Snow place like home

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 6:58 AM ET

Home snow has been good for Canada's top female cross-country skiers and they'll hope it continues today in Canmore.

After capturing three medals between them in last weekend's World Cup at Sovereign Lake near Vernon, B.C., Beckie Scott and Sara Renner are rolling along heading into today's 10-km World Cup race.

So it'll be interesting to see how Canada's dynamic duo does over the longer distances this weekend at the revamped Canmore Nordic Centre, which is hosting a World Cup event for the first time since 1989.

While Scott's had more success in the sprint event through her 11-year World Cup career, national team coach Dave Wood notes she's getting better over the gruelling distance races.

"She was second in the pursuit race in Vernon, which was 15k, so she's still good at them but there are events they sometimes tend to be a little bit better at," said Wood, adding Scott and Renner could both post top-10 results today.

Scott, who hails from Vermilion, won gold in the 1.1-km sprint on Sunday -- her first World Cup victory, while Canmore's Renner picked up the bronze for her first medal on the World Cup circuit. And confidence is one thing Renner's now got in spades.

"Especially when you're just starting out your season and to be able to get on the podium," said Wood.

"If you have any doubts about how your training has gone, it proves something."

Renner, who is married to Canadian alpine skier Thomas Grandi, was also third in the sprint at the 2005 world championships in Oberstdorf, Germany.

When it comes to the national team training program, Wood is pleased with the way things have gone since the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics, where Scott won her gold medal.

"Overall, I felt we've done a lot of hard work and made some small improvements here and there," he said. "We hope all these things add up together at the same time and I think we're on a good track right now."

Things are certainly positive on the financial front for the cross-country ski team.

With help from the Own the Podium program as well as support from Haywood Securities Inc., the team has the resources to properly support all the athletes, not just the best ones.

Following the women's 10-km today, the men will compete in the 15-km.


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