In the mountains there is a saying, well almost everywhere there is this saying. ‘If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.’ This past week has been a prime example that proofs the saying true. On Sunday, November 14, I had a Biathlon Time Trial scheduled. Frozen Thunder had been revived a few days prior, so the plan was to use the on-snow shooting lanes and hold the TT on the 1km loop. I woke up that morning pumped, and ready to race. I was focused and had a couple of points in my head that I wanted to work on. I get to the range but something had happened so we were not on any of the snow covered shooting lanes. The TT was switched to a roller skiing or running race. Things happen on race day that are out of your control. In a strange way this was an excellent training opportunity of dealing with any adversity that may appear on a race day.
Yes we had snow, and plenty of people were skiing, but it was warm. I arrived at the range well dressed. I try to always be prepared for weather changes so I had brought a t-shirt with me. I quickly changed into it. If I had had a pair of shorts I would have changed into those as well. To recap, I was racing on roller skis, in a T-shirt, on November 14. (One of these doesn’t belong.) After I finished the race, which went well, I skied with quite a bit of snap, and felt strong throughout the race. Shooting, I had two great bouts and two bouts we will not speak of. I was thinking that if winter didn’t arrive soon, I might just lose it. None of the usual early snow areas that have become meccas for those snowflake crazed people, you call Nordic skiers, had snow. Not Lake Louise, not Sunshine, only a flake or two in Silver Star. The lack of snow had driven all the skiers so crazy that we began enjoying skiing on a 1000m loop. Being able to race in a t-shirt and shorts in November was the last straw, winter had to come quickly.
And so it did!
Monday started still warm but it brought with it one of the best phrases ever developed, ‘Snowfall Warning In Effect.’ Seeing that just before I headed out to Calgary for school made my day. During the day the temperature steadily dropped and was about -7 late evening when the snow began to fall. Tuesday morning was like waking up in a dream. I fell asleep in a greenish brown, mountainous scene. I woke up to a Winter Wonderland. Canmore has a reputation of not getting a lot of snow. That held true, they had called for 15-20cm, we may have gotten 7-10cm. A little disappointing but a promising start. It snowed on and off for the remainder of the day as the temperature continued to fall. You’d think with natural snow falling you wouldn’t need to start the snow guns, wrong. This is Canmore and you always need more snow. They were making snow in a ‘snow storm.’
Wednesday continued the dream come true. More snow had fallen Tuesday night then the night before, and a shocking high of -15 plus a cool -23 wind chill. Welcome to winter! It was a scramble to find all the right gear for the cold conditions; long underwear, much thicker gloves, the polar Buffs, parkas and Neos were now a must. Mother Nature had provided; we went from a cool summer’s day to a mid-winter’s one, all within 48 hours. Not bad at all.
Winter has truly arrived and in the nick of time. The Cross Country World Cup begins Saturday in Sweden; the Biathlon World Cup begins in another 10 days. My first official race is in 13 days. It’s too late now to start worrying about it. It’s almost Game Time baby!