Dozens of B.C.’s young Nordic ski stars dropped into 108 Mile Ranch last weekend for a dry-season training session.
The youth, aged 13-15, are part of the Cross Country B.C.’s Talent Squad and were training on “roller skis” – an aluminum frame with wheels on the front and back and the same boot and binding system as regular skis.
The poles are the same as ski poles but have a harder roller ski tip and no basket.
Coach Matt Smider said the training event has been held annually in 100 Mile House although 108 Mile Ranch is a “new venue for us.”
“It’s one of the more specific ways you can train for skiing in the off-season,” he said, noting the older skiers go up the glaciers. “Other than skiing on snow this is the best you can get.”
The group, which included participants from across B.C., including Prince George, Smithers, Vernon, Revelstoke and Kelowna, spent Friday roller-skiing on Kitwanga Drive.
This was followed Saturday by an obstacle course, “jungle gym strength training” and a planned run through the trail network across from the 108 Heritage site, Smider said.
The youth are preparing to compete in events such as the BC Cup, Regional Cup circuit and Western championships. Some also compete nationally, Smider said.
He noted he was surprised not to have any skiers from the 100 Mile House area, which had once been the “centre of the universe” for Nordic skiing.
The training camp is one of three held in B.C. during the dry season. Another was held in June in Whistler with the third planned for late fall at Silver Star.