Canadian cross-country team heads to three-week training camp

Canadian cross-country team heads to three-week training camp{mosimage}Canada’s Cross-Country Ski Team will begin setting their tracks towards the podium at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games when the national team heads to New Zealand, July 8, for a three-week on-snow summer training camp, Cross Country Canada announced on Thursday.

Led by World Championship bronze medallist, Sara Renner of Canmore, Alta., and Olympic gold medallist, Beckie Scott of Vermilion, Alta., a team of eight athletes plus staff will deploy to a training camp located between the towns of Wanaka and Queenstown, New Zealand – an ideal location for on-snow training during the summer months. The team will leave for the camp after marching in the Calgary Stampede parade on Friday morning.

“Gaining access to on-snow training during the summer months is critical if Canada’s cross-country skiers want to achieve excellence on the international stage,” said Dave Wood, head coach, Canadian Cross-Country Ski Team. “This is an excellent training area which combines perfect terrain with world-class dryland training options. It is our hope this camp will play a significant role in preparing our athletes for when they hit the start line in Torino this winter.”

Joining Scott and Renner at the New Zealand camp will be two-time Olympian Milaine Theriault of St. Quentin, N.B. on the powerful women’s team, while George Grey of Rossland, B.C. will lead one of the deepest and most talented group of men in the program’s history which includes: Chris Jeffries of Chelsea, Que.; Devon Kershaw of Sudbury, Ont.; Dan Roycroft of Port Sydney, Ont.; and Drew Goldsack of Red Deer, Alta.

Traditionally, Canada’s cross-country skiers spend the bulk of their summer training roller skiing on roads and pathways at home, or skiing on snow at CODA’s Haig Glacier, located in Kananaskis Provincial Park, a summer high-altitude training area. While the New Zealand camp will focus heavily on perfecting technique, the national team will begin emphasizing higher altitude preparations in the fall, a crucial training element for achieving success against the world’s best cross-country skiers.

The 2005-06 season promises to be a historic one for Canada’s nordic skiers. The team will compete in World Cup races hosted in Canada in Canmore, Alta. and Vernon, B.C., December 3-11, 2005. It will mark the first time a World Cup cross-country skiing event has been held in Canada in more than a decade, and the first time ever that Beckie Scott and Sara Renner, the two veterans of the national squad, will compete in front of their hometown fans.

Cross Country Canada is the governing body of cross-country skiing in Canada. Its 45,000 members are athletes, coaches and officials, including members of the Canadian Cross-Country Ski Team and Canadian Disabled Cross-Country Ski Team. Cross-country skiing is Canada’s optimal winter sport and recreation activity with more than one million Canadians participating annually.

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