Ski cross team ready for 'top secret camp'

“It won’t be at the North Pole, that’s all I can tell you”

By STEVE BUFFERY, QMI AGENCY

VANCOUVER — When the opening ceremony is over, the Canadian ski cross team will jump on a speed boat and then a helicopter and then fly into a mountain that will open up as they approach.

Actually, it won’t be that dramatic, but the team — the No.1 ranked ski cross outfit in the world — will be departing for a “top secret training camp” before their Olympic competition begins.

“It won’t be at the North Pole, that’s all I can tell you,” said team leader Dave Ellis.

Ellis joked that they’ll be lots of bonfires and wiener roasts, but he was dead serious about not revealing the location of the camp, which will apparently mimic the Cypress Mountain course where the Olympic ski cross event will be held on Feb.21 for the men and two days later for the women.

The bottom line is, the Canadian team does not want anyone else — particularly opposing teams — to watch them train.

“We do a lot of magic that we don’t want the other teams to know about,” said Ellis. “We’re leaving no stone unturned.”

When pressed, Ellis that the camp is not anywhere near Vancouver, not even in western B.C.

It’s not like the Canadian team is desperate for a leg up at the Vancouver Olympics. The entire squad, led by defending world champion Ashleigh McIvor of Whistler, B.C., is capable of winning a medal, particularly at Cypress. At last year’s World Cup on the same course, Canada took five of the six podium spots, with Aleisha Cline and Chris Del Bosco taking gold. Cline, who is a sub at these Games, will compete if Julia Murray, the daughter of the late, great Crazy Canuck Dave Murray, is unable to race. Murray injured her knee in training two weeks ago.

Ski cross is the newest Olympic sport and the betting is that it will catch on with the viewing public like wildfire, as the event features four racers going down a hill at a time with bumping and crashes the order of the day. The Canadian team was formed three years ago and is now No.1.

“I always say, I have no idea what we’re doing right,” said head coach Eric Archer when asked what the secret was to the team’s success. “There’s no handbook on how to run a ski cross team. We let it flow and it’s working. Maybe we’ll write the handbook when this is over.”

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