Racing team updates

Junior Racing Team

Follow your home town Junior development team. Training, racing, school, family, and living the life of an athlete. These kids are about real stories of ambition, commitment, and accountability. Its more than skiing, really. One former Georgian Nordic skier, now medical student, Erin, still trains and competes when she can: "Life is crazy" she used to say. Works for me. Georgian Nordic racing team explained, right here.

 Nationals in Thunder Bay, the Lappe Experience. March 7 to 18.

Marsha Lane, Nicholas Poole, Nathan Greer, and Shaylynn Loewen prepared all summer, fall, and winter to take a shot at the biggest and longest event of the year, 2018  Nationals. Attendance was over 600 skiers from all over the place, including Europe, and the US. We met some former Georgian Nordic skiers who are still in the game, Matjaz Cigler now lives in Edmonton attending the U of Alberta, Malcolm and Noah Thompson, both coached by big thunder, and Graham Ritchie who is skiing with the National Development center in Thunder Bay.

Team sprints, followed by distance races and one 1200m skate sprint, including training days kept us extremely busy. Between picking the better pair of skis for each, reading the courses by skiing them repeatedly, staying highly motivated and recovering well from each race is a process that is planned for early in May. The actuall doing of all those things requires feeling pumped and and extreme willingness to put all of 10 months of training on the line. Heather Lane supported us all the way, getting supplies, all the cooking and shuttling the athletes to and from the venue, basically on demand. Shaylynn's dad supplied his suburban, it was great for getting all our equipment to the site and back home. 

team sprints clip Shay jump into exchange zone

Marsha and Shaylynn in the team sprints, amazing risk taking and the fact Marsha was leading out of the gate as first of the two. Shay had her work cut out for her to keep the girls in the mid pack. Well done in an extremely competitive pack of skiers. Nick and Nathan had to put it all out there for the first ever experience to be classic skiing at this pace, including a strong double pole, shown here by Nick. 

team sprints clip

Trail conditions were rock solid tracks, carved  straight and using the best line on the course, cold mornings, sunny and mild during the day. Well, simply put, perfect conditions.

Shaylynn fire in boots classic at NationalsShaylynn fire in boots classic at Nationals

Classic distance races, 5k for Marsha and Shay, 10k for the boys.

5k and 10k classic

Sprints were up next, we are not bad in skating, but can we crack into top 30 at Nationals? Not qualifying is extremely difficult to handle, racing for less than 4 minutes, done for the day? Is that what we want? Yes, it is. We do learn about taking risks, our skiers learn to deal with adverse conditions. Only Shay qualifies, Nick gets within 4 seconds. Tough? Yeah, so what.

Skate sprints video

Final race of the event. Classic distance race. Nick and Nathan were given feeds halfway around the 15k course, we did not practice that. It worked and made their race better. Mission accomplished. Classic striding up a hill, a steep hill, not easy to do. You would have to trust your kick, a skill you can learn to acquire. If you stick to the process and make the ski stick for more kick. Marsha and Shay on their way up during their 7.5k distance race.

nathan feednathan feed

Shay cant wait to race 20k and longer, she has the engine to do that. We wish her all the best in her years to come. She was very brave to trust our process all along, the time has come for her, next step. Here she is making contact with Hannah Mehain, Jr National team skier from Kelowna, BC. 

 Shaylynn and Hannah MehainShaylynn and Hannah Mehain


Some of the highlights of the races.

Nationals 2018 highlights video


The team.  Heather, Shaylynn, Nathan, Nick, and Marsha

Nationals team on stopover Devon Kershaw Trail Windy LakeNationals team on stopover Devon Kershaw Trail Windy Lake


Breakfast at the HoitoBreakfast at the Hoito

So ya, Thunder Bay. The Finnish labor club, the Hoito restaurant, all one place. You have to go there if you want to understand Thunder Bay. Our team is joined here by a couple skiers from other clubs, its about friendship and pancakes. We talk a lot about next year, about where all of this is going. I don't know yet, we shall see.


Check in frequently with

Nick and Shay ready for Nationals.jpgNick and Shay ready for Nationals.jpg


Grahams incredible trip to Europe in his own words.

11th at worlds Graham Ritchie.jpg11th at worlds Graham Ritchie.jpg


Graham qualifies for Junior Worlds Graham qualifies for Junior Worlds

Graham is headed to Goms, Switzerland by the end of the month. He qualified for a spot on the Canadian World Junior team. How did he do that?
Well, simply put he skied really well at Trials held in Mont Sainte Anne Jan 6 to 10. 
He qualified first in skate sprints, finishing second by a boot length in the final heat, and had a second and forth place in 3 different races. His overall results were solid enough to get a thumbs up at a National Jury meeting after his final classic race January 10. The team is probably already in France by the time you read this. Its a training camp, location carefully  selected by Victor Wiltmann, who is assisting Camille Cheskey (NDC tech and assistant coach) and the World junior coaching team followed by taking another team on the B-tour in Europe. 
I like to add a couple notes to all the media reports, a perspective from the ground here in Parry Sound. This was made possible only as a result of several years of many people contributing to the coaching of a local kid who acquired the love for the sport, eventually qualifying for a spot on the National Team development Center in Thunder Bay. Thank you all. Graham never stopped looking at the broader perspective of the sport, he has a strong yes yes yes attitude.
Photo shows Graham with team buddy Julien Smith. Both are members of the NTDC team in Thunder Bay. There are 3 training centers like that in Canada. This photo was taken right after his second place finish at Skate Sprints, Jan 9. 
Shay racing up in MSA 2018 January Skate SprintsShay racing up in MSA 2018 January Skate Sprints 
Shaylynn is still on this unstoppable comeback in skiing. It was disheartening to watch a young person not being able to do as she had so far, progress was measurable so far. 
She had decent results a couple years ago, but more importantly she was quite content with where she was, solidly making progress in all aspects of her training and performing. She learned so much about feedback and technical stuff, about smart training. 
All this came to a  gradual aggravating slowdown due to things we did not know much about. She wanted to find out what it was real bad, she was extremely frustrated that things were getting worse. This started a new process of communicating, we needed to step up a lot of testing, consulting, many things, we were fishing in the dark a lot of times. 
She trusted this with all her heart. Again it took the work and input of many people to find out a new path for her, there were some moments that tested her mental toughness. We had no idea at times where this was going. But she was determined not to give up. 
By mid November in 2016 she was starting to turn a corner, as weak as the signals were. We had to make sure she stayed on this path, it was like learning how to ski all over, yes, from the very beginning of things. She was tough by now. She always wanted to know what the limits were in the past, it was a fun thing then. This process gave her enough mental strength for the long haul. She found these limits or boundaries do not actually exist, it was something that struck me as coach in a big way. Hey boys, take that from a girl, eh! 
Yes, we had to talk about everything that is important in life. Well, turns out competitive skiing was something she really wants in her life, no doubt in her mind. A maturing athlete looking straight ahead. Shaylynn Loewen.



