After 3 most excellent training runs – we are soooo ready to race.
I mentioned yesterday that there were a couple of water/snow repair spots that needed to be worked on – well that was more like a plethora of spots. True to the task, a large crew worked their way down the course, mixing water and snow, ski stepping and buttering each spot that needed attention. This morning you cant even tell the spots were repaired. Nice work!
It is a frosty -17 this morning and there was another beautiful sunrise for those on the mountain. It is always awesome to see coaches and athletes (even on race day) stop to take pictures across the valley towards the Chateau and the lake. The crews have been up on the mountain since 7 am and those cycling down do look a bit chilly but after a quick hot chocolate, they head right back up.
The track is super slick and Super Dave has set up shop in the Kokanee Kabin and is busy putting an edge on several pairs of skis (including mine).
The Jury just went up for the final inspection prior to confirming today’s race program. By all accounts, we are race ready and Bib 1 will be sent out of the start at 12:30 pm.
….and that is because it wasn’t a race! Today rocked.
It was a day of sunshine, shovels and smiles. As I cycled on the mountain, the crews doing the final buff on the course – shovels and rakes were scraping off that last bit of sloughed snow that can slow a racer down. Infront/DX3 lit up their cameras to film today’s training run. I am sure the production looked brilliant.
The slip crews wearing their stylish yellow bibs kept the track in great shape. While the dye crew was at the ready – their initial stellar efforts only required one touch up on the lower mountain.
We had one racer lose both skis at Fishnet and while she stayed up top, both her skis ended up skittering down Fallaway/C Turn. She watched the rest of the race at the top of Fallaway until her skis were cycled back up to her.
There are just a couple of water/snow patch repair jobs to be finished up this afternoon.
We are looking forward to a repeat performance tomorrow because WE BE RACING!
One athlete who did go down, upon hearing that she was going to get long-lined off the hill, said ‘No thanks, I am feeling much better now’ she was then offered a toboggan ride and passed on that. She made her way down the course on her skis. All good.
The Barn Party was another classic event.
Cold beer, hot beef, our favorite band SUDS, short speeches and some great line dancing rounded out the evening. The Canadian Ladies team dropped by and were most appreciative of the efforts of Sled Dogs working inside and outside the fences. I believe we did hear from the FIS Chief Race Director, Atle that ‘Lake Louise is the most reliable venue on the Ladies World Cup circuit.’ : )
After an overnight accumulation of snow that was just enough to get everyone on a shovel or a scoop or a rake or a quad or a cat or a snowblower or out slipping but when it was all said and done – it was a very well run training run. Getting the first one under our belts bodes well for the rest of the week.
Today, it looks like the overcast weather of yesterday will be breaking up and we should be in for another smooth training run.
Thanks to all of you who supported the visit by the study groups from the Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee. The medical study group and George, the BOCOG Alpine Manager departed Lake Louise early this morning. To a person, the three study groups were most impressed with our organization and the capability, experience & enthusiasm of the Sled Dogs. One of them took me aside and in broken English, tapped me on the chest and said ‘what I have learned from everyone here is that you all have heart’. Great to know the Sled Dog spirit translates well.
Note: the forerunner who went down hard in Fallaway was discharged from the Foothills Hospital last evening – which is great news. Kudos to those in the rescue chain that responded to her.
That switch from DH to SuperG is always a challenge but the crews did great. There is a need to be checked out of the LL Inn, sharing our breakfast space with the VIP set up, adjusting the safety, moving the start and having a brand new SG track crisscross the DH track. But…we got this!
Before the POV racer and forerunners, we were treated to Erik Guay’s Final Run when he down skied the course. Wearing jeans and a Canadian Cowboy jacket, Erik was cheered on by every Sled Dog all the way down. He stopped to thank his Canadian coaches along the way and finished with a big wave of a Canadian flag in the finish corral to the cheers of an appreciative crowd.
Then we had a heck of a SuperG race. Under full sun, crews were kept busy maintaining gates and panels. Dustin Cook was top Canadian in 16th.
In conversation, with the TV guys, they said the DH was perfect…..and the SuperG looked even better. For a made-for-TV event – that is great news.
Besides Erik’s final fun, Karl Ricker made his final walk up and down the course. The Legend is an integral part of the slipskirt crew and Sunday’s race may be his last time with us. I say ‘may’ because I wouldn’t be surprised if Karl doesn’t get a tune-up in the offseason and was back in Lake Louise next November. So…hats off to Karl and a safe travel home…..and we will see you next year.
We have now transitioned into the Ladies Week. A few of crew have stayed on for this week but there is a whole new line of fresh ski legs that jumped in to get to work this morning. The flat light, warm temps and early morning grooming has softened up outside the line and while the course was set, the test pilot program was postponed. The Ladies DH start on the Saddle breakover is receiving jugs and jugs and jugs and jugs of water to get it punched in.
We now have access to Cameron Way, so crews started installing B nets. Having a warm up space for the athletes really helps.
The FIS Crew is currently on route from the Calgary airport after the races in Killington. We are still on schedule for our first training run on Tuesday.
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