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Obligatory scenery shot...

Canadian National Championships. Canmore, Alberta. Day 1 of 12.

I’ll do my best to post something every day, but that’s unlikely. There’s a bit of a schedule. We have quite a few people. I’m aiming to sleep. You get the idea.

First of all, I left Ottawa this morning at 7 AM. Or at least I was supposed to. But when 55 athletes, support staff, and coaches show up to get on one plane, each with a ski bag, a monster bag, and a ton of wax equipment things go wrong. But when your group constitutes half the flight, it doesn’t leave without you, even if that means it’s 40 minutes late.

But speaking of wax equipment, due to the sweet airline rule of only 52 lbs per bag, we actually spent the first half hour in the airport dividing our 65 pound wax boxes into ski bags, duffels, and carry ons. Do you know how many tubes of Vauhti carrot make 15 lbs? Or packs of CERAF? Or Nylon brushes? Yeah, me neither, but it’s a ton. Kieran Top Tip here – best bang for your buck on weight saving is the roto-drill assembly. Slip the drill into a duffel, and fit the handle, cork, and brush in your ski bag.

Our cargo van, packed to the roof with skis. There are not even any duffels in it at this point...

And Kieran Top Tip number two- this one is multi-step. A) Make sure your duffel is slightly underweight. Pack less underwear, or leave the espresso machine at home. B) Get the airline to weigh it, tag it, and set it aside. C) Put your monster wax box on the scale, act surprised when it weighs over the limit, get them to tag it, and say you’ll move stuff to your duffel. D) Move over-amount to duffel. E) Have 30 other skiers who are possibly late for their flight push forward to check their bags. F) Take both wax box and duffel to oversize baggage, without weighing them in again. (If you represent an airline and are reading this – it is purely hypothetical, and would never work.)

After a remarkably uneventful flight – the usual snacks, snoozing, and stuffed rabbits wearing sunglasses, we landed in Calgary, Alberta.

Surprisingly – and awesomely, I might add – all the gear we loaded on the plane in Ottawa made it. After our cargo van arrived (about five sizes smaller than we anticipated) we jammed our stuff in the back, and made for Canmore, and mountains!

Thirty minutes of navigational fun, and an hour of driving later, we ended up in the Rocky Mountains at our disgusting accommodations.

We’re staying in a pretty baller spot – the Alpine Club of Canada. Big wood building, smaller, cool wooden outer-buildings, decks, common rooms, woodsy-but-still modern feel – it’s got a good atmosphere.

But room size is interesting. It’s basically a hostel, so they really cram the beds in, meaning that four grown men – and all their stuff for 12 days – are sharing two bunk beds, and an 8×10. A couple of quick observations.

–          It very quickly became apparent organization would be key. I have several good personality traits – organization may not be one of them.

–          Snoring. 4 men. 1 room. 8 nostrils. Earplugs, or make sure you’re the first guy asleep. Nuff said.

–          Clothes. Specifically wet clothes. Not much room to dry your wet ski clothes, so I’ve made the decision that I can either A) not sweat when I ski for the 12 days, or B) we’re all dead. It’s currently a toss up. Ask again on day 10.

–          Bathroom time. Our floor houses almost the entire male Nakkertok contingent. That adds up to something like 25 people. Two bathrooms. You do the math. Only time I’ve ever been thankful most of my mornings will start at 5 AM, well before any of the athletes are awake and wanting bathroom time.

Time to crash – the wax room was set up today, but tomorrow we’ll be hitting the Nordic Center full on, and I’ll be skiing for the first time in 6 days. Nothing like hitting the hard flu right before Nationals. I call it a taper.

Let’s see how it works…

(Due to internet issues, pictures will be added at later….)

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