Monday, 26 August 2013

Of Big Sky and White Fish

On Thursday two weeks ago we (the Alberta World Cup Academy) embarked on what has become an annual event for the Academy: Whitefish. For those not in the know, Whitefish is our fourth training camp of the year and our final training camp to take place during the part of the training season that focuses on volume training (see "Volume" blog post). Coincidentally, Whitefish is held in Whitefish Montana, on the shores of the picturesque Whitefish lake, at the foot of Big Mountain (creative name eh?). With many hours to complete, easy access to a lake, a big mountain and ice cream the scene was set for some top-notch training! 
In honour of our ten days of solid training I have uploaded and captioned 10 of my favourite pictures from the camp for your viewing pleasure! Enjoy.

Whitefish Lake:
Water was one of the themes of our trip; starting with a jump into the Bow River right between the end of a 3.5hr rollerski from Canmore up towards Lake Louis and a 5hr van ride to our lodgings in Whitefish "Big Sky Country". Many a gainer (running back flip) was attempted off the end of this dock after a workout.

Top of Big Mountain:
In the afternoon of day 2 we climbed Big Mountain, following a sweet gym workout in the morning. It's Big Sky Country for a reason.

"I don't usually take pictures of food, but when I do it usually tends to be almost all gone." I roomed with Mike and Chris for the camp and, I gotta say, we ate pretty well! Here you see a salad with one of the tastiest dressings I've ever had, potato wedges and hamburgers (all curtsy of Chris), set to the backdrop of Whitefish Lake, and Mike's right hand.

Cross Country Canada Truck:
You know you're going places when the support vehicle for you workout says "CANADA" on it!! Sweeet!

Elevation change:
On Monday the 19th we ran up the mountain again as a recovery workout in the afternoon. Both times we climbed Big Mountain we took the gondola down and promptly drove back to our condos on the lake--a total vertical drop of over 1km! I didn't open my waterbottles until I got back to the Condo and I found them looking slightly more squiggly than I remembered them to look.

800 meters:
Tuesday was a zone3 day! As mentioned above, Big Mountain afforded us some sweet vertical. We took advantage of this fact by doing a rollerski workout on the road up to the base of the ski resort. After 5 8min reps of Z3 Yannick's watch read just over 800m. I was so stoked I set this nice looking number to the backdrop of some dead trees at the top of Big Mountain.

Hungry Horse Dam and Swix Stars:
Wednesday's workout was a dam good time! 4hrs of skate and classic beside the reservoir of the tallest dam I've ever seen. To my excitement the road traversed the top of the damn and then along the reservoir to the right, through the burnt out forests.

Whitefish Fun Run race shirt:

As we neared the end of the camp the day dawned that everyone had been waiting for. A day much anticipated for the legendary event which it held. The one, the only, The Whitefish Friends and Family Fun Run. Known for its spectacularly flat terrain and cotton participation shirts, I was particularly excited for this event because it was too be my first 10km running race! After psyching myself up with the help of Viking Death March by Billy Talent, and working through a solid 50ish min warm up, I was ready. Goals for the day? Stick with my team-mates as long as possible and don't get beat by a coach--Stef and Chris J. were both racing!
The starter raised her revolver into the air (seriously, it was a legit 6 shot cowboy pistol) and... bang! We were off!
To put a lot of pain into just a few words:
Jess lead off the start with 3min/km pace, which led to me getting dropped by my teammates a fair bit faster than I'd hoped. Just over a half hour after I fell off the pace I crossed the finish line in a sprint--narrowly accomplishing my other goal of not being beat by one of the coaches!
I don't think my legs have ever hurt that much in a ski race.

Glacier National Park and Yours Truly:
Having completed a 10km running race on the previous day, one would think that running would be off the schedule for our final day of the camp. Well, one would be wrong.
To finish our awesome camp off in epic style we made our way up the Road to The Sun in Glacier National Park. I had heard from my teammates that Glacier Park was a solid setting for epic workouts, and after our annual rollerski up The Road to The Sun (which would have taken the place of the Hungry Horse Dam rollerski) was canceled due to the Girls being told off for rollerskiing there a day or two beforehand, I was really looking forward to getting a taste of the Park before our return to Canada.
The trail that we ran climbed about 700m vertical over the course of our 3hr run so that we finished up at just over 2000m altitude, and it took us through some of the most spectacular terrain that I've had a chance to run through, yielding many good opportunities to stare off majestically into the distance (see above). The only drawback of the trail was the number of other people on it! Every 500m or so I would call out another "hello!" or "thanks!" or "good day to you fine gentlemen!" to hikers who moved over to their side of the single track to let us by.

Back in Canmore:

With our drive back home ending at the Nordic Centre, Mike gave Kevin and I a lift back to our houses. Yep, all that stuff belongs solely to Kevin, Mike and I. Nope, thankfully the back of the truck did not look like that for the 5hr ride home from the States.

Bonus Pictures:

Burnt out trees in Glacier National Park

Ground Squirrel shoe inspection in Glacier National Park. My Salomons past the test (duh)

Hey, it's the Great Wall of China! We did an out and back on this tourist boardwalk thing to finish off the 3hrs in Glacier Park. It was even busier than the other trail. Can you spot Alex running by the tourists?

Well, I'm heading back east to visit my family tomorrow so I gotta get my sleep now! Until next time,

Dream Big, People!


  1. Thanks so much for sharing all of the awesome info! I am looking forward to checking out more posts!

    Brian Head UT