Some might consider Rosanna Crawford and Brendan Green, Biathlon Canada’s power couple, restless. Shortly after flying home to Canmore, Alberta, after a three-monthlong stint in Europe for the IBU World Cup and World Championships, the two decided to pack up their skis and head five hours west to Sovereign Lake in British Columbia for some more skiing.
“The conditions there were incredible,” Green wrote in an email of their four-day excursion in early April. “A lot of people were wondering why we still wanted to ski after spending the entire winter racing in Europe, but racing and skiing for pleasure are different.
“A lot of people were wondering why we still wanted to ski after spending the entire winter racing in Europe, but racing and skiing for pleasure are different.” — Brendan Green, two-time Olympian and Canadian national-team biathlete
“During race season we never really have many opportunities to ski for fun and enjoy the trails — We’re always looking towards the next race,” the 28 year old added. “For me, skiing for fun in the spring is a nice way to decompress and reflect after the race season. The conditions in Silver Star were unreal with perfect snow. It was the nicest skiing I’ve done this year by far — most days it was hard to stop skiing!”
In all, they skied between 155 and 170 kilometers, according to Crawford.
“There was over 100km of trails still being groomed. It was the best snow we saw all year,” she wrote.
With the ski bug out of their system, the couple jetted south for a week of sun and sand in Mexico.
“It was awesome to feel some heat and force ourselves to relax, although our adventurous side did get the better of us and we did end up doing some beach running to explore the surrounding area,” Green explained.
Two days after returning from Mexico, the two ventured north — back to Green’s roots in the Northwest Territories — for a week of outreach. Last year, Crawford and Green visited schools around Hay River, where Green grew up, to share their experiences and world travels in biathlon. This time around, Green asked the Northwest Territories Power Corp. (NTPC) if it would support their visits to schools father north.
“I thought it would be fun to spend time in some of the more remote northern communities,” Green wrote. “I pitched the idea to one of my big supporters from the north, the NT Power Corp, and they were more than happy to sponsor the northern tour. It’s important to the NT Power Corp to support and empower youth in the north, and it worked out really well to have Rosanna and I help in this regard.”
From April 20 to 24, the couple presented seven times at a total of four schools (elementary and secondary) in Inuvik, Fort McPherson and Fort Simpson, according to the Northern Journal.
They explained the nuances of biathlon and shared videos of their races, and Green also talked about his 2012 back injury and the surgeries he’s had since, as well as the challenges he faced as an up-and-coming athlete in a small Northern town, with access to fewer training resources.
“Even though Brendan’s from a Northern community that’s farther south [than these kids], it can still feel really isolated,” Crawford told the Journal. “Any small step along the way, even if something feels a little silly, can maybe help towards their bigger goals and dreams.”
Green described the week as busy, but fun, “and all of the kids were really great.”
“Some of the communities in the North are very remote, so it’s pretty rare that they have the opportunity to interact with Olympians,” he wrote. “There are very few northern Olympians, so it was great to be able to connect with the youth and talk firsthand about growing up in the north. I can relate to a number off the challenges that these kids face. It was also Rosanna’s first time north of the Arctic Circle, so that was a pretty neat experience for her as well!”
Now back in Canmore, Crawford and Green are on the training wagon once again.
“Training in May is hard and I always find it a tough transition,” Green wrote. “My body is sore for days. Even if I’m able to ski quite a bit in April and enter May in decent shape, it still takes my body a while to adjust back to the full training routine.”
So what does he do?
“One of my favourite spring workouts is paying a visit to one of my old friends — The roller board,” he wrote. “It’s old school. I’m sure most skiers have seen them, but maybe not everyone has tried one. For those who haven’t, they’re awesome.”
This time of year in the mountains, with snow still melting and streets in need of sweeping, rollerskiing isn’t the best option. The trails are too muddy for running or mountain biking, so Green finds the need to get creative with his workouts.
“One of my favourite go-to workouts in the spring is a combination of roller board and spinning in the gym,” he wrote.
Here is one of his typical gym sessions:
- 10 minutes of spinning
- 5 minutes on roller board
- Repeat four times
“It’s a tough workout, but adjust the height of the roller board to a level you can manage,” he explained. “As you get stronger increase the length of the roller board interval and/or the height of the roller board.
“I love this workout to build upper body strength and feel it really helps my overall ski performance. Some years I spend more time on the roller board than others, but I’m a firm believer in its benefits and always try and keep it routine in my training whenever possible.”
FasterSkier contributor Gerry Furseth caught up with Crawford and Green at the Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre on April 6. Video interview below.
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.