K2inCanada's Blog

November 23, 2018

Not much snow yet in BC

Filed under: Canada, Ski, Travel — K2 in Canada @ 10:26 PM

We had hoped that either Nickeplate or Sun Peaks would open their ski trails last weekend (Nov 17-18) which would have cut the driving time down by 1-2hrs each way but neither place had enough snow. Hence Jeff and I went back to Sovereign to repeat the last weekend. It was sunnier though and a few more trails were open. Saturday we skied till sunset around Carl Wiley. Started out skating until my foot was too sore and then switched to my skins. Got almost 3hrs of relaxed skiing in and it felt really good. Doing some skating seems to help the balance on the classic skis. The coolest thing was seeing a ermine twice on the trail. Both times the people behind me spotted it. And both times I was too slow to get a picture but I did get a good look at it. So cute! We had dinner at the Irish Pub across from the Econolodge. They had a “Silverstar Weekend Stay” raffle going on if you ordered certain beers. Needless to say, we had a lot of beer that evening.

Sunday was a beautiful sunny day. Only a few wispy clouds were in the sky but they only dimmed the sun a bit and didn’t hide it. Made for some awesome into the sun glare pictures I thought. Since doing the same trails over and over again does get boring over time, I dared skiing the lower black trails that I usual avoid because I remember them as deadly steep downhills and awful uphills at the end of the loppet course. Well, they are hilly but not as bad as I remembered :-). Well it must have been a few years since I had done the loppet at Sovereign. Never saw the ermine that day but found some tracks on Montezuma that could belong to a bobcat. Would love to see one of those skiing one day.

Well, it was worth the long drive – again.

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November 12, 2018

‘Bout time if you ask Jeff

Filed under: Canada, Ski, Travel — K2 in Canada @ 10:48 AM

Yep, skiing season has started. At least at Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre, which opened their trails on Nov 5. There is no snow in any of the local mountains other than Manning but not enough to groom trails yet. Nov 23 is their expected opening date.

Anyhow, a 5hrs drive one way never stopped us. So we headed to Vernon Saturday morning and back yesterday afternoon for 2 days of skiing. It’s a long weekend here but we figured we’ll be too sore after 2 days anyhow. We had a full car, as John and Peggy came with us.

The conditions were very good for early season skiing even though they only had about 18kms of trails open. Just meant a lot of loops back and forth to Black Prince Cabin. It was quite busy with Sovereign being the only Nordic Centre open and all the Okanagan ski teams wanting to get on snow. Apparently Larch Hills had brought out 200 kids from Salmon Arm! I saw jackets from NWT and Newfoundland& Labrador! But it never felt too crowded on the trail (at my speed :-)). I classic skied both days on my skin skis. The skis, as always, outperformed the skier but I felt better than expected. Temperatures were fantastic with just below 0C. Sun tried to poke through the clouds here and there both days. Skied for 2 hrs on Saturday. Soaked in the hot tub for 1hr. Ate and drank beer for 3hrs at the Naked Pig meeting up with Peggy and her husband Gerry. Slept for 9hrs. Had breakfast at Denny’s for 1hr. Skied again for 3hrs on Sunday. Drove back for 5hrs. Sounds like a great weekend, does it not?

April 12, 2018

Liquid Sunshine

Filed under: Canada, Hummer, Kayak, Ski — K2 in Canada @ 10:37 PM

Well it is early April and the weather is behaving as it should. A bit of sun, a bit more rain and some wind. We made the best of it I think.

Spent Saturday morning bird watching at our balcony door. Besides quite a few hummers, there numbers seem to get bigger and bigger every year and they are sucking the small feeder empty in almost a day, there were a bunch of woodpeckers around picking at our tree.

In the afternoon we went for most likely our last cross country ski in Manning. It was a +2C day, overcast and light drizzle on and off which once in a while tried to be snow. Conditions were soft and slow but overall good to ski on – just everything took a bit longer and Jeff was almost ready to put his skis back on to look for me by the time I made it back to the car. Ooops. It was “The Stache” weekend at Manning as their long time GM Mike Baker retired. So everyone who put on a mustache was supposed to get $10 off. Well, that offer actually only counted for the downhill area. Oh well. Jeff and I still dressed up since we have to be thankful to Mike Baker for keeping the snow on the road at every Cascade Cup loppet! My mustache worked so well, it stayed on for my full 3+hr ski 🙂

 

Sunday was a paddling day in the Cove. Started out nice and easy up the Arm at a quite leisurely pace but for the way back Jeff had us do 1′ on 4′ rest intervals. Doesn’t sound as hard as it felt! Especially as we always seem to have a headwind on the way back. We were supposed to have current help us but that sure did not feel like it. And yes it rained a bit but also some almost sun.

