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Sore Muscles and Imagination = Good Times (The Haines Rollerski Camp)
By:  Brittany Pearson   (2008/08/29)

     Each year the Yukon ski team makes the journey to Haines Alaska for a weekend of good rollerskiing and smooth roads, both of which are very hard to come by in Whitehorse. Typically on the first day of the training camp the team makes a stop around the Haines summit for a two-hour rollerski with 30 minutes of specific strength on a lengthy uphill. Each of the following days are usually spent rollerskiing just outside of Haines, Alaska, on the highway near Mosquito Lake. This year, however, due new opportunities (fresh pavement!!) the team stayed at the Dezadeash Lake Campground and made use of a beautiful bear-filled stretch of highway close-by. This new location brought with it a clean slate for the memories of previous Haines Camps (which hadn’t previously been my favourite).

 This year we left on a Friday at 8 AM for Dezadeash, broke for lunch in Haines Junction, and embarked on a three-hour rollerski in the afternoon on the refreshingly smooth highway. In contrast, we were all used to the rough, gravel covered, narrow shoulder of the Alaska highway near Whitehorse (from this highway, a strong dislike for rollerskiing grew on me). Later in the day, we went on a short hike up the scenic rock glacier a short distance away. Before bed, a couple of the braver boys braved the freezing waters of Lake Dezadeash, and in this case I mean as close to zero as water can get. One of the guys, Knute, who I would call a teenage McGuyver, found a boat abandoned on the shore and fashioned two paddles out of logs and stray nails.

Though the weather looked like it could turn rainy after a chilly, windy Friday, Saturday showed the team that we would have a pleasant sunny camp. Saturday morning we took on a two-hour rollerski with speed and video. During our period of lunch on Saturday a few of us went for a more innovative mode of hot and cold recovery. After heating large rocks on our campfire a few of the boys piled them into a metal basket, grabbed a pot of water, a tarp, booked it down to the lake shore, combined the ingredients, and made a make shift steam room. The result was refreshing and made for great recovery. In the afternoon we went for a “short” hike up to King’s Throne near Kathleen lake. Though it was beautiful, it was hard to focus on the scenery as our coach Alain (Masson), and consequently every other athlete hiking in the line up really pushed the pace up the steep incline. I would have classified our leisurely hike as zone 4 intensity, though either way, it was fun. 

By the evening, everyone compiled their imaginative steam-room ideas and came up with an entirely new strategy. By super-heating three times the amount of rocks as we had previously, and cleaning out the ski team trailer we were able to convert the trailer into one giant steam-room large enough for the entire team. Though the event took a fair bit of preparation, log cutting, and pots of water, it was worth it. Most of us warmed up enough in the trailer in order to make a mad dash to the freezing lake afterward.

Sunday morning we woke up refreshed and went for a two-hour rollerski, including 30 minutes of specific strength and a nice grizzly bear sighting. After our ski we packed up camp, reviewed our videos from the previous days, and hit the road. We left happy, and smelly, with high expectations for future training camps.

Interesting Reading. . .
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