Going to Silverstar is by far my favourite holiday, and this year didn't disapoint. The mountain-top ski resort is renowned among cross country skiers for its early season snow and incredible trail network (shared with Sovereign Lakes Nordic Center) that winds its way up to the doorsteps of most houses. Top that off with breathtaking scenery, a bakery/coffee shop that can be a final destination for many skis (or a 5-minute downhill ski from our rental house), a main street that is skier/foot traffic only,†and youíve got some pretty irresistible ski outings.
We arrived to typical Silverstar weather (minus 4 deg C, blue skies), and with each day were gradually introduced to cooler temperatures.† As most cross-country skiers know, you get pretty warm skiing, so with thicker long underwear and a good buff, this didnít dampen enthusiasm for skiing.
Temperatures were predicted to be below -20 degrees C for the weekend event (the first Haywood/NorAm Cup), and race day arrived with much curiosity about whether the competition would proceed (races canít be run if the temperature is below 20 deg C at the coldest point of the course).† Finally, younger categories were cancelled, but the Open Men and Women raced the distance freestyle event (10k for the women, 15k for the men), starting at 12 PM instead of 9 AM.
At the best of times this venue challenges athletes since itís often their first race of the year, and at altitude. The cold weather and slow dry snow added an extra element for this yearís competitors. I get cold easily, but managed to stay warm with thick long underwear, toe warmers, hand warmers, mittens, headband, hatt, wool buff, and experimented (successfully) with tape to protect exposed skin.
I love racing at Sovereign Lakes. The race courses have a great flow, and you can always expect a†well-run event from these race organizers. I was the sole XC Ottawa racer this year. XC Ottawa alumni Colin Abbott (Yukon Elite Squad) and Alana Thomas (Team Ninja/Hardwood Hills) were also competing, along with a large contingent of local Nakkertok athletes. I had some decent races (18th Open woman in the distance event, and 17th†Senior Woman in the sprint). Big congrats to skiers from Nakkertok†on the podium over the weekend: Patrick Stewart Jones (1st U23 freestyle distance; 1st Open Men sprint) and his sister Katherine (1st Junior Woman in the distance freestyle; 3rd Junior Woman in the sprint), and Ben Wilkinson Zan who finished 3rdJunior Man in the sprint.
Many thanks to Kieran Jones and the Nakkertok crew for waxing my skis, and Sovereign Lakes racer organizers, who once again put on a top notch event.
More Pictures here: