Fairbanks Alaska Ski Team Blog Banner

Archive for March, 2010

Canadian Nats 3

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Whitehorse is an interesting settlement… I say settlement because it still has that wild, tough, Western feel to it. While the weather was exceedingly nice for the week of races, it is obvious that it can be harsh here. It is, afterall in the middle of the desolate Yukon territory, the only significant town for who knows how many hundreds of miles.

 But luckily, there are still signs of refined class here, like this joint (pun intended):

And there are also signs of totally unrefined, raw-edged, boonie stomping. Who carries dog sleds around on their Subarus?

Yesterday was the final races of the Canadian Championships, the mens 50 and womens 30. While neither Tyson or I raced, we did get quite a workout in feeding some racers. Here, the mens lead pack deals with the first go-round of The Scoop, one of the higher speed turns I have seen:

Tyson and I were feeding Brent Knight, who showed his amazing distance skiing by protagonising the lead pack that shelled Kuhn, Goldsack, Grey, and other headliners. It was a little confusing with Canadian Brent McMurtry also in there, with nearly everybody yelling for one Brent or another. Luckily, he was in the monotone blue, and ended up with a solid 6th:

I did notice one peculiar paradox there at the race venue. While the parking facilities were some of the best I have ever seen at a major race, the actual skill of those doing the parking left much to be desired:

Ans yes, it was parked like that all day.

One of the highlights of the trip was the suit that Rhonda Jewett was rocking in the 30k. I would say that this is in my personal Top 2 Suit Designs EVER!!! category. I dont know what suit is in the second spot, but it can’t be better than this one:

As we began our drive back to Fairbanks, another realization came to me. The gas pumps in Canada are archaic!! Some of them have huge signs saying “SELF SERVE”, but this just means that there aren’t actual human attendants who literally pump the gas by hand (as we did experience a few times). After nine days spent in Canada, not once did we NOT walk inside to pay for gas. Just a thought. This was the most advanced pump we saw there:

Oooh, digital readouts! Fancy!

And with that, our trip to Canadian Nationals comes to a close.

Canadian Nats 2

Friday, March 19th, 2010

Last night, we got a free tour of the Yukon College to go along with the pasta dinner they provided us. While it is hard to be critical of anything that is free AND offers food, this was just too rediculous… the hyper-zealous tour guide was a little too into showing us un-interested skier brats the “ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS FACILITIES THAT THEY HAVE HERE”… Im pretty sure my inner city (if Fairbanks has an inner city) high school had way more tricked out “facilities”, and about 100 times the students. But during the tour, I found what I am going to name my first-born: 

 

“Little Johnny, little Billy, meet Unikkaaqatigiit”

 

 The tour guide suggested that we all visit the school bookstore, because they were having a 30% off sale. I was delighted to find that they have a great selection of water for sale:

Today was the fourth race of the week. 

Final race of the season? Check… It was weird lining up for the skate sprint today here in Whitehorse, knowing that it was my last time sporting a bib for the season. It seems like just yesterday, or at least the day before, that I ABSOLUTELY COULDNT WAIT TO GO TO YELLOWSTONE!!!!!!! 

Today I found myself thinking “okay, this is the last one of the year, so this is for all the marbles”, which is dumb, because like it or not, its always for all the marbles! Yes, even a local town race with seven other racers and actual paper bibs, is for all the marbles. Tyson and I ended up hitting the wax dead on… Ok fine, it was a skate race, and it was fresh snow, and Toko wax has an insane working range… but hey, I felt significant having “tested” (one color of JetStream), found it to work great, and applied it myself!!! 

 

Yeah, Im pretty much a wax master… check out our sweet custom sign! And yes, that is a Punisher skull

  

Points of interest on the day included: 

A two lap, spiraling sprint course that GPS’ed out to be exactly 1000 meters… 

I was told after my prelim that at lap one, I was in a 8-way tie for 33rd (qualified 2oth)… 

Chandra Crawford raced her heats in her full warmup kit… 

Pete Kling making the most erratic maneuvers I have even seen… 

 

As it played out, Tyson and I both got 2nd in our Quarters, and then I just missed the A-final with a 4th in my Semi. So we were both in the B-final, and I ended up 9th overall and Tys in 11th.

So far, the weather has been great and the trails super. They actually have some big (ger) hills/mountains here, and the landscape hovers around treeline.

A few more days here, and at least one more blog post, so check back!

Canadian Nats 1

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

As you have probably noticed, the FAST blog trail has been pretty weak since my adventures at the Canmore World Cup. I had missed the first three weeks of the spring semester to be on that trip, which included U23s, and so I had a decision to make when I got back: halt my production of blog posts, or fail four college classes… Using my better judgment (I think), I chose the first one.