 

Anyhow, the training did pay off. This Tuesday and we won the TNR AGAIN! Ex sprint national team member Wes Hammer was out and I was sure he would show us back into our place. But he has spent the winter at school becoming a teacher and we were able to hold him off. I am sure it won’t tale long for him to crush us all again as he used to do last year and the year before and the year before that :-). The weather was actually much better than expected – no rain and a bit of sun even. Still kinda cold standing around for the prizes at the end.

 

For Amy’s race report and full results go here: http://www.deepcovekayak.com/raceresult/april-10th-lone-rock-return/  Thanks to Viv from DCO for taking the pictures.

And a race video if you liked the last one: https://youtu.be/hlv5pYjN988

April 2, 2018

Easter weekend

Filed under: Canada, Kayak, Ski — K2 in Canada @ 10:13 PM

I did not want to go back to work today. What a nice relaxing Easter Long Weekend we had. Friday we slept in and then took the double surfski around Croker Island. The temperatures were much more agreeable than last weekend despite a good headwind on the last portion of the way back. It was a solid paddle. Spent the rest of the day eating and drinking and hummingbird watching and lounging around on the couch.

Saturday we slept in and then drove to Manning for an afternoon ski. Conditions were pretty decent for this late in the season. They still have a good amount of snow but the trails are going through freeze-thaws. It was 5C and sunny while we skied. Quite nice, really, even though the tracks were a bit of a mess in sections. North Gibson and Strawberry Flats was one of the best trails. And off course we finished off with a hot tub visit, beer and a huge plate of nachos.

Sunday was supposed to be another paddling day, after we slept in of course, but the wind was howling with gusts up to 40km/hr. So we were humming and hawing on what to do instead. We finally ended up loading the double surfski onto the car and drove out to Deep Cove. The launch site was protected well enough and we hugged the shore towards Cates just getting hammered by the odd gusts. At Cates Point, we turned around and rode the wind waves back. We did that 3 times. And for good measure we threw in 14 x 1min on 4min intervals. It was hard work and it got pretty cold when the sun hid itself behind some big clouds. But it felt good. Let the racing season begin :-). TNRs starting tomorrow.

I am almost finished with my Newfoundland blog – it’s only 14 pages so far and that is without pictures! And there are so many more stories I missed to tell last year. Hopefully I will be able to catch up before summer.

March 27, 2018

Tough, tough race

Filed under: Animals, Canada, Ski — K2 in Canada @ 10:47 PM

Well, the Mexico Spring Loppet at Nickel Plate in the South Okanagan, BC, Canada, is done and we did not win the trip to Mexico. Even if they would have called my name, I am not sure I would have been able to get up, walk to the front of the room and put a smile on my face for the picture. Don’t get me wrong, for Nickel Plate to be able to give out a price like that was fantastic. In hindsight though I wished I could have bought a ticket without having to ski first…

I secretly had been looking forward to this skiathlon loppet – something different. 14km classic technique followed by 15km skate. I am a classic skier but I put in some 10-12km skate skis over the last couple weeks at Cypress to get prepared. I actually felt like I can do 15km skating no problem, even though I knew I would be slow. Nothing to loose really. But then Jeff showed me the course. I know the area pretty well, especially the trails they used for the classic loppet (30km) they used to hold there in previous year and it used to be one of my favourite loppets. I figured they cut the loppet course in half and use the west side trails around Cannonball for classic and the east side trails up to “Eagles Nest” for the skate portion. The later is the bigger hill but I was okay with it. But when I saw the actual course it went like this – Classic up to “Eagles Nest” x 2 and for the skate they created a new course, with trails I am not at all familiar with. All I remembered from those trails was that they go down the hill quite a bit which means there must be quite a bit of an up to get back to where we started and after that, we had to climb up to Cannonball still, x 2. I was a bit more worried.

We didn’t leave home till mid afternoon Sat – see previous post. It was quite snowy in sections along HWY 3 to Princeton. Winter isn’t done yet! The special treat – we saw a big herd of elk near Princeton. Very cool!

We spent the night in Keremeos, and had dinner at the Thai Restaurant “Benya”. We just made it in time before last call at just after 8PM. Our usual go to place, The Branding Iron, was closed for what looked like a private function. Anyhow, the food was good and not too spicy for a pre-race meal. The night was a bit rough sharing the room with our sometimes a bid noisy ske/paddle buddy JG but I think I did get some decent sleep.

