Sunshine Spring Camp

It was a little bit of a weird feeling boarding my plane in Toronto in the middle of April to head out west for our teams first on-snow camp of the season. Typically at this time of year we are gearing up for a couple tough months of dryland but instead the team decided to use the resources we have in our own backyard and get some quality training in. As strange as it may have seemed, once we were all together in Nakiska for the first week of skiing, there was a completely different vibe within the team. Everyone was refreshed and at ease, ready to start learning and improving for the upcoming season.

Some big changes were made within the team once the season was finished. Affecting myself and our group directly, was the hiring of an Italian Coach (Max Carca) to run the Mens Technical program. Coming with him would be another Italian (Paulo de Florian) to assist him with our group. When we sat down for our first team meeting, it was clear that the language barrier was going to be a challenge that we would have to work on….but it was also clear that Max has some very interesting ideas when it comes to technique, tactics and training regimes. It was very refreshing to be working with new coaches who have a different outlook on ski racing… Change never hurts.

Our camp started very slow the first week in Nakiska. Lots of free skiing and technique drills along with some stubbie courses. We were able to fit in a ton of runs by days end. Skiing at this time of year allows us to feel virtually no pressure. This allowed us to focus 100% of our attention to improving our technique and getting lots of volume. Not necessarily worrying about how fast you are or if you make any mistakes.

After the first week we packed up and moved to the Sunshine Village over the weekend. At this time, the Womens team and the Mens Speed group all moved in as well. For the next 2 weeks the entire CAST group would be training alongside each other. This made for an amazing training environment. Eating all our meals together, skiing together, making bets on playoff hockey…all of this was great for bringing the team closer and bonding as a group. Even though this is an individual sport, I still think it is very important to have a strong team. You need to be able to learn from the veterans on the team and know that the rest of your teammates have your back if you ever need some help.

The conditions in Sunshine were top notch. At first we had winter conditions where it was -15 some mornings with on and off blizzards. Not exactly what we were thinking when we had envisioned spring skiing. But eventually it got warm and for the last week and a half we had sunshine almost every day. The snow was melting by days end but when we loaded the chair at 645am, there was a strong enough freeze where we could get solid training until 11 or 12 o’clock. Big thanks to the crew at Sunshine Village who allowed us to use virtually any hill we asked for and always made sure the snow was in good shape for training the next day!

Overall the camp was a giant success. It was 3 weeks long but the time flew by. I think we all learned a lot and it was great to start developing a working relationship with the new staff additions to our team. I am home in Toronto now for a couple weeks where I will start prepping for the dryland season. Come June 1st when I move to Calgary, we will have 4 weeks of a very intense dryland block. Stay tuned. Thanks for reading!! Check out the pictures below!!

Phil

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