After a couple of weeks at home doing some final preparations for the race season, Team Black Jack headed back to Canmore for the first race weekend of the winter. The drive over on Thursday was smooth and the roads were good (thanks to Dave and Edouard for driving). We picked up honorary Black Jack member Molly Miller as we passed through Cranbrook before finally making our way to the Canadian Rocky Mountain Chalets where we would be staying for the weekend. Since the team had only been on snow for three days prior to the event, everyone was looking forward to some hard skiing and racing. Unfortunately, Canmore had not received any snow since Frozen Thunder, and was relying purely on snowmaking and the Frozen Thunder loop for the races and warm-up track.
Nonetheless, Black Jack got out to the trails on Friday morning for ski testing and race preparations for the skate interval start the next day. A few flakes fell as we skied round and round, trying to figure out which skis would be fastest. Once final decisions were made, we headed back to the hotel for a pasta lunch and took some time to relax. In the afternoon, the team headed out for another short and easy classic training session to get a little more skiing in before the races, and to decide ski selection for Sunday’s classic interval start.
Saturday morning brought temperatures close to 0°C as the races began. The open men’s category started first, and David, Eric, Daniel and Colin pushed to the max to achieve some great results. Julien decided not to race. Next, Remi (the Terminator) was able to win by 10 seconds for Black Jack’s best result of the day. Following Remi’s win were the open women and junior girls categories where Sage and Michaela really went for it, despite some heavy legs. Finally, the midget girls and juvenile girls categories got their turn on the racetrack, but not until the early afternoon (the long race days were due to the fact that each category had to run to completion in order to avoid chaos on the short track). That night, it was early to bed for the team before another great day of racing on Sunday.
Sunday brought colder temperatures, but good conditions for the wax team. The skis were fantastic and everyone was able to race fast. This time Molly joined Jasmine in the juvenile girls category for the classic races, but Julien once again decided to take it easy. Open men started first again, with races running into the early afternoon. As we packed up and headed out of Canmore it began to snow. Unfortunately, the road conditions weren’t as good on the way home, however, Dave and Edouard did another great job of getting us back safe and sound.
Despite a lack of snow, Canmore put on a great event thanks to all the volunteers that came out to help. Thanks also to Dave, Edouard, Linda and Ken for all the great coaching, waxing and racing support, as well as to the parents who provided us with such tasty food.