The Mount Lorne Classic; what an awesome ski race.

On trails used by caribou as much as any skier, the course was fast and winding. Skiing those trails takes me back to when I was five years old. Dave Brook would set the track and I’d race to keep up with my peers, shuffling down the track as fast as I could. Those were my stomping grounds back then.

I’d like to think they still are, although David Greer stomped me pretty good in this year’s race. But no matter who gets stomped, at the Mount Lorne Classic you ski for fun and for the food and festivities afterwards. A ski race, bowl[s] of chili and a game of hockey: I’ll call that a good day. It’s always special to come home and just ski for fun.

It was great to be home for a rest after our long trip out east. It gave me a chance to catch my breath because Westerns are just around the corner.

But then it was time to get serious again.

Feeling rested but not too rested, I boarded the Air North flight to Edmonton, en route to Grande Prairie, Alberta. By the time we stopped in Calgary, landed in Edmonton and drove five hours north to Grande Prairie, I couldn’t help but think of the places I could have traveled in the time it took to get there.

We rolled up to the Super 8 that evening and squished into our greasy hotel room for the night. Thinking ahead, I brought my own cereal to avoid the waffle-breakfast. I love waffles, don’t get me wrong, but the Super 8 variety will ruin them for you.

But Super 8 isn’t all bad, in fact this one even had a waterslide that far exceeded my expectations.

Grande Prairie is more of an oil and gas town than a ski town, so I was surprised to find the trails quite nice. With a name like Grande Prairie you would also expect the trails to be flat. Not the case. The course was full of twisting downhills and steep climbs.

It punished me but I had some strong races and feel like I’m finally making up for a mediocre start to the season. In the classic race on February 23 I finished seventh overall and as the top U23 skier.

After three consecutive days of racing, I treated myself to a roast chicken and a pound of blue berries before the long drive back to Edmonton.

Killing time until our plane left, we had the opportunity to explore the town. While most of the team experienced the famed West Edmonton Mall, I felt right at home in Cabelas: a hunting, fishing and outdoor store the size of the Canada Games Centre. I think one of these would do quite well in Yukon.

When we arrived at the airport I found many familiar faces already waiting at the Air North gate. A smooth flight home and it was another successful race weekend in the bag.