Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Bringing Fast and Female back to the North

Group photo full of smiles as everyone is excited to go out skiing!!!
 My past month has been full of fun events, highlights being the Fast and Female Power hour in Whitehorse in conjunction with my trip home and starting the race season with the two Frozen Thunder events!

The Frozen Thunder sprints mark the unveiling of our new Stoneham racesuit! I am crediting the suit with the Academy ladies success in the qualifier going 3 through 6 in probably the most competitive North American field we will race in this season. I was super happy to start off the season with a 3rd place in my first year as a senior and it was event better to have my teammates right there with me to race against. The Sprint was followed by a distance skate race a few days later again a very competitive race with the USSA Ski Team to compete against. Here a a few photos below of the racing action. Thanks to Noel Rogers of BowValleyPhotography for some great shots. If you want to see more of Noel's work you can find him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BowValleyPhotography

Racing in our new Stoneham suits
Warming up for the sprint under the glow of the morning sunrise
Out of the start gate

Leading up to the race season I decided to head north for 10 days to ski in Whitehorse on some different terrain and to get in some a good volume block. It was mainly to give my mind a break for the repetitive loops of Frozen Thunder and spend some much needed time with my family. It was great to ski with friends on those oh so familiar trails from my childhood that even though I have skied on them only limited amounts the last 3 years, I still remember where all the uneven little bumps and curves lie. The trail map so ingrained in my head that I doubt I will ever be able to forget it no matter how long the time gaps are between my visits.

During my stay I had the opportunity to host a Fast and Female Power Hour at the Whitehorse Cross Country Ski Club for Cross Country and Biathlon athletes age 8-18 in Whitehorse. This was the first Fast and Female in the Yukon since Chandra Crawford originally hosted the event at the 2010 Haywood Ski Nationals in Whitehorse.

Enjoying the beauty of home and the wintery conditions

This was the first time I had hosted a Fast and Female as the lead ambassador and what a rewarding experience it was. I have never before had the chance to work with such a keen and enthusiastic group of girls. We had over 35 girls and 15 coaches join us for an afternoon of skiing, team building and zumba.
It was wonderful getting to know the next generation of skier coming up through the Yukon Ski Team program and share my experiences with them, having hopefully inspired a few to pursue their passions so that they can share their love for their sport with others.

Here are some photo's of the girls rocking it in the obstacle course all matching with their purple and pink Fast and Female Buffs!!!

Ava showing off her master slalom skills during the Fast and Female obstacle course

The girls having some fun going downhill

It was great to see everyone so keen to try new thing:180 jumps followed by backwards skiing

Me posing for a pic with these young superstars

My amazing helper Annah and I with our awesome Lululemon ambassador hoodies Thank you Lululemon!!!!! Can't wait to watch Annah race this season, the rest of the junior field better watch out. 
Thanks you so much to everyone who help make this event such a success!!! To read more about the event check out this article:

Now we are just over a week out from the start of the official race season. I am really looking forward to 4 great weekends of racing in Canada and the States before heading home again for Christmas. Stay tuned for results and racing updates. Race results for the Nov. 29-30th, Dec. 13-14th and 20th-21st weekends can be found on Zone4

Happy trails and hope you are all on snow soon as well!!!
Dream of snowflakes,

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Park City Pre-Season

  • 4 days until we are on snow
  • 10 days until the first race 
  • 46 days until the official race season begins
  • -3 days since the final dry land camp of the year

For the past two weeks the Alberta World Cup Academy, along with the World Cup Team and a few CNEPH training centre athletes, have been in Park City Utah for our final pre-season dry land camp. The Park City camp was an altitude camp, being at over 2000m we spent a lot of our time climbing up passes and running up mountains making our way towards the 3000m mark.
Heidi and Cendrine climbing up by East Canyon on one of our 3 hour days
It's hard not to smile when you are running through trees like this. The sun and the leaves showering us with a beautiful yellow glow.

A beautiful run up and along mid-mountain trail, there were so many great running options right from our door.

A little friday night high school football under the lights. Go Miners. Getting our American culture fix

Hour 2.5 of 3, still all smiles switchbacking up to Guardsman Pass

Striding up to Gaurdsman Pass from the other side, enjoying the beautiful autumn colours it had to offer.

Alysson and I taking advantage of the beautiful trails on our last workout of the camp

Park City was one of the best camps I have been on in a long time. I loved the location and the training was great. We did a pursuit time trial at Soldier Hollow cross country trails on their roller ski loop, it felt like a real winter race with steep descents and even steeper climbs. It was great to see all the girls times so close together. We also simulated a sprint race and got a couple other good zone 3 group intensities in between our long distance training days. I feel like I have made great gains this camp and am very excited to use what I have been working on in the races to come!! 

