Léo Grandbois: Highway Star

Léo Grandbois (photo: pierre shanks)

Léo Grandbois (photo: pierre shanks)

Shooting Star would have been an obvious title. But Deep Purple’s classic hit is more appropriate for Léo Grandbois, one of Biathlon Canada’s most promising athletes, and his “race it to the ground” personality.

We were told about Léo a while back. The Youth Biathlon World Championships were approaching and Léo, a rugged 17 yo  from Sherbrooke, QC (6′-180 lb), had just won some home races. Confidence reigned in the Canadian clan.

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Utah: Who is qualified yet for the Worlds

India MacIsaac-Jones (photo: xcountryab.net)

India MacIsaac-Jones (photo: xcountryab.net)

It’s not exactly obvious to find its way through CCC’s World Championships selection process in the ongoing US Nationals in Utah.

As we know, those US Nationals are used as the Canadian World Junior/U23 and Senior Championship trials.

The criterias make so that final decisions won’t be made before the last races on Thursday.

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Maya MacIsaac-Jones: On Track To Come Back

Maya MacIsaac Jones (photo: Martin Kaiser)

Maya MacIsaac Jones (photo: Martin Kaiser)

Maya MacIsaac-Jones had her plan all laid out. Hard training throughout the summer, some of it at National Ski Team camps, and then Europe for the World Cup season as part of CCC’s U25 National Team.

It was going to be her first full time stint as a World Cup athlete, competing with the best of the best. She was boiling with excitement.

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Slide Show NorAm Cup 2016 at MSA

Ski de fond Mont-Sainte-Anne Cross-country skiing

Ski de fond Mont-Sainte-Anne Cross Country Skiing (photo: pierre shanks)

The new skiing season is here and this one promises to be exciting. There is of course Alex and Devon and Lenny. Ivan “Babs” Babikov has gone into retirement and is now a coach with the national team.

Most exciting will be to see how the up and coming athletes are progressing. The summer training has been productive and most of them are in great form.

To launch the season, Skiplus is presenting a slide show on the Haywood NorAm Cup at Mont-Ste-Anne last January. It’s our first audio/video production and a very humble one.

To all the athletes, coaches, support staff and parents, have a great season. Let’s get psyched!

Pic du Jour

Philippe Boucher (photo: pierre shanks)

Philippe Boucher (photo: pierre shanks)

Embrace the world!

Philippe Boucher, highly regarded Canadian prospect, was in Craftsbury (VT) with the friendly American neighbors for a sprint race on Saturday.

Skiplus will post many more photographs of this event within in the upcoming days.

Maya MacIsaac-Jones wins first sr race on NorAm Cup

Erin Yungblut, Maya MacIsaac-Jones and Andrea Dupont (photo credit: Kalli Green)

Erin Yungblut, Maya MacIsaac-Jones and Andrea Dupont (photo credit: Kalli Green)

Tremendous day Saturday for Maya MacIsaac-Jones.

The Rocky Mountain Racers Ski Team up and coming star earned her first senior win on NorAm Cup when she took the sr women free sprint in Sovereign Lake, ahead of teammate Andrea Dupont and CNEPH’s Marie Corriveau, also impressive as she is still a junior.

Here are Mayas’ thoughts after the race.

“After having a tough sprint on Tuesday, I was really happy to be able to pull it together both physically and mentally for today’s race.

«Racing in Senior heats is a completely different ball game than Junior heats, because you have to go at max effort in every heat to advance. Since we have such a strong group of women in Canada right now, it made today very exciting!

«One of the best parts of the day was being able to race the heats with so many of my teammates and sharing the podium with Andrea! My teammates have been extremely supportive of me this past week, especially after Tuesday’s race, and I think that played a huge part in helping me have a positive mental outlook today.»

There will be a 10 km skate race on Sunday.

Adrenaline will be flowing.

On sexism and the image of female athletes

Rosanna Crawford

Rosanna Crawford

We’re far from an ideal world, but women’s lot in sport keeps improving.

In this second of three articles, Rosanna Crawford, the biathlete, doesn’t beat around the bush to convey her opinion.

“For cross-country, I really think that the women should be doing distances that reflect times closer to that of the men, we are strong and can recover just as quickly as men.”

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De retour en 2015-2016 – Back in 2015-16

Skiplus poursuivra ses activités en 2015-2016 pour une 4e saison. Les détails de notre plan de couverture restent encore à peaufiner.

Nous entamerons la saison dès demain mercredi avec le premier d’une série de trois articles sur l’égalité des femmes dans le ski de fond. /

Skiplus will be back for a fourth season in 2015-16. We’ll kick things off tomorrow Wednesday with the first of three articles on women’s equality/equity in x-c skiing.

