Frozen Thunder 2016: Notes, Quotes and Photos

Gerry FursethNovember 7, 2016
Friday night, Oct. 28, after the freestyle distance interval starts on Day 1 of Frozen Thunder racing at the Canmore Nordic Centre in Canmore, Alberta. (Photo: Russell Kennedy)
Friday night, Oct. 28, after the freestyle distance interval starts on Day 1 of Frozen Thunder racing at the Canmore Nordic Centre in Canmore, Alberta. (Photo: Russell Kennedy)

For most racers, Frozen Thunder is about getting quality hours on snow. Below is what several athletes had to say about the trails, the snow and the experience of racing in Canmore, Alberta, last week. For details about the races, see distance, classic sprint, and skate sprint recaps. For the photos, keep scrolling down.


“Frozen thunder has been warm but with solid snow of course and it’s always great coming out to the early snow. With my southern Ontario background, I still don’t get tired of snow in October when I used to have to wait until well into December to be able to ski at home.” — Bob Thompson (NDC TBay)

“This is my first year coming to Frozen Thunder! It is so incredibly beautiful up here, so that makes it worth it even without the great skiing. I think it has been really beneficial to get some big hours on snow before we start traveling to races. We’re lucky because we had the month of August on snow as well and now we have this big week to add to that. This is the most time I’ve had skiing on snow in the offseason ever, which is pretty cool! We’ll see if I can tell the difference once we get into the race season.” — Kelsey Phinney (SVSEF)

“The track had broken down and was soft where the guys had skied, but there were a few sections of fast, firm snow to be found near the edges of the trail.” — Olivia Bouffard-Nesbitt (AWCA/NST U25 Team), on the skate-sprint conditions Nov. 3

“Frozen Thunder has been an awesome opportunity so far this year! I have been able to test most of my new skis already, work on technique, get in some high intensity on snow intervals and now have a couple of race starts behind me!  It’s also been great to be surrounded by so many high level athletes everyday. I have learned a lot by just following other athletes throughout the loop.” — Caitlin Gregg (Team Gregg/Madshus)

“Frozen Thunder is not looking so good right now. It’s been quite warm in Canmore, with some rain and no temps below zero at night, so it is for sure hurting! The weather forecast doesn’t look very promising either. So everyone get out there and do your cold and snow dance please! This time last year we had a big dump of snow around the start of November and the temperatures during the day were about -5, so there snow guns were going. So things look very different this year. Might have to pull out the roller skis for a few afternoon workouts for sure.” — Dahria Beatty (AWCA/NST U25 Team) on Nov. 3

“It’s a huge help to be on snow this early for us and the fact that it’s available in my hometown is incredibly lucky.” — Jess Cockney (Canadian World Cup B-team)

“CCC did a great job running the races and it was nice to see nearly 100 skiers out on course. For the first time that I have seen in Canada, they had a TV crew on-site broadcasting the races live. Great work Shaw [TV Calgary]!” — Julien Locke (Black Jack/NST U25 Team)

“The conditions were slow but everyone was on the same wax, at least for the qualifier so we all suffered together!” — Knute Johnsgaard (AWCA/NST U25 Team) on the classic sprint.

“Frozen Thunder is such a good way to enter the season. Every year they have made improvements on laying it down and its nice to have the ability to mix up workouts with rollerskiiing and on snow training.” — Graeme Killick (Canadian World Cup B-team)

“Being able to have Frozen Thunder and be back on snow is a huge benefit as we prepare for the season. Having already done two races in the past week and with another race and a time trial coming up later this week it is a great bonus to be able to do this prep period on snow instead of roller skiing.” — Beatty

“These races are really good for figuring out what work still needs to be done before the start of the season. I can take a few lessons from today to feel better prepared come December. I’m really excited to get things going now because it’s been a really great summer and fall of training.” — Annika Hicks (AWCA)

We had fantastic conditions… it was a little bit like the APU summer training grounds on Eagle Glacier :), couple inches of wet corn snow! With the rain the last two days- they did a great job with the courses. Course crowding was definitely not a problem, and it is always fun to have more people on course!” — Chelsea Holmes (APU)