As a coach for the junior cross country ski team in its 8th year I quite often wonder about where all this is headed. 
I have no idea. 
 1. Our recreational skiers support the club, the trail work, the grooming, all of it, really. They also support competitive programs, and it is the right thing to do. Why?
If we have the structure and stream in place to support kids along their path from very young to the age of 17 or 18, there is a good chance we can also support a recreational adventure program. Not everyone wants to race. Ski for life, yes.
Club programs bring kids to the club.  You can ski anywhere, but our programs are a reason to meet at the burrow, ski on groomed trails, have fun. It is well organized, has been for many years. We are missing a program for recreational skiers. What?
Case in point. Lappe Nordic, Ontario. 
    Lappe created a recreational adventure ski program for 14 to 19 year olds many years ago.  Skiers who do not want to race, they just want to learn to ski better, mainly have fun.  What is the big deal getting that going? 
We support our kids on skis until they are 13 years old, after that we got the high school and junior team programs, and those are the ones that would run side by side with an adventure program, simple. Simple yes, but we need coaches for all programs to keep this going. So get in, inquire today, get coaching. 
 2. Had I grown up in Parry Sound, and I was about 12 years old, a letter to the club may look something like this:
Hi, my name is Peter Wiltmann and I am in Grade 8. I like sports a lot. I like to go outside a lot with school. Our teachers like to get us out a lot, its fun. We had a fun thing last year where we were just running down a hill chasing rolling tires and stuff, adventure time they called it or something. In the summer I like canoeing, biking, and swimming, and we have a coach who takes us places for paddling events, it is awesome. I love winter, and I love school skiing, my first ski ever was right at school, my teacher showed me. Some days we go to your club and there are so many other kids from all schools, like a hundred kids. Not sure what I like the most but when mom and dad go skiing they take me to your ski place on the weekend. We all ski with a leader and oh ya, hot chocolate.
I see some older kids who are leaders in red jackets, so cool, they have different skis and poles, and they look so fast. They zoom around us, they move side to side, so different from what we do,  and it looks so cool. I want to try that. Mom wants to know how to do that. Who are those kids, are they from another town, and can I learn how to ski like that? Oh, how much is it? Do you have red jackets, the blue ones are ok too.
Thank you
3. The Big Times. A skier in her final year at home. 
Shaylynn Loewen. "Skiing without poles"
Ghislain brought her to one of our weekly practices on a warm summer day in 2013.  She was not quite finished with Racing Rabbits, but a decision was to be made soon in her mind or time to move on to find another sport. For her it was about this roller ski thingy she wanted to try. Well, she came up that one hill with a big smile, this was fun for her. She came back a few more times that summer, but essentially she was hooked. I had only seen her once or twice skiing at the club the winter before, I did notice her skills on snow and how confident she could corner with those skinny boards in loose snow.   She became a regular in 2014 and never looked back. 
Here is an earlier posting on our Fast and Female page, questions she answered a few years ago. 
  Jump forward to the present, it is late 2017 and we are looking ahead to the most fascinating season ever for Georgian Nordic. My job is to motivate, enable, and inform all 15 skiers who have committed to attend about 12 different events with over 20 individual races this next season. 
Shaylynn turned all training and racing into a strong routine over the last 4 years, no need to motivate or enable her any longer, she is becoming very independent. She is now leading in many ways on this team, and you should be so lucky to have her teach you a move or technique, anything really. She knows how to ski and mostly the fact that getting faster is a never ending pursuit of excellence. Her upcoming Ontario Ski Team training camp in Sovereign, BC starting Dec 1, ends with a Noram racing weekend, yup the big times. She says her expectations are in check, she has a plan for altitude acclimatization, food, intensity training, super easy recovery skiing, and racing. Her goal is to get experience and have no expectations. Things could go sour, hitting the big times is a risk she is willing to take now.  
Ocup racingOcup racing
Shaylynn in one of her first Ontario Cup races with the junior team, 2014. 
zone4 stair climbingzone4 stair climbing
Shaylynn's portfolio in training is endless, here she is doing zone4 up the stairs on Tower Hill. 
Patch skiingPatch skiing
Shaylynn would always be on for  "off" kind of training, keeping on a smile. This photo shows here left to right Tomaz , Shaylynn, Marie Claire, Malcolm, Graham Ritchie, Kate Beirnes, Noah, and Emily.
Watch for Shaylynn racing in Canmore Nationals 2017 (#200) in this clip
 Shay did win the B-final in Classic sprints, Canmore Nationals
Good luck in Sovereign, Shaylynn. Noram race weekend is December 9/10 
Malcolm, Graham Ritchie, and Noah will all be there, yup Georgian Nordic. 
So if you have a 12 year old or younger, in your household who starts to dream about things. 
If we all work together we can open that path for that skier's dream from home, we can help them  pick a path, but we must check our expectations all the time. 
4. Oh, this just in. Breaking. 
Marie Claire Henry skied with us from 2010 to 2014. She is taking 12 skiers from Queens University on the road this year, yup all the way from on snow training camp right now to Ontario Cups, and yes to Nationals in Thunder Bay. She in my mind is the ultimate ski for life advocate we have, she truly loves to ski. Coaching would only be natural for her. Mont St Louis uphill pole walkingMont St Louis uphill pole walking
Marie-Claire at a high performance SOD camp in 2012.
Darn good bootsDarn good boots
Claire racing in Corner Brook, NFLD Nationals in 2013
What about you, if you are a girl, can you imagine being a Shay or a Marie Claire?
Try it. 
Stay tuned, folks! 



Andrew Kerr, his  story.
It starts at our club, and he remembers it. 
Hardwood hired him a few years ago, and I think they appreciated who Andrew was, what he knew about skiing, but also how well he worked with kids.
Another reason we need to nurture the few coaches or assistants we might ever have, we better treat them well.
Thanks for reading this, over to Andrew.


Hey Peter, 

Sorry for the delay and I hope all is well with you and the family! Hope the guys are doing well! It’s been way too long, absolutely crazy how time flies. I’d be happy to share my skiing story, hopefully it helps build your case.

My parents put my brother and I into skiing as a winter activity we could do together as a family. The home club was GNSCC, a short trip from the cottage where we spent every weekend and holiday. My brother and I went through the Jackrabbits program and graduated to the Racing Rabbits program. Down the road my brother and I would sporadically join training sessions with GNSCC/ PSHS racers under your coaching.

I had an on and off relationship with racing through elementary and high school. Our high school in southern Ontario eventually developed a race team and made it to OFSAA by default. After high school I chose Nipissing for its northern location, trail systems and recently revived Varsity ski team. I was pursuing a Bachelor of Physical and Health Education, so continuing with my athletic and coaching development made sense. At North Bay Nordic I was able to assist with the development and implementation of a Learn to Train program for aspiring ski racers who outgrew Racing Rabbits. This team’s enthusiasm for training made leading a ton of fun, and sparked some interest in coaching. I may have helped with the group for the next season but soon focused on school and my own training.

As a senior athlete with a vehicle, it was largely up to me to coordinate with the teammates our plan for transportation to practices and local races. This experience drove home the importance of planning, making checklists, communication and organization.  In my senior years I was promoted to team captain, which was a kind gesture for the role I assumed with the team.

After graduating with my BPHE and BEd, my brother, who was training as an athlete with Team Hardwood, recommended I apply for the paid Junior Coach position with the club. I had the necessary certifications, some experience coaching and a lot of experience as a developing racer. It sounded like a great experience and I was impressed with how well my brother was improving with the club. I was hired soon after as a teacher with a new private school starting up near my folks place, so this combination seemed like a great way to get to know the area better and establish myself. That being said, I would not have considered the coaching position if it was unpaid.


Andrew with Hardwood in TemiskamingAndrew with Hardwood in Temiskaming

I was fortunate to be offered the coaching job and had a great time helping update the program in an effort to make the transition from Junior team to Senior team streamlined while providing additional support to the Head Coach and senior team. I was completely floored by the dedication and drive of all the athletes, coaches, volunteers and parents in this program and the support from Hardwood Ski & Bike. Their junior program provided the missing link between Racing Rabbits and serious club racers. These junior athletes learned to appreciate focused effort, hard work, and the comradery associated with team culture. We may have had a bit of fun now and then too. Working with this group was an incredible display of what can be achieved with focused effort and unwavering support from the local ski/ athletic community. The phrase is it takes a village to raise a child. Here’s an example of a community raising incredibly talented athletes.

Big Hardwood teamBig Hardwood team


The breakdown of my responsibilities with Team Hardwood is what looked good to the employers I was applying to. Strong communication skills are paramount in coaching and handling public relations. Being able to plan, organize, implement and evaluate are essential as a coach and event planner. Staying current with best practices should be mandatory for any coach, athlete or facility manager. Being able to provide constructive criticism that isn’t taken offensively is critical to coaches and people responsible for staff and volunteers. Patience is vital as a coach and someone who’s work number is listed online, and so on. Without my start into skiing at GNSCC and the incredible support, opportunities and coaching I received growing up, who know where I would be now.

Coaching next generation Hardwood skiersCoaching next generation Hardwood skiers


Although I really enjoyed my time as a coach, it’s hard for me to say if I’d get back into coaching if it paid a living. As much as the athletes, role, ski community and support are all incredible, the time and travel requirements take a very dedicated individual (and spouse). I truly admire the volunteer coaches who gave me and so many other aspiring athletes this dedication. I can’t begin to describe my gratitude for these individuals.

I would strongly encourage GNSCC and all other clubs with race teams to develop a junior program for their aspiring athletes who aren’t quite ready to take the plunge into the club race team. Give these athletes the opportunity to test drive focused training and the respect for the culture of discipline needed in this sport.

Best of luck getting the junior program established with GNSCC and thank you for all you’ve done for the sport! My family and I are truly grateful.






Awards 2017 An amazing year with amazing skiers. Thank you all! 

Our first ski at the club was Dec 14, a big dump of snow the night before, fresh 30cm of pow no grooming.

They decided to ski the snowshoe trail, backcountry. Sun was out, snow dripping in lumps from trees, roads were going to be closed any minute. We just made it all home before, yes, they did close the roads that day. More squalls were coming. A dream come true? Kind of set the tone forthe season to come, Yeah

.Marsha, Ethan, Austin in the backMarsha, Ethan, Austin in the back

They just love to ski no matter what the conditions are.

The season crescendo, Nationals in Canmore, March 15 to 25, 2017, 2 videos show things well, a cross race on skinny skis, and a mass start distance race showing our skier Malcolm, Matjaz, and Shaylynn racing on a World Cup level race course:


Lindsay the team engine with the biggest smileLindsay the team engine with the biggest smile

Michael Rookie of the YearMichael Rookie of the Year

Liam M.  Juggling two sports Hockey and skiing masterfullyLiam M. Juggling two sports Hockey and skiing masterfully

Ben turning things around to his advantage Ben turning things around to his advantage

Kate - Most adventurous Kate - Most adventurous


 Matjaz - Most improved Junior - biggest comebackMatjaz - Most improved Junior - biggest comeback

Nick - Most successful JuvieNick - Most successful Juvie

Anna - Most intense focus on progressAnna - Most intense focus on progress

Marsha - Most concentrated technicallyMarsha - Most concentrated technically

Shaylynn - Most difficult comeback - Nationals was a successShaylynn - Most difficult comeback - Nationals was a success

Taylor - Busiest skier  who can switch to focus quicklyTaylor - Busiest skier who can switch to focus quickly

Erika - Our team link to better runningErika - Our team link to better running

Malcolm - most focused on goals setMalcolm - most focused on goals set

Nathan - Most improved JuniorNathan - Most improved Junior

Liam O - Most disciplined in short time (need to show him how to adjust straps)Liam O - Most disciplined in short time (need to show him how to adjust straps)

Ethan - most improved trainingEthan - most improved training

Austin - most prevailing ski buddyAustin - most prevailing ski buddy


Altitude racing. 1400m above sea level, Canmore AB. Weeks of preparation for 3 Georgian Nordic skiers. 

Shaylynn, Malcolm, and Matjaz each had a mix or races over the 10 days. 



March 2017 Report  

So how do we get to what we have?  What do we concentrate on as our skiers grow into amazing people who can adapt to many things. Results? sure. Go to zone4, it is all there.  

This, for me is about skiing.

It was klister at each Ontario Cup this year. Jackets, ski bags, boxes, are all sticking to things by now.  Klister was the best kick of the day in all classic races, a reality we need to get used to as this planet is warming. 

Ontario Cups are defined by the large portfolio of different races and styles. 

All of the following races have at least one in Skating and Classic style. There are 4 race events spread over the winter, each one has 3 races, Duntroon had 2. 

Each Ontario Cup tries to cover both technical styles, classic and skate in some format. 

Distance races come in 2 formats, mass start and interval start.

Sprint races come in 2 different qualification formats, Elimination and King's court. 

Start lists are seeded by Ontario Points, which are part of a formula that involves the level of race, who shows up, and your time behind the leaders, a points total established over 12 months of race results. 

Lappe Nordic hosted the first Ontario Cup near Thunder Bay. We had 4 skiers who had never traveled that far for a ski race Together with 3 who had been here many times, taking the edge off for our Lappe rookies. We always stop over at the Wawa airport, about half way to Lappe, to get them to  stretch out their legs. There are other reasons we stop over in Wawa, but those reasons are secret, not. Small town North Ontario is special, skiing there is usually on a snowmobile trail leading into town from the airport. Last year we double poled the streets in a close by subdivision. It was -15, windy, and nobody out and about, so we noticed a couple curtains were pushed aside, "who the heck...", curiosity I guess. A quick photo of our team and we are on our way to TBay, we call it. Forgot writing about coffee at Timmies? Yeah, a given.
Thunder Bay races? I would like to mention one outstanding one. 
King's court skate sprints. Simply put it is the best thing going at Ontario cups right now. Developing speed.  
Buddies Matjaz and Malcolm after raceBuddies Matjaz and Malcolm after race

Duntroon, Ontario cup #2 for us. Easy to get to, all our skiers have skied there. Easy all round? yes. Almost had the entire team there, plus a couple midgets from the Track Attack team or Racing Rabbits as some people prefer to call it. Our first run with 4 Technicians in the wax room. Great conditions and not bad skis....klister. 

Rookie Kate fighting her way throughRookie Kate fighting her way through

Eastern Canadian Championships, Ontario Cup #3. Located just north of Ottawa, Nakkertok Nordic hosted well over 800 athletes this year, one of the biggest nordic events in North America. It is also one of the most competitive 3 race events that requires accurate planning and many people to help out with many things. This year it was 2 classic races, one skate. Klister again. ye. Our service team is now top level, they are doing everything, and are involved in the testing.  

Temiskaming Ontario cup #4. Best trails, best grooming, best atmosphere, amazing volunteers, best events.

XCO decided to repeat the King's court style classic sprint event. Not for the light hearted skier who disappears into the bush merely to reappear later. This ain't it, no. 

Classic sprinting puts the body into a beast mode effort, many of us only use when someone runs at us with a pitchfork, not that anybody ever did. It requires the use of the highest gear that most people forget they every had. On top of all that is the competitive mindset when they ski in heats with others pushing and shoving around corners. Heats are set up in such a way as it takes each skier to the next heat by adding them onto same speed like skier heats. Brilliant.

The fact that our skiers no longer need to qualify for the heats is an opportunity for every one of our skiers to go through the most fun event the Ontario cup series offers right now. Bravo CCO, well done. Again, almost our entire team attended. 

Anna Anna

Nationals in Canmore is just ahead. March 15 to 25, 3 skiers going. Focus on racing at altitude, the training plans have been modified to meet that challenge, for several weeks ahead. Matjaz is already in Edmonton looking at school and skiing, while Malcolm should be close to Canmore by now, trying to acclimatize. Shay will be there a few days before her first race and all are in good spirits. Bring it on. Forecast, check. Snow, check. Trail maps, check. Captain's meetings, check. Ontario Team meeting, check. Fast and Female event, check. Confirmation lists, check not yet. Wax, benches, 20+ pairs of skis plus our skiers stuff, equipment in Canmore, check, got there with Dave Thompson as he was driving out. Wax space, TBD. Testing zone, TBD. Food, check. Carbs? Major check. Good to go. Wish us luck.

Fundraising. Lots of stuff required to make skiing more fun, way more fun. So we need a bit of money. 

Loewen Farm concert fundraiser for the toy and food drive also included us with 1/3 of the funds, Then there was our team waxing fundraiser, the huge Active women contribution just announced recently, all while we are selling wax forms and... wait for it... Klister Bars, yeah. 

Now about our athletes. It is supposed to be about them. Not easy to do. I will try to explain of the many aspects that support this goal. 

For kids to have more time on skis and liking it more, it is important to start at home. Tamara and Stephanie came to a 2 hour wax clinic Jan 21 at the burrow, certainly taking a couple of things away from that to show their kids. Hoping to get more interest next year, but this is a start. Ski preparation is still a largely misunderstood aspect of motivation to get kids to enjoy skiing more, something we need to work on. Parents should know some of the basics, and know how to show their kids at home. 

We need our club trails to keep our kids engaged in skiing. We appreciate well groomed trails at home, we do not take that for granted, as we ski on anything with rock skis for many weeks starting in October. By the time kids use their racing skis to get used to them we are usually well into late December, often early January. So time is limited on home trails, we spend many weekends away. 

Our skiers who joined the Jr team in April will decide by September to join the cross country running team or any other sport in Highschool. All good. Then in Novemenber most join the PSHS nordic team. We have a great thing going as we collaborate on everything now. Our skiers get a chance to see many coaching philosophies, not just one or the other. Training and racing schedules fill our events calendar to such levels that is creates comments like: "there must be a way to list less on our calendar" hahaha mission accomplished. Parents please do not be confused by this, it is a good thing.

April is transition month. Not easy to get them to not even think about skiing for at least a month. Impossible when you have skiers whose ambitions to get to World Cups is a daily thought. No, not impossible at all. Mandatory is a better word. So our kids need time to tune out, stay active and do something different. Adults have all kinds of fancy words for this. Adults have goals of their own, often applying them as what is best for everybody. 

Ya, you need to  Recharge as well, ja!

To keep our kids in this, we need to keep the stream intact.

Elementary school skiing, Ghislain reached new levels of participation, amazing.

Jackrabbits, Racing Rabbits, Jr team and contacts to University skiing, Loppet skiing, all in place, but never to be taken for granted. 

Leaving us this year is Lindsay Raymond and Matjaz Cigler, both are actively in the process looking for a school that has at least the possibility to continue to train, maybe join a Varsity team. Joining us this year? No idea yet, even though we have discussed that option with some. 


From ages 5 to 18, we now have them engaged at home in some kind of way in skiing at our club and school. Less or more competitive, depending on each individual's goal. Able and disable is also now part of the picture, awesome!

It is a big deal not to have gaps in any of the steps, be it skill or physical development. 

We all need to keep the gaps closed all the time, not easy but required. 

If you are reading this, look for a way you can help. We need you.

Volunteer, share your ideas, do something. 

 August 2016 Official Rockn Rola time trial results.

This is a roller ski time trial. Skate roller skis. Wheel speeds vary widely. However, we do compare results from previous time trials on an individual basis.

