Sunday, 14 February 2016

Master's World Cup 2016 Vuokatti, Finland

A group of us headed out of Kelowna on Alaska air bound for Seattle. Going through customs , Super Dave was pulled over and given the third degree. Some wax residue on my hands must have set off the detector because pretty soon he was in a room with 2 guards stripping down. Not a good start for a ski competition. From here, we flew to Iceland where we barely made our connection and then off to Helsinki. Caught the 737 to Kijanni and from here, it was about an hour bus ride to our place. Some snow on the ground and it felt wintery(-5C-10C) but during the competition, temps would hover around zero for a week.

This is our room just outside of Vuokatti. There are 3 apartments in this one block. Very nice wood finishing and everyone of course has a sauna.


Typical double bed. Kinda cozy.

Upstairs loft for kids. Pretty steep stairs.

Here is Arne one of our waxers stocking up on food for the next few days as all of our rooms have kitchen units. 

Pat mixing up a special champions breakfast with secret ingrediants only known to the Finns.

Here is Bruce getting overflow ice cleaned from his boot by Arne. Our accomodations are 4 km's away from the main stadium and skiing on the lake is about the fastest way to get there. We have rented a car for shuttling, but most people prefer to ski.

There is a downhill area in this Vuokatti tourist area which is strange for such a flat country. It is only 250' vertical and our race course goes up most of this elevation gain. One thing about Finland, because of the fact that it is fairly far north, Vuokatti being just south of the Arctic Circle,
 there are always lots of lights on when it is dark.

Sherry with her big pack skiing to the stadium on her first day. Most folks are kinda burnt out after flying through all of these time zones.

Mike"the Bullet" Bell and Bill one of our waxers, talk about strategy on race day.

Bill and Arne hard at work setting up the wax room.

Looks like the boys have the wax room all setup and are working on the training skis.

A shot of the stadium.

Here is Cindy from Bear Valley CA. The wax room is in a bomb shelter. Finland shares a border with Russia and there have been times in the past where there has been bad blood between these two neighbours.

Start of Day 1.

Pat in her first race which is the 15km classic. She will take the first of her 2 gold medals.

Pat at the presentation ceremony. She trains hard and it pays off with a fair bit of success Having not being beaten in a classic race since she started the MWC racing in 2011 is quite the statement especially winning in a Nordic country like Finland.

The group having an evening supper social with of course, way too much red wine.

Arne and Bill walking into the ski tunnel used year round at Vuokatti. I think it is around 1 km long. All of the national teams and others come here to train.

An outside party around the the fire at our place on the lake near Vuokatti. We invited a bunch of others and cooked up a lot of wieners washed down with a lot of beer.

Pat receiving her second gold medal in the 30km classic race

Pat close to finishing the 5 km classic part of the relay giving her team a more than 2 minute head start.

Here is the silver medal team, (l-r) Sheila from Canmore, lois from Whitehorse, Pat from Sovereign, Maureen from Sovereign.
Not quite in the medals but the men put in a great effort. All  are from BC.

The end of competition is in the big sports hall. There was a banquet, medal ceremony and a dance after.

The gang in our wax group before the food comes out.
Some of the small Finnish delicacies being served to us starving athletes.
The group is waiting for the bus to take us to Kajanni where we will board a jet to take us to Helsinki for an overnight stay and then for some of us back to Canada while others will continue on with some extra travels. Looks like a bunch of refugees.
A bus has taken us to our hotel where a bunch of athletes are waiting to register.

Pat Maloney is waiting for the flight back home in the Helsinki airport. We are flying with Iceland air and we will change planes in Reykavik. 

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Joss Mountain Fire Lookout Hike Sept./2015

A nice warm sunny weekend in September has us hiking up to Mt. Joss fire lookout. We have been in the area for a number of years but until Shane and Leah suggested that we hike up to this old 1920'ish lookout, it hasn't been on our radar. Shane and Leah stayed overnight at the trailhead in their new to them Bigfoot truck camper. I remember when 32 years ago we got our first Frontier truck camper and travelled across canada. The FSR road leading up to the trailhead is not far from Three Valley Gap.

Leah happy after spending the first night in their 9.5 Bigfoot truck camper.
We drove from Vernon in the truck, picked them up and started driving up the mountain on a rough logging road.

Looks like trouble. A few trees across the road. Decided to park the truck here as the trailhead was only a 10 minute walk up ahead. We could have pulled the trees out of the way with a chain but there was no reason.

Pat and Ruudie starting up the trail on a crisp morning in the mountains.

Our first taste of snow. Somewhere up above on those rocks ahead is the lookout.
Not too much snow as the lookout comes into view.

The snow is starting to build up as we climb up the ridge to the top of the mountain. We have come up in running shoes.

Sun shines through the clouds as we make our way up to the lookout. The trail we are on is fairly recent starting much higher at the top of a logging block. The original horse trail started on the other side of the valley in the 1920's and was a much longer trail.

All stonework base. What a beauty. Most of the newer ones are all made of wood. Although almost all of the fire lookouts have been decommissioned, you can still hike up to where most are still standing and take in the great views they all had of the surrounding areas.

Ruudie seems to be enjoying the coolness of the snow. 1921 says the new/old sign. They had done some renos on the look out to preserve the history of this area.
Leah and Shane checking out the guest book and a writeup of the history of the look out.

Looking down at a valley coming in from near Three Valley Gap. Shane said that he and his his Revy buddies came in by snowmobile and skinned up this valley and to the lookout in the winter. There was good snow for skiing for sure.

Headed back down.

One of the good ski out areas in the winter. Still a little lean for September.

Heading back down the ridge as the clouds close in. Nice afternoon hike that had some sweat, snow, history, and 2 generations of hikers.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Bergs, Barges, Bratwurst and Baguettes

This is a trip report of our 2 month cycle tour of Switzerland and France in July and August of 2015.

Pat cycling out of the little french town of Champfortier in the Jura on the climb up to Switzerland.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

6 Weeks of Hikin, Bikin, Grillin and Swillin:Part 1

Left for red rock country in Mid April after ski season. This is year 5 of playing on the Colorado Plateau.

Ridin the mescal trail, Sedona.

Thursday, 17 April 2014