The International Ski Federation (FIS) will decide on whether it will be hosting world cup cross country ski races by mid-October.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding the ski season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Yukon skier Dahria Beatty has had a strong summer of training preparing for any scenario.
“Right now, we are planning for the best,” said Beatty.
“Best scenario is we arrive in Europe in November and have three races before Christmas.”
World cup races will be confined to Europe. Beatty said if she and her fellow Canadians cannot make the trip, contingency plans are in place.
“If for some reason the world cup gets cancelled, we will switch focus,” said Beatty. “We will use the opportunity to extend training and look for more race opportunities in the new year.”
The 2019/2020 cross country ski season was shuttered in March because of the pandemic.
Although the season was cut short, Beatty has maintained her training regimen with a few minor adjustments.
“I’m still training on a daily basis, but it hasn’t been badly affected,” said Beatty.
“For skiing, it is done outside and can be done alone. It has changed how lessons look, and the amount of time spent with coaches and
Beatty said she had a small cohort of three other girls with whom she could practise as they were in the same bubble – most summers, training sessions are spent in groups of 20 athletes.
“We were able to train together and give feedback to one another,” she said.
Another change to her schedule was the lack of summer camps, but this adaption is something Beatty didn’t mind.
“Usually we are in a new place every three weeks,” said Beatty. “We’d be in Ontario, Quebec, the States and sometimes New Zealand. Everything has just been at home.
“It’s been really nice to not travel out; there have been no lost training days because of travel. It’s been good quality training.”
Her time spent in the gym was also reduced, only having just been able to re-enter her regular training facility.
“Working out at home gave me a cool opportunity to switch to other stimulus, like power jumps, and doing bodyweight exercises,” said Beatty.
On the technical side, Beatty said, she has been targeting weaknesses and gaps that she noticed last year.
“In August, I worked on my classic strides and hill climbs,” said Beatty.
“This season, being world championships, there will have a classic sprint. I was shoring up technical gaps so I made a big effort to get more comfortable in that mode.
“I’m better on the skate side of racing, so wanted to get better at classic while still focusing on my strengths.”
Beatty said the training she has done through the summer and will continue to do until the season starts has her feeling confident that she can reach the benchmarks she has set for herself.
“Results-wise, I want to get past quarter-finals and into the semis,” said Beatty. “I want that to be a more consistent place to me, and of course I’d like to make a sprint finals.
“That would be a big stepping stone for the new year. I have been working on some technique and strategy goals to get me there.”
The world championships, which precede an Olympic year, will be held in Oberstdorf, Germany beginning in late February. Beatty said she wants to peak for the championships but first wants to take advantage of the three races before Christmas.
“I race really well before Christmas and I want to take advantage of that,” said Beatty.
“Then I want to peak for world champs and get strong results there.”
Before the races in Germany, Beatty said she is going to employ a new strategy.
“I think I have underperformed at previous world championships so I’m going to change my race strategy,” said Beatty.
“I’m going to train leading into the world championships without doing a race weekend before hand. I will use that as a dry run for Beijing.”
Beijing, China is the host city for the 2022 Winter Olympics. At the 2018 Sochi Olympics, Beatty found success in the team sprint and the 4x5 relay placing 13th in both races.
At her last world championship races in Lahti, Finland in 2017, Beatty’s best results came in the 4x5 relay, 10th, and the team sprint 13th.