“I am so grateful that Frozen Thunder and the organizers of the training ground as well as the races. I love skiing exponentially more than roller skiing so I couldn’t be happier to not only have the opportunity to be skiing but also to be able to put a bib on and kick start the year.” — Holmes

“The conditions were great practice today! It was pretty soft but I tried to figure out how to maintain speed by playing around with my power, tempo and technique. I  find myself racing some softer loop courses during the year and wishing I had more practice for those conditions so today was a great learning day! The wax was PRE-set for everyone so that made waxing super easy (although I do have fantastic skis) and a non-factor.” — Caitlin Gregg on the Oct. 28 distance race

“This is my first couple of days on snow since last March! I spent my summer and fall training with my local Loppet Nordic Racing (LNR) in the Midwest and focused on my dry land fitness. I love coming to Canmore, AB and look for any excuse to spend as much time as possible here 😉 The scenery is gorgeous, the training is fantastic and most importantly the training partners are amazing! [My husband] Brian and I skipped Frozen Thunder last year and I have been looking forward to coming back for another fall! I am very grateful to my sponsors and community for the opportunity to be here training again!” — Gregg on the experience

“The organizers behind Frozen Thunder do an incredible job and the skiing is fantastic! The coverage is great and you can expect most days to be firm skate skiing and toko blue/red klister in the morning and softer skating and Toko yellow klister classic skiing in the afternoon.” — Gregg

“We spent 3 weeks in New Zealand this summer, which was a great way to get on snow. I think it’s really great that Canmore puts in so much effort to ensure we have this early season snow. It can take a bit of time to get that snow feeling back! It’s also really great that we no longer need to do roller ski trials in the summer/early fall. Roller skiing is quite different from snow skiing, some athletes can be quite fast on roller skis and then not have that transfer over to snow.” — Rosanna Crawford (Biathlon Canada)

“Frozen Thunder has only been open for a week, but this year our team spent 3 weeks training at the Snow Farm in New Zealand earlier this summer.  This training season encompassed the most time I’ve ever spent on snow, and I think this has been really positive for me.” — Brendan Green (Biathlon Canada)

“Getting on snow at this point in the season is crucial. It is important to enter the first race series in December with as much immediate on snow time as possible. An extra week of skiing at the end of October goes a long way towards being prepared to race well in early December. I went to Australia for the month of August to ski- the SVSEF Gold Team organized a training trip and we got 4 weeks of skiing at Falls Creek. The trails and snow were great and it was a very productive trip, so I have had a substantial amount of ski time on the last 2.5 months.” — Matt Gelso (SVSEF)

“Conditions have been good up here. Although the rain has soaked the snow through, the water has been draining out well, keeping the snow icy and fast. In the mornings when the snow is very firm it is great, and as it softens throughout the day it is a little challenging to ski in at times but still solid skiing. It is nice to have the full loop open this year as well.” — Gelso

“Frozen Thunder is definitely a huge asset to western North America. There is no doubt that it helps get you into ski shape long before the season starts.”– Russell Kennedy (AWCA)

“The conditions have been unreal this year! Until yesterday when it started raining haha. It has been really excellent though most days firm and fast!” — Kennedy

“Since April, I had one 7 day camp of skiing on the Haig Glacier [near Canmore] in June/July.  I tried to get up on the Eagle Glacier too but there was no space available.  I love skiing on snow!  The setup on Frozen Thunder is fantastic too as it offers the ability to easily test skis in a variety of snow conditions.  Although it is unique to be on snow that has been saved all summer, we are finding ourselves racing more and more on transformed man made snow.  This is a great time of year to get to understand the different characteristics of each of our skis.  It is also great to have many other strong skiers training in the same place.  As you can see the Biathletes skied well today, as they usually do and it has been good to train beside them.  The US Biathlon team is here as well and I have a lot of respect for those guys.  Skiing on snow is a real treat, but it is also really good to be in a camp environment.  Caitlin and I love being able to spend so much time with the community and many of our camps have been with our LNR Club this year.  Our camp here at Frozen Thunder is important time for us to be able to focus on our personal preparation.” — Brian Gregg (Team Gregg/Madshus) on all the topics

Gerry Furseth

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