After two years upended by COVID and arson, Dreadnaught Ski Racing has a massive season ahead this year, and it kicked off with a bang last week with 10 days of FIS racing.
“We have an incredibly dedicated Race Organizing Committee (ROC) that had put together an incredible year in 2022 which of course after all that planning came to an abrupt end with the tragic chair affair,” said Dreadnaught’s Donna Briggs.
“We all picked ourselves up and forged ahead to plan a stellar year in 2023 with four National Championships. We all are inspired by the athletes that attended the FIS event this year and many described it as a memorable time of their lives.”
Organizing a ski race of this calibre is a complex task with many moving pieces, requiring a huge amount of effort from a team of dedicated volunteers who can keep things on track regardless of whatever hurdles arise, such as the huge snowfall on Friday night.
“As I said to Ted Funston and inadvertently, to the many avid powder hounds in our community, you can thank us for the 40 centimetres, because of course it always snows when you plan a Downhill Race,” Briggs remarked. “Thankfully, Mother Nature held off on Friday, January 27 just enough for us to run DH Race 1 and then we all battled the heavy snow fall to pull off the Night SL that evening.”
The snow made for a pretty interesting night slalom, but as the snow tapered off, the athletes and volunteers all pitched in to slip and shovel the snow off the track and get it back into firm, icy racing shape.
“This is an annual event that the FIS athletes really look forward to every year as it is one of the only Night Slaloms in Canada so we are so happy we were able to keep the show on the road,” Briggs said. “After the big snowfall athletes were treated to an incredible powder morning that many commented was the best powder day of their life….at a downhill race!”
She added that without the effort of all the coaches, the course crew, the expertise of Chief of Race Bruce Holliday and the resources of Kimberley Alpine Resort, getting the other downhill races done would have been near on impossible.
A lot of “sweat equity,” as Briggs put it, was required to move the majority of the safety nets to allow for grooming, before the nets were put back in place.
The event was met with a lot of positive feedback from all those involved. KAR is a great venue for these types of races, and the Dreadnaught run is one of very few that allow for downhill speed training. Briggs said the number of repetitions every athlete was able to get, somewhere between 12 and 15, provides great confidence building and creating foundations for future racing.
“Many of the athletes had neither trained nor raced downhill over the past couple of years due to COVID so this event was embraced by teams across the country enthusiastically,” Briggs said. “The smiles on those athletes faces after a couple of hard years through COVID, that is why we do it!”
Briggs added that Dreadnaught is very grateful to everyone who made this event such a success, including the volunteers, photographers, attendees, the resort and the City of Kimberley.
The same ROC plus a handful of new volunteers are now preparing to host the FIS Masters Cup and Canadian Masters Alpine Championships.
“For our Chief of Race, Bruce Holliday, our Race Administrator, Phyllis Kennedy and our TD, Sylvie Lauzon, have their challenges as we head into this race as combining a FIS Race with a National Race along with managing three categories of racers due to gender and age groupings creates some very interesting dynamics both inside and outside the fences,” Briggs said.
“As this is a test event for a future World Criterium of Masters in 2024 all the i’s must be dotted and t’s crossed in order to host 150 to 200 international racers next year. This year we are pleased with the field of 85 racers and delighted to see in addition to a good Canadian Contingent we have representation from Chile, Switzerland, Austria and the USA.”
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