Tyson and I drove down to Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada (I love how they have three place names in their address) for Canadian Nationals. While the SuperTour final in Maine sounded interesting, it is, afterall, Maine… but really, neither of us could find a reason to fly for ump-teen hours and drive for a handful more to get to THAT middle of no-where, when we could just drive 9 hours from home and get to THIS middle of no-where. So thats what we did.

Here is a picture-documentary of our journey so far.

When you are on the lonely AlCan highway and you see this sign:

followed by this sign:

you know you are in for a crazy ride. Good thing Tyson’s Fit is the sport model with the stiffer suspension, because we still bottomed it out a few times. When we arrived at the border, there appeared to be absolutely no-one there, and we sat by the window for about 15 minutes, consoled only by this sign:

Eventually someone came and asked us some questions. She was extremely skeptical of our story when we told her we were going to Whitehorse for ski races… until we clarified that it was for CROSS-COUNTRY ski races, and then she let us go. But she didnt even stamp our passports!! Talk about short-changed… When we finally rolled into Whitehorse, it looked a lot like Fairbanks in some ways. However, there were some notable differences. The average height of Yukoners must hover somewhere around “midget”, judging by the tables they have:

But as you can see, they can still be considered civilized, due to the presence of at least one SubWay joint. When Tyson finished that sandwich, he went to throw it away, but couldnt find the “garbage”. I mean, I know they are kinda into their French here, but “arbage”?

Also, check out that RECYCLE symbol… maybe they dont recyle at all, based on the non-continuity of their arrows. Besides dinky furniture and odd collection containers, the little kids walk around with monsters on their backs:

Then again, maybe thats not a little kid at all, but an average citizen. The venue here is great; lots of parking, unlimited free food for athletes, tons of waxing space, and a spacious stadium. American organizers could learn a few things from these Canucks. Theres also a lot of flourescent gear around. How about this table-full of retina stimulation:

We totally lucked out with our accomodations, staying with some old college friends of my parents. They provide us lots of food and beds, and last night they brought home all the fixings for some killer pizza. Unfortunately, Tyson thought it would be good to cook one of the pizzas on what is basically a disc-shaped trash bag:

Luckily, I hadnt figured out the oven timer, and so I noticed the dripping plastic during one of my routine inspections. It took a little while to scrape the molten plastic off of the oven rack.

As far as racing is concerned, we have had three so far. Tyson and I were 6th in the Classic Team Sprint on Sunday, after being a little muted by some poor wax choices. It certainly complicates things tremendously when you have to glide wax, test kick, apply kick, test skis, and warm up all on your own. The tracks were really weird, a mix of glazed ice and sugar, and we didnt quite nail it. We held our own, but the top 3 would have been realistic with more experience to pick the right wax.

Tuesday was a 10k classic interval, and we had great skis and pretty good results. I was 23rd, and Tys just nipped into the top 30. Today was a 15k skate interval, on a four lap course. I wanted to ski a steady pace the whole time, and I did that, but was no where in contention. Tyson had a good one, busting into 18th. Also, Brent Knight from APU was 3rd, which was super sweet to see.

Tyson 10k Classic

Reese 10k Classic

Tyson 15k Skate

Reese 15k Skate

FAST at Arctic Winter Games

Monday, March 8th, 2010

Sorry the posts have been non existent since Canmore. With the Olympics on, it seemed like there was just too much excitement to justify writing about my petty ski experiences.

But heres an update from two team members that are at Arctic Winter Games right now. It was written by Kuba Grezda.

Heya fellow skiers. My name is Kuba, and Wyatt and I are in Canada representing Alaska, the US, and FAST with some sick cross country skiing. Sadly, we didn’t quite make the Olympic Winter Games (Next time though, for sure) but we’re in Grand Priare, Alberta, for the Arctic WInter Games, which should be pretty sick. Tempratures are sweet, rising up to the mid 30’s in the day and mid teens at night: perfect conditions. Snow’s a little lacking, but officials are working hard at making tracks and it’s even supposed to sprinkle on a bit more tonight.
We flew in from Fairbanks Friday night, and have been chillin around town for a few days, scoping out the trails, competition, and food, and they all look pretty sick. The trails out there are short and fast, with some sweet turns. Contrary to what I was imagining, it’s ALL hills: even their stadium is sloped. The cultularily diverse games have brought a ton of sweet athletes from all over the norther hemisphere, and their looking good. I’ve talked to a few Sami skiers that I remember from two years ago, and they ceartnly sound ready to bust out some serious skiing. I have yet to see the Russians from Ya’mal, but they look to be the definitive favorites, least in cross country.
Our opening ceremony starts six thirty tonight, and will last a few hours. I’m pretty sure they will show it on Canadian television, if any one has access. After that it’s off to bed, and to get pumped up for the classic race on Monday: the J3’s have 2.5k, the J2’s 5k and the J1’s are sluggin in out over ten. Wyatt and I will get some sweet pics up as well as keep you posted on the AWG as the week progreses.