In an incredibly exciting preview for the World Cup races to be held in Silver Star this weekend, the resort hosted the Silver Star Night Sprints on Tuesday evening. Female competitors who took part included names like Marit Bjorgen, Emilie Ohrstig, Anna Dahlberg, Manuela Henkel and Sara Renner. None of these people, however, (nor anyone else, for that matter) managed to better the qualifying time of Canmore's Chandra Crawford. I managed to catch up to her at her hotel in Silver Star and she very kindly gave me a few minutes of her time.
What are your thoughts on the Silver Star Night Sprints as a whole?
It was an amazing night. The organizers aced it. They did a terrific job creating a fun party atmosphere and everyone had a good time. From a racer's perspective it was fantastic to have such a well organized event that ran according to schedule. The course was great, particularly because it included a number of gnarly downhills. Even though I fell in both the quarter finals and the final I thought that the downhills were great. I think that I skied them well in qualifying and this explains, to a degree, my performance there.
We take it that you were pleased with your racing?
Firstly I was extremely surprised, but yes, I was very happy with it. It was a great mental boost to be able to have the fastest qualifying time. In the heats I skied aggressively and wasn't intimidated. My reaction when Marit Bjorgen started to snowplow on the downhill was to pass her, and despite the fact that it didn't quite work out (fell) I was happy that I tried for the win.
What are your thoughts heading into the World Cup races?
My mental game is finally under control at this point. I managed to work out the early season jitters in the earlier races in Vernon and Canmore. I essentially used these as rehearsals for the World Cups. But in heaping imaginary pressure on myself my skiing became very tense and I lost time doing the Frankenstein around the course. I also misplaced my skis and poles a lot. So I've learned that I can ski better (and keep track of my equipment better) when I'm relaxed. I have also spent a fair bit of time talking out my stress with people that I really care about and this has been very helpful for regaining perspective. There is now a potential that my life won't end if I don't make the Olympic Team (phewf!)
You must be excited to be racing in World Cups in your home town (Canmore).
Definitely. I have already done a few important races in Canmore and the crowd support has always been extraordinary. It has also been an incredibly supportive place for developing as a skier. I am extremely excited about racing there and exposing such a great sport to as many people as possible, especially kids. When I first met Myriam Bedard it led to a 5 year involvement in Biathlon and I would like to bring some of that same excitement to the kids of today. At another level it is a great venue for the promotion of physical activity for kids, something sorely needed in North America.
Thanks Chandra and best of luck!
Notable Sprint Results:
2004/05 - Undefeated in Canada (sprints)
Photo by Dan Roycroft