Last Saturday’s Cascade Cup Nordic ski race attracted 41 participants. Jean-Yves Sauriol double-poles his way along the 30km course, followed by Benoit Gignac. (Photos by Robyn Barker, Manning Park Resort)

Weather co-operates for Cascade Cup at Manning Park Resort

High-end classic skiers make their mark at annual cross-country event

Last weekend saw a real mix of weather, even at Manning Park Resort’s elevations.

Events coordinator, Jo Hughes said, “It was pouring rain on Friday — what we like to call ‘thermally-challenged snow’ — but by late Friday night, it changed and we got a light snowfall.”

Hughes had organized the annual Cascade Cup cross-country race to be run on Saturday, so was concerned how the track-setting would work out overnight. Rain-soaked snow could have frozen to a brick-like finish, making it tough for skiers.

It was all up to the weather gods… and it turned out a lot better than Hughes had feared.

“The weather couldn’t have been better for the race,” she said. “It was nice and sunny and maybe minus one or two in the shade.”

There were 41 participants, from age seven to 80, most using the classic style of skiing in parallel tracks. Four racers chose the skate ski style, which produced the fastest time at the Blackwall Bash a few weeks earlier. Not so, this time.

The fastest classic, on the two-lap 30 km course was Rune Harkestad of Bellevue, Washington, in a time of 1 hour 40 minutes and 48 seconds. The fastest time for a skate was 1:47:50, by David Lyall, of Langley. Notably, both skiers were 54 years of age.

“We attract some pretty high-end classic skiers,” said Hughes. “Double-poling used to be a downhill technique — but now, some are double-poling most the time.”

Hughes prefers skis with a fish-scale grip on the bottom, though it can produce a bit of drag. Racers who can match the right type of grip wax to the snow conditions can get better glide out of their skis, said Hughes.

“One man and his son waxed 8 pairs of skis with different waxes, to get the right combination,” said Hughes.

The oldest participant, 80-year-old Eric Rayson from Kelowna, turned in a respectable 2:55:41 on the long course. Hope’s Ingo Schmidt posted a 1:32:32 on the 15 km course.

Hughes and her husband, Troy Davis stayed overnight in their (plugged-in) RV and woke to minus-10 temperatures on Sunday morning.

“Then it dropped to minus-15, then minus-17,” she added, shivering.

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