Frozen Thunder is ready

I drove over to the Canmore Nordic Centre just before sundown to see what had transpired today. Tracksetter Paul was just exiting the Pisten-Bully after making 13 rounds. The finished job was beautiful.

Frozen Thunder is groomed and trackset

Frozen Thunder is groomed and trackset and heading straight for the Three Sisters

I expected to see the corduroy, but I wasn’t expecting to see an excellent track as well. Fortunately I threw my skis in the car, so I was able to GPS the track by skiing it. How wonderful to be back on snow!

I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t wait. A group of four skiers from Kimberley observed my ski sleeves at the entrance to Frozen Thunder and decided to get in some skating tonight. They drove for three-and-a-half hours after school just to be here for the entire weekend and get in as much skiing as possible.

Three young skiers and their coach from Kimberley, BC couldn't wait to try it out

Three young skiers and their coach from Kimberley, BC couldn’t wait to try it out

I used my zero skis and had reasonably good grip and excellent glide considering the soft snow and especially considering all the extra pounds I added over the summer.

There will be a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open Frozen Thunder at 8:45 a.m. with ESRD minister Kyle Fawcett.

Smoothing out the chunky snow

Smoothing out the chunky snow

I stopped in earlier in the day to get some photos of the snowcat working the big chunks of snow into a smooth surface. Paul says it takes about eight passes just to get the snow to a point where he can start shaping it and preparing for the final grooming which takes about another 5 rounds. He said the snow will be groomed and trackset again early Saturday morning.

Victor from Thunder Bay is here with a contingent of 11 skiers

Victor from Thunder Bay is here with a contingent of 11 skiers

Also while I was there I had the pleasure of meeting Victor from Thunder Bay who rolled into town with his van and trailer full of ski gear for the eleven skiers who  will be training here for an extended period of time. Welcome!

To ski on Frozen Thunder you require a day pass or a Frozen Thunder season pass. Saturdays and Sundays are open to everyone all day. The track is reserved for high performance athletes between 9 a.m. and noon on weekdays.  Click the Canmore Nordic Centre ad on the sidebar for more details. Okay, just one more time, I’ll give you the direct link here.

Tracksetter Paul after a hard day's work in the snowcat. A job well done!

Tracksetter Paul after a hard day’s work in the snowcat. A job well done!

On Oct. 24, Frozen Thunder will host the first classic sprint race of the year, beginning at 9 a.m. The race tends to attract many of the best sprinters in North America. On Monday, Oct. 27, a 10 km and 15 km distance race will draw many of the country’s top skiers and biathletes.

Distance

Lauren from Red Deer is thrilled to know this will be her last day on roller skis

Lauren from Red Deer is thrilled to know this will be her last day on roller skis

If you ski the entire loop without taking any detours onto the two spurs, it’s 1.8K. If you add in the Salt Lake spur and the biathlon spur, your distance will be 2.2K. I have a notion that we might still see some distance added to the Salt Lake trail. I can’t be sure so don’t hold me to it.

One improvement which I spotted right away is the intersection where the main trail meets the Salt Lake trail. It will create a smoother flow of traffic and be safer as well. You won’t have to come to a screeching halt at the bottom of the big hill to turn left onto Salt Lake; you can just glide right on through.

2 Comments:

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  1. It’s great to hear of your first taste of ‘Thunder’. Congrats!

    I can palpably feel the excitement and anticipation that your blog readers must be experiencing. Lots of sanding, scraping, waxing, and checking of weather forecasts is in order.

    Now it will be interesting to see how long it is before the first report from Moraine Lake Road.

  2. I’ve always been amazed at how most of the tracksetters in these parts have a name beginning with “J.” Jeff at Ribbon Creek, Jody and James at PLPP, John and Jeff at Lake Louise. Imagine my disbelief when Paul said his middle name is James!

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