Malcolm is the new course record holder with a time of 11:22 over  4.8km, and fastest lap time holder now, it is 5:35, his second lap is 12 seconds faster than his first. 
Special thanks go to Stephanie Caplette from Thunder Bay. She helped Heather Lane, who was official Chief of race.
Chief of course Peter Wiltmann
Technical delegate Heather Lane
Chief of Race Heather Lane
Race Jury Heather Lane
Name Bib   Start Time Clock time at first lap 2.4km Clock time at second lap 4.8km Lap 1 actual time Lap 2 actual time Race time today
Marsha Lane 5   6:31:00 06:39:59 06:48:57 08:59 08:58 17:57
Erika Dabek 7   6:31:57 06:41:20 06:50:43 09:23 09:23 18:46
Austin Lane 8   6:31:45 06:41:31 06:51:21 09:46 09:50 19:36
Anna George 16   6:33:45 06:44:27 06:55:17 10:42 10:50 21:32
Ethan Graves 12   6:32:45 06:40:41 06:48:38 07:56 07:57 15:53
Katie Madden 20   6:34:45 06:43:33 06:52:49 08:48 09:16 18:04
Nicholas Poole 21   6:35:00 06:41:56 06:49:28 06:56 07:32 14:28
Victor Wiltmann 22   6:35:15 06:41:20 06:48:28 06:05 07:08 13:13
Matjaz Cigler 23   6:35:30 06:42:05 06:48:51 06:35 06:46 13:21
Malcolm Thompson 24   6:35:45 06:41:32 06:47:07 05:47 05:35 11:22

Course details:

Rockn Rola race course and profile



by Konrad Wiltmann


Konrad in Georgian Nordic race suit. Justyna Kowalczyk in black/redKonrad in Georgian Nordic race suit. Justyna Kowalczyk in black/red

Windy, mild..snowing, klister or zeros....choose carefully. Konrad made that decision a week earlier in Dillon. Windy, mild..snowing, klister or zeros....choose carefully. Konrad made that decision a week earlier in Dillon.

It was a very last minute decision to travel to Iceland and participate in two ski races. I booked my place ticket about 2 weeks before take-off. This event is called the Fossavatnsgangan and takes place in north-west Iceland, in the small town of Isafjordur.

Temperatures are mild in Iceland, however, there was still plenty of snow up in the mountains, where the races were taking place. I had my first race on Apr. 28, a 25km skate race. I had waxed my skis before making the trip so I just had to get myself to the start line on time. After a short warm-up and naiive attitude of what was to come, the race was off! It was steady climbing for about 5km, some rolling terrain, more climbing, more rolling terrain, with finally one massive long uphill before a 7km downhill into the finish. Conditions were quite fast and I was probably going at least 60km/hr at times. I talked to a rescue guy who was driving a snowmobile and he said he was getting passed by skiers while doing 60km/hr! The race went well. I was able to hold off a nice guy named Martin from Denmark. He was a much better climber than I, but I was the better descender. The highlight for me though was only being 4.5 minutes behind former women’s world cup champion Justyna Kowalczyk. Being 11th overall was pretty cool too.

I raced again on Apr. 30. This time a 25km classic race. Waxing is much more critical when it comes to the classic technique. If you mess up the grip, you can be screwed. Luckliy, I nailed it. A friend of mine leant me his zeros skis and they worked like a charm. Conditions were apparently much crazier than in past years this year. There was strong gusting winds, blowing snow and poor visibility on top of the mountain. I had another good race but was beaten by a chubby Finn in his 40’s on the last hill. I thought he was doing the 25km race, but he was actually doing the 50km race. The fact that he was able to still go as fast as he was, is incredible! I placed 2nd but the 25km is just a warm-up for the 50km race. You are not considered a man or woman, until you have done the full 50km. Unfortunately because I registered so late, I couldn’t sign up for that race anymore. Next year!

The people from these Icelandic nations are tough as steel. They can ski forever at a fast pace, in whatever conditions and at whatever age (I was beaten by a 16 year old, and only narrowly beat a 14 year old in the 25km classic!). There is truly something to be learnt from the people of Iceland. How they embrace nature and fitness together.

On my way back to Reykjavik, I was offered some Jaegermeister by 3 old Finnish men sitting in their van. They said it is the best drink for after a ski race. Maybe that is the Scandinavian secret!

Georgian Nordic Junior Racing team awards. 

18 skiers, 18 awards. Some got more than one. 


Team for a rest on the newly named Berlin Wall during the old Parry Sound Harbour ski walk loop.Team for a rest on the newly named Berlin Wall during the old Parry Sound Harbour ski walk loop.


Most intense female, most grit - Lindsay Raymond

Lindsay as a para nordic guideLindsay as a para nordic guide


Most improved power applied - Matjaz Cigler

Matjaz showing good formMatjaz showing good form


Most improved phyically, especially in double poling, female - Shaylynn Loewen

Shay in Temiskaming with leader bibShay in Temiskaming with leader bib


Most improved dynamic coordination - Liam O'Brien

Liam at Midget ChampionshipsLiam at Midget Championships


Most improved calculated risk taker - Erika Dabek

Erika at Ofsaa Relays in DuntroonErika at Ofsaa Relays in Duntroon


Most willing to try new things, Classic! - Sasha Istvan

Sasha skating at OfsaaSasha skating at Ofsaa


Most willing to fight for a comeback after 1 year battle with injury - Lauren Nawroth

Lauren at Ofsaa RelaysLauren at Ofsaa Relays


Most improved overall - Austin Lane

 Austin at Midget ChampionshipsAustin at Midget Championships


Most mature skier and biggest Team supporter  -   Kate Beirnes

 Kate doing a "kickstep" turn at Ofsaa RelaysKate doing a "kickstep" turn at Ofsaa Relays


Most Intense male - Malcolm Thompson

Malcolm in Temiskaming with Leader BibMalcolm in Temiskaming with Leader Bib


Most improved 2-skate  -  Graham Ritchie

Graham in Beast mode at Ofsaa RelaysGraham in Beast mode at Ofsaa Relays


Most improved Classic stride  -  Nick Poole

Nick showing good classic form, striding well. Temiskaming Ontario CupNick showing good classic form, striding well. Temiskaming Ontario Cup


Busiest skier - Taylor Marshall

Taylor pole walking with team on the Harbour loopTaylor pole walking with team on the Harbour loop


Most improved Race preparation  -  Ben Walker

Ben running the Midget Champ hill in Kawartha heringbone styleBen running the Midget Champ hill in Kawartha heringbone style


Most improved skate technique and ski selection skill - Marsha Lane

Marsha skating towards a huge hill at Temiskaming Nordic, Ocup3Marsha skating towards a huge hill at Temiskaming Nordic, Ocup3


Most improved physically - Ethan Graves

Ethan at Midget ChampionshipsEthan at Midget Championships


Most improved, technically overall - Nathan Greer

 Nathan at Ofsaa RelaysNathan at Ofsaa Relays


Most improved tactically  -  Noah Thompson



Photos, videos from Whitehorse, Yukon. 2016 Nationals

 Photos, videos taken at Nationals


Temiskaming Ontario cup 3 2016

 Photos of Ontario Cup 3 at Temiskaming Nordic



Georgian Nordic junior racing team participated at the Eastern Canadian Championships.

The numbers. 782 skiers registered from coast to coast to coast (always wanted to say that) 12 skiers participated from Georgian Nordic in categories from midget to Junior men. 4 alumni skiers raced in open categories. 4 parents actively worked as service technicians to support all athletes, that means several hours each day of testing several pairs and finding the best wax for 3 races, 2 of which were skate and one mass start classic race. Each skier had a choice of 2 pairs to select for each race. The kids deserve a big shout, a "gigantia ora" for taking a huge risk to attend an event of this caliber. 
Results are on zone4, type in CEC and click on each day's results.
What does a coach remember most about this event. Easy. Its this moment right here.
More Photos are on  Flickr
Ben waiting for his buddy to finishBen waiting for his buddy to finish


Junior racing team December 2015.

Breaking News, this is just in. Noah is racing in Canmore, its Tuesday, December 8th. This after already having done 2 races with a rest day on the weekend, altitude acclimatization, a week's training and travel before that. A Georgian Nordic skier on snow for the first time after a short 3 days of skiing on snow at home on Kinsmen fields, racing at a Canada Cup, better knows as a Noram, the highest level of racing in North America.  2 more races in Sovereign coming up, stay tuned.

December 8. Noah Thompson, Classic sprint day. Demands are not only about top speed, but having to repeat that 4 times throughout the day requires a season of preparation, a big engine, extreme focus, changing tactics on the fly, and a top notch technical support team:

"Hi Peter,
I feel gassed. My legs are so tired. My body in general feels good but my legs are done. Raining and snowing made for some cold, wet condition so that sapped some energy as well. 
Big day today! One of my best results ever and I took down some quick skiers. Qualifier was alright, lost huge amounts of time in one specific section which we did twice. Steep pitch of striding after a long gradual stride section. I had trouble upping the tempo. Quarter went well, super slow off the start and was probably 10 seconds off the leaders but I pulled up with them, went by one and closed hard to get the lucky loser. Semi was very good, again slow off the start, losing time on the one section and was actually in 6th by a lot. Caught and blew through 2 skiers in the straight to try and snag the lucky loser again. Really wanted that a final. Ended up missing it but crushed the b final, finally figured out the one troubling section, got out of the track on it, still got gapped by the leader but skied in second until the finishing straight where I took it again. Skied quite relaxed, letting that gap open that I knew I could close in the straight. Tactically very good. Quite happy with the day and result. 
On a note, my skis were incredible. By far the best skis I have ever had in comparison to the field. I was able to close massive gaps (5-10 seconds) on the downhill into the finish and then gap skiers on the sprint. Huge shout to Lief and Lisa for the skis. Both Patrick McIlroy (today's winner) and myself had great skis due to them and used it to the advantage by kicking hard in the straight. Ski selection was very good too. 