Maya MacIsaac-Jones : The Winner Doesn’t Take It All

Maya MacIsaac-Jones and Jennifer Jackson (photo: Martin Kaiser)

Maya MacIsaac-Jones and Jennifer Jackson (photo: Martin Kaiser)

Maya MacIsaac-Jones was absolutely brilliant Wednesday at the nationals, in Thunder Bay, where she won the Jr Women long sprint (1,5 km).

by pierre shanks

She played her cards intelligently, first setting a reference time of 3 min 30 s 32/100 with a commanding 6 sec lead over local favorite and up and coming Jennifer Jackson. She knew she had set the bar high.

«My sprint day started out very well with a great qualifier, which made me both excited and very nervous for the heats», said Maya afterwards.

Then she won both her quarter final (3:49.37) and semi final (3:38.71) in a slower pace before the big showdown for the gold medal.

«I knew going into the final that it would be a big battle, so I just went for it and pushed as hard as I could and managed to lead right to the end!»

Maya MacIsaac-Jones and Jennifer Jackson (photo: Martin Kaiser)

Maya MacIsaac-Jones and Jennifer Jackson as they cross the finish line (photo: Martin Kaiser)

We were given two great pictures by Martin Kaiser that show both skiers at the finish line. See on both of them how much those athletes are giving it everything they’ve got. So totally dedicated to their sport.

But that’s not all ! This was about it for those girls competing with each other, as most of them, like Maya, will be moving on to the seniors next season and will face a different breed of racers. Emotion took over at the finish and they were clearly all winners then.

«One of the best things about today’s race was having a group hug with all of the other girls after the finish, said Maya. I think there we have a very strong up-and-coming group of girls right now in Canada, and it has been so much fun racing and pushing each other throughout the season.

Group hug (photo: Bernard Pigeon)

Group hug (photo: Bernard Pigeon)

«Although it was a bit sad for us to be done sprinting as juniors, I am very excited to see what we can do next year challenging the seniors!»

Well, so she should. Maya’s time in today’s final (3:25.34) would have given her… the bronze medal with the seniors.

Let’s rock.

So long Almaty!

Katherine Stewart-Jones, Maya MacIsaac-Jones and Sophie Carrier-Laforte

Katherine Stewart-Jones, Maya MacIsaac-Jones and Sophie Carrier-Laforte

It’s been a positive experience for the junior canadian squad at the Jr-U23 World Championships in Kazakhstan.

Katherine Stewart-Jones, Maya MacIsaac-Jones and Sophie Carrier-Laforte will never forget their participation at the Worlds, the first one for Maya and Sophie.

We thank them for their generosity (and this amazing picture!) and wish them the best for things to come.

«I had so much fun racing today!» -Maya MacIsaac-Jones

Dahria Beatty and Maya MacIsaac-Jones in Almaty

Dahria Beatty and Maya MacIsaac-Jones in Almaty

And that’s what it’s all about when you’re young and willing and learning and progressing.

Maya MacIsaac-Jones learned a little bit more about racing in the Jr Women 5 km F at the World Championships in Almaty.

So she placed 45th, just behind NWT’s Annah Hanthorn, the worst result among the four Canadians in the race. Think she would be devastated? Ha! That’s not knowing her.

«I had so much fun racing today in Almaty! The conditions were beautiful– hard packed cold tracks, and it was warm and sunny outside.

«Racingwise, I was disappointed with my placing but happy that I was only roughly 1 min 30 s behind the leader. Although that is a large gap for a 5 km race, it isn’t something that is impossible to make up.

«Tactically, I made a bit of a mistake by holding back a bit too much at the start of the course, but I was really happy with my finishing speed.»

By the way, when she gets older, Maya wants to become a journalist.

Yesss!

«Felt great to show the world Canadian girls can be fast internationally!» -Maya MacIsaac-Jones

Maya MacIsaac-Jones

Maya MacIsaac-Jones last month in Duntroon, Ontario

Maya MacIsaac-Jones may not have achieved her day’s goal in Tuesday’s sprint at the Jr World Championships, but she showed something that will serve her even better for the rest of her life : being a team girl.

«My “realistic” goal for today’s race was to qualify, so I am very happy I achieved that!

«My “dream goal” was to get a top-15, and I am a bit disappointed that I didn’t advance past the quarter finals, but overall I am happy with the day. It was so much fun to be able to race in the heats and to get a chance to go head-to-head with the best juniors in the world.

«The best part of today was begin able to qualify with 3 other Canadian girls, it felt great to show the world that Canadian girls can be fast internationally!»