Summer's Tipping Point

It seemed to drag on, but before I knew it, July was coming to an end, and the Kiwi snow was calling. The big reason it felt as if the month slowed by was the weather. In Canmore, July tends to be a dry, warm if not hot, month. While this year, most days were overcast and wet. Throughout the month, there were breaks that if you are lucky, you could squeeze in a training session while still staying dry(ish). While other days you were getting wet whatever you did. Mornings were a good time to get most workouts in before the afternoon brought darker clouds and in most cases, downpours. The occasional lightning and thunder shows highlighted the more extreme systems. It wasn’t bad by any means; it was just getting tiresome after back to back months of dreary weather. On the plus side, the cooler temperatures lent themselves to transitioning to the Southern hemisphere’s winter temperatures much easier.

As July starts, I’m excited that summer is beginning. But before too long, August approaches, and with it the changing of that excitement. For the past few years, August meant New Zealand, a three-week on-snow camp. I always feel that August acts as the point where the training season tips. The rest of the training season zooms by after August ends. September flashes by, offering only the briefest of moments to see one of the most beautiful times in the Rockies. Crisp mornings but pleasant afternoons. Then October comes, after only a short wait I’m on snow once again. The excitement of skiing takes you into November and the first taste of competition. As you get a slight grip on racing, December arrives, and the real races start. Before August, it feels like you have the whole year to put in the training. Then August happens, and you start wondering where the year has gone. To be fair, leaving Canadian summer for Kiwi winter doesn’t help with the feeling summer is too short.


Let’s get back to the present; the first week at the Snow Farm on New Zealand’s South Island. It has been a bit windy, more so then I recall from previous years. As well the snow depth is a little thinner than past seasons, so far. But nothing that has stopped my training. I came into the camp eager to put in the big hours on-snow. The first week was a successful one for that. It is amusing to reflect upon the first year that I came down to New Zealand in 2007. Comparing then to what I’m capable of training now, it is astonishing the difference.

As with any camp, there are frustrating times within the training. The first intensity here was a tale of two sports. The skiing aspect of the workout was relatively solid. I had great intervals, which were well-paced and controlled, exactly where I wanted to be for heart rate and speed. I was able to stay focused on what I wanted from my technique and change as the coach called out something. Then the shooting side of the workout was beyond frustrating. I needed a moment after the workout to absorb what had occurred. Quite literally one of the worst shooting sessions I’ve had in a long time. There are times I’ve hit fewer targets but there was an apparent reason why. In this workout, there was none. Sure, afterwards, I could think of a handful of factors that might have affected the performance. Fatigue, the approach to the range, unfocused shooting, or not enough previous shooting, all could have some effect. It was a frustrating outcome for

the workout. Very much a Cross Country kind of day! All I could do was refocus and prepare for the following day’s session where I restored my confidence with over 100 shots and only a single miss (in my first bout of the day).

It’s good to have an easier day today, marking the midway of the camp. A day to catch a breath before heading into the second half of the camp. I will try to stay smart balancing training and recovery to maximize my time on-snow. Here’s hoping for a few more white-out adventures! Drift!

Mark