Thursday, November 6, 2003 - Perspective Update: Canada, Calgary, Canmore and Brother Grizzly...

- By: Ivan Babikov

Hello, Calgary! Hi, Canmore!  The best Nordic Center of Canada X-C skiing! Long ago back in Russia it was my best dream to see it, to train there, to show best results and of course, to win the races.

I remembered many question appeared in my head at that time: How does it look like? How do they arrange training process? How will they meet me there?

Now it’s reality! Ivan Babikov – International Master of Sport of Russia - is in Canmore! Russians are coming! One has already come!

Upon arrival to Calgary I was met by the Financial Manager of elite team who drove me to Canmore Nordic Center. Now I am a member of this fantastic team! Everything seemed so familiar as at my home x-c base in Syktyvkar (one of the best in Russia). But there were some differences that didn’t look like in Russia…

Canmore impressed me greatly by its picturesque houses, made only to admire not to live in, huge mountains that surrounded the town hiding it from all winds and clouds, by beautiful lakes in which you could see reflection of hills and mountains like in the mirror …Such beauty together with an excellent variety of rollers and running trails was just made for mountainous training of X-C skiers…Who could have dreamt about more!

I liked Canmore and its area very much, I got acquainted with many sportsmen and X-C ski coaches who were very kind to provide me with Internet emails, with nice residence to stay in. It was a small house in a calm piece of beautiful mountainous area on the bank of a lake. It was pleasant to run every morning and afternoon far in the mountains up and down the hills enjoying every moment of being there. About 50 km - that was my every day plan! Phil Villeneuve – the team manager - took care of me all the time. I greatly appreciate his help!

But once upon a time… on the trail far up in the mountain I felt the presence of somebody alive… At first, I did not pay attention to that feeling but what I saw the next moment was like a shock – it was a big huge bear… not far from him I noticed another one with a baby bear… Heart jumped down… There were about 10 meters between big Grizzly and me. I knew that the best way was to disappear as fast as possible but without sharp movements… But how? One wrong step and nobody would be able to help me. I slowly moved to the bushes from the flat area looking directly in Grizzly’s eyes and jumped left running with the highest speed of the fastest X-C skier… I was running about 10 minutes but what I saw the next second almost killed me again… I heard some noise in the bushed… It was again him - big Grizzly bear… Or maybe another one! Who knows! I ran away down the hill with even more speed. If only one could check the time, it was my fastest race in my racing career! But nobody followed me any more! It was a successful escape!

That was really great acquaintance with native “citizens” of Canadian Rocky Mountains! I would remember this forever! Who knows what Grizzly Brother Bear wanted to tell me? May be he wanted to ask me about his relatives in far Siberian taiga forests that are full of Russian brown bears? God know but never tells!

I successfully completed my training process in the Canadian Rocky Mountains and went to Russia for another training… Best regards, Canmore! Hope I will return back full of energy to win main races on the American continent within the elite team.

See you soon on Web site with more stories about Ivan’s sport experience in Canada.

Ivan Babikov – a member of elite team.

Ivan Babikov recently made the move from Russia to Canada and now resides in Canmore, Alberta. Ivan is one of the top 20 skiers in Russia and has posted many top results both in Canada and Russia.



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