Sunday, 24 January 2016

Training day, learning and memories

Memories are important.  I read recently that brains likely store orders of magnitude more memory than researchers had previously given credit for. I try to remember a lot. Or maybe I should say I try to go through the files, the remembering just happens. Today we have fondue. That reminds me of Thetis, Bruce Calvin, visiting Gian, riding in the rain with Ashley and Shawn and Cindy. Mostly just because Shawn showed a fondue in Les2Alpes who was boss... and unfortunately Cindy was lured into some moules and frites that smelled amazing (and were amazing to the rest of us). 

Incremental learnings: Even without falls, a kiwi won't survive skiing in a pocket for very long.  The parallel sprint is the first event, which if it's anything like Steamboat, qualifying selects a top 16 for the grids of the final race. Meaning if you're not top 16, essentially it doesn't even show a result.  So although I like optimism, I'm not convinced I'm top 16 on the planet (last year's best result was 24th in the sprint). So we'll call the parallel the "warmup" for me.  I do know I'm tops in Cindy's mind, which she reminds me of frequently.  It's nice to have a super fan.  I think the course it quite steep tomorrow.  

I had thought hard about cancelling this trip. Calgary is in bent over mode the way I've never seen it before. There's too many resilient and ingenious people there, so it will bounce back.  It's hard to do "superfluous" things like ski when it's that tough, but I already am glad I came. The scenery, the people, and the journey are worth it. Telemark skiing is just in me (perhaps literally by lineage), I'm glad I rekindled it, and it makes my life better for this experience. Everyone involved in the sport from first encounters with Mike to everyone here and Steamboat is just so positive. 

The ski hill employee whom set course today (or should I say, the course for everyone, not the ones the Swiss or Norwegians set for themselves) was a pretty easy going mid 20's guy named Thibeaut. I said Thibeaut like Thibeaut Pinot to confirm I heard it right, and he said yes but I don't bike nearly as good.  The ski hill employees all seem happy, as they should be I guess with such surroundings. 

So I spoke a bunch today to Czech racer and coach Kamil whom also spent a winter Canada including visits to SilverStar and obviously knows Shane.  Nice guy. Working on jumps today for the ladies on the team. 

So, the jump. One in training today was easy to launch.  The one in Steamboat was hard - blind approach, hill really dropped off so you just picked a reference view in town to aim for, then steep first turn. I think the parallel sprint one is reasonably steep and the sprint one is moderate as I found that course today too. Anyway, I could launch fine and make the turn.  I think the one tomorrow is on a very steep pitch. 

wanted to get up to Bellecote top after training (mountain behind in that pic) but one lift shut down right when I got to it then my heels were sore, so I think I'll go after tomorrow. Only top 16 from seeding run do parallel sprint. Realistically I'm not top 16 on the planet in this sport ; )

The wax room is nice!

Suffice to say, the Norwegians have an intense approach to wax. I fit a variety of tuning tools, my iron, and waxes in my ski bag in a Bow Cycle plastic bag. The Norwegians seem to have brought a van full. There were 6 elaborate full tables set up, a wiring system with extension cord and giant puck for them to plug into, and huge aluminum fold out boxes of supplies and wax.  Looks to me like maybe they brought a factory to make skis?

Lunch was lovely.  Only a degree or two to cool for a t shirt. 

So there's an ongoing thread of elegance in my mind, which may at times be mixed with excellence, but it doesn't have to be. The French have elegance.  The people running the lift, the Ecole du Ski Franciase people everywhere, the old guys with aviators and sweaters (which I entirely get the logic of here).  They just have grace.  It's hard to say what it actually is.  The lifty girls aren't fat, and they seem to keep there chin a degree up, with a wistful look towards the alps.  Not snobby, just elegant.  The ESF instructors carry skis, walk, conduct themselves in line with such grace. No fumbling for poles, no slide turns, but also no hair or part of the outfit out of place.  They don't walk clumsy with their gear, it's like they do secret ski yoga to move well and keep tall posture with their ski boots on.   Literally they look like they're posing for some magazine ad all the time.  Which when the alps are your backdrop, you may as well look good. 

So I really don't have it out for the Brits, they're jovial and chatty on the lifts.  But in aggregate they're sort of ducks out of water.  A lady in front of me in a lift line crossed her skis, wiped out while standing still, and thrust her pole back into my groin all in one fell swoop at one point.  Ha. Her ESF instructor offered her a hand up like she was getting out of a limo at Cannes. There were a bunch of young guys, presumably on some party occasion weekend, whom threw elegance aside in favour of all wearing underwear over their ski pants and one was dressed in a banana outfit. When I looked over, a Norwegian coach who had his Ray Bans on and hair flowing in the wind, watching his skier go by with his hands in his pockets.  To top that off he decided to go down the side of the course to speak with his racer, he did 3 mostly standing but still tele turns and a gentle stop, hands never coming out of his pockets, with the ethereal grace of a ballerina. Some people fight the snow, some glide effortlessly. 

They sure have done a great job of hosting and opening ceremonies.  We had a flag parade, there was a torch light run, bib draws and fireworks, with hot wine and a bunch of funny mascots. I was last in the parade, but not by alphabet or apathy.  Some little kids told me they went to Canada once and wanted to talk about it, and they didn't get the overall keep moving thing, so I just talked to them and caught up.  Overall the whole welcoming ceremony was lovely. 

Olle Colberg of Sweden is my dinner partner. He's a team of one currently too. We had met in Steamboat.  It's a treat to be able to exchange life on a personal level at intervals with someone, and of course to talk skiing.  Food was something like a French spätzle with sausage after soup and salad and finished with a meringue, sorbet and creme fraiche.  They had it down pat. 

We sat adjacent to the Slovenians. Maybe it's because they're smaller country too, or just nice, but they remembered me right away and seemed impressed that I recalled half their names right away too. 

So as they say, you learn something every day.  Or are reminded of things, arguably re learning them. Human connections make life great.  Despite being a world apart, at least for me, tele is one big family. 

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