Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Week of 12/1 Update..Canada follow-up

I hope everyone had a good holiday. The trip to Canada was successful. The kids thoroughly enjoyed and exhausted themselves. We arrived on Saturday and we were able to be on snow from Tuesday on. By the weekend the conditions were as good or better than any conditions that we skied last year.

I kept a mini training log of the trip and from that provided a day by day rundown:

Lots of driving. The first snag was rolling through the Gardiner toll giving the attendant $.60 instead of $.90. I was pulling a trailer and failed to recognize the additional fee. I slammed on the brakes and gave the attendant the extra $.30. Witnessing the odd transaction, a state trooper pulled us over. When he deemed that we were honorable cross country skiers, he claimed that the air pressure was low in my front left tire. At the border we had major scrutinization. Everyone out of the car...all bags checked..trailer emptied and checked. It was good to see the extra security. Other than the 20 minutes above the Canadian border, there were no signs of skiable snow. We arrived late in the afternoon and then went for a 30 min run.

I sent the kids out for a 2 hour hike at the Stoneham ski area. Louise Abramson, who was nice enough to loan us her van for the week, needed a ride to the airport to rent a car to bring back down to Falmouth. I then drove up for Foret Montmorency to hopefully find some great snow. There was more snow but again, nothing skiable. There was a .5k snowmaking loop that was being used. Very little English is spoken at Foret Montmorency. The three front desk attendants tried to disappear when I showed up. They made the determination that I was another dreaded ski coach. I picked up on who could speak the most English and figured I would utilize the skills learned from my first job out of college, a collector, and ask some good open-ended questions:

*me: When can we ski on the track? him:”No”
*me:What time can we ski on the track? him: “No time”
*me:If we aren’t able to use the track, who is? him: It’s classified information”
*me: After today, when can we use the track? him: “Never for the rest of the year..”

I tried various other attempts at transferring guilt but no go. Foret appeared to be out.
Driving back down to Stoneham I started to look for roller-ski opportunities. With lots of trucks and crazy drivers in small cars there are few options. I took a gamble on the Jacques Cartier national park down near the Petro Canada/McDonalds. This was a home run, there was a gated 10k road, some nice downhillls, beautiful scenery, and great trails in all directions. This place is little Acadia national park north. So in the afternoon, after lunch and the 2 hour hike, we classic roller-skied 20k. This definitely beat a .5k snowmaking loop. As we were departing, Ethan Townsend, coach of the SLU team made the same discovery.

We woke up to a splitting sleet/snow combo. The forecast was for rain but the sleet sure made Molly Susla cheerful. We went back to the park for a two hour ski walk/run with poles. After lunch at the condo we went back to the park for a 20 k skate. The morning sleet created a lot of ice on the pavement. After watching Sam and Nate tear down the hill, I took my greatest tumble ever on roller-skis. Luckily the ice created less friction as I wore pavement on my elbows and chin.

Jeremy Nellis, the Gould coach, stopped by to tell me that he and Ethan (the St. L coach) sniffed out some snow on a random logging road exactly 9.8 miles from the Foret M driveway. We said we would meet them there shortly. There are no houses up there and no other roads to speak of. They had found an abandoned logging road, somehow they drove their vans over it to pack down to snow, rocks, and stumps. It wasn't gourmet but it worked. The rocks kept us from going too fast but it beat roller skiing. We had a good 100 minute classic ski and headed back down to Stoneham. After lunch we decided to ski the golf course at Stoneham. There was less snow at Stoneham but there were fewer rocks. Dirt mounds were the enemy rather than rocks and stumps. It was redundant, but we skied around a fairway packing down a good track. We skied for another 60 minutes. At this point, I could see the fatigue starting to set in. Bourne Ultimatim played that night after some amazing squash soup that Ben Susla made. Great Soup Ben!

AM: Tired kids.The Woodworth clan was arriving later in the day. We skied the golf course again in the morning. The AM rain that we woke up to made for plenty of slush that skied much faster than the day before. Snow was disappearing as we skied but it was good training. After a 90 minute ski I could feel the “Switch it up and be creative coach” vibe among the group. We ran for another 30 minutes before lunch. We had more panini PB & J’s. The Woodworth's arrived with Abbie McKivor, they were amped up to go check out Foret. My vote was driving back to Foret, I could smell snow at the high elevations. The majority voted for an afternoon in the city. We did the Euro cosmopolitan thing in the afternoon and spent some time in a coffee shop. It was a quick visit I could feel some batteries recharging among the group. After returning to the condo, the Woodworth's came back all fired up about the snow! The rain that we had experienced was all snow 20 miles up the road. Everything was now open!

We drove up for a AM ski. Colby, Bowdoin, Burke, SLU, and Gould were all among us. We went for a great classic ski in the morning. The girls skied for three hours prior to lunch. After skiing the logging road and golf course, the group was in heaven. We had good wax and the snow was falling, this created some icing but this was better training.
We had a great PM skate ski as well. People were tired but happy.

Details were coming together about a time trial on Saturday. Nate and Molly were game. We classic skied in the am doing some balance drills and and downhill drills. We took some tricky downhills at speed practice step turns. We emphasized staying low, letting the skis run, and letting the outside arm lead you through the turn. A few people rested for the pm session. For entertainment that night we watched SuperBad. This movie is super bad. Everyone peeled away into their respective quarters as the movie progressed. Sam gets the award for hanging in there the longest. Special thanks to the Niles for sending up the Turkey, we had it on Fri night.

Molly, Nate, and I left early for the TT.They were tired from all of the training but they were looking forward to the challenge. It was a 9k skate.The horseshoe course started with 2-3 k uphills with the remainder being flats and gradual ups. Nothing was structured on this day, some of girls went for a back country ski. Exhaustion was ever present as the day went on.

we departed..no skiing.

We will practice this week on Sunday morning from 7:30-9:30 at Pineland. We will freestyle roller-ski.

I'll send out emails over the next few days about payment for the trip. Good luck with the school practices this week!

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