20 February, 2011

First Few Days at SkiMo World Championships 2011, Claut Italy

After driving, flying, transfers, more flying, and more driving I finally reached our hotel which would be the HQ for the Canadian, USA, and Swiss Teams in Barcis Italy.  Just down the road from Claut, Barcis is a very small rustic town, with nearly nothing in the way of technology but with a lot of traditional Italian life.  (Photo Below:  Barcis, Italy)

The first few days of the trip, once arriving, the Canadian Team (along with the Americans) has been to get a lay of the land and courses while keeping fresh for the upcoming races.  The Dolomites have not had a large amount of snow this year, and as a result the course setters have been especially challenged when setting a course, even with a good snowfall on our arrival.  As we explored, and found the areas where the races are being held, the race officials have juggled the dates of the schedule around making it hard to judge when to train and rest.

The weather (now sunny), which has improved considerably since our arrival, has been giving us a great view of the surrounding mountainside.  Huge vertical alpine faces, with major relief, surround the small towns in the bottom of tight little valleys.  The major difference that Claut has from all other venues, is that races start at a low elevation (usually around 410m) and climb through the trees for a long period of time, before reaching the alpine which has some serious terrain.  While racing Pierra Menta last year, I thought we raced through some serious terrain, but after seeing this place; the potential is huge for truly outrageous race courses.  (Photo Below:  The "little" mountains outside Claut)

Now equipped with new race suits, backpacks, and headbands from Crazy Idea {hyperlink} everyone on the Canadian Team is stoked to get after some racing.  First race is the Teams race on Sunday Feb 20th, 2011.  Men's Teams will be 1.  Reiner Thoni and Andrew McNabb, 2.  James Minifie and Alex Wigley, 3.  Stano Faban and Steve Sellers.  The Women's Team will be Melanie Bernier and Julie Matteau.  But before racing the Opening Ceremonies, a parade and ice show, followed by lots of speaches from various sports presidents and officials.  (Photo Below:  Team Canada in their slot during the Opening Ceremonies)

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