Huge thank you to yourself as well as everyone at home! It's days like this that make all the terrible ones seem like nothing. The speed was there in my b final especially and I'm excited to hammer it again in a few days."

Noah coming into the stadium straightawayNoah coming into the stadium straightaway

Just about everything is going the way its planned. Ya. That never happens in the real world. Our skiers, however are pretty darn close right now. Our 16 junior skiers are working hard to make it all work, the biggest challenge is to keep on doing something for this sport that is supposed to be on snow by now.
Well, we did have a brief period of the wonderful stuff, for 3 days.
 So what does a coach do when a skier asks:"Are we going to groom a trail at Kinsmen, we'll bring a machine, you bing the groomer". Yes.

So the story goes. The machine comes off the trailer, an unnamed parent is trying to help his son to ski . A couple town workers show up to change a light bulb. Geez, who needs a light bulb at that hour, duh. "No, stop, we do not want snowmachines here", with a pretty stern voice. A short discussion ends with a phone call to the town office. "no" was the reply.  Ah, sorry. We shall pull this baby by hand. So we did. At first it did not seem to work that well, but the skiers had the trail packed in no time, with their skis. A great team moment. That is why they joined the team, right?

High school training started a few weeks ago. A great way for some of our skiers to build more consistency into their training schedule and extend their choice for racing. They now have 2 up to 4 days of structured training, that is pretty cool.
First race is December 17 in Hardwood with the school team, if there is snow. So that is a big if right now. Our first big club team event will be the Eastern Canadian Championships in Ottawa, in early February.
Shaylynn and Malcolm went on snow in Foret Montmorency in Quebec, as part of their qualification as Ontario  talent squad members in mid November. Its snow they covered in March with sawdust. They bring it back out for early season training and one race, a great trail with 2 ' of snow over 2km of undulating trail. Hard to come home after that to be skiing on grass. Transition to on snow skiing is fun, transition back to training on asphalt and gravel not so much.
Our annual waxing fundraiser went pretty well. 24 pairs were cleaned and prep waxed with 2 layers by 10 of our skiers in about 3 hours time. Including a couple donation, thank you very much, we are ahead 650 dollars.
Ben and Shaylynn scraping and polishing skisBen and Shaylynn scraping and polishing skis
Noah is in Canmore, Alberta right now. He is competing at 5 races over 2 weeks with Team Ontario. Noah qualified for this during his last racing season, he earned this trip. He placed 16th in his first race, classic interval start on Saturday, December 5, he bettered that December 6 in a mass start skate race to 14th. Sprint race on Tuesday, stay tuned for that. 2 more races after that in Sovereign, also known by many as Silverstar, near Vernon BC, the following weekend.
Noah on the far right. Georgian Nordic race suit is all we could getNoah on the far right. Georgian Nordic race suit is all we could get 
There are many firsts for a skier like Noah leaving town to compete at a Canada Cup Noram, without his usual race support. No team members, no family, unfamiliar race venue, high pressure race atmosphere with total focus on results.  Noah understands better now that a less than what he wanted result has to do, he will move on. So he does.. He will be a better skier when he comes home, more resilient. Speed on snow comes from many hours of training at quality.
 Up the hill at Kinsmen, the boys plyometric repeats.Up the hill at Kinsmen, the boys plyometric repeats.
Lindsay and Lauren are recovering from injuries and are well on the way back to include intensity again. Matjaz will be back soon as well, he is recovering with a cast on.
Lauren, Sasha, Shaylynn, Lindsay, and Kate ski walkingLauren, Sasha, Shaylynn, Lindsay, and Kate ski walking Shayna is helping to build a varsity ski team with a University in Ottawa.  Katie Madden got a job with Faster skier, she is contributing to online World Cup stories, she is on Skype with our athletes interviewing them. Cool.
Our younger juniors are well on the way to try a lot of new physical and technical challenges, dryland for now.
Long slow distance is not all that easy to do mentally, but boy they are proud of it after they have done it. Its a real genuine proud.
A bit tired. Left to right Erika, Liam, Nick, Ban, and EthanA bit tired. Left to right Erika, Liam, Nick, Ban, and Ethan
Wednesday we shall do what they do in a World Cup classic sprint on snow. Our skiers are tough, they can do all that on grass. Run with skis on, up a hill, heringbone style.
Lauren and Sasha checking the grass skisLauren and Sasha checking the grass skis
Looking forward to see all of them making a successful transition to snow, soon.

Watch us!



Nationals 2015 held at Lappe Nordic, just outside Thunder Bay, Ontario

Great article in the Parry Sound North Star  Three local skiers

Another one on MyParrySoundnow Malcolm wins aggregate



Left to right, back row: Malcolm Thompson, Tomaz Cigler, Graham Ritchie, Noah Thompson, Coach Peter, Matjaz Cigler, Lindsay Raymond, Shaylynn Loewen. In front Emily and Kate Beirnes.Left to right, back row: Malcolm Thompson, Tomaz Cigler, Graham Ritchie, Noah Thompson, Coach Peter, Matjaz Cigler, Lindsay Raymond, Shaylynn Loewen. In front Emily and Kate Beirnes.

  9 skiers went to the 4th Ontario Cup, the final provincial event of the season. Georgian Nordic was represented with the biggest team yet at an Ontario Cup.  The race organizers in Timmins decided to reopen registration for one day. Whatever made them do that, Lindsay Raymond wanted in last minute, so we added her to the team for Timmins.

 Home of the Porcupine Ski Runners, famous for a very successful team in the 70' right through the 90's. Skiers like Natasha Kullas led a team under Lorne Luhta, famous for sweeping Ontario Cups with several of their skiers. New coaches jumped in trying to rebuild after these skiers left for other places, scholarships, etc. All the best, this is a huge job. The new chalet serves an event like an Ontario cup rather well, skiers are looked after serious here. Beatifully groomed wide trails and a well laid out stadium meet all the criteria for fun racing. Thank you Timmins!

Day one was skating. All our skiers were on green glider most of the year, green worked in Timmins again. Cold, crisp corn snow. Close to -20, a race delay was not necessary for the first time this season. Lindsay showed us how to race after her injury held her back most of the season. Bravo for taking a chance to travel and race with the crazy ski team. It was her first Ontario Cup race, and we really hope she can recover to race skate and classic next year. Lindsay and Shaylynn skied together, but only Shaylynn raced. Tough decisions need to be made, this one Lindsay made a week before. Good call, recovery has to be taken serious.

Skating is number one in our town you would think, Parry Sound skiers get lots of practice with the school team and the racing team. But its not that simple. It really comes down to what each individual is doing in the summer. Every hour on roller skis, pole walking, strength in the gym is about skiing. Not for everybody, you say? Our first year skiers Graham wanted to know what all this year round training was about. So did Shaylynn and Lindsay. That showed long before Timmins that  their technical skills are beginning to excel.

Well, the classic race was a real test of our entire program. Nakkertok shows up with their best junior boys. So Graham and Noah had this plan. Dave shot a great short video of what happens after the gun goes off.

Watch the 30 second clip: Mass start tactics

Here they are, Graham (20) and Noah (leaderbib).Here they are, Graham (20) and Noah (leaderbib). 

Here they are, Graham (20) and Noah (leaderbib).


Matjaz (69), Emily closely behind.Matjaz (69), Emily closely behind.

Matjaz (69), Emily closely behind. Great classic skiing. Notice how shallow the track is. Grooming with Ginzu groomer, trying to avoid tilling the snow. It was a totally different condition to deal with. Untilled snow changes in the sunlight. Gliding properties were not as good as tested earlier. Our skiers adapt to less than ideal conditions at any time.


Malcolm skiing well technically, powered by the leaders bib.


  Only 3 skiers in his age group, it got pretty lonely for Tomaz, somewhere on the trail, with one skier ahead and one behind, somewhere on this 5k course. No problem, "ah" he says with a smile. Tomaz is learning to focus on his technical skills and perception of speed. How hard can he go for how long, you ask? Science will one day refer to the Tomaz factor.


Kate is an experienced classic skier.



 Mass start classic race, 5k. She did it in 17:00. Try to ski the Lynx under 20 minutes, will ya!
 Shaylynn has adapted to skiing with focus on a lot of different things.
Joe ran her up a hill, about 1k back from where I took this photo. At that point she was in second place, chasing the leader...closely. Joe encouraged her to pass, so she did. Here she is in first, well ahead. Its ok to win.

"A bit better each time, technically" its Shaylynn's philosophy. Its kind of like she wrote the book on coaching. I am merely the guy who comes along, with great pleasure. She likes to ski, really likes to train, alone or with others, always looking for a better way. " I think so" she says.


