Tag Archives: Frozen Thunder

Scott Gow: The Interview!

Scott Gow is a Canadian biathlete who was born in Calgary on the 6th of November 1990. He was a member of the Canadian team who won their first Relay medal at the World Championships in Oslo 2016 finishing third. He has represented Canada at Youth, Junior and Senior levels and his best finish to date is 14th place in the Individual race at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics. His younger brother Christian is also a biathlete.

Like his Facebook page: Gow Brothers Biathlon


Why did you become a biathlete?

I became a biathlete because when I tried the sport for the first time, I loved it so much I knew I wanted to keep training and practicing to become one of the best in the world.

How do you assess last season on the World Cup? You got a PB in Annecy and got to race in the Mass Start. What was that like?

Last season was my best season yet. I had a lot of personal best results, including at the Olympics, and had the opportunity to compete in the Mass Start. I’m happy with how I performed and it always feels good to see a hard summer of training pay off.

You went to your first Olympics in PyeongChang. What was that experience like? Tell me about finishing 14th in the Individual, were you happy or a bit gutted about the miss on the last shoot?

The Olympics was an amazing experience. The atmosphere of the Games, the athletes, the venues and everything else is over the top and catered to the competitors. It’s a very special experience to spend 2 weeks training and competing with all of Team Canada. The highlight of my Olympics had to be the 14th place. On the one hand I’m thrilled with the result and it’s the best I have ever performed, so it is hard to be upset, but on the other hand if I had hit my missed target then I would have achieved an even higher level. I’m sure I’ll wