The end of July marked the halfway point of summer, a strange one to say the least.
After having to cancel our much-anticipated home National Championships, things have yet to return to normal and how things will look in the fall and more importantly the winter, have yet to be seen. April, May, and June had athletes training on their own and all of us learning about new technologies like Zoom, GoToMeeting, and Skip the Dishes. Virtual strength training, virtual yoga, and webinars were the new norm and finally, in late June we received clearance from ViaSport (Viasport oversees sport development in BC) that we could commence training as a group while following specific guidelines. A return to sport policy was put into practice and so far, things are proceeding extremely well. Our Junior race focussed athletes have been training as a group on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursdays, while our Masters HP athletes have been meeting on Wednesday evenings for double pole training on roller skis, followed up with some group intensity in Kal Park. Masters have also been meeting regularly for evenings of cycling in Armstrong. Our biathletes are back to shooting on Wednesday and Saturdays with strict protocol to adhere to as more equipment is needed in their environment.
While things are operating differently I believe the athletes are in better form than they were at the same time last season and next week’s second round of testing will confirm my suspicions.
As COVID has caused us to look inward into how we are all conducting ourselves, it provided some challenges in hosting traditional training camps. Changes needed to occur in order for camps to happen. Sovereign recently returned from our second annual Cathedral Camp that operated in the style of the family unit this year. Athletes had to tent, cook, and congregate with their family while the daily training environment allowed them to be physically active and socially engaged. Day 1 saw 48 Sovereigners make quick work of the 16km from the staging area up to 1500m to our camping at either Quiniscoe or Lake of the Woods situated at 2050m! Day 2 followed the Diamond and Rim Trails taking in the Devil’s Woodpile, Smokey the Bear, and the Giant Cleft amassing in 22km of hiking with close to 1200m vertical. Day 3 and the group was off to the Box Car loop totaling 17km and close to 1100m vertical. Day 4 was the inevitable 16km hike out of Cathedral Provincial Park back down to the staging area to say goodbye to all of our hiking pals. Cathedral camp was a huge success with lots of laughs, mountain lake swimming, fishing, smores, blisters, bug bites, and no wifi!! It was extremely rewarding seeing the comradery amongst the Sovereign athletes but the change in fitness from last season has been remarkable. Things look good for the winter…..fitness-wise.
Next up, cycle camp. Athletes will endure 200km in the saddle and ride from Coldstream to Penticton via the gravel roads and the KVR. Stay tuned for the next update on this wild adventure.
On a winter programming note, while the goal is to grow the number of participants in our winter programs, a cap has been placed on all of our Skill Development Programs for the upcoming season to keep things manageable amidst COVID concerns. Safety is paramount and remains our number one priority and we attest to offer programs to our members in a safe environment.
This cap on program numbers may be lifted should things make a turn for the better and things return back to normal. As registration is limited and if you have yet to sign up please follow the link to do so: https://zone4.ca/register.asp?id=23896&lan=1&cartlevel=1
All in all, while we’ve had some hurdles thrown at us, it’s a good thing we all know how to jump! I remain optimistic for the winter ahead and while things may look and feel different than what we traditionally may have known, away from the lodge, skiing remains skiing…..beauty in motion, gliding amongst the white giants, enjoyment from ear to ear.
Stay healthy everyone.