Guaranteed snow forecast for Nordic Ctr
In less than nine days, Canmore will have snow.
For the third year in a row, the Canmore Nordic Centre’s Frozen Thunder, a two-kilometre snow track, will be in place, offering cross-country ski enthusiasts the earliest opening in the West.
But this year, high performance athletes have reserved their own time on the icy piste and season pass holders will pay more to use early snow.
The snow track should be open to the public on Oct. 13, two days earlier than last year.
This year, Canadian national cross-country and biathlon teams have three-hour blocks each weekday morning between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. booked to ensure their athletes have access. The U.S. and Swiss national ski teams will also use Frozen Thunder this year.
“Frozen Thunder is meant primarily to be a training tool for high-performance athletes,” said Jamie Carpenter. “We’re making this decision to maintain public safety and maximize training.”
High performance athletes reach incredibly high speeds on the short course, and teams can maximize training on an open course.
While the frozen track is becoming more popular by the year, weekday mornings are traditionally the least popular times for the public to use Frozen Thunder.
“We’re seeing more congestion on Frozen Thunder and this is the first step to enhance the course,” said Carpenter, who added there are no plans to delve deeper into block booking for the trail. The public can still use the trails before 9 a.m., Carpenter said.
“This will have the least amount of disruption for the public,” Carpenter said.
Canmore Nordic Centre season pass holders are advised their tickets aren’t valid until mid-November, so they’ll be asked to purchase $10 adult day passes ($7 for youth and seniors) until then. Carpenter said the Nordic Centre needs to recoup costs on Frozen Thunder, which costs about $20,000 to create.
“Frozen Thunder costs money to maintain and we need to recoup some of those costs,” Carpenter said.
To turn Frozen Thunder into reality, thousands of cubic metres of snow is stored under massive sawdust piles over each summer. That snow is then spread across the track to a depth of 50 centimetres.
This year, the course should be two kilometres in length, 200 metres longer than last year. By late November, it will connect to World Cup courses, which kick off on Dec. 9.
Carpenter said the intention is to expand Frozen Thunder in future years, but club teams are happy with two kilometres for the time being. The distance is long enough for time trials and short biathlon races.
“Two kilometres is a useful distance. We can maintain this through the fall until the snow flies,” Carpenter said.
Own The Podium and WinSport have kicked in funding this year for Frozen Thunder, and high performance teams that want to use the new reserved blocks need to contact the national cross-country ski and biathlon teams.
In order to post comments on our web site, you must validate your email address. An email was sent to you when you registered that included an activation link. If you have not yet done so, please click on the link to activate your account.
If you did not receive your activation email, please click here to have it resent.