World Cups and Ski Nationals, The Final Push

The last few weeks have been just as hectic as the earlier parts of the season! After being home from Europe for about two weeks, I flew over to Quebec City to race in my first World Cup. It happened that I was flying into one of the worst storms to hit Eastern Canada this year, so my flight from Montreal to Quebec was cancelled, forcing me to take a bus. The drive usually takes about two hours, but with the horrible roads I spent the whole night on the bus instead. 24 hours after leaving Kelowna I was finally in Quebec!

 

Walking around Quebec City after the storm.

Going into World Cup finals I understood that it was mainly for me to gain more international racing experience and to learn what it’s like to race with the fastest skiers in the world. Racing in front of fifty thousand or more spectators is something I am also not used to, definitely a shocker if you haven’t done it before!

Racing started in Quebec with skate sprints, which I was not fast enough to advance to the heats (obviously…). It was exciting to see another BC skier, Julien Locke skiing to 20th place!

 

Gareth Williams, telemark nordic, team canada, ccc ski
Skiing the last hill in the sprint qualifier at WC Finals. (Pic. Peter Collins)

The following day was the 15km classic mass start, I started the race well but slippy skis made it a very tough race for me. It was still amazing to be wearing the maple leaf in a World Cup race in my home country!

 

Struggling at the back of the race. (Pic. Peter Collins)

Races in Quebec finished with a 15km pursuit, I started in the wave along with anyone who was more than three and a half minutes behind after the first two stages of the mini-tour. Due to the glazed conditions on the track, it turned into a race of survival for me to deal with the pain in my shins for all four laps around the course.

 

Gareth Williams, Ski, telemark
Final pursuit race. (Pic. Peter Collins)

After the World Cup, I flew directly to Calgary to race at Ski Nationals in Canmore. Prior to Nationals this season I was not sure how tired I would be since I raced three races back-to-back in Quebec. I surprised myself in the 15km classic at Nationals and won the Jr. Men’s race despite feeling super tired. Conditions were far from amazing in the 15km as the Open men raced at 3 in the afternoon, super soft and slow!

 

Finishing a challenging 15km at Nationals. (Pic. James MacLean)

 

Gareth Williams, Telemark Nordic Club, CCC, Canada
Nationals 15km podium.

The sprint was tough for me as it was my fifth race in six days. My qualifier was decent but I didn’t have the speed in the heats so I raced to 7th place by winning the B-final!

After two days of rest I felt better about the 3okm, the final race of the season and my last race as a junior! The race split up fairly quickly and I skied three of the four laps on my own in some pretty soft and slow conditions. It felt great to finish the season with a win at Nationals! Despite missing the first race at Nationals I was still able to place first in the 1997 Aggregate, something I have never achieved until this season!

 

Gareth Williams
Skiing into the finish to take the win after a long 30km. (Pic. James MacLean)

 

Jr Men’s 30km podium.

Now that the season is over and the stress is off, I am looking forward to lots of spring skiing with all the snow in the Okanagan. I am already setting my sights on next season!

Thank you to everyone who made this season such a success for me, racing would not be possible without an amazing ski community.

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