Sunday morning woke us up with brilliant blue skies and sunshine. Nickel Plate had gotten a dump of fresh snow during the week leading up to the event and temperatures were supposed to be between -10 and -2C. Almost ideal conditions for this late in the season. It sure looked great up at Nickel Plate and the ski exchange area was well set up. We got to watch some of the kids races before the main race was to start. Some people were dressed up in costumes as well.

WARNING – a lot of whining from here on. Read at your own risk : -): As usual I lined up in the back and that’s were I stayed the whole time. The classic leg already felt way to hard having to go up right away rather than getting a warm up on the flats. My hamstring still didn’t like the striding too much and I was timid on the hill, loosing grip more often than I should have with my skin skis. Luckily my shoulder/neck was doing okay and I spent some time double poling again but the snow was very slow and soft. Not sun soft but lots of fresh snow soft. I felt slightly better on lap 2 of the classic portion but still came in almost last to the ski exchange area. I was on my own for the whole 2nd lap. All the costume people were way ahead :-). Oh well, I was just there for a ski – only needed to finish 2 laps of 7.5km of skating. How hard cam that be? Off I went on my skates, feeling wobbly as I always do at the start of skating. Usually it goes away after a couple kilometers of easy skiing. But there we no couple kilometers of easy skiing on this course. It went up right away. I slowed down to a crawl on the first hill less than a kilometer into the race. People started passing me, them being on their second lap already. Oh boy, I thought, that’s going to be a slog. And it got worse from here. After the first climb up (I did not even remember that trail going up all that much) there was a steep downhill section, way down. At least with the soft snow I had control snowplowing down the switchbacks, obviously realizing that all this down meant a lot of up. I had to stop a few times on the way up to catch my breath. Tons of people passed me, some of them making the hill look easy but not all. I was not the only one that rested. But everyone else was a lot faster in between rests :-). I finally, finally made it up to lodge level again where the course offered a 500m flat section before it started going up again to the top of Cannonball. Another stop and go slow approach. I was convinced I am going to quite after the first lap. I was sure one was eligible for the big Mexico Trip draw prize based on registration only without the caveat of having to finish. There was one last steep climb left before the end of lap 1. Some of the volunteers were standing on top of it directing racers. Everyone was cheering for me as I stumbled up the hill, maybe you could still call it herring-boning. “Hey, you are almost done”, they called. “Well”, I said, “I actually have to do this again”. “Oh dear” was the reaction from the crowd. Not sure if they were thinking of themselves having to wait for another at least 60min until I would came by again, or because they felt sorry for me for having to be out there for another hour. But that made my decision, I would quit. So I get to the finish line/lap area where I hear the announcer call my name saying I would make the podium – well, he miscounted my laps too :-). I pulled off the course not crossing the finish line to not confuse anyone else and then there was Jeff. He must have finished some time ago, yes he also had passed me, but he still had his skis on. I told him I would DNF and he said “No way – I don’t want to have to read your blog about how sorry you felt for yourself for not finishing”. “I come with you” he said. My resolve to quit weakened, I agreed to continue on. Jeff stayed with me the whole time, trying to cheer me on. I was really struggling though even though I tried to tell myself “You can do this, it’s just a f….g ski”. And with a lot of stop and go slow again I actually did finish. My 2nd lap was 50sec faster. And to my surprise, there was one more person behind me. For people that like to look at the numbers. My time was 3:17. The fastest finisher was 1:27 (which was only 3min slower than my classic portion of the race :-)). The fastest woman was 1:53 (she is 2 years younger than me). Jeff finished in 2:01 – he skates as little as I do – and he beat two of our skiing buddies that are much better skaters than him. Awesome result! For the full results go here.

My body was tired but I think this race was just mentally very tough. I am not used to feel this much out of shape, even though I really am out of shape compared to what I used to. That little bit of weight training in the AM just does not make up for the long bike rides to the lake, the paddling in the evenings, the running I tried for a while, etc. I hate letting myself get old!

Thank you Jeff though for making me finish!!! I know I would have hated myself more for not finishing than finishing last. I did not have to worry about any volunteers out on the course either, other than the timing person at the finish line and the announcer, everyone else was already inside eating – but I liked it better that way :-). Jeff promised me that this would be the last skate race I would ever have to do but I am sure/hope I will try again. Not this year though :-). I wasn’t the only one struggling with the tough course. It was quite hilly and the snow was slow. So maybe, this will get me out of my bad habit of working late and exercising little. Mind you, the last two days I did exactly that…. My excuse, I am still too tired from the weekend.

