Some Ski Jumping Pictures

Ski Jumping 1ski jumping 2Today I was at Whistler Olympic Park checking out some of Canada’s Olympic ski jumping team during their final training camp before Sochi.

There hasn’t been much snow this winter, but on the plus side it has been sunny almost every day for weeks. ski jumping 3ski jumping 4Today was another great day for jumping, sunny and cold.

The great thing about ski jumping training camps is you can walk around and check out the action from different areas around the jumps, and its all free.

ski jumping 5ski jumping 6I can watch the same athletes that will be in Sochi, up close and personal without the crowds and the expensive tickets.

I brought my camera and climbed up and down the jumps to take these photos. Here are 6 of my favourite photos from the day.


End of the Summer Biathlon Season

Last weekend I was up at Whistler Olympic Park coaching the Callaghan Winter Sports Club’s final weekend biathlon camp and Summer Biathlon Series event of the season. It was my second camp/event of the summer, as I missed the previous one when Jess and I were in Ontario for her cousin’s wedding.

We had excellent weather on both days; sunshine with temperatures in the high 20’s. It might have been a bit too hot for running, but for riding bikes it was perfect. Our timing was also perfect; as we finished packing up after the biathlon series event, a thunderstorm rolled in. Fall had arrived.

The turnout for the camp and the event was pretty good. Most of the camp participants were returnees, and we had a couple of new youths who will hopefully join us in the winter. For the first time, every one of the participants in the biathlon series event had tried biathlon before so we didn’t have to do a time-consuming comprehensive rifle safety instruction before the race.

While the numbers of participants this summer were not quite as high as I had hoped, it was a big improvement over the past summer. I had especially hoped that the Summer Biathlon Series would be more popular this summer. We did not get many club members participating, and even fewer non-members. However, the club members who did come out to the events are dedicated and are enjoying themselves, so it looks like we are building a strong foundation.

I still think that these events can be just as popular, if not more popular, than the winter Biathlon Series events. A greater marketing effort next summer should help increase the number of participants.

Now that the summer biathlon season is over, ski club activities will take a bit of a break. We are still trying to get a work permit for our new head coach who is from France, and are soon going to start work on building a dryland practice facility in Squamish. So for this fall, we are going to start up training again when WOP opens on the weekend of November 23/24. Until then, there will be some organizational meetings and planning sessions, but also plenty of time to take a breather from ski club business!

Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park

On our way back to the mainland, Jess and I made a quick trip to Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park. We had a couple of extra hours before we needed to be at Departure Bay and this turned out to be a great little detour. This park is about a 15 minute drive west from the Island highway, on the way to Port Alberni.

Little Qualicum FallsThe great thing about this park is that the falls are so close to where the parking lot and the campgrounds are. There is a loop trail that goes on both sides of the Little Qualicum River, and only takes about 20 minutes to complete. The whole way around you get great views of several falls. When we were there the water was crystal clear as well.

If you visit this park you get rewarding views of falls for very little effort. It was a nice place to visit, and even had a large campground that would make a nice place to stop for an evening.

A Cycling Tour of Denman and Hornby Islands

Last week Jess and I camped on Denman Island for a couple of nights and brought our bicycles for a tour of Denman and Hornby Islands. Our base for the tour was Fillongley Provincial Park, a beachfront campsite on the east side of Denman. There are 10 camping spots at Fillongley which, while spartan in nature, fill up quickly. We were there midweek and it was full both nights. I would recommend reserving your campsite before you go to either of the islands as there aren’t many spots to camp and the private ones can be expensive or poor quality.

Denman Island is accessed by a ferry which leaves from Buckley Bay, about an hour north of Nanaimo. We arrived around mid-day and after setting up camp our first place to visit was Boyle Point Provincial Park. This park is on the southern tip of Denman Island, and has great views of the Chrome Island lighthouse and south down the Straight of Georgia. There is a short walking trail to get to the lookouts, and while the views are great there isn’t much else to do in this park.

In the evening we did some beachcombing at low tide back at our campsite, and were treated to a spectacular moon.

Hornby Moonrise The next day we took our bicycles to Hornby Island, which is accessible by a short ferry ride from the terminal on the southeast side of Denman. We were only on Hornby for a day, and the two places we wanted to visit the most were Heliwell Provincial Park and Tribune Bay Provincial Park.

The bike to Heliwell Park goes along sleepy roads and pleasant dirt trails, which made for some relaxing riding. Once there, we took a loop trail through the old-growth forest on over the cliffs looking south and west. The park was beautiful and it was really neat to see the cliff formations. We saw some seals and birds during our walk around the park.

HeliwellOur next stop was Tribune Bay, with its big sandy beach and supposed warm water. The beach was as advertised but the water was much colder than expected as it was low tide again. There were plenty of boats anchored in the bay, and there were lots of families out enjoying the sun but it wasn’t too busy. I imagine that on a weekend it would be a different story. We spent some time relaxing on the beach and in the water, before deciding to try a little more exploring by bicycle before heading back to Denman.

We headed towards Ford’s cove but seeing a huge hill down to get there, decided against it and instead visited the Little Tribune Winery. After tasting some whites and purchasing a bottle of Viognier, we made our way back to the ferry for another evening at Fillongley.

On our last day of the trip we did some walking on the trails in Fillongley and took the car to Morning Beach, a nice regional park on the northeast side of Denman which has beach access to Sandy Island Marine Park at low tide.

We enjoyed fantastic weather, tides and full moons on our trip. We preferred Hornby Island for biking, as it was more compact. We wished that we could have done some biking in Mount Geoffrey Escarpment Provincial Park, but with only one day on Hornby we ran out of time. Denman Island was a little too spread out and sleepy for our tastes, but it had some nice biking and walking trails as well.

All told, it was a great little trip, one I would recommend to anyone with a couple of free midweek days in the summer.

The 2013 Summer Biathlon Series Project

2013 Summer Biathlon SeriesThis summer one of my side projects is to continue efforts to get a sustainable summer biathlon program going at Whistler Olympic Park. The centrepiece of these efforts is the CWSC Summer Biathlon Series, which is going into its third year.

The big addition this year is that we are going to add a roller skiing category to the races. This should attract competitive athletes as well as the recreational athletes who have entered the running and biking categories in the past. The big change this year from previous races is that we are going to do running, biking and roller skiing races all on the same day, rather than having different races each time.

Aside from the Summer Biathlon Series, my ski club has been adding a new summer program feature each year. Last year we started our weekend training camps, and this year we are doing weekly practices at the Squamish Valley Rod & Gun Club. While these programs have been well received and appear to be on their way to being successful and sustainable, my real hope for this summer is that the biathlon series takes off. It hasn’t been as popular as the winter biathlon series, due largely to the fact that Whistler Olympic Park isn’t a popular attraction in the summer. However I am hoping that the accessibility of summer biathlon will make up for it, and with some planning and promotion by the club we will start to see greater participation rates this summer.

The dates and the competitions have been set, but there is still plenty of work to be done recruiting volunteers, attracting sponsors and promoting the event. If anyone is interested in getting some experience organizing sports events or helping volunteer at a biathlon event this summer, let me know!