We finished off the camp with a team Turkey dinner (and I made pumpkin cheesecake, above, for dessert) before traveling home! Now that we are back in Canmore it is time to get out the skis and prepare for the two frozen thunder races next week. I can't wait for the season to start!!!!

The next update there will be snow! Thanks for reading


Friday, 22 August 2014

Glacier skiing and other summery things

It's crazy to think that over two months have passed since I last updated my blog. Lots has happened since then, even if I did not do a very good job of documenting those events in photos.

This past week the Academy ladies were up on the Haig Glacier for the first of two summer skiing stints. We were joined by some National Talent Squad, Alberta Ski Team and a few other elite female racers for 4 days up on the glacier. It was absolutely amazing to have 15 strong and focused ladies ages 16-28 all together in a camp setting. In total I put in 16 hours of training in 4 days with lots of focus on ski technique, especially skate technique for me as this is an area I am trying to make some big gains in this season. Next Monday the Academy will head back up to the Haig glacier for another 4 day volume block. Thank you to WinSport for this amazing training facility!
Coaches Chris and Justin always the first ones up to the glacier and the last ones down, Thank you both!

Early morning view from camp

Throughout the early summer months my team did most of its training in and around Canmore in the beautiful Bow Valley. At the end of June I flew up to Whitehorse for a week to participate in the annual Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay. This was as always a great race, I was very happy to have my own bike to race on that I flew up with me. I was super excited to be sporting Icycle Sport's new bike kit one of my fabulous local sponsors! This summer they have gotten in new store bike kits and cycling jackets as well as snazzy new T-shirts, be sure to stop by and check them out and grab a midnight sun coffee while you are at it.

After finishing legs 3 and 4 of the bike relay with my new Icycle Sport jersey and shorts
The eve of the bike relay, the Yukon looking extra spectacular

The rest of my trip home consisted of time well spent training and visiting friends, going for runs with my dad and our 2 dogs as well and horseback riding with my mom and relaxing with my sister! It was a great combination of hard training and racing in the laid back familiar atmosphere of home.

Edelweiss waiting expectantly for her post ride oats

My time back in Canmore felt fairly brief before I was off again this time to Quebec (MSA) to train with the Centre Pierre Harvey Team for 8 days. This was a great change of pace with new faces and different workouts.
While back in Canmore we did our AWCA double pole test and I was really happy to see big improvements in my times from last summer.  As well as all the hard training I was able to go out to the Kananaskis River on Canada Day with my good friend Erin who is working and living here this summer for an evening of river boarding on the Kananaskis.

With the rain coming down outside and this weeks glacier skiing fresh in my mind it really seems like summer is already winding down. I am looking forward to our NST/AWCA Park City camp at the end of September and then it will be time to jump back on snow again with Frozen Thunder and do some final preparations for the race season.

Although the weather is starting to turn there's still many hours of volume and intensity to put in before we put on the race bibs again
Check back next month for some photos and an update on training in Park City, Utah!

Thanks for reading

Monday, 2 June 2014

Stepping into the big leagues

Being the end of an Olympic season, as always, things take a little bit longer to get started up again in the spring teams are finalized, money is reallocated and of course everyone just wants a bit of time to take a quick breather before refocusing for the next 4 years.
My spring was full of deep relaxed breaths , but I'll get to that in a second!

Since May 6th I have been back to full time training here in Canmore. It's been almost a month already that we've been back at it, crazy how time flies. In the past month the most exciting news for me has been the National Team Announcements.
 Last week the 2014-2015 National Team was announced to the public and I am absolutely honoured to have been named to the Senior National Development Team! I was told about my nomination in late April but it never really seems official until the team is announced to the press!

This coming season being my first season as a senior it is amazing to be named to the National Team right after graduating from the junior ranks! I could not be more motivated about the coming year of training and racing. We have already had the chance to do a week long on snow camp at Sunshine this May where we had access to top notch grooming and a few perfect crust skiing days as well as a chance to work with our World Cup Team coaches.
Taking in the view while skiing up at Sunshine
Erin and I at the top of Mt. Yanmuska, first summit of the year

A raven playing in up drafts at the top of Yamnuska

In April I was able to go home to the Yukon for 3 weeks to spend time with my family and catch up on some R&R. I enjoyed some great spring skiing, tried to become more proficient at yoga (still working on it) and had the opportunity to spend a couple of days teaching Whitehorse elementary school kids to ski and sharing my racing stories with them. All in all it was a great visit home and my excursion  on my way back to Canmore made it all the better!

Afternoon snowshoeing with these amazing kindergarteners from Golden Horn Elementary after a morning of skiing!

Jen taking a lunch break while skiing up at the Skagway pass

April also marked my first attempted at making homemade bread, attempt #2 turned out better

My sister and I are artists, well sometimes. Easter fun!