We saw the elk again on the drive home. I was too tired to stop for more pictures even though the light would have been much better.

March 24, 2018

Holy cold

Filed under: Canada, Kayak, Ski — K2 in Canada @ 3:14 PM

Just in time for spring, the temperatures dropped again, sigh. There was a reason we stopped paddling in the winter. It was wet and cold on Indian Arm today, 3.5C according to the car. We did not bring the right gear! No full rain coats and no pogies. It was okay for the first 50min when we were protected from the wind. As soon as we went out to cross from Jug to Twin we had this icy cold from the east. We were closer to being hyperthermic and only paddling hard kept us going – I could not feel my hands at all at the end. We do HAVE all the right gear to paddle in those conditions but got fooled by the warm weather over that last two weeks.

Last weekend we paddled Saturday in the sunshine for 3+hrs. It was also windy at times but sooo warm, 10+C. On Sunday we went skiing again at WOP. It was cooler than the weekend before, between +2 and +5C I think, but it was still quite warm. Mind you when we left Vancouver in the AM, it was raining in town. 🙂 This time we only climbed up to Loon Lake, via Madeley Lake. The snow was still soft and slow in sunny spots but the differences weren’t as severe as the previous weekend. Grip was on and off and I did hurt my hamstring yet again. Rats!

This past week was the first evening paddle of the season as well. Thanks to my great friend and workout buddy Krista who pushed me to leave work early enough to go paddling. Usually I would be paddling on Burnaby Lake by now but I am getting lazy with age riding my bike up the hill. Hence I took the surfski onto the river. A beautiful, albeit short paddle. No scary tugs 🙂

P1230261 (Medium)

This past week was also the end of night skiing. An okay night to end the season, with a light drizzle and warm which kept the snow soft for good ski control. Ready for the last loppet tomorrow!?

March 11, 2018

Holy sunshine, hot

Filed under: Canada, Ski — K2 in Canada @ 9:58 PM

It was a +10C day today at Callaghan. Blue skies and endless sunshine. Almost too hot to climb up to the Journeyman Lodge but the views were spectacular. If not for my still sore shoulder this would have been the best ski yet this season. Mind you, despite using my skins grip wasn’t the greatest on the way up, or I should say my technique sucked to get grip. Because on the downhill sections, the skis were VERY grippy in all the sunny spots. Past Callaghan Lake the trail enters the forest after the long 8.5km climb up along the groomed road all in the sun – I am sure I burnt my nose. In the forest the trail alternated between sunny spots and shady spots. On the gentle up and downhills I didn’t notice much of a difference but at one point I was going down this steeper short hill which started out in the shade and I gained some decent speed. Half way down I hit the sunny section and my skis almost stopped dead. Of course I crashed, landed on my bad shoulder and overstretched my hamstring. RATS. Luckily the pain was manageable and I continued on hoping that Jeff would come down any minute so I could turn around. But I had to ski on for at least another slow 45min, being scarred hitting any sunny spot until we finally met. It would have been only another kilometer to the Lodge but I had enough and was worried about the long and somewhat steep down hill at the end. I moved my binding all the way back to reduce grip and it helped a little bit but the way down was scary as hell. Lots of snow plowing and very tired legs at the end. Legs were more tired on the way down than up. But every time I went from shade (now there were some tree shadows on the trail) to sun I felt this huge resistance in my skis and it tugged on my hamstring. The difference in speed in the shade vs. sun was incredible. But I made it down without another crash, slowly, and despite a sore shoulder and shaky legs it was an incredible, although long ski! One day I want to do it on a sunny, -3C day with a good dump of fresh snow on the night before. And maybe that day I have energy left to explare the trails at the lodge that Jeff always raves about. I am not picky at all, am I? 🙂

We stopped at the Shady Tree in Squamish to refuel on beer and food. Diamond Head was smoking today – be aware of all those dormant volcanoes of the Pacific Rim!

