What Makes a Good Coach

I’ve been fortunate over my athletic years to be coached by some incredible coaches. Even when I stopped competing and began learning new sports, I’ve had great great support and technique instruction. Prior to transitioning into my role as a coach, I came to have a full appreciation for the role a coach fulfills. What I didn’t appreciate, however, was how difficult it actually was to be a coach. Coaches are in such a visible position that exposes them to constant evaluation. Evaluation from their students, their students family & friends, and other coaches in the industry.  But what makes a good coach? I have no doubt everyone has their opinions on that.

A remarkable moment for me as a racer was when I first sat down with my cross country coach. One of the first things she wanted to know was my goals for the season. She did not assume that winning was the most important thing that year. She did not just jump in to what she thought was best. She wanted to learn what I wanted to accomplish so a training plan could be made and implemented to support those goals. While I imagine it is the goal of most racers to win (obviously… for me too) she pushed me beyond this and wanted me to think of these goals as a step towards winning.

There are various parallels between this experience and attending Supercamp. You as a skier come to Supercamp with a goal. That goal may be to master your skills so you can win a race, it might be to learn to ski further and faster, or it might just be to learn to skate or classic. Whatever your goals, it is the responsibility of the Supercamp coaches to learn what they are and work with you to meet those objectives. Our coaches are not just working with you to improve your technique, they are helping to create a remarkable experience where you can achieve your personal best.

So, if I was to be asked what are the traits that make a good coach. My answer is that they do not let their egos and self worth get tied up in the outcome. A good coach is going to learn the objective(s) of their skier, what outcome the skier wants and then work towards creating a learning experience where those objectives can be accomplished. Supercamp is an experience. Our coaches are there for you. Identify your goals and let our camps help you to accomplish great new things.

Our November and December camps are filling up quicker than ever before. We have such a great program to offer you this year so please don’t wait too much longer to register.

See you on the trails soon!
For the whole Supercamp Team

Skate and Classic

This time of year when registrations are coming in hot, I am responding to many emails that ask me a similar question. The questions come in various forms but the consistency is a question relating to my recommendation on which technique options they should choose. At XC Supercamp we offer camps for Skate, camps for Classic, and camps for Skate AND Classic. My recommendation will, of course, depend on your individual goals, but I will encourage you to consider the benefits of being comfortable on both Classic and Skate.

Last season when I was coaching a 5 day Skate and Classic camp I found myself repeating a lot of coaching tips on Classic days that I said on Skate days, and vice-versa. It got to the point where I actually started pointing it out to the students and I saw the ‘lightbulbs’ go on. The two techniques are very similar, in fact, there are only 2 major differences. In Classic, our skis travel in a straight line as opposed to a V and, also in Classic, we stop the ski as apposed to Skate where the ski is always in motion. Otherwise, there is an incredible cross over between the two techniques. The way you stand on your skis, the timing of the preload and kick, the muscles that you use, the joints the you extend, and the ways that you stay balanced and glide on the ski.

Coach Marie-Cat Bruno has said it best: “What you learn in Classic will help your Skate skiing. What you learn for Skate will help your Classic”.

That is how our combination camp came to be. The Skate AND Classic camp offers you the opportunity to learn or improve at both techniques while enjoying alternating days with each technique. Beyond that, what you learn in one technique should help you to be more accomplished at the other. In fact, I will encourage you to take a Skate and Classic camp. I will encourage you to become a well rounded and accomplished skier.

All that to say, let’s talk about your goals and how Supercamp can help you to become a better skier and to continue enjoying your time on snow.

See you on the trails!


Always Learning at Supercamp

Many Supercamp coaches hold the highest certification in Canada, many in a variety of skiing disciplines. Several are former Cross Country national racers, others raced in different ski disciplines. Some of our coaches have even been teaching on skis for 35+ years! There is no doubt that our coaches are an experienced and talented bunch of skiers and leaders in the sport.

Now fast forward a few months to the summer.

This summer has been a very interesting season as I sit back and watch Supercamp coaches become the students at a new summer sport. As an example, Guy Paulsen completed his white water canoe certification in June. Murray Wood received his level 1 mountain bike certification in July … just to name a few. What I find incredible is how two very accomplished individuals can allow themselves to get kicked to the curb and learn something new, from the ground up.

I’ve realized, that’s what Supercamp is all about!

There are a variety of reasons why people choose to attend Supercamp but for the most part I could group those reasons into 2 categories. Those that want to learn to ski, and those that want to learn to be better. The common denominator between the two … learning! Whether you are an absolute beginner or a talented advanced, by attending Supercamp you are knowingly surrendering your ego to the sport. You are willing to accept that there is more you can learn and there are people who can help. This takes a ton of trust and even more confidence in yourself! By exposing yourself to new people, ideas and environments you are opening yourself up to new opportunities in the sport. Our coaches are the guides and they are going to break you down in order to build you up. Thats what Supercamp is all about.

For those who have attended Supercamp. Thanks for exposing yourself and letting us help. For those of you who have not yet attended Supercamp, join us for a nordic experience and while you are here, leave your ego at the trail head and let’s go glide!

Registration for Supercamp is now open! Take advantage of the early bird rates while they last.

U35 Supercamp: Nov 18th – 20th, 2016

Head out onto the perfectly groomed cross country tails, surrounded by snowy trees, beautiful vistas, and a group of young and enthusiastic cross country skiers!

Click here to see all our camp programs!

U35 Supercamp is meant for skiers under the age of 35. What does that mean? A camp dedicated to youthful and energetic skiers who want to have a lot of fun. Whether you are an absolute beginner skier, a talented and fit advanced skier, or anything in between .. our coaches will offer you a fun, engaging, and inspiring camp program.

Sovereign Lake and Silver Star have legendary early season snow. U35 camp gets you out on the trails early in the season, to learn, to refine, and to master your skills for the season ahead.

U35 Supercamp includes all the great fundamentals that Supercamp offers, and much more! In small groups organized by ability and fitness level, our coaches deliver an unprecedented personal ski assessment. Whether your goals are to ski further, ski faster, or ski more efficiently, our coaches will help you meet and exceed your goals. Included in this program is scheduled video analysis sessions, take home material and even some downhill technique training (yes, on Nordic Skis!).

This Supercamp program is more than just a camp, it is a Nordic experience. Take part in a waxing workshop with a pro, stretching sessions, and other training specific sessions. Relax at the end of the day with a Wine & Yoga session. Also included in your Supercamp program is your lunches for 3 days, discounts on Silver Star accommodation, your trail passes for 3 days and much more! Need rentals? We can direct you to the best spots for rentals skis to suit your needs and ability.

U35 Supercamp is no ordinary camp. Its dynamic. Its fun. Its effective. Its geared towards young skiers. And, its the best way to start your season!

Click here for pricing and to Register now to take advantage of the early bird rates, and bring your friends!

Email info@xcsupercamp.com with any questions.


Summer Training With Eric Byram

The most cliché saying that us Nordic skiers hear is: “skiers are made in the summer”, but it just so happens to be true. The successes ­­­(and failures) of our seasons are a direct result of what we did in the spring, summer, and early fall. It can be hard to remember this at the end of a 4-hour point-to-point run in 30-degree heat but it is crucial to success. Motivation has always been a problem for me in the off-season, as racing is my favorite part of Nordic skiing, beating out beautiful landscapes, time spent in nature, and the social aspect, which are the elements of this beautiful sport.

There are a number of things I do to keep motivated and make sure off-season training is still fun.

  • Measurement: I try to measure and progress in all aspects of the sport, whether that is technique, strength, endurance, speed, etc. This allows me to see how I’m improving and I can think towards how these improvements are going to help me in the upcoming season.
  • Variety: I try to switch up the training a fair bit and make sure that I am doing different kinds of workouts, in different places, and with different people. This not only keeps the motivation high, but also helps me become a better skier in the long run as new challenges and adaptations are around every corner.
  • Music, music, music. I have trained on a variety of teams and it has allowed me to discover the joys and precision of training alone. And I attribute many of my successes to my ability to do this. But after long week, punching out those final climbs in an intensity workout, or pushing towards the end of a long run can still be tough. I usually try and break this up, along with some of the natural monotony that comes with training, by listening to music. I am always putting together new playlists and mixes to keep me going.

The Okanagan was my childhood training ground for 9 or so years, and as such, I tried to find the best things I could do in the valley. A few staple workouts come to mind, like ski striding intervals up “The Wall” in Kal Park, rollerskiing up Silver Star Mountain Rd, and running workouts at the old track. I learned how to beat the heat in the middle of summer and tried to plan workouts to end at some sort of lake or beach. There was nothing better than cooling off the muscles after a long workout. Highly recommend it!

When the winter rolled around it switched to training almost all the time at Sovereign Lake, Silver Star, or the NATC and I got to know these venues well. A ski joining Sovereign Lake and Silver Star that I had on a beautiful day a few years ago is still in my top 5 skis I’ve ever done (Switzerland and Sunshine Meadows in Banff are on that list as well!) and it never disappoints when I return to the trails for a NorAm, Christmas, training camp, or family visit. Even more than the amazing weather, amount of snow, early snow, and convenient location, the thing I most enjoyed was the variety. I could find whatever kind of terrain I desired. Whether for fun, or for improving a certain facet of my training it was a great spot and something I have yet to find around the globe.