Enjoying one last evening ski on Fish Lake before leaving Whitehorse.... Photo taken at 7:30pm

From Whitehorse I flew down to Vancouver on Air North and made my way over to Victoria for a few days of visiting friends I haven't seen for years before heading across the island to Tofino for 5 great days of surfing and playing in the sun with some of my best friends.
Tofino was a great place to end my spring play-cation and rejuvenate me before coming back to Canmore to enjoy a summers worth of training. Thank you to everyone who housed me on my travels and took the time out of their busy schedules to spend a few moments showing me around as I passed through.

Trying to take a picture without my hair in my face while spending a lovely day with the Carradine's in Victoria
Victoria Harbour
Taking a break from the waves on Florencia beach

Beautiful view out to the ocean from Ucluelet 

Feeling dwarfed by the  Douglas fir trees in Cathedral Grove, we couldn't even fit the whole tree in the photo...

Now that June is here we have started with a bit of spring testing and will be doing a few races in the next month. A 5 peaks running race here in Canmore in a couple weeks followed by the Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay up in the Yukon the following weekend on summer solstice.

Finally I would like to take this opportunity to thank my family, my adopted family the Davies, my sponsors, friends and coaches for all their support this past year. My nomination to the National Ski Team is just as much yours as it is mine and I could not be more thankful for everything you have given me!
Stay tuned for some more summer training updates to come shortly,
Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, 26 March 2014

My last nationals as a junior and my best yet!

From Whistler BC last year to Corner Brook Newfoundland this year, the 2014 Ski Nationals literally took us from coast to coast. We were on the rock for 13 days and experienced everything from -20 winter weather to 100km/hr winds to +6 degrees and rain to beautiful sunshine. I was amazed by how quickly the weather could change. While in Corner Brook I raced all five of the Nationals races. I did not do the team sprint last year so I was very excited to be racing it this year with my Whitehorse and AWCA teammate Emily Nishikawa who has just returned from the Olympics in Sochi. The team sprint was a classic race which we both love and together we were able to pull away from the rest of the teams in the first 2 laps to take first by a comfortable margin. Our second Whitehorse team made up of Kendra Murray and Annah Hanthorn skied an incredible race as well to place 3rd and join us on the podium! With Knute and Colin taking third in the men's race it was a great first day for the Whitehorse club. 
Team Sprint! 

In the 5km  classic race the next day the conditions were tricky for waxing and the team all ended up going on "rub skis". I won the junior women's category but I was more pleased with the fact that I finished fifth in the open women’s category only 3 seconds behind World Cup Team athlete Perianne Jones. I was also first U23 and was only beaten by Olympians in this race. As a team the Yukon once again had a strong showing with Emily claiming gold in open women, Knute bronze in the open men and Annah bronze in junior women. 
Crossing the finish line in the 5k, ever second counts
My first Open Women's podium at Nationals!

Junior Women's podium

For the next two races I was able to keep my junior women's nationals  yellow leader bib placing 2nd in the 10km skate race and 3rd in the skate sprint. 

Thursday's sprint qualifier

Group hug after the A-final, I love this group of ladies. I feel so lucky to have such a strong peer group to race with

Sprint podium

At the start of the last race of the week I was tied for first place in aggregate with Katherine. In the 3 individual races we had both finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd. This made the 20km mass start classic very exciting. Whoever between the two of us won would win the aggregate award for the week. Knowing it was winner takes all I pushed the pace from the beginning and at 10km we were down to 3 in the lead group, katherine and I as well as my teammate Annah. Katherine and I had been taking turns leading all race and part way through the 3rd of 4 laps I tried to break but Katherine came with me making it now a race between the two of us. On the 4th and final lap I tried to break again on the same climbs and this time was successful, racing the last 3km as if it was a 5km race I didn't slow down until I was in the finishing corridors. Winning the 20k classic assured me the overall junior women's aggregate title something that has evaded me the past 3 nationals. This was the first time I was on the podium in every race, 5 medals in 5 races! My first year racing in the junior women's category in 2010 I also won the overall aggregate so it was nice to end my last nationals as a junior the same way I had started my first.
Katherine and I in Canmore earlier this year after both having qualified for World Junior Championships.
Photo cred. Emilie

The mass start classic day was not just a great day for me it was also the best day ever for the Yukon Ski Team and the Whitehorse club. We had a total of 7 podiums and two 4th place finishes. These stellar results moved us up in the overall club standings to second place behind Nakkertok. Our best ever result in the club aggregate! Annah who skied strongly all week was 3rd once again in junior women, Emily was 2nd in open women, Graham 3rd in open men. Are younger skiers also rose to the occasion with Caelan winning the junior boys, Simon placing a close second in the juvenile boys and Hannah D. placing second in juvenile girls with  her brother Marcus and Natalie just off the podium in their respective categories. I am so proud of my entire team!

All the Yukon Ski Team ladies at the Fast and Female event in Corner Brook

When we were not racing we also had the chance to ski some of the recreational trails at Blow-Me-Down which are just lovely and on Sunday after the racing had concluded I was able to venture out to Gros Morne National Park for a little hiking adventure. Unfortunately my camera died so I don't have any pictures of Gros Morne to display. Friday we also put on a Fast and Female event at the Memorial University campus. I had a group of 9-11 year old girls all from Newfoundland. It was great to be able to talk with these young ambitious girls about their dreams. At the finish line of my 20km race Saturday two of the young girls that were in my group at Friday's Fast and Female were waiting for me! I hope to have inspired them but I know for sure that they inspired me and can't wait to watch them race when they are old enough! 

Finally I would like to thank Blow-Me-Down Ski club, the 2014 Ski Nationals organizing committee, my coaches and teammates on the AWCA and Yukon Ski Team and most of all the wonderful volunteers for making the week such a great success. 
My season is now over other than a couple of local races this weekend here in Canmore. Thank you to everyone who supported me this season and helped me make it my best yet. I am looking forward to getting back to training in May and working hard so that I can charge onto the senior scene next season! 
Wishing everyone a wonderful spring full of fun outdoor adventures,
Thanks for reading

Saturday, 1 March 2014

La Lettonie et L'Estonie- Castles, Rain and Ski Racing

For the past two weeks I have been traveling around the Baltic countries racing at the Latvian National Championships and on the Scandinavian Cup circuit. I did 5 races in 9 days in three different locations. It was quite a busy race schedule with lots of travel and little time to adjust to the new places. I was traveling with CNEPH, the National Training Centre based out of Quebec. We were 8 athletes and 2 coaches and for me this was a great opportunity to brush up on my french as I haven't used it much since graduating high school. I'm happy to report that by the end of the trip I was both thinking and dreaming in french and hopefully not making quite as many mistakes as at the start of the trip.
Starting the 5km classic in Priekuli
The first stop on the Baltic tour was Priekuli Latvia for the Latvian National Championships. Despite the lack of snow, their trails were very nice and we had a 2.5km man-made loop to race on. I only raced the first day in the 5km classic and finished 1st in open women, claiming my first senior national title, albeit in a different country. The following day I had the chance to visit a 13th century castle in the town of Cēsis where we were staying. It was very cool and had lots of history, including being invaded by Ivan the Terrible and the Russian army in 1577.

Latvian Nationals Podium

Andrea, Alysson and I ready to tour the Cēsis castle! 

Old fashion lanterns

View of the castle

After Priekuli we traveled south an hour to Madona Latvia where we raced two scandinavian cups.
The scandinavian cups were a very high caliber of racing as all the best scandinavian races who were not at the olympics were there. The first race was a skate sprint and I was happy to qualify for the heats in 27th place. I was able to move up one position in my heat to finish 25th on the day. It was a great experience to race head to head with World U23 Champions and World Cup athletes. The following day we raced once again on a 2.5km loop to do a 10km race. This meant that there were lots of people on course to ski with and around, I finished 29th.

Sprint Start, I'm bib 27

Moving across the field

Staying with the group

10km Skate

Skiing the first few laps with Anne-Marie and a Swede

 For our last two races of the tour we traveled north to Otepää Estonia for a set of classic races. The same as the previous races, rain was the forecast. Racing in rain and warm weather is always challenging especially with the fatigue of having already done 3 races that week. This weekend was a great learning experience on how to push your body. In the sprint I once again qualified for the heats finishing 26th and in the 10km classic I came 31st, first junior and second canadian both days.
After the last race we drove directly back to Tallinn to begin our two day travel adventure home. Stopping down it seemed wherever possible. I traveled to Frankfurt, then Munich, then Toronto and finally Calgary before making it back to Canmore. All this while still being able to catch the finish of the men's 50km at the Olympics and the last 10min of the gold medal hockey game. We timed our drive to Tallinn pretty well!
The Yukon squad all smiles 

Now I am back in Canmore after having been in Europe for over 5 weeks. With 10 races overseas I feel like I have learned lots of valuable things and have lots to work on this summer so that next season I can return to Europe stronger and faster.
In less than two weeks I travel to Corner Brook Newfoundland for the Haywood Ski Nationals, our last races of the year. I am looking forward to being back on the canadian scene and racing somewhere new in Canada!
Merci une autre fois a l'équipe de CNEPH pour m'apporter avec vous sur votre tour en Europe. J'apprécie vraiment la chance d'avoir l'opportunité de faire plusieurs courses internationaux et d'avoir la chance de mieux connaître votre équipe.

I'm looking forward to seeing everyone at Nationals!
Thanks for reading
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