Maelle Ricker 

Snowboard team on edge

By Maelle Ricker

It’s the time of the year when you beg for those miserable cold rainy days… the days where snow is falling at higher elevation and ski resorts are madly prepping for opening day.

The Canadian Snowboard Team has been lucky enough to get that first taste of winter by going south for the snow in Chile and New Zealand. The halfpipe, snowboardcross, and alpine teams are already prepared up for the season ahead.

Besides all the summer training camps, we were also introduced to a new program put together by the COC (Canadian Olympic Committee) and CSF (Canadian Snowboard Federation). This new program is geared towards helping athletes achieve success in 2010 in every imaginable way possible.

The program is essentially a group of people with expertise in different realms of training, what we call a performance enhancement team (PET). Elements of the program include off-snow activities like physical fitness, physiotherapy, nutrition and, mental training. The PET team has been great thus far, and all the athletes have reaped the benefits that have come from the extra support.

With help from our Canadian sports centres, our coaching staff, and our PET team, we started our summer training on the right foot. The halfpipe team had a training camp on Blackcomb from the end of June through the beginning of July. We trained on snow during the day, moved on to Meadow Park in the afternoon for gym workouts, and spent our evenings at mental training seminars.

The pipe crew then had a break before jetting off to New Zealand for more riding. We spent three weeks in Wanaka doing most of our riding at a terrain park-specific resort called Snow Park. There were some other days of freeriding at Treble Cone and Cardrona.

Now the pipe team is just finishing up a month-long dryland camp outside of Montreal. We have been working hard and playing harder by doing a number of different sports that will whip us into shape for the upcoming season.

The snowboardcross team has also been doing a lot of summer training. The team started out by riding at Farnham Glacier in the Kootenays. This was an experience of a lifetime. I was lucky enough to be a part of the camp and would love to see it happen again next summer.

Imagine being taken up into the middle of the mountains to a luxury camp set up at the base of a private glacier to train on every morning. Now imagine that you have a cook who makes nice meals with the right nutritional values for a high performance athlete to work out daily in the mountains. Finally, imagine having a physical trainer on-site that kicks you in the butt every afternoon to make sure you’re strong enough to be effective on your snowboard for the upcoming season.

Does this seem like one of those fantasy trips you would win from a lottery ticket, or some crazy contests? I don’t even think that winning one of those prizes could compare to the Farnham training facility because there is simply nothing else like it on the planet.

After we were spoiled with the Farnham training camp in mid-July, we went home for a few weeks before heading down to Chile.

The World Cup in Valle Nevado was cancelled this year due to lack of money available to the organizing committee. Despite the non-existent contest, the Canadian boardercrossers still went south for good training opportunities and some solid freeriding to boot.

We still managed to get in some race training by entering the South American Cup. This race was basically another Canadian Championships because most of our senior team was racing, along with all the developing athletes from all across Canada.

The alpine snowboard team has been the busiest bee of all the teams this summer. They were at Farnham Glacier with the boardercross team. They then had a bit of a break before going to Mt. Hood in August, and wrapped up their summer training in Chile for two weeks in September. They also just finished two World Cups in Europe.

The first World Cup in Landgraff proved to be very fruitful for the girls. Caroline Calvé placed a career best result of seventh and Kimiko Zakreski followed that up with a 10 th . Alexa Loo was also in the finals and ended up 15 th .

They repeated their performances the next weekend in the PGS at Soelden, Austria. Alexa placed seventh, and Caroline was 14 th place. The young new rookie on the men’s team also had a top 20 in Soelden — Mike Lambert finished in the 17 th spot, only one place away from the finals.

The World Championships in Switzerland are just around the corner in January. All three teams are getting back into winter form and are ready to charge!

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