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Skiing the Callaghan Valley (on wheels)

Fri, Jul  11, 2008 - By Zach Caldwell

Amy is up on the Haig glacier with the three CVTC athletes who are native British Columbians. That leaves Gunnar and me in charge of the rest of the crew. Today was threshold rollerski intervals on the rollerski track at Whistler Olympic Park. I haven’t seen much posted about rollerskiing at WOP, so I figured I’d put word out.

For the time being the rollerski loop is based out of the biathlon stadium, with a total of just under 3 K of terrain paved - a couple of K utilizing the flatter part of the Olympic XC skate course, and then about a K of the start of the biathlon trails. The terrain is about the easiest available on the trail system, but it’s not just flat, and it’s got really fun rhythm. Compared to skiing on roads it kicks butt - at least for entertainment value. Doing threshold intensity is fun because you actually go fast. Well, fast by some standards.

Rollerskiing the Callaghan Valley

Pate leading Morgan and Zach

The really good news is that the XC stadium is also paved, along with the first climb and the last climb of the classic and sprint courses. There are gaps in the pavement where the contractors have had to run conduit (or something like that), and the surface hasn’t been cleaned over there yet. But I went mountain biking with John Aalberg on Saturday and he says that the pavers should be back this week or next week to fill the gaps. That will nearly double the amount of terrain we’ve got available, and include some worthy vertical. They’ll also link the rollerski loops with the parking lots and access roads of Whistler Olympic Park, giving us quite a lot of good training terrain inside the park boundaries (seems like it’ll add up to over 15K). Add that to the 10K access road that climbs up from route 99 and we’ll have some good rollerskiing.

Rollerskiing the Callaghan Valley


As I mentioned, today’s session was threshold intervals. I haven’t done an intensity workout in a long time, but decided to jump in and kick a little butt - show the kids how it’s done. On my first one I put the hurt to Pate (well, not so much hurt as it turned out - his lactate was below 4mMol/L), but I was pretty sure I had gone too hard. On the second one I decided to follow him, and this time I tested myself at the end. 8.4mMol/L. Yeah, I’ll be sticking to coaching. For my last (3rd) effort I jumped in behind Morgan Smyth for her last of six intervals and managed to feel pretty good until the final sprint in the biathlon stadium when I tried to come around her. My HR hit 178 and I needed a couple of minutes hanging on the poles. Ugh. Morgan appears to be fit. But I did win the sprint.

Rollerskiing at Whistler Olympic Park


Just about now anybody who’s been paying attention should be saying “Morgan Smyth? - isn’t she on the US Ski Team?“. Yeah - Morgan is just about finished with school at Northern Michigan University and she’s spending the summer up here training with us. And as I mentioned, Morgan is quite fit. Nice to have a skier with two top-10 performances at World Juniors and U23s to her name around to bang heads with. It’s mildly embarrassing for the boys from time to time, but getting your ass handed to you by Morgan in a double-pole test sort of takes the sting out of getting showed-up by Bryn and Emily in a spenst session. Next week we’ll have Kris Freeman and Dan Roycroft arriving in town for a 10-day intensity camp. I think we’ll let those guys just bang each-other’s heads. My head will be on the sidelines, behind a camera or something like that.

Rollerskiing - Morgan Smyth and Zach Caldwell

 Morgan and Zach


Rollerskiing - Morgan Smyth

Morgan Smyth