Andrea Dupont

Learning to Tango… I mean Tangle

It has been way to long since I have posted here. This season has just been a happy juggle of training, racing and work. On the racing scene, I seem to have found some extra speed this year but am having some issues getting tangled in the final heat.

On the NorAm sprint circuit I have been qualifying very strongly, even winning several qualifiers, but I keep on getting boxed in or tripped up in the heats. This is a bit frustrating because I feel like I am faster than my final results are showing but it is part of sprinting, so it is something I need to master:)

Part of my issue is learning to maneuver around skis and poles without getting tied up or tripped or boxed in with no place to go. After having a couple of upset I feel like I am becoming way more aware of my surroundings. The race is less about going all out and more like a game of chess: catching people off guard and attacking with your strengths and realizing the limitations on some courses.

So, how do I fix this? I thought the best way to fix this would be to do many sprint heats in competitive fields, but last weekend convinced me otherwise.

I have always believed that you can learn something from every race. When I set out on a blistering cold morning for the 15km skate mass start race in Mt. Orford, I did not realize how much a sprinter could learn from a distance race. Due in part to the cold and to the nature of the fast flat course the field took a long time to break up. Even after the field broke, the lead pack remained fairly large. The entire race was about jockeying for position, skiing comfortably in a pack, and being ready to respond to an attack. There was definitely a lot of stepping on skis and poles, a lot of contact and many near crashes and actual crashes. I managed to ski comfortably near the front for most of the race, until the last few kilometers when at the top of the biggest climb 2 girls in front of me tangled and lay on the ground blocking most of the trail. I thought I had managed to maneuver around when at the last second I saw a ski immerging from the snow bank I was skiing through.

One of the things that I have been learning the hard way in sprinting is that SH** happens, but sometimes it is the person that gets up from the tangle first that wins. So I got up as quickly as I could, worked my butt off to get back on the lead pack and was there for the final sprint. Now, I had nothing left in the tank for the final sprint so I ended up 6th, but all in all I was pretty happy with the tangle experience I got from this day.

The Gatineau Loppet was a similar experience the following weekend. For a sprinter, 55km is a long way to go, but it is also a lot of tangling time to learn from. There were times to tuck in and enjoy the ride, times to push the pace, times to respond to attacks and times to recover from a tangle. I ended the day as the 2nd female to cross the line but there were plenty of men in our pack to keep things interesting. Thanks to XC Ottawa for help with feeds and to Nakkertok for some help with waxing, the day definitely would have been less fun without this support.

I am now heading home for some rest, training and more tangle time before nationals.


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And Now We Race!

It has been awhile since I have been able to find time to post. The last few weeks have been a blur of the final training block of the season, tying things up at work and getting everything ready to play full-time athlete for awhile:)

Balancing training and working full-time this year have definitely given me a new appreciation of the weeks when I get to travel somewhere for training or racing. These weeks I  thoroughly enjoy the athlete lifestyle of tons of time to make good food and the post workout recovery naps!

So here we are in Silver Star, preparing for the first NorAms of the season. With 2 days to go, training is over, and now it is time to sit back enjoy racing after a solid summer of training!

This weekend is a classic sprint and 10km classic interval start. Next weekend in Rossland, BC is a skate sprint and 10km skate mass start.

Let the race season begin!

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Winter Has Arrived!

 While most of the country and many areas of Europe are waiting for some snow to kick in their first tracks, Lake Louise has turned into a winter wonderland. Those of us based out of Canmore, AB have been fortunate to have been on snow for the past 3 weeks thanks to snow that was preserved under wood chips from last winter. This little track was the perfect solution to the shoulder season here where roller skiing on frozen roads become a challenge without snow tires and when the weather hasn’t quite allowed for enough snow for skiing.

But winter has now officially arrived in Lake Louise and it feels great to be off the little squirrel loop and really skiing.

Here’s a shot from this past weekend in Lake Louise where everyone was just grinning from ear to ear, so happy that winter is here!


