Well, definitely, FASTER! I was volunteering at the finish line of the Nordic Ski races component of the Ontario Winter Games. It's on at Arrowhead Provincial Park, just north of Huntsville, today and tomorrow. Today was the sprints, and let me tell you, those kids are blazingly fast.
The race opened by running them up a hill. Now me, if I had to ski up that hill, I'd be dialing 9-1 at the bottom, because it would save me all sorts of time getting medical aid when I collapsed at the top, only needing to hit one more number... These whippersnappers RAN up it.
Arrowhead is the home of the Arrowhead Nordic Ski Club, and it is a world-class facility for nordic skiing. This park is smaller than Algonquin, but so conveniently located to the town of Huntsville that it draws a lot of action. Groomed hiking, skiing, snowshoeing and toboggan runs lure folks into the great outdoors. And so they should. It was great out there today.
Competitors were here from all over Ontario. Some of the busiest folks were those looking after ski preparation, the wizardry of waxing. Today's conditions ensured that the trails were very fast. We'll see what a drop in the temperature does for tomorrow's snow and the longer classic races! They're taking place in the morning, from 9.30 to noon, and if you want to come on down and watch, spectators are welcome, and there's no charge.
It takes a whole pile of folks to make an event such as this flow. This is the smiling crew who were recording the finishes of the race... (well, all except me, who was handling the camera, but you get the gist of it) and while that is a stressful job, when the skiers start to come very evenly matched, that serious side is no reason not to have a little fun. Before the first competitors, some of the judges helped us check out the timing -- do note that they have worked hard to emulate the skiers, thrusting forward the leading foot at the line, because the clock stops when the skier's toe hits that line.
It's a good thing we practised. You can see in the video clip just how close some of the finishes were! Why so many people? Well, back-up partly -- because it's important, and easy to miss the details. Because there were some, ahem, glitches, with the technological timing equipment, and those 'eyes on the ground' are crucial.
Congratulations to all the competitors. It was amazing to watch you blister round that course.
The rest of the Ontario Winter Games events take place in March. The ski portion had to happen early, because those pesky Olympics in Vancouver interfered with it... (said she, smiling) Maybe not this year in Vancouver, but for sure at a future winter Games, you're going to see some of the skiers that ripped up Arrowhead this weekend.