It has begun.
The 2012 ski season. A dozen different races in two countries, three provinces, 6 different plane rides, countless kilometers to drive, and hundreds of skis to wax.
It’s daunting, for sure, but something I have been pumped about for the last 8 months. If you think you train all year as an athlete to race in the winter and are stoked to kick things off, multiply that by 40, and you understand about where I’m at.
Things began nice and clean this year – on January 1st, otherwise known as New Years Day.
On the back of a completely lacklustre New Years Eve celebration, I hit the road for Rumford, ME, and US National Championships.
Now, it’s been well documented that I’m not a huge fan of following ‘directions’ or even getting good ‘directions’ in the first place, so I should note that the GPS I organized for the trip to Rumford was half-assed at best.
But despite my lack of planning, I only made two or three wrong turns on my way to Black Mountain. Where I found some conditions better suited to a ski race in April than January, as the snow was a tad thin, and the weather was balmy. But as it was the first race of the season, we powered through, testing some skis, and slapping on some wax in our cushy digs.
At this point, I should mention that we were staying in a ridiculously nice chalet. It featured a crazy stove with a grill top, a games room with a projector, pool table, foosball table, and large screen TV’s in just about every room. Oh, and some large stuffed animals, including a few pretty rad moose that were cool, but had seen better days.
About 11 PM, as the three man wax crew wrapped up our waxing and was packing things up, we noticed that instead of the “light snow” we had been promised by the race organizers for overnight weather, it was in fact puking rain. We got soaked just loading a few skis in the trailer. As per Twitter, I ruminated that things might be tough on the race course, but we headed to bed ready to rip at 5:30 AM and get cracking.
Only to wake up the next morning, pack ourselves and our lunches, and find out that the races were a no-go, courtesy of (and I’m not kidding about this) FasterSkier’s Twitter find. Instead of hitting the skis, I hit the pillow, for some much appreciated snoozing time, thanks @FasterSkier!
I spent the day buying beef jerkey and catching up with Alex, Audrey, Matt, and Steve, the FasterSkier staff that I don’t really know but quite like. We had a pretty rad time, although they mostly worked really hard while I was the peanut gallery.
After a quick dinner, the wax team headed to bed yet again, hoping that we could actually see some racing in the morning.
And surprise, surprise, there actually was a race on Tuesday morning. The crew set up our wax digs outside, watched athletes run up and down the road to warm-up, and in general made a nuisance of ourselves (some dude: “hey, we can only run either this power to your wax stuff, or the snow making equipment…” us: “is that a really a debate?”).
Some several skis and covers later, Nakkertok and associated members had drawn third and fourth in the junior A-Final, and had some solid results. Not to mentioned frozen to death in the diving temperatures and surprisingly cold winds. As the races wrapped up, I packed my assorted goods into the back of the Mazda, and made like hell for home, as round two the whirlwind tour continued.
With the help of a real GPS and Do Moncio-Groulx (a rad Nakkertok athlete), I cruised into Ottawa around 10:30 PM, stopping just once at the LL Cote in Errol, NH (I think) to buy gas and check out their sale on women’s Carhartt goods. Which was good, because Wednesday afternoon, after some quick laundry, I boarded a plane to Thunder Bay, ON, and the first real test of my winter – Ontario Cup #1 held at Lappe Nordic.
Which will have to wait until tomorrow – but the pancakes are awesome, the trails are hilly, and my athletes kick ass, so it will be good – trust me.