North Star online article: 3 skiers head to Nationals of the season

More Photos on flickr


Georgian Nordic Racing team report February 15, 2015


Noah (far right) and Matjaz at the team sprint start lineNoah (far right) and Matjaz at the team sprint start line

World Snow Day, what was that? A celebration of fun on snow, worldwide. Arrowhead hosted a series of fun races. Well organized and laid out, it met the criteria for fun and speed. So our skiers decided to enter the Team Sprints. Nipissing University registered a team of highly experienced world cup level skiers (Thomsen D'Hont, second from left), backed up by former world cup dude Dave Nighbor and magic waxer Toivo in the wax and cheer group. So a couple of our skiers wanted to see how fast it gets. It gets fast folks. How fast. Real fast. On a 1k trail, each second is an eternity. In a team sprint you ski 1k three times each in a team of 2 skiers. The qualifier is also the semifinal. Heats can contain up to 15 skiers. This final had about 10 racers, I think. Georgian entered three teams of 2 each. Matjaz and Graham, Noah and Malcolm (A-final), Steve Goman and Tomaz (somehow they made it to a very competitive B-final) So the gun goes off and Noah climbs the hill which was in clear view from the stadium, high cadence and making sure not to trip. Once you drop behind chances are slim to stay in the front group. Nipissing took a bit of a lead right away, but not impossible for our skier to stay close to. That was the case in the first lap. Malcolm tries hard to stay with the Jordan Cascagnette after the first exchange, this is when he finds out how much faster it gets. These two never slow down even though Nipissing was way out of reach now. Matjaz and Graham did an amazing job, accelerating to stay in good position throughout this final heat. Oh, did I forget Tomaz? Well, I have no words to describe the Steve Goman-Tomaz sprint team. Wow. Turning heads, who is this kid? "Its a Cigler" I think I heard someone say. Steve never skied so fast in his life trying to match this young gn racer. That just about made our day.

Muskoka Loppet

 A fun tour for all ages, distances from 5 to 30k classic. Probably the only event in which we had Racing Rabbits and the Junior development team present, plus some coaches and parents doing the tour as well.

Audra Shaylynn Nicole good friends good loppetAudra Shaylynn Nicole good friends good loppet


 Just try and tell these guys to take it easyJust try and tell these guys to take it easy Malcolm, Graham, and Noah after 15k classicMalcolm, Graham, and Noah after 15k classic



 Eastern Canadian Championships


Emily, Shayna, and Shaylynn in front of the Nakkertok barnEmily, Shayna, and Shaylynn in front of the Nakkertok barn

We arrived at Nakkertok South, just North of Ottawa in Gatineau, Quebec, claiming our spot in the tent for the waxing crew on mid day Thursday, January 29. This was going to be the biggest Easterns ever, 752 skiers registered from across North America, so it was important to set up early and be well organized as things may get quite hectic.

Our skiers met us for a pre ski of the courses later that day. After skiing the prologue we made sure everyone was introduced to this monster Dirk's Dive, for some of our skiers it was their first time on Nakkertok trails. Its a downhill similar to our Swamp Rat, but about 5 times as long and it serves the skier a flying turn near the bottom. Very easy to get airborne and lose control. A slap in the face if you are not prepared.

A couple weeks before Shayna Herr gave us a shout from Ottawa: "Dirks dive has an extra curve now".  We had not heard from Shayna for a while, and this was a bit of a surprise. Good to have a skier on the ground on location prior to getting our team preparing on course for this. Entering University is a big change in a maturing persons life, and skiing has to take a back seat sometimes. Shayna misses it already, she wanted to do at least one race this season, Ottawa University does not have a varsity team. So Georgian included her on the team roster for the 10k classic race. Claire Henry made the cut on Queens varsity team so she had full support with their staff. Katie Madden still races with Hardwood while at University as well. She upped her training last summer and her general state of mind and her technique improved with it. Cool, so that makes 3 girls from our former team still skiing and enjoying competition.


In Quebec cross country skiing is a big deal. Home of Alex Harvey, skiing is front and center with the media in Quebec. Alex, besides being an international top 10, is a home town hero north of Quebec city in a small place called Ferreol de Neige. You can feel that in Gatineau. Quebec is second only to the Western Canadian teams in the country, for a reason. Huge school programs fill the clubs from elementary levels on. Huge clubs, Nakkertok has a huge team, 159 of which were competing at this event. Inter provincial programs continue to take skiers to all levels. If you want to compete as a skier in Quebec, the support is second to none. This is why competing at Easterns gives you true Canadian National calibre racing.


Day 1 of competition. The 3km prologue race is one of the most difficult races to do, physically.

Too long for a sprint, too short to recover on any downhill sections. So you basically hammer the whole course. Its a test of body and mind. Results are on if you want to see it. Type in prologue. Our skiers are skiing with the best and they are challenging the best in the country, Malcolm was wearing his well deserved Ontario leader bib he earned in previous Ocups, turns out he hangs on to this right through Eastern. Noah establishes his feel for the entire event with this first race, a solid effort. Emily Beirnes and Matjaz Cigler keep making technical improvements, showing true leadership in focus on what is needed most on the team. Graham Ritchie and Shaylynn Loewen, first time at Easterns added to a strong statement “Georgian is here to race”.

 Matjaz just flew by, its all I gotMatjaz just flew by, its all I got


Day 2 Distance Skate race, interval start.

This was about not letting this Dirks Dive obstacle on your mind affect the race, and keeping a good form through a lot of climbing very steep long hills. Turns out the “Sneak” as its officially named, was the added corner on this infamous drop Shayna informed us about. Shaylynn was wondering what all the fuss was about. She was here for the first time and she had heard so much about it making her uneasy. It seemed rather easy now with this corner “snuck” in. I think Shaylynn decided right there not to worry about Dirk, the Sneak or whatever, but hammer it and just go with it. Brilliant, as it turned out to be a great decision for race day. A difficult corner can be on your mind at the start line, if you feel its an obstacle. She decided not to make it that.

ShaylynnShaylynn  ShaylynnShaylynn

So here she comes down the Dirks dive during her distance race, around the Sneak. Oh, a berm, oh no. She wipes, rolls her body inside the berm, rolls one more time, skis in the air, sliding a bit on her back, right behind another skier, not breaking poles or skis, only to drop right back up on her skis to continue her race. Last time she wiped, it happened in Duntroon about a month ago, it affected the rest of her race. That was then. A short smile, down she goes the rest of the hill, only to hammer the following hills with total focus on technique and confidence. A huge change. Wow.


Matjaz Cigler was caught on camera around the corner like no other. Falling down the hill comes natural for him, his skis are merely there to make it go faster for him. Falling to him means finding the closest distance from corner to straight, best way is to fall downhill, not wipe. There is no slowing motion, its more about how fast he can come out of this corner. Its a family thing, no fear here. There are many technical aspects there, very much something we need to teach all our skiers. Its more fun, and they want to.


Noah came around this corner leading a group of 3, difficult to do as the drafting skiers have the advantage over the leader. As leader you have no idea what is going on behind you. Then there is this slingshot effect, you can fly by the leader anytime, attacking. Mental test? Absolutely. Racing is fun if you want to learn how to deal with this kind of pressure, Noah embraces it.


Malcolm now has a huge racing engine he developed over the last 2 summers. When he asks a question its about wanting more speed, power, strength, control, confidence all the time. He wants higher level competition, he will not hesitate to tell you that. There is so much power and will, its amazing to watch this kid climb hills. Skis are pushed with a snapping motion, side to side, powder is flying, and if you are looking again, chances are you are looking at his bib from behind. Oh, the green thing? Ya, that is the leader bib, you got to earn that. He wore it all of Eastern. Watch him.

 Emily 317Emily 317

Emily had a more relaxed approach about this drop this time around, she felt the Sneak took out the most dangerous aspects. Not much snowplowing any longer. Great to see our skiers are no longer afraid of these hills. This alpine skill is a learned skill. Controlling ones fear is a skill especially difficult to simulate on our home trails.


Graham proved for 2 races in a row, he is a skating expert who delivers. His technical skill have developed right through from Jackrabbit to Racing Rabbit, dryland training, only to be interrupted by his love for hockey. But he joined PSHS for high school racing last year and loved it. This year he joined the racing team in the spring for year round training. He wanted more. Its paying off for him.


Day 3 Classic long distance Mass start race.

This course demands great technical skills, a Mass Start race also calls for a strong mind with a great tactical race plan, only to be changed on a moments notice. Graham surprisingly took to classic racing at higher levels extremely well. Just a summer's worth of dryland training redeveloped his skills he learned earlier with the racing rabbits. Graham showed he puts his skills to good use during racing. His double pole kick is fantastic.

 Graham one step double poleGraham one step double pole NoahNoah

Graham's double pole kick. Noah leading a chase group, good falling forward technique.

Top racers want to hold top positions, others want to reach a notch higher all the time. Very different pressures and we can feel our skiers want more.


Shaylynn Shaylynn

Shaylynn established a strong presence here at Eastern and continues to improve her race feel, plus what is especially important for her, her technical improvements just keep coming. Priceless. Graham has proven at one of the highest level events in the country, he can do classic, and he can compete with the best. "Quebec, we shall return". Noah and Malcolm are reaching very high now, a big cheer for them, there will be bumps and we shall ride those with them. Emily's classic technique is exemplary, she is a great role model for younger skiers like Shaylynn. Matjaz keeps showing us never before done stuff, our skiers want more of that,  awesome.