Eric Byram


XC Ski Tips on YouTube

If you follow us on Facebook, you may have noticed our coaches who have been jumping in front of the video camera to offer some technical skiing tips and advice for skate, classic, and all ability levels. Well, we’ve just launched a new YouTube channel so all these videos are in one place and we will update them weekly!

So what can you do to stay up to date with the latest technique in cross country skiing? Head to our YouTube channel and click the subscribe button. This way, you’ll be able to get a notification reminder when we publish a new video. You can also change your following settings on our Facebook page to get the video updates this way. On our Facebook Page,  a button under the main photo will say ‘like’, or ‘liked‘. Make sure it says like, then hover over the button, click on ‘posts in news feed‘ then click ‘see first‘. This will guarantee you see all our videos, photos, and updates from the trails.

We are very excited to release our YouTube channel and the videos are getting better and better! If you have any requests for a video or special technical tip, write us a note on YouTube or respond to this email and we’ll get it on the production list!

Enjoy the glide!

for the whole Supercamp team

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February Supercamp

Supercamp returns this February 19th – 21st for the final camp of the season.

Register now to join Canada’s best coaches on 105km of World class terrain. No matter what your ability or fitness level is, let our coaches help you get to the next level, help you glide further, glide faster and ski more efficiently.

Click here for more information on all the Camps!

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Snapshot of Supercamp

Check out this video for an overview of XC Supercamp and everything that Supercamp can offer. Great snow, incredible trails, and many of Canada’s best coaches!

Supercamp Pro Camp

Pro Camp is for high level skiers! Skiers who can go fast, skiers who can go far, and skiers who would like to race. For the first time in years, Supercamp is offering a high performance camp to support developing skiers who are want to improve their performances at local, national or international events! Pro camp offers an early season training session and on snow support from professional cross country coaches! 

You will be skiing the best early season trails with excellent snow and a focus on you as a racer! The purpose; provide you with individualized learning about race specific technique, terrain skills and getting yourself race fit.  

Learn to Train: Train to race is exactly what we’ll be doing! Our race coaches have years of experience and know all about the time that it takes to train ‘the right way’ to pull off a personal best or even win a race. Training has to be specific, training has to be tactical, and training has to be appropriate for the conditions. There’s a lot to think about when heading out for a training session and our coaches will ease you through the process. 

Race to Win: Improve your race results, achieve a personal best, or just go further faster! Nordic races demand a tactical approach and our coaches will introduce you to these concepts and show you how to best apply them. 

No matter how hard you ski or how fit you are, wax is a very important component of any race. To show you this, we’ve brought in former a World Cup wax technition to give you the feeling of flying on snow. For $150 on top of camp registration, you will receive 2 professional wax services. This included a thorough cleaning of your skis, all the wax and products, and of course, a fast wax appropriate for the current snow conditions. 

Coached by former National Team coach Mike Bell and Cross Country BC’s Dudley Coulter, Pro Camp is an opportunity to get on snow early in your season! Learn the concepts early, practice them throughout the winter, and apply them at your next race to achieve your best! 

Check out when Pro Camp is offered and what’s included by clicking here.


Benefits to early season training and coaching

Silver Star Mountain Resort and Sovereign Lake Nordic Center traditionally have fantastic early season snow. A massive benefit for snow sport enthusiasts is that Cross Country Skiing actually requires very little snow for an enjoyable day of skiing! At XC Supercamp we make the most of this ‘early winter’ and offer all ages and all abilities a cross country experience.

There are a number of benefits to starting the Cross Country season with coaching from Supercamp’s fantastic coaching staff.

  1. Motivation & XC Experience

The best thing to keep you motivated for a great season is to start it off with high energy and a good time. Our coaches offer you more than just lessons on technique; they give you the motivation and inspiration to love what you’re doing, to love sliding on snow.

Supercamp is more than just skiing with professional coaches and learning to balance better, glide more efficiently, or understand the proper timing for uphill climbing, Supercamp offers a complete XC experience. With guest speakers, stretching and yoga sessions, massages, and wax workshops, you and your cohort leave with all the tools necessary to keep your season going strong.

  1. Efficient Skiing

We all want to learn to ski better but what about more efficiently? Imagine skiing further and not being as tired. Imagine skiing further using less energy and getting there quicker. We want you to enjoy skiing and that starts with improving your efficiency on your skis, something our coaches specialize in.

  1. Proper Technique

Struggling with offset skate, one step double pole, or… are you just learning? Our coaches will help you learn to do it all right! Plus, you have a time during camp to improve on these techniques and push your skiing even further. Our coaches are trained to meet the needs of your group and also your individual needs; they will help you succeed.

  1. A full season to practice what you’ve learned.

The best part, you learn all these great things at the beginning of the winter so you have a full season to practice what you’ve learned. Take the skills, techniques and great conversations out on to the trails on your own and put them into action.

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