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Haig Round 3

This summer I have spent quite a lot of time on the Haig Glacier. This is definitely one of my favorite summer training spots, not only because you get to ski in the summer but also because it is such a unique training environment. You are literally in the middle of no where, at the base of a glacier and surrounded by mountains. Being so isolated there is little to do other than train, sleep, eat and BAKE! By the end of the week everyone gets a bit of cabin fever but it is still one of my favorite places on earth.

Of all the time I have spent on the glacier this is the first time I have actually remembered to take some photos. Of course photos won’t do this place justice, but here is a shot of the glacier at our last glacier camp of the year, after some fresh snow landing at the beginning of September and of the camp set at the base of the glacier above the valley where we hike in.



The camp is the 3 little metal huts to the lower left hand side of the photo. The valley on the left is the approach hike/run and is about 3 hrs from parking lot to camp.


Speaking of cabin fever, even the squirrels go a bit crazy. This one thought my post run snack should be shared, even though I was not offering, it jumped onto my legs and literally grabbed a piece out of my hands as I was eating.

This last Haig camp marks the end of summer training. We have a couple of weeks at home before we head down to Park City, UT for a training camp with some of the fast girls from the States.

Until then,

Happy trails.

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Online Again!

Wow, this summer has gone by quickly!

I have been super busy juggling working more and getting maybe the most solid summer season of training for me so far.

I am heading into the Haig glacier today for round 3 of summer skiing and altitude training. My site has been down pretty much since my last post in April (yikes time flies!), so here a bit of a photo summary of the summer. When I get down to a good internet connection I will write a bit more of an update.


Since the rockies got soooooooo much snow this past winter the spring was filled with lots of snowy hikes.


Even by the end of the summer in late August, you can still see snow lingering at higher elevations.


I spent a lot of time on the Haig glacier, it always seems I am either recovering from or preparing to go to the glacier. But this constant cycle has been a good mix of never loosing the feel of snow skiing and keeping a bit of extra red blood cells on board with the extra altitude exposure. Every time I go up here I feel a bit better.


The perfect afternoon recovery at the glacier.

A chocolate party on the Helipad!

Happy Adventuring!

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Happy Skier New Years!

Skier New Years is May 1st. It is the time when we all reset our training logs and plan for the next year. It is a time of self analysis and reviewing of goals and training focuses of the past year. It is a time for highlighting what worked well and what was less than effective. I then break down these goals into process goals to be achieved at different times during the year. I then meet once a month with a team mate to make sure we’re actually doing something about these goals. Sometimes I feel like I would be way more effective in life if I went through this process for other areas as well.

May is also a month of easing into training. Not quite ready to be back on snow I have been trying to do mostly mountain adventure workouts. Here are some photos from a ski into Skoki on the spring crust.

Here’s to making as many workouts this year adventure:)





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End of season whirlwind

 The last few weeks of the race season have flown by. A great week of racing Canadian Nationals at home in Canmore was followed by the Super Tour Spring series finale in Sun Valley, Idaho.

This year is the first race season I have managed to not get sick or injured and I was excited to go into Nationals feeling 100%. I was able to have a good training block after the mini-tour madness and have 2 solid weeks of tapering going into nationals. I opted to sit out both the team sprint and the 10km Classic in hopes of going into the sprint fresh. And it paid off! I qualified 4th (with one American girl in the mix) and maintained my position in the heats. Finishing the day as the 3rd Canadian, my first national medal as senior:) It was a tricky day for wax and I am thankful to my super waxers who had no less than 3 pairs of skis ready for me at any given time during the day: klister mix, hard wax and skates ski to double pole the course if necessary. The hardest part for me was deciding between skis that were a bit slippy, a bit draggy or super fast skis with no grip and testing my double pole strength endurance. In the end I chose the klister skis that were a bit draggy but climbed really well. I was super happy with my day, accomplishing one of my goals for the year of medaling at nationals and only being beaten by 2 girls who are Olympians and who have had great seasons on the world cup level.