 Katja, Joe Cigler, and Dave Thompson, all of us are challenged the most on classic race day. Good skis have to glide well and kick near perfectly. So we got this figured out? Yes, well,..sort of and if you think you want to help us, welcome aboard!

 Our skiers who moved on but still ski, ya, what about them? For Shayna, she proved that she can race classic and crack top 30, like she did in the past. You do not forget skills that quickly. We shall cheer you at paddling and skiing, or whatever. Good luck on your comeback mission. Claire, good luck at school and skiing. Katie, keep skiing. Its ok to continue to do something you love. Fast and female times 3, eh.

For Katja, its off to Canada Winter Games with Ontario's under 23 skiers in Prince George, BC February 21. All the best. She helped us at 2 Ontario Cups and it is greatly appreciated. She is a busy girl.


So whats up? Crunch time. Important to stay healthy. A lot of racing drains energy systems. Mental and physical recovery is a hugely important part of training and competitions.

Ofsaa this week. Timmins Ontario Cup#4 end of February, then 5 races at Nationals in Thunder Bay mid March. No girls at Nationals this year, we got to change that for 2016. Help from all is needed if we want that to happen.


170 or so Photos on


Results are on type in cec





Georgian Nordic racing team report January 15, 2015

Back to school after the holidays, right? That did not happen. 2 snow days at home and the team was off to participate in the second of four Ontario cup in the series. This one was a much anticipated one, due to its duration and variety of racing. One classic interval start, followed by a classic sprint. Then a rest day followed by an interval start skate race on a homologated trail.


Peter, Malcolm, Noah, Graham, Emily, Shaylynn, Katja. in front Liam and NickPeter, Malcolm, Noah, Graham, Emily, Shaylynn, Katja. in front Liam and Nick

The team after. Left to right back: Coach Peter, Malcolm Thompson, Noah Thompson, Graham Ritchie, Emily Beirnes, Shaylynn Loewen, and coach Katja Mathys. Front: Midgets Liam and Nick. Absent Matjaz and Tomaz Cigler.

Day 1. January 7, 2015 Get there and preski. Travel to Duntroon, get used to where the team wax bench is, where to pick up bibs, and where athletes' facilities are. Course maps are discussed, and all skiers go out and pre ski their courses for race day. The skiers focus on how they want to ski  certain sections of the trail during the race.
Day 2 Classic interval start distance race. 5k for the girls, 7.5 for the boys. Cold new snow, great conditions for a race. -15 lightly snowing. Great for classic.

Shaylynn had not raced yet this season, she followed a good pre ski and race preparation routine. It made her race on Thursday. She placed 7th out of 27 skiers from all over province, an impressive result.
Graham only had the Yuletide blast in him so far, a skate race. Up to there, he had never done a classic race at this level. So he comes in 10th out of 30 in this very competitive field of skiers. Both Shaylynn and Graham  raced on skis they had never even skied on, talk about adapting to varied conditions. Skiers learn to deal with this quickly. Shaylynn decided to ski on the team racing skis about 10 minutes before the race. Why? I think she wanted to know what all the fuss is about. Good call!
Matjaz came in 23 out of 32, Emily 11 out of 13, Noah 6th out of 30, and Malcolm decides to win this one and does. 

GrahamGraham  ShaylynnShaylynn

Graham and Shaylynn on team racing skis for the first time

Day 2. Classic sprints  800m and 1100 mOur skiers prepare for this starting about mid July at the Salt Docks. No, not skiing on the salt, although that did cross my mind. No.
Roller skiing sprint starts across the parking lot, yes. Body position, sharp pole tips, pole angle and how quickly the body gets up to speed are all critical elements in getting a good position in a race that may be on soft snow or hard track, you never know what you have to adapt to.

EmilyEmily  TomazTomaz

Emily and Tomaz racing in blizzard conditions

So by now we should be able to handle sprints. It was snowing, then the wind came up, then it started to squall. Our prep tent blew over, much to the amusement of our neighboring teams near the start line. North Bay's fancy new tent with sidewalls and heater collapsed. Ski testing at its best in a squall, what kicks well, what doesn't. Our skiers make it work, whatever we come up with.
 Morning qualifier results: Graham  14/29, Noah 7th, Shaylynn 11/27, Emily 13/14, Matjaz 19/31, Malcolm 2, Tomaz 4/11. The idea now is to ski fast with a strategy to get  into the A-Final or the B-Final. All heats were timed and if you come in 3rd or 4th, you have a chance to advance as lucky loser if you have the fastest time at this ranking.
Shaylynn won her B-Final, that put her in 7th overall. So did Noah. Emily and Mat end up in 13th and 18th respectively. Graham advanced into the B-final as a lucky loser and finishes 12th overall. Tomaz, our only Midget skier on the racing team, almost gets on the podium, he makes it into the final guys twice the size, ends up in 4th regardless. Malcolm leads every heat into the final, in which again he fights for the lead after 50m, takes it and holds it. A great strategy on a foot of loose snow. He ends up winning the juvenile classic sprint.  Folks, picture this. Sprinting in a blizzard, no firm base, no track to ski in, .. to race in. Amazing. Fun to watch.

Malcolm 62Malcolm 62 

Malcolm leading the entire heat.

Day 3 Rest day. No racing for us today,  but a chance to put in an easy recovery ski and plan for tomorrow. Pre skiing was not possible as the course for the next day was occupied. Watching the elite skiers trying to qualify for World Juniors. 2 Ontario skiers training in Thunder Bay make it to Almaty, Kazakhstan. Julian Smith (GB Nordic) and Scott Hill (Hardwood).
Day 4 January 11, 2015 - Interval skate distance. 5k, 10k, 15k
Georgian gets 4 skiers in the top 10 today.
EmilyEmily  NoahNoah
Emily and Noah flying on skate skis
Graham figured today was his day, skating he knows, finishing 9 out of 29 skiers. Konrad races in the open men category with national level competition to skate the 15k into 47/64. Tomaz faces stiff competition and a hilly course but comes in 6/23 nonetheless. Emily skies into a respectable 16/22, Malcolm remains on the podium with a 3rd place. This was Noah's day, he ends up less than a minute behind the leader finishing second place. Shaylynn wipes on a big hill, but comes back to "bring it" into 15 out of 32. Matjaz sat this one out, a precaution as there were strong indications he was getting sick. We do not race sick. Not an easy decision to make and not a popular one.
Thanks go to Ron Beirnes for the constantly filled thermos of coffee, tech fuel.

Dave Thompson endless hours in the wax room, taking ridiculous orders from you know who.

Dave RitchieDave Ritchie

Dave Ritchie learning the ropes in waxing.

Katja Mathys sitting in on meetings and holding our team meetings, testing kick and glide, but also nurturing the athletes through a difficult event like this. Joe Cigler being the excellent skier he is for his skills in testing and narrowing down the list of waxes to be applied. Shaylynn, Sandra your baking is second to none. Kristine deserves a special mention. She was the team cook who makes it all worthwhile. Its such a bonus not having to go out after a long day and eat quality healthy nutritious food in great company.
We relax and eat well, ski well and have a lot of laughs.

115 Photos on flickr


Next up is the Team Sprint event in Huntsville this weekend. Followed by the Muskoka Loppet. Then another major event, the Canadian Eastern Championships in Gatineau, Quebec at the end of the month. Wish us good luck and good snow.


Meet the team 2014/15

Left to right: Emily Beirnes, Graham Ritchie, Tomaz Cigler, Noah Thompson, Malcolm Thompson, Matjaz Cigler, Kate Beirnes, Shaylynn Loewen, and Lindsay Raymond. Absent is Lauren Nawroth, who is recovering from a basketball injury. 

Emily, Graham, Tomaz, Noah, Malcolm, Matjaz, Kate, Shaylynn, LindsayEmily, Graham, Tomaz, Noah, Malcolm, Matjaz, Kate, Shaylynn, Lindsay

 From skiing on frozen grass to a couple inches of snow in early November, followed by 2' of pow a week later to skiing on icy, rutty trails in early December, our skiers will appreciate the first track set. May be this weekend. We shall celebrate!

All skiers set goals for the entire season, only to be changed on the fly as life's changes are imminent. 

We have skiers Kate competing at High school races and Emily, Graham, and Shaylynn also attending some Ontario Cups. 4 boys have set targets for all Ontario Cups and  this year's Nationals in Thunder Bay later in March 2015, these are Tomaz, Noah, Malcolm, and Matjaz. Tomaz is the youngest, and he will compete in the Midget category this year, his top event will be joining the Rabbits with Ghislain at the Midget Championship held again in Temiskaming. Matjaz, Malcolm, and Noah will aim to qualify for either the Ontario Talent Squad or in Noah's case, Team Ontario. Noah has set ambitious goals this year, its the kind of ambition that is required to meet his commitment to reach his long term goal to become an Olympic champion some day. This includes doing one more thing every time, you basically never stop doing more than anyone else at your age. Wow. Noah is itching to get that first real on snow race in to see where he is at. He is lucky to have so much support from his team, he will need to draw on it. He learned a lot last year, cracking into the top 10 nationally.

