Rossland is a small ski town in British Columbia – or logging town, I’m not sure which prevails.

I’ve raced here once before and it went well, so I was looking forward to another good weekend of racing.

I was off to a good start in the sprint. With a mixed field of U.S. skiers, Yukoners were the top two Canadians (Graham Nishikawa in 3rd, and myself in 6th). I was happy with 6th but would have been a lot happier standing on the podium.

The six of us in the final all finished within a second.

I recovered as best I could from the sprint day and hit the trails the following day for the 15 km Classic. I held on to the top 10 throughout the race, until I came around for my last 5 km loop.

I barreled down the 45-degree hill and landed on my stomach and face, knocking the wind out of me. Already breathing hard, I gasped in vain for air. Struggling to get back into it, I still finished a decent 14th and was satisfied with the overall result.

After touring around B.C. in the early season races I was glad to finally be back in The Horse.

I got sick over Christmas holidays, just like I always do. The tingling in the back of my throat that I felt in Rossland turned into a trying-to-swallow-a-tennis-ball feeling on the way home. I rode in the middle seat of a minivan for the 7-hour drive from Rossland to Vancouver after Sunday’s race. That could have been harder than the race itself.

I sat out the Don Sumanik races in Whitehorse while I waited out my strep throat. It’s always hard to not race, especially local races, because they’re so fun.

Instead, I filled my time with the usual Christmas activities: getting a Christmas tree, making a gingerbread house, playing hockey, and stuffing cardboard in front of radiators. Before I knew it I was healthy again.

As everyone probably knows from shoveling driveways, Whitehorse got nearly double our average snowfall for December. My job over the holidays, apart from shoveling my driveway, was grooming the ski trails at Mt. Lorne.

It was hard to keep up with the snow, but at least I managed to do them once a week. Each time I groom the trails I get to burn a lap of the 10 km right after I groom, and if I am lucky I see a couple of caribou. When they’re stomping all over my freshly tack-set trails though, I’d just as soon not see them.

After a good break from the usual racing routine, I’m back in Canmore, Alberta, trying to qualify for the Under-23 World Championships, or who knows, maybe the Olympics.