Next we headed down to the Super tour spring series in Sun Valley, Idaho. This little resort town lived up to it`s name, giving us beautiful sunny days. Although it was nice to catch some sunshine, super warm temperatures make waxing extra challenging. On sprint day the course had only one hill that was not very big so I opted to double the qualifier in the icy morning tracks. I was somewhat surprised that none of the other girls and only a handful of the boys double poled the qualifier. I qualified 5th. The heats were a different story, with the sun turning the track into slush, skis became a huge factor. I made a poor choice in ski selection, choosing skis with great kick but sacrificing, what I thought was only slightly, on glide. On the race course it was quickly apparent that I should have chosen glide over grip. I lost a lot of time on the first half of the course that was flat and gradual down hill. I was able to make up some time climbing as I had bomb proof kick but I finished my heat in 4th. Since my goal for spring series was to get decent points I was happy with a solid qualifier. Here’s a photo of me double poling the hill in the qualifier.


The rest of the races went well. It was a new experience for me racing at altitude and ending the week with a hill climb.

Now it is time to sit back and let the body recover from race season, to be ready to train starting May 1st. April is the month I work as much as possible so May 1st can’t come quick enough:)

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From east to west, mini tour madness

The powers that be decided this year to make all but two of the NorAm races mini tours. This forced sprint specialists like me to race more distance races than usual. Surprisingly these mini tours have been quite good for me. These mini tours combine your times from the first two day of racing to determine time penalties for the start of the final distance race. The format gives a significant amount of bonus seconds for doing well in the sprint, helping sprinters stay in the mix in the distance race.

It has been a lot of fun learning how to distance race again. The pursuit format ensures that you are surrounded by others to push you when you feel like you’re dying. Sometimes these people are even your team mates. The pictures below are from Western Canadian Championships, where I had one of my better distance races in a long time and it was my team mates Mya and Sarah that were there to push me when I was dying. Props to Mya, a Junior who started 30 seconds back and crossed the finish line first in our train (2nd overall).


I had a strong sprint and prologue, so I started the pursuit in 2nd. With Sarah only starting 7seconds behind me. Here I am charging ahead on the first lap trying to not get caught.


Mya and Sarah ended up catching me around 6km on a 10km course. I tucked into the train for a couple of kilometers before trying to make a break on the last hill. Here Mya and I are heading into the finish with Sarah not far behind.


This photo was labeled RMR nap time. I think we were all pretty spent by the end.

Here’s to being this tired at the end of all distance races.

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Distance Trials Summary

The Thunder Bay NorAms also doubled as the distance trials for World Championships. Now most of you know that distance skiing is not my strength, so I would not consider myself in contention. However this weekend were some of the best distance races I have had in a long time, ranking 8th and 14th. I was especially happy with these results as they indicate that my endurance is still very much improving.

The real surprise of the weekend was on sprint day. I had a decent qualifier, qualifying 3rd behind Dasha and Perri, and then for some reason I could not recover between the heats. Each heat I could feel myself dying earlier and earlier. I ended up in the semi-final, where a finish kick was necessary, but just not there. So I ended the day in 10th and learned why my coach recommends skipping the distance race before important sprint races:)

The weather was bitterly cold hovering around -18C most days. Not the most fun for racing.

Here are some frosty pictures from the races.



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December racing

Well the first part of the season has come and gone in a whirlwind. It always feels good to get the first few races under your belt to see  if the summer of training has paid off. After my first summer of no injuries, it feels great to start the season not playing catch up with training during race season.

The first few races have shown that I am fitter than I have ever been, posting some of my best distance results in many years. The increased fitness also makes sprinting more fun, as I am not just trying to survive the heats but can focus on tactics in the heats. With a ton of fast Americans and a few tactical errors in the first two NorAms, I finished as the 2nd and 3rd Canadian (or 8th and 6th respectively).

Here is a photo from the second weekend of NorAms in Rossland, BC.

Happy New Years everyone!


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