Cross Country Gold and PG Teams Make Strides at Frozen Thunder Camp

Hundreds of truckloads of snow later, Canmore opened their “Frozen Thunder” trail to cross country skiers on October 22. The Alberta Parks Canmore Nordic Centre saves man-made snow over the summer and spreads it over 2km of trail each year. Among those who made the trek to Alberta were the SVSEF Cross Country Gold and PG Teams. Set against the striking backdrop of the Canadian Rockies, SVSEF skiers spent the week fitting in a high-volume block of training that was both technique and tactic intensive. The group made significant progress in their final preparation heading into the race season, with the advantage of early season skiing and a couple race efforts to cap it all off.
The first race of the camp took place on October 28, with a 7.5 km freestyle for women and 12 km for men. SVSEF Gold Team skier Mary Rose took sixth in the women’s event, and teammate Matt Gelso skied into second place, just 4.6 seconds out of first. Sarah Goble, a PG skier for SVSEF, had a strong showing with a second place finish in the junior women category.
The second event of the week was a classic sprint, which consisted of a morning qualifier followed by three heats in a “King’s Court” format. This unique style involves heats in which competitors are seeded based on their qualifier. In the heat races, the top two move up a bracket, while the bottom two move back. On Tuesday, heats went off every minute, which lent plenty of action and excitement to the day. Variable conditions, with two inches of fresh snow from the night before on top of the old man-made tracks, made for interesting waxing that went from hardwax to klister, with constant changes in between. By the end of it all, some competitors were opting to double pole in the final heats. Top SVSEF results came from Gold Team skier Kelsey Phinney, who took first overall in the women’s race. Teammate Mary Rose finished fourth, and Jack Hegman claimed third in the men’s event.
The teams head back to Sun Valley today to continue training before they head to West Yellowstone at the end of November. Following a tune-up race there on November 25, the first Super Tour races of the season will be in Bozeman, Montana, December 3-4.
(For a recap of the Frozen Thunder distance races, read the FasterSkier article here.)