Wes Robinson-Shaw at the races

wes at whistler

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

The Racers at Winter Training Camp

racers in Nelson

The Fernie Nordic Racers recently participated in a training camp coached by Graham Maclean and the Fernie Nordic Racers coaches. Graham Maclean is a professional national coach and technical waxing consultant from Golden. He came to Fernie to help us improve our skills.

On Friday January 29th, we worked on our classic technique for 1 hour and a half. Graham taught us some drills we can use to improve our double poling and diagonal stride technique. We practiced changing from different gears and going up and down a flat hill. We also had fun playing Dodgeball at the end of practice!

racers in Nelson
Fernie Nordic Racers in Nelson

On Saturday morning, we separated into groups by level, the first group went with Graham, Helen, and Rob to do some time trials around the 1.2 km Cedar Loop. Graham filmed our classic technique to give us some feedback after the time trial. Coach Johnny took the second group to ski and do some drills to improve their classic technique. The third group went with Megan Lohmann to practice downhill skills. Then we switched, so everyone could do all the activities. The time trial was adapted depending on skill levels.

After the morning session, we went home to rest, eat, and hydrate. During the afternoon, we went to the cross-country ski trails at Fernie Alpine Resort, and we separated into two groups. The younger athletes went with coach Johnny to work on their one skate on a flat section while the older athletes worked on their offset with Graham. After an hour we switched to practice all the techniques. When we went down, we did a human slalom and went down a big hill which was super fun. Then we went home to rest for Sunday’s big day.

On Sunday morning, we went for a long easy ski and we stopped to do some sprints on the way. They were around 10 seconds sprints with 2,3 or more people. Then we skied up to Boomerang chair and went back to the hut to eat some good soup, chili and bread. We watched our videos from Saturday’s time trial with Graham. He gave us some advice and tips on our techniques and then we played a big game of manhunter during the afternoon.

In conclusion, we thank Graham for all the coaching he did, the tips and advice he gave us and mostly all the fun we had! We are very grateful for this experience, and we hope to get more opportunities like this one.

article by Aurélie Smithson and Louison Dubief

Fernie Racers at the last Kootenay Cup race

kootenay cup nelson

A few photos from the race event in Nelson on February 5 & 6. The Fernie Nordic Racers and several parents joined the fun and earned more points toward the 2022 Teck Kootenay Cup. This was the last event of the season in this series.

Several Fernie racers ended with podium finishes and all had a good time. Well done!

The result of the races in Nelson are on the website of the Nelson Ski Club. The Fernie Nordic Racers finished in 4th place out of eight clubs in the Teck Kootenay Cup series – see the rankings at CrosscountryBC.

Fernie Racers compete in Kimberley

Fernie Racers compete in Kimberley

The Fernie Nordic Racers had a great weekend at the Kootenay Championships Tier 2 race in Kimberley competing against the best skiers in the Kootenays and southern Alberta.  Great efforts were put in by numerous Fernie racers with several making the podium for their age group.

Podium finishers

  • Isla Sauve – 2012 girls – 2nd skate,  3rd classic
  • Graham Etue – 2010 boys – 3rd skate, 
  • Ella Fuller – 2009 girls – 1st skate, 2nd classic
  • Noah Glickman – 2009 boys – 3rd skate, 3rd classic
  • Louison Dubief – 2006 girls – 2nd skate, 2nd classic
  • Aurélie Smithson – 2007 girls – 3rd  skate, 3rd classic
  • Wes Robinson-Shaw – 2005 boys – 2nd skate, 1st classic

The team will be taking part in a training camp here in Fernie this weekend January 29-30 with National team technician and Cross Country BC coach Graham Maclean, then off to Nelson February 5th and 6th for Kootenay cup # 6 and 7.

submitted by coach Johnny

Louison Dubief
Louison Dubief at the Kootenay Cup race in Kimberley BC

Read the Free Press article about these races HERE.

The full results are displayed at the Zone4 website.