 

March 10, 2018

Finally some easy weekends

Filed under: Canada, Kayak, Ski — K2 in Canada @ 7:37 PM

No races for 3 weeks in a row. Well Jeff was half thinking to do Sovereign this weekend but neither of us are in shape for a 30km skate loppet. Plus the weather in town is going to to be gorgeous. Today we went for our first long paddle which took us and our double surfski around Croker Island at the end of Indian Arm. Now I know why the paddle around Coker Island up Indian Arm is so hard. Per my Garmin watch it’s not only 33km long but 1648m UP. Compared to last nights ski at Cypress with an elevation gain of 164m. Maybe one should not trust those GPS devices too much. Blue skies and sunshine and temperatures were perfect at 12C. Water was quite calm but for the odd motorboat wash. We took it easy on the way out.  Saw some snow geese, I think, just past Silver Falls. Then picked it up on the way back, really pushing it for the last hour. Surprisingly nothing hurt at the end of it, or at least not more than before we started :-). My shoulder/neck (see P’ayak blog) is still giving me some grieve, mostly when I try to sleep. But I am good for skiing tomorrow – a real up experience.

Last weekend we also went for a paddle on Saturday, just our 2hr easy loop to Cates, Admiralty, Twin and back. It was also sunny but not quite as warm as today. Paddling after a 3 week break felt great! The Sunday we went skiing at WOP and I force myself through 2.5hrs of skating. Man, skating is so much harder than classic. No way to cheat like I can in classic. And I ended up with this huge blister in the arch of my foot – need to build up the callouses again, sigh. Conditions were perfect though. Mostly overcast with some snow and some sun peeking through a couple times and -3C to -1C.

Night Skiing

Filed under: Canada, Home, Ski — K2 in Canada @ 7:14 PM

Managed to finally get out night skiing more regularly now up at Cypress and conditions have been pretty decent. Few snowy nights, one icy night but overall quite nice. Even dug out my skate skis. Jeff found another race for us to do at the end of the month, the Mexico Spring Break Loppet at Nickel Plate (which happens to be in the South Okanagan and not Mexico!). It’s a skiathlon of 14km classic followed by 15km skate. And they give away a draw price for a 7 day trip to Mexico for two!

February 25, 2018

That hurt way too much

Filed under: Canada, Ski — K2 in Canada @ 10:43 AM

Well, there is no part 3 to our Across Country Skiing (this year :-)). This weekend’s loppet, Sigge’s P’ayakentsut, was at Whistler Olympic Park, Callaghan, usually only a 1hr45min drive away from home. But we woke up to 10-15cm of fresh snow in the morning. It had already snowed most of Friday afternoon and everything was covered in beautiful white fluffy stuff. The bike commute home from work Friday afternoon wasn’t bad at all, just hard work along the river trail in fresh snow. Most of the people had left by mid day and I got tons of stuff done that afternoon – yeah!

Anyhow, the snow wasn’t the issue driving to WOP on Sat morning but traffic was quite heavy. So every time the hwy narrowed from 1 to 2 lanes past Squamish, traffic slowed to a crawl. But we made it to WOP with plenty of time for the 10AM race start. Actually, only John’s race, who did the 50km, was to start at 10. The 30km race, which both Jeff and I did was to start at 10:20AM. But that was only an estimated start time. Took forever to get the racers through the timing chip pick up and lined up for the start (that was much better organized in the last two loppets). So our race didn’t really start till 10:40AM. No problem though standing around to wait for the start. The weather was beautiful, even though a bit on the cold side for the area. I could have shed one more layer – black lifa and grey shirt under the red race jacket was too much, so where the 3/4 Longjohns. Oh well.

The race itself felt HARD – I was at the very tail end and mostly by myself. This is a combined skate and classic loppet but 99.99% of the participants skate. Classic being slower than skating anyways and me being slow at either resulted in the usual outcome. Close to last (results can be found here) :-). The first lap already was hard. The snow felt slow and I had a hard time double poling due to a pinched nerve in my lower neck. And there were lot more hills than I remembered from Gatineau. Although my “smart” watch said I did more elevation gain in Gatineau than the P’ayak. Maybe it’s only because I know the course at WOP and knew the big hills are at the end of each lap. And there was nobody to push me, except for the last 3km. There was this older male on skates who I had been trading places with. I caught him on the ups, he caught me on the downs. But neither of us tried really – it just happened. Until after the last 3km when we were climbing up to the finish line, his wife waited for him at the low point and started giving him instruction on what to do every fricking step of the way. It was sooo annoying that I, despite my legs and neck complaining like mad, tried my best to get away from them. I did, by over a minute :-). Jeff finished an hour before I did.

We skipped the Chili at after race party and went right to the Shady Tree in Squamish for a nice Mediterranean Wrap and yam fries and BEER!

My lower neck really seized up after the race and I was in pain all evening – still am. Hopefully it will go away so I can go paddling today. Has been 3 week!

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