During Spring Break, Wes Robinson-Shaw attended the National Cross-Country Ski Championships in Whistler BC. This event was from March 20th to 27th, 2022. Wes is one of the Fernie Nordic Racers team and he participated in five races and had three training days. Some of the best athletes in North America were there. The Canadian Olympic team was there, as well as a bunch of the American Olympic team. John Shaw said: ‘’Super high caliber racing on some pretty amazing trails.’’ These trails were designed for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Most of the races were on these trails.
On Sunday March 20th, Wes had a 10 km interval start skate race. He is only 16 years old and usually in the U18 category. The U18s the U20s raced together so there were probably about 320 people on the course, and he had to do two laps of a 5 km course, “It was very crowded, there was lots of passing and the conditions were pretty good.” said John Shaw.
On Monday March 21st, he had a 10 km interval start classic race on the same course, with the U20s and it was very crowded as well. The first 8.5 km went well, but the course was very slushy with very difficult skiing conditions. On the last 1.5 km, someone stepped on his pole, and Wes crashed and broke his pole. He still finished well.
Tuesday March 22nd and Wednesday March 23rd were training days, Wes trained easily for his sprint race the next day.
On Thursday March 24th, it was a classic sprint of 1 km, it was a big climb and a big descent, it was a sunny day therefore the conditions were firm and fast. Wes also had team skate sprints on Thursday. He was the only athlete from Fernie so he couldn’t do the sprints, but he was allowed to participate in the qualifier and get CPL (Canada Points List) points. He came about middle of the pack for his age group. After that Wes and John watched the elite men and women do the sprint race, which was super fun to watch, said John Shaw.
On Saturday March 26th, it was another training day.
On the last day, Sunday March 27th, Wes had a 15km mass start skate race. John Shaw said: ‘’It was the hardest conditions I have seen for racing; it was pouring rain and the slush was boot deep.’’ Wes raced in the afternoon, the course had been skied hundreds and hundreds of times as the other categories had to do four laps of the course, therefore the course was destroyed, which made this race very challenging. Wes said that it was the hardest ski race he’s ever done.
In conclusion, Wes and coach John lived an amazing experience. They said that they learned tons from the event, for waxing and for racing experience. Coach John said that he was excited for the next National Championships in BC, where he can bring more older athletes from the team. It was a great learning experience and Wes did great at all his races.
Article by Louison Dubief and Aurélie Smithson