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. 

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