All our team members maintain a 6 day week of training. One day a week its rest, no matter what. Our skiers work hard for close to 8 months before they compete on snow. That period is broken into several phases including some running and roller ski competitions. Each session has an objective, and as coach, one gets a lot of feedback what is working and what is a waste of time. Logs are kept daily, and monitored regularly. Put me on a pair of skis anytime with these skiers, they are an absolut blast to ski with.

We have been on skis now for about 7 weeks, from absolut crappy conditions to not quite so crappy conditions. Not complaining here, this is the real thing our skiers  learn to be ready for that. I am always amazed they keep coming back to practices like that. Wow! This way no single session is like the one before. Perfect, as apparently according to the latest sport science, random structured practices are the highest level of training. Another challenge is to get the level of intensity into a session, intensity required to make a faster skier, faster than before. So our skiers all do incredible sprint starts now, Tomaz can break a pole on command!

Speed is done in gears up to 6, which cover the range of recovery pace to all out. These ain't gears on a bike, no cable to shift gears in skiing. These are perceived gears that are a mix of strength, endurance and cadence. The combination of all that strength training and building a big engine over the summer to reach never before speed and endurance is on the agenda right now. The technical skills adaptation has to be maintained right through. In skiing the demand is high to think dynamically what your arms and legs are doing together to get to the finish line faster. All limbs are initiated or for a lack of a better word, fired directly from our skiers core. So that is why core is the most important strength factor for a skier.

Lauren doing pull ups. 


Some events throw every possible variable at the entire team and service staff. These variables include dealing with poor gliding and kicking skis. Our skiers prep their own skis at school races and SOD events. Ontario cups require the absolut best in testing and prepping. Pa Dave Thompson is in the game of doing most of the work, thank you! In any case, bring it on, our skiers shall be ready. You can follow results on  All dates are posted on our calendar

A group of 4 skiers, photo: left to right: Tomaz, Malcolm, Matjaz, and Noah will be skipping the high school race to prepare and train, and travel to Thunder Bay in preparation for the first Ontario Cup at Lappe Nordic  december 18 to 20. The plan is to drive straight through with a 1 hour stop in Wawa for some skiing at the Wawa airport. Get a good nights rest and pre-ski the courses for 2 days of races following that day. Dates are December 19 to 21.

The boys The boys

"Life is crazy" no kidding. Lindsay had to find out the hard way. She got injured during a training session at the club and will be out for the season. She has the support of the entire team to recover properly. Lauren, who has been dealing with a basketball injury. She wants to be a sport psychologist some day or build bridges as an engineer. Wow, she is doing all of that right now. These two are close friends and they will get beyond this much better together. Big shout from the team! Hoping to have you back next season. And be sure to talk to Rebecca, our physio specialist with a good take on skiing. 

In January we will have a near full team at the World Junior Trials in Duntroon. This is a 5 day North American Cup, Noram for short, that includes classic sprints and distance events in both styles.  January 7 to 11. Classic sprints are one of the most demanding events. Afer an initial qualifier, as short as it is, 400m up to 1.2 k, depending on age category. If you make the top 30 you could be going another 3 times finishing with 5 others in the A or B final. A huge challenge physically, but a near breaking point mentally if you are not mentally prepared to deal with all kinds of issues.

Classic sprints,  technically there are 2 options.  You need great kicking skis (option 1) or if you decide to double pole the bloody thing (option2), you use skate skis and long poles. Hammer it. Its risky but if it works its a blast. Try it some time, double pole the Lynx trail, no herring bone please. These kids do, and they love it.

So what are speeds in km/hr during these? We ran a test some years ago with a radar gun, this was done in skating style. 15km/hr? 20,25,30km? What do you think? Top speed was 33km/hr on a flat trail. Think skiing next time you reach that speed on your bike, eh! On downhills the elite reached 76km/hr in Sochi last year, and that is on these skinny skis. Phew!

So if you see us on the home trails, we may be doing some odd stuff or just standing around chatting. Trust me, all this stuff mentioned is on these kids minds. Lets help them reach high and have fun. Fun is nummero Uno, always.

A big thank you to all the parents who help out at events and get their kids to practice. 

It takes a village to raise an athlete.




This is our small town team that trains year round with only 30 days off in April. ‘Off’ to us means active recovery, just being active without a structured plan. And we did ski until late April, and yes, it was ridiculous.

Official summer training started April 28 this year, with some physical tests to set individual benchmarks. The main focus early on is to rebuild aerobic capacity lost in the racing season, which remains 80 to 90% of overall training. Our young skiers go through a rigorous intensity program in the heat of the summer that involves many aspects of speed and strength and progressively longer LSD (long slow distance) sessions. Our skiers constantly come up with fun stuff to make the coaching more interesting.

 Matjaz, Shayna, Malcolm, Emily, Jason, Lindsay. On the ground Emily, Tomaz, and ShaylynnMatjaz, Shayna, Malcolm, Emily, Jason, Lindsay. On the ground Emily, Tomaz, and Shaylynn

Team at Active Living Fair in McKellar for a long, strength, ‘Lappe’ ski walk, and roller ski session on public display.

Our skiers – six girls and five boys – are aged 13 to 16. Three older skiers have left the team for more adventures. Shayna and Claire will continue to ski at the varsity level. Jason has decided to focus on running. New skiers from the Racing Rabbits and a high school skier joined us this year. One high school skier rejoined the team this year.

Welcome all!



Noah and Malcolm helping Lauren to get downhill on single roller skiNoah and Malcolm helping Lauren to get downhill on single roller ski

Someone else had to carry the broken ski. But the boys immediately assisted in getting this skier safely down the hill on the road. Should they have given her one of their skis? That was out of the question for her.

The most interesting part of coaching a team like this is the variety of goals each skier sets. This actually helps team cohesion as respect for each other increases.

Goal setting. Yes, some are quite open about it, but its okay if they remain secretive. We have alpine-oriented skiers who like the physical challenge of nordic skiing. We have outdoor lovers, paddlers and bikers on the team who can go on and on all day long at a good pace. Nordic skiing fits the bill not only during the winter.

Parry Sound is a hockey town. Is this an issue? No, only if parents make one sport a priority. It’s simple. Let the kids decide, and let them do both. Specialization before age 16 is a fun killer.

Let me rephrase the question. Can a hockey player benefit from nordic training?

Yes. An example is when we practice nordic walking. It’s a mixture of skill and hard work and be assured, nordic walking can be just easy as in running zone 1. You can make it much harder if you go low and really engage core and all limbs. Zone 3 is no problem, if done in “Lappe” style. Higher heart rates are targeted in hill work.

Depending on their goals, they can reach the kind of fitness level only found in a year-round program.

In November we are in several phases to prepare for skiing on snow. Racing is just one more thing in all of this preparation. For some, it’s about meeting the medium term goals, for others the entire season is merely a test for bigger things to come.


No poles skiing is part of becoming aware of weight shift and many other “self checks”.

Equipment. Classic and skate – any condition rock skis, - better training skis, - best racing skis. Some have only one pair for each skiing style, or only one pair period. First and second year-on-the-team skiers have full access to a lot of our team equipment. Mainly racing skis. Later our skiers buy their own stuff. Two skiers are sponsored this year with Rossignol and OneWay. No free ride in our sport though, even if it’s a good deal, they still pay quite a bit for their stuff.

Technical clothing for all kinds of weather, we ski in almost anything. Races are only cancelled at -20 and colder. Rain, blowing snow, zero visibility ain’t no reason to call it.

Skiers need a lot of carbs for fuel, water in freeze proof bottles, before, during, and after training and racing. Each skier has a waxing kit they get to know well for training and racing at local races.

These kids will make exceptional coaches some day, if given a chance to lead.

Thanks to our parents, not only for getting our skiers to practice and racing, but also for dealing with most of the logistics required to attend events. Accommodations, registrations, travel, and lots of meetings, help with setting up at events, waxing, and much more. High five, folks!

This team is in its fifth year. Karen and Tim Johnson sponsored our first wax bench. That was an important boost of confidence for the young skiers that first year. We travelled all the way to Whitehorse, Yukon that year. Unforgettable memories.

If all goes well we shall return to those historic trails in 2016, famous for having hosted the famous Canadian Firth sisters many times.

You helped make that happen, Karen, Tim, and many others!

It takes a village to raise these kids, no kidding.

New this year in racing:

The Southern Ontario District Board of Directors are proud to introduce a new racing series for elementary, high school, college and university students. One of the distinguishing features of this racing series is that it is focused on having fun and skiing fast, without relying on fancy high end waxes. That’s why it’s called the SOD Paraffin Series – the only type of wax skiers will use for this racing series are the more basic paraffin waxes. Keeping it simple, and keeping it fun!

The Sounder is part of this, check our calendar.

Any questions? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

All events including Georgian Nordic events, school races, SOD, Ontario Cups,

University races, Masters events are regularly updated on the calendar.

Stay tuned!