensity workouts at some point.
Eric and Joel are awesome training partners and they’re committed to doing intensity workouts with me. I’m well taken care of. I’m not worried at all. I have really awesome people supporting me and committed to coming out and training with me.
FS: What’s changed with your overall training approach this year?
PJ: Getting back into things was pretty relaxed, but the actual training, now that it’s going, I will do a little bit different. I’m going to focus more on some Zone-3 type threshold workouts for the first few months. Last year we kind of dove right in and did some hard stuff. I’m just gonna build into more than I have in the past. Other than that, I mean, pretty similar. Last year, we did a few intensity blocks. I’m still gonna do more intensity, not [more] than last year, but more than years previous. It may not be all in blocks; it might be every few days, not every day for a week.
FS: Why change it?
PJ: I definitely had some fatigue going in [to the season last year]. There were a number of things that weren’t ideal. In Park City, I got a weird kind of skin infection. We thought it was something on my skin, but it actually took a lot out of me; my body was fighting an infection. I should’ve backed off a little bit then and I didn’t so I went into the season a little more tired than I should have and kind of paid for it all the way through. All in all, it turned out OK all things considered.
FS: Last season was your best yet, but you’ve said you were disappointed with World Championships. How does that motivate you moving forward?
PJ: It was a good year but there was more potential than I kind of showed and things could’ve been better. That’s kind of the way it goes with skiing. No one’s ever satisfied; we always want more. But I’m definitely doing things differently and we’ve looked at what I’ve done and changing things to optimize it and make sure we don’t make the same mistakes twice.
There are always just so many variables so we have to look at everything, like what happened in the fall, the infection and the training we did. We just poured over everything and not make any drastic changes, but the little ones that we think will help.
FS: How excited are you for the Sochi Olympics, especially the team sprint after taking bronze there with Dasha in the pre-Olympic World Cup?
PJ: It’s definitely something we think about given what happened last year. We all know there are three women and any two of us could be on that team, but it’s a goal for us as a whole, all of us are definitely thinking about it and we’ll support whoever ends up on the start line that day.
FS: What’s your plan after this season?
PJ: I haven’t quite decided. It’ll probably be my last Olympics. I don’t know if it’ll be my last year skiing. I’m not sure I’ll make it to 2018, that’s a long ways away (laughs).
FS: What’s next?
PJ: I’m heading back down to Bend around the 25th of June for a few weeks. The boys are doing a camp there so I’ll go down with them, and then in August we’re going to New Zealand for a few weeks. Our fall camp right now is up in the air, it will happen somewhere we just haven’t really nailed down the spot. It might be Hawaii; it might be somewhere else because the boys need to do some altitude stuff. Wherever it [is], Dasha and I will be there.
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.