The Fernie Racers in action

racers in Canmore

The races of the season started in December 2021, for the first time since COVID-19 began. There are still COVID-19 protocols to make sure everyone stays safe while racing. The Fernie Nordic Racers participate mostly in the Teck Kootenay Cup races and in some bigger races. Race weekends are really fun, and it’s very good practice. Races are competitive but friendly and enjoyable.

Kootenay Cups are happening in Rossland and Golden (in December 2021), Kimberley (in January), and Nelson (in February). We had a bigger race in Canmore for the Alberta Cups 3 and 4, and some athletes will also participate in the BC Cups/Championships and Track Attack Championships.

Race weekends usually start on Fridays with a training day and the races are on Saturdays and Sundays. Races are either with an interval start (one by one every 15 or 30 seconds) or mass start (everyone at the same time). For athletes, coaches or parents who want to do it, we have a warm-up routine before the start of the race and then a cool down after the race. There are also amazing volunteers to help organize the race and to help competitors at the end of their races by giving them drinks.

Cross country skiing is a sport for everyone. All ages and abilities can participate. On our team, we have athletes from U10 to U18. Coaches and parents race in the Masters category. Adults can race in the Masters category and win points for the team! Each race completed brings two points for the team. Racing is fun and you can even win chocolate medals! We encourage everybody to participate to these events, it is competitive only if you want it to be competitive, other than that it is only for fun! Races can make you feel nervous and excited, but it is always a very fun experience, and it feels satisfying to finish a race even if it took a lot of effort! We would be very happy if you joined us to race!

Article by Louison Dubief and Aurélie Smithson

Our Team of Racers in Canmore

We had a great weekend of racing at the Olympic, World Juniors, U23 Trials and AB Cup in Canmore, racing with some of the best XC skiers in the country.  All of the Fernie Nordic Racer athletes that attended finished in the top 10 in their age group for both skate and classic.

Ella Fuller – 2009 girls – 5th classic, 2nd skate
Noah Glickman – 2009 Boys -1st classic, 1st skate
Louison Dubief – 2006 Girls -9th classic, 9th skate
Wes Robinson-Shaw – 2005 boys – 4th classic, 5th skate
Cameron Etue qualified for the BC winter games

Great results!

All results for the January 8-9 weekend are at Zone4.ca

submitted by coach John Shaw

Racers at the Ski Camp at Panorama

panorama camp

Article by Aurélie Smithson and Louison Dubief

From November 26th to November 28th, the Fernie Nordic Racers were at a snow camp at Panorama. During the camp, we had the opportunity to take the chairlift and go cross-country skiing on the plateau at the top of the ski resort. We arrived on Friday afternoon to settle in and begin the camp. First, we did ice breaking games and played Mantracker. We also talked about the rules for the following day.

snow camp panorama 2021

We arrived at the ski hill base around 9 am on Saturday morning, it was a skate ski day. Then we went up to the top of the hill. We experienced that it is not easy to get off the chairlift on skinny skis. After that, we went up a monster hill and arrived on the plateau. We did some drills and then we split up into groups for some activities. Then we had lunch. After we played a big game of British Bulldog with all the athletes. The younger groups went down first, while older athletes were practicing sprints. We went down the monster hill and then down the cat track to the chairlift, the downhill was a very fun experience. Later we took two chairlifts to get back down to the base area.

On Sunday, it was a classic ski day. It was raining so we went to the Grey Wolf Golf Course to ski. The younger athletes did some drills and played some games on the groomed trails, while the older athletes did some backcountry skiing and drills on the ungroomed trails.

Here is some feedback from the Fernie Nordic Racers. Cameron Etue said “It was a lot of fun and very well planned and put together. I loved being on top of the mountain with the beautiful scenery and the awesome coaches. I learned a lot of new stuff and I spend a lot of time with friends.”

Graham Etue added ‘’It was great to spend time with other people outside and be able to ski as there is no snow in Fernie. I really liked it.’’

In conclusion, we all agreed that it was a very fun experience. We thank Toby Creek Nordic Club for organising this event and making this memorable experience possible.

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