Day 1 of the Ski Nationals is always a “Club” race in which athletes form teams but must be from the same club. In Canmore, this year the race was a Nordic Cross Relay – two athletes per team each skiing one of two different legs (2.2 km each) with a variety of elements (uphill and downhill slalom, jumps, uphill double poling only zones). Lappe Lasses (Jenn Jackson & Hannah Shields) placed 2nd in the Open Women. Lappe Lads (Mike Somppi & Gavin Shields) placed 3rd in the Open Men category.  Jenn and Gavin’s teams, each with other partners, placed 2nd respectively in the University Women and Men categories earlier in the day.

Here are some pics from the events: Mike & Gavin at the relay exchange, Jenn & Hannah at the exchange, Jenn in the downhill slalom element.

Day 2 was an interval start free technique event and Lappe scored two podiums. Jenn Jackson grabbed 2nd place as a Senior Women in the Open Women category and 1st place as in the CCUNC category.  Michael Somppi finished 5th overall in the Open Men category but will receive the 3rd place medal as he was the 3rd Canadian to cross the finish line. Hannah Shields didn’t make podium but had a very good race finishing 10th as a Junior Woman. Day 1 and 2 were tough days for all athletes who do not live and train at altitude. We shall see how things change by week’s end.

So here are some great pics from Day 2. Gavin Shields, Michael Somppi, Niklas Harkonen, Hannah Shields, Jenn Jackson, Hannah again.

Andy Shields and Evan Palmer-Charrette should be joining us (back from Quebec World Cup) when racing resumes on Day 4.

Day 3 of the Ski Nationals was an Official Training Day so there were no results to report.  However, awards for the previous two days were presented and here are a couple of pics of our athletes with their medals: Gavin & Michael, Jenn & Hannah.

Day 4 saw athletes competing in an interval start classic race. With so many athletes at this Ski Nationals (about 750 racing each day), it takes all day to run the races.  Morning temperatures were just below zero; by afternoon the sun was shining and athletes were racing in short sleeve shirts.

Notable results are as follows: Senior Men (15 km) – Michael Somppi 8th (5th Canadian), Evan Palmer-Charrette 10th; Senior Women (10 km) – Jenn Jackson 10th; Junior Women (10 km) – Hannah Shields 11th; CCUNC Women (10km) – Jenn Jackson 2nd; CCUNC Men (15 km) – Gavin Shields 12th.

Pictures from Day 4: Michael Somppi, Michael Somppi (finish), Niklas Harkonen, Niklas Harkonen (finish), Hannah Shields, Jenn Jackson, Evan Palmer-Charrette, Andy Shields, Gavin Shields.

Day 5 was the day of the “Long Sprints” and saw Junior and Senior Men & Women compete in classic sprints on a 1.3 km course. The day started off warm (+2C) and then mid-day increased to very warm (+10C) so you can imagine how the classic track disintegrated on uphills. A major downhill corner under a bridge just before a long gradual climb to the finish corridor Turned into mush. It was definitely challenging for the athletes. Lappe was well represented in the Senior Men category with Evan Palmer-Charrette 3rd in the A-Final (but 1st Canadian) and Michael Somppi 6th in the A-Final (4th Canadian). Jennifer Jackson made it through the Senior Women time trial into the heats finishing 6th in the B-Final. And Junior Woman, Hannah Shields, also got through the time trial into the heats but was knocked out in the quarter finals. And Hannah’s oldest brother, Andy, recently back from the World Cup races in Quebec, made it into the heats as well but didn’t get past the quarter finals. Gavin Shields did not make top 30 in the time trial and thus not into the heats. Tomorrow brings the “Short Sprints” where Juvenile and Junior Boys & Girls compete on a 1.1 km course.

Here are a couple of pics from Day 5: Evan Palmer-Charrette; Michael Somppi, Jenn Jackson, Gavin Shields, Andy Shields, Hannah Shields.

Day 6 was “Short Sprint” day in which Juvenile and Junior Boys & Girls compete on a 1.1 km course. Much like the previous day the weather started out warm(+2C); but during the Junior Boys race, a blizzard of snow significantly reduced visibility and slowed athletes’ skis. Lappe had only one entry, Niklas Harkonen, who skied his heart out and missed the cut to make it into the heats by less than 1/2 second – he placed 31st, one spot off the cut. See the video of Nik battling through the blizzard or view a pic of Nik making the turn before the downhill before the finish.

Day 7 It’s an official training day in preparation for the last race day. Tomorrow is the long distance mass start free technique day with distances from 15 to 50 km.

Here are some pics from last night’s awards ceremony:
Jenn Jackson – Day 4 Interval Start Classic – Senior Women
Evan & Michael – Day 5 Classic Sprints A-Final – Senior Men
Jenn Jackson – Day 5 Classic Sprints A-Final – CCUNC Women

And all week Coach Kevin has been working with Rocky Mountain coach and wax tech staff, Luke Mcgurk and Jennifer Jones, sharing a wax cabin and making athletes skis glide fast  and grip strong when they need to. Have a look at their happy faces.

Day 8 The final day saw Lappe athletes in mass start free technique races: Senior Men 50K, Senior Women 30K, Junior Women 20K, and Junior Boy 15K. Andy and Michael took 2nd & 3rd places in the 50K; Evan was 11th; Gavin finished 38th. Jenn was the 13th Senior Woman to finish, Hannah the 16th Junior Woman, and Niklas was 72nd.

Some Day 8 pics: Senior Men mass start (Andy #2, Michael #3, Evan #4), Andy and Michael podium.