My first Cookie Race(as a spectator)

I’ve been at 12 Cookie races, but this one almost killed me, and I didn’t even have my skis on. Watching from the sidelines was difficult. As much as I could identify with the painful looks on the skiers’ faces as they climbed the steep hill at Boulton Creek, I would have gladly changed places with any one of them.

Jon Arne Enevoldsen, winner of the Kananaskis Ski Marathon(Great CookieRace)

Admittedly, I enjoyed watching hundreds of Cookie racers having a great time in excellent conditions and I took over 200 photos, but it was agonizing to leave home without any skis in my vehicle.

It was fun, however, being able to see the racers as they arrived at different check points along the way. I enjoyed watching lots of familiar faces being stuffed with delicious, mouth-watering cookies. I’ve always been too breathless to eat cookies during the race, so I made up for 11 years of no cookies by being a glutton today.

Congratulations to Jon Arne Enevoldsen on winning the Kananaskis Ski Marathon, finishing the 42K event in 2:18:09. Jon Arne and Gord Jewett were neck and neck at each checkpoint. Somewhere in the last 10K, Jon Arne must have turned on the jets to win the gold medal, as Gord finished second, 32 seconds behind. The fastest female skier was Pauline Caprini in 2:35:52. Congratulations to everyone who raced today. See all the results on Zone4.

Was the snow fast or slow today? What wax did you use? Did the new snow on Pocaterra and Lynx slow you down? Was there pandemonium at the start? I would love to hear a first-hand account of your race. Please leave a comment so I can live vicariously.

I’ll eventually get more photos downloaded, so check back later. There’s a good chance that you’re in one of them.

Here’s a few for now…

Here’s the remainder

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If you’re planning a ski trip to West Bragg Creek, make sure you read the trip reports, especially the update from Barry. I’m indebted to everyone for all the good trip reports while I’m incapacitated. Only two more weeks to go.

This snow and cooler weather bodes well for good trail conditions. So far, about 5 cm has fallen in Canmore(to 7 pm). Lake Louise reports 10 cm last night.


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  1. First of all, thanks to all volunteers!

    Second of all, The wax I used:

    Grip: Seemed to be obvious VR40 didn’t really work for me before the race, so the friend of mine gave the following: SkiGo 0-6 covered with Target -2-8. That worked quite well, although I still had some slips.

    Glide: That’s the sad part as I didn’t have time to wax my skis the night before, and I used the skis from Nipika Loppet. I guess they had the remainings of something like Toko HF blue (-10-30) and some Toko Powder for fresh snow. But to say the truth, my glide wasn’t good at all…
    I was suffering on Whiskey Jack and Tyrwitt a lot. But I guess that was mostly due to the body not the wax : ))

  2. As someone involved as a volunteers with the Cookie Race for many years, I can say that all of the positive feedback in comments here is very much appreciated. There over 100 volunteers needed to make this race happen, and they contribute well over 1,000 hours of time.

    With regard to fees, I can confirm that over the past five years the event has never generated in any one year any more than perhaps 2,000 or 3,000 dollars of profit – hardly a major “fundraiser” given the effort involved. I do not know the financial picture for 2012.

    Lastly, in continuing the fee comparison that others have contributed to, note that the Whistler Payak loppet loppet (50km) has $50 advance and $65 late; while the Gatineau Loppet (51km) varies from $85 advance up to $130 late fee. So the Cookie Race ($60 advance, $75 late) really falls somewhere in the middle, and remember that almost everything needed for the Cookie Race has to be transported from Calgary.

  3. Bob, you covered the “big” race very well, but there is a whole other aspect of it that you did not mention. My favorite part of the Cookie Race is how much fun the kids have! My kudos go out to Foothills for always doing such a great job with the races for children and youth. I especially love the Bunny Rabbit race. Those little kids race with so much heart and enthusiasm! Then the after race activities can’t be beat – those huge piles of snow create a wonderful natural playground. How often do our city kids today get a chance to play in snow like that with dozens of other kids? My hat goes off also to all those youth coaches who gave up their time, and their chance to race in order to wax skis for the kids and get them ready for their races, and then put up with being “snowed” by all of their young skiers in the post race snowball fight! One of the things that makes cross-country skiing so great is that it is an activity that can involve the whole family! Many thanks to all of the volunteers!

    Carol, at the next race, get some photos of the kids and email them to me. -Bob

  4. I used two layers of Swix LF6 glide wax (recommended by Dave at the Norseman Ski Shop), then two layers of VR40 followed by two layers of V40 (recommended by Blaine Penny). This combination worked exceptionally well. Although, I did get passed a couple times on the descents (I raced on entry level skis again this year which likely accounts for slower descents), but when the undulating hills ran out (Packers) I was able regain ground.

    I’d never have imagined XC skiing would be so fun (last year being my first season on XC skis) and this week I’m picking up my first set of racing skis. I’m looking forward to a mid week ski on the new racers and next year’s Cookie Race!

    Great to see you out there Bob and many thanks to the volunteers.

  5. I agree that the registration fee is too high for the Cookie Loppet. In spite of it being my favorite race venue, I decided not to register this year because of the exorbitant ($60 for a loppet?!) fee. It was only after a lot of cajoling from my Banff Ski Runners teammates and my need to do some racing to get ready for the Canadian Masters in Golden in March that I caved. Many people that I talked with in the weeks before the race complained about the high registration fee and several, like Peter, weren’t on the starting line because of it. I sincerely hope that the Foothills club will reconsider this…. Any higher and I’m definitely out.

  6. Many thanks to all the volunteers that made the event happen. It was a great day, with wonderful conditions. Thanks for the pics SkierBob!

  7. Awesome day yesterday. My son did the 3k Jackrabbit, my wife and daughter did the 15k tour. Based on her age Karen should have been in the 5k Jackrabbit, but she (a) doesn’t like to compete and (b) thought 5k was way too short to be fun. Perhaps by the time she’s actually supposed to do the 15k, she’ll be tackling the 42.

    Highlight of the day – being surrounded by so many totally happy people, and getting to see every skier (I was a course marshal at the 3k turn-around). The massive Jackrabbit and youth program speaks volumes for the bright future of the greatest sport on earth.

    Worst part of the day – skiing out to the 3k turn-around, and not being able to just continue on…….

  8. You are asking about the wax. This area usually has cold and dry snow so you are better off with colder waxes than you might think. I used vr40 covered with a thin layer of vr30. I only had a total of 4-5 layers. However, to be able to ski on this combination you would need a proper technique. For the glide you need a lot colder wax than a 7 from Swix. I used the coldest I have in my wax box and I probably had the fastest skis out there.
    Jon Arne

    We appreciate the waxing advice and it’s always welcome. Nobody can argue with the results, congrats on the win. How far from the finish did you pull away from Gord? Did you let him break trail all the way? :)-Bob

    • Gord and I worked together all the time. He had softer kick wax and a more solid kick going up plus he is a stronger climber than me. So he pulled all the hills. I did most of the work on the flats and downhills. During the last climb we agreed to sprint for the finish and I went pretty much as soon as we came up the last climb and back on the Pocaterra trail. I was able to get a little gap so he lost the draft and then pull away double poling on the flats. I had a hard time staying with him climbing and he let me stay with him knowing I would glide him in shortly after the climb anyway. This way we were able to help each other and get away from the rest. We even waited for each other during feeding as well.

  9. I agree that the Cookie Race entry fee is too high. $75 – are you kidding me? I was thinking of entering, but not at that price (also not at the early bird “deal” of $60). This takes nordic ski racing to the same cost per day as alpine skiing and golf. Just for comparison, here are the entry fees for some other local loppets – Nipika $45, Lake Louise to Banff $49, Rocky Mtn Ski Marathon $25, Lake Louise $35 early $45 late, Western Canadian Masters $35 early $45 late. Way to go Foothills for breaking the $50 barrier. I know the organizing clubs use the loppets as fund raisers but this is too much and will only serve in keeping casual recreational racers like me away (or maybe that’s the plan).

    • I’m not going to pretend that I know why Foothills chose the (late) $75 fee, as I think this is considerably more than it cost last year, but I need to do my homework BEFORE I post anything on this as the KSM carries additional costs that other loppets simply do not. How this influenced the pricing out this year, I do not know. But, if Peter Thomas is going to list fees for ‘some other’ local loppets, then surely he should have listed the 2012 costs for the Canadian Birkebeiner in Edmonton … the largest participaction event in Western Canada. They have a staggered (three part) fee system, such that: 55-km = $70/ $85/$95 and the 31-km race is:

    • Peter, before you complain about race costs you should join the organizing committee of a large event like this and learn where the money is spent. I was Chief of Course for the Cookie Race for several years and trust me Foothills is not taking money to the bank. The fact is that there is no other race like the Cookie Race run in such a prestigious and remote location in all of Canada. Increasing costs are a fact of life.

    • As those involved in other endurance sports will attest (cycling, running, triathlons, etc.), race fees in Calgary are high all around.

      XC skiers should consider themselves fortunate that their races have not been taken over by profit-oriented ‘promotion companies’ (yet) – in which little money returns to the feeder training programs/clubs. Foothills is extra-fortunate to have a solid and enthusiastic volunteer pool.

      Chalk it up to increased participant expectations and the associated costs of fuel, permits, individual timing (chips vs. stopwatches), insurance, medics, prizes, swag, internet registration hosting, course marking, grooming, food, race support etc., etc.

      $60 for 2.5 – 4 hours of (42km) racing ($0.33/min – $0.25/min) is decent value compared to $40 to run a 40-min 10K ($1/min) or $50 to race a 45-min crit or $255 for the Calgary 70.3 Half-Ironman (which doesn’t require a $125K Piston Bully groomer).

      Not to mention the relative inexpense and long-life of decent XC ski equipment compared to shoes, TT bikes and wetsuits.

  10. Thank you volunteers!
    Completed my third 15 km tour. I used green skigo lf for glide and vr 40 for kick. The waxes worked well. My best memories are the fellow racers:
    -the women who was nervous because she was in the front row (no need she won!).
    -racing with a member of Kimberly team. An 11 year old that made me faster and made my race so much fun. I have seen the future and she wears orange.
    -the volunteer who took off my timing chip. I was spent.

    Another great Cookie Race!

  11. Cookie Monster Report –
    1) GREAT volunteer effort. I tried to thank all the officials and helpers along the 24km route and they appreciated it. don’t think enough people thank them? haven’t done the event in 10yrs but I have to say it was very well organized and the results/awards taken care of quickly.
    2) GREAT seeing Ski Bob as I started my Packers climb. Had a short chat as I passed and gave me a mental boost. Thanks for the support! (and 2 photos)
    3) Was the snow fast or slow today? What wax did you use? *LF7 glide w/ V45 kick. V45 ended up being the wrong choice – too much grip. Might have made a marginal 1-2 min diff on the course. Talking to Lifesport waxers about 80% of the time (over last 10yrs) they use a V30/V40 layering mix.
    4) Did the new snow on Pocaterra and Lynx slow you down? Groomers had been at work during the night (thankyou!) but still some 3/4″ fresh snow. Back in the touring group after all the racers had packed everything down it was fine! Coming down Poc. towards the finish the headwind was strong and cold. Brrr. didn’t help any as I was TOTALLY spent and bonking hard from top of Pocaterra.
    5) Was there pandemonium at the start? In the 24km Touring div when the tracks converged there was a small smash-up derby (5-6 folks) but I didn’t hear any yells. I was past that quickly anyways. Moreso it was a few folks who self-seeded to a too-fast time and held a bunch of us back for the first 2-3km as they wouldn’t clear. Turned out (for me) to be a blessing as the slower start was great after being super sick earlier this week and on antibiotics.
    6) Parting comment: $75 for touring? really? I realize it’s a fundraising event but that price tag is too high especially w/ no awards.
    7) XC skiing… what a great sport! love it! Good for the whole family and any age and fitness level. Just wish COP would have more facilities for us locals, and Bragg Creek trails weren’t endangered.

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