An elite athlete competing in the sport of bi

An elite athlete competing in the sport of biathlon: nordic ski racing combined with marksmanship

Monday, November 17, 2014

50 to subzero

Today is our first day off since arriving here in Canmore on Thursday so I've finally got some down time to upload pictures and put together an update.

Eva rolling around on the floor while watching us pack. I'm going to miss those little fluff balls!

Shortly before leaving Maine I joined the technologically advanced and got an iPhone. I've had great fun playing with it and have captured some great photos so far. If you had an iPhone and like taking pictures, download the Camera+ app. It's worth the three dollars. Most of the photos in this blog came off my phone.


My trip out (with Seth and Kelsey) turned into quite the extended and frustrating adventure. We left Fort Kent on Tuesday and made the 5 hour drive to Portland for a morning flight on Wednesday. Wednesday dawned calm and incredibly foggy, yielding a couple hours worth of delays before they finally canceled our flight down to Newark. Turns out it was canceled due to combination of a pilot who didn't have enough experience landing on only instruments and a plane with a guidance system not accurate enough to (be guaranteed to) find the runway in such conditions. Maybe I'm glad they canceled it….

After much hassle trying to reclaim our checked bags (all nine of them) we rebooked out of Boston for Thursday morning and got a hotel for the night. The trip to Boston (via bus from Portland) was smooth and easy. They bring you right to the gate and you don't have to hassle with parking or navigating that lovely morning rush hour traffic that we don't have in Fort Kent. Our flight from Boston went out right on time, putting us into Chicago for a scheduled four hour layover that turned into six before we finally boarded for our final leg to Calgary.

LLBean in Freeport….a great place to go chill out for a while when your flights get canceled! 

Artsy shot from the Chicago airport.

Chicago has a hydroponic garden upstairs that made for a sunny spot to sit on a cloudy day. 

After a half hour or so of waiting they finally shoved us off from the gate and toward the runway. Then we sat. And sat. And sat. And when we finally moved it was a 180 degree turn back toward the gate to get de-iced since we'd sat too long on the tarmac allowing a brief snow squall to stick flakes on the wings.

When we made the 180 back to the gate….Kelsey wasn't psyched. 

Another half hour at the gate and we FINALLY left Chicago for a smooth (I hate flying so this was a relief) and dark flight up to Calgary. Once in Calgary we had an hour long wait for our shuttle to Canmore, then an hour drive between us and a bed. A long, long travel day (or two, or three if you count the drive from Fort Kent).

When we got up in Canmore on Friday….quite the transition to winter!

We knew it was going to be cold in Canada but leaving the airport building in Calgary was a bit of a shock. Unsure of the accuracy of our iPhones, there's still a debate about how cold it actually was, but my phone said -17F on Friday morning when we got up here in Canmore. Quite the shock from the 50 degrees we had last weekend for the Lobster Roll race on North Haven Island. Needless to say, I had almost all of my clothes on for our first ski that day. Thankfully the sun has been incredibly consistent so the temps have been manageable for the most part. Today, tomorrow and Wednesday we're actually supposed to have really warm weather (35-40 F) but I'm sitting in the nordic center (their internet is much more consistent that at our hotel) right now and the people skiing by outside are bundled right up so I'm guess it's not that warm yet!

In Canmore you can store your frozen turkey in the back of your truck…

So far training has gone really well. My first day I did one session classic in the morning and then took to my skate stuff in the afternoon. My new Alpina boots are awesome…no having to adjust them this year. Perfect right out of the box! I've only skied once on my new skis since we had them stone ground so we're (and by "we" I mean Seth) are getting them saturated before i use them too much. They were great although two of the three pairs are for warmer temperatures than we have had so far. Maybe they'll feel nicer tomorrow!

Snowmaking on a clear (COLD) sunny day at the Canmore Nordic Center. They have upwards of 60 snow guns here so when it's cold they absolutely churn out the snow. From my view in the lodge today I can already see new terrain that wasn't open when we trained yesterday…can't wait to ski tomorrow!

The first day we were here Casey jumped in with the Canadians for his second race of the season and third day on snow. He drove a family truck up from his home in Washington so he's been here two days long than me. 

Brian and I were psyched with the sun and snow….can you tell? 

Casey taking a turn on the penalty loop. He shot (1,1 - two total misses out of ten shots taken) in his second race…pretty strong start to the season! 


Camera+ at work: the top shot (out our bedroom window in Fort Kent) hasn't been played with. The bottom shot was after I toyed with it in Camera+. Fun, huh? 

A hat I made for myself right before we left Maine. Rumor has it that our new MWSC suits from Borah will have some pink on the women's version so I added pink with the blues to make it MWSC colors! 

One had underway already here in Canmore...

Seth testing out a sample suit from Borah in the kitchen (he did ski in it before dinner)…dinner was aerodynamically efficient! 

I am the proud owner of a season's pass here at CNC….and I've been renamed. 

The Inukshuk right outside our hotel in town. These supposedly line the coast in the far north as  safety beacons to boats offshore. It was also a kind of symbol for the Vancouver Olympics in 2010. You can't tell from this photo, but this guy is probably about 12 feet tall! 

My favorite bridge in Canmore…I'm pretty sure I take 10-15 photos of this thing every time I come here. 

A panorama taken from inside the nordic center.

A stairway connecting segments of the public walking trails to the biking and ski trails.

The Bow River. 

Looking South from the gorgeous bridge. 

The local kids love playing on the piles of manmade snow before the groomers push them out at night. 

Looking southeast before morning training. 

Brian atop one of the snow piles after training yesterday.

The biathlon range with the Canadian Rocky Mountains in the background. 

Yesterday we did strength at a gym in town…turns out it's quite the hotspot for indoor climbing. 

Yesterday was a busy day on Frozen Thunder (their name for the early season trail made from snow saved over the summer months). On the weekends the trail is open all day to the public so our first set of intervals involved some dodging of moving obstacles! 

Stay tuned for more updates! 

I've been posting pictures on twitter (@KatrinaMHowe) and instagram (katreeenamarie) daily. 
Check there for more regular news! 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Dermatone - ✓

I have less than a week now in my own bed before leaving for a five week stint on the road that won't find me home in the East until just before Christmas.

Blog entries on two of my past trips to Canmore can be read here and here.

We leave next Wednesday for three+ weeks at our first stop in Canmore, AB. Canmore is just west of Calgary, host of the 1988 Winter Olympics. It's a gorgeous area that I've been lucky enough to visit three times already, this year will make four. The nordic center in Canmore has a fleet of snow guns and saves snow from one year to the next in a giant pit covered with wood chips so skiing should be good right from the start of our stay. At the end of our time in Canmore we'll do two weekends of NorAm biathlon races as tune-up events for US IBU Cup trials in Grand Rapids, the next destination on our trip.

Canmore…just west of Calgary out in Alberta. Canadian cowboy hat country. 

Grand Rapids. I've been there so many times now for biathlon that I'm not sure how many times that is! We go there at least once a year for trials in December but on occasion we've been back in March for US Nationals. It's not my favorite place to go, probably on account of it always being frigid and during the darkest time of year, but I've always had some of my best races there so that's a plus. We'll be in Grand Rapids for ten days that will culminate in four trials races before we head home just in time to catch the shortest daylight of the year and celebrate Christmas with family.

Grand Rapids, MN. Home of hot dish and hockey players. 

While I'm looking forward to getting on snow and the excitement of being somewhere different for a while, the prospect of packing just two bags (a ski bag and part of a duffle bag - my rifle lives in the other part) with everything I need is as daunting as ever. I really despise packing but hopefully I won't forget anything and then when I come home, the opportunity to wear something different for the first time in five weeks will be as exciting as ever. Now….time to do some laundry and start pulling out those items that are absolutely necessary for the frigid weather we're sure to have in Canmore and Grand Rapids.

Dermatone - 
Boot covers - 
Buff - 
Puffy jacket -