Spring Skiing!

Upon my return from racing in Europe (at the beginning of March) I worked a few night shifts at the hospital and then went skiing again. Unfortunately I took a sharp turn with my thumb extended along my pole handle. As I pushed off my pole there was so much force involved in the maneuver that I dislocated and fractured the last segment of my thumb – I didn’t even fall during the whole event!

The next three weeks were spent with a splint on my right hand – not conducive to daily living or working in a critical care environment where you need to be able to work quickly and dexterously – and frequently wash your hands. In order to stay sane while off work I began skiing with only one pole, or with no poles to work on my leg strength.

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Something doesn’t look quite right…

After three weeks in a splint I was ready for the last races of the season at the end of March. First up was the last New Brunswick Cup of the year, a 15km skate mass start. Kevin Heppell and I traded the lead until I was able to gain a 10 second gap on some steep uphills. I didn’t manage to get far enough ahead so Kevin caught me before the final descent into the finish. I was worried that he could tuck behind me and slingshot ahead, but somehow I got a better line (at 61 km/h!) into the finish and managed to out-sprint him by a fraction of a second.

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Kevin and I sharing yet another podium – an excellent tradition.

On Sunday we had another skate mass start, but this one was 42km long on a flatter course. In fact this was the first annual Maritime Marathon – we hope to see even more skiers next year. Kevin took the lead right off the gun, I thought he wouldn’t be able to hold it, but he managed to take advantage of his amazing one skate and he extended his lead across some wind blown fields. I was never able to reel him back in and he finished a solid two minutes ahead of me – I finished second.

The weekend was a good conclusion to another successful season. I managed to train a very respectable amount while working full time, competed in 13 races, including three in biathlon, and I had some solid performances at my first World Championships.

With the racing season over it was time to break out the fat skis so I headed north to the Chic Choc mountains with my friend Lara from Montreal. We made the most of the beautiful weather and small crowds over Easter weekend. We spent lots of time studying the snowpack to avoid avalanches, and I worked on my telemarking skills in tough snow conditions.

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Stopping to dig a pit.

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Snow science!

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Windy and cloudy on our second morning.

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Conditions rapidly improved.

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Skiing along the ridge of Hog’s Back.

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The northern summit of Hog’s Back, with Mont Albert in the background.

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Perfection.

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Lara shows how it’s done.

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Good thing we didn’t need to use this “emergency” phone to which power had been cut.

After some time in the Chic Chocs it was back to work for a very busy stretch of shifts, and a course in Pediatric Advanced Life Support. I had planned some skiing in the mornings before my night shifts – fortunately the weather cooperated and I was able to gather a group of friends for the last ski of the season – which has to be completed in shorts!

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And we’re off!

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Exploring a marsh.

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Spring skiing is not without its perils.

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Skiing to the dam.

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The whole gang – see you next season!

Now that the season is really over I’ll be taking a week off to relax and think about what worked well this season, what needs to be improved on, and what goals I will set for the next season. I’m already eager to start training again which is an excellent sign for the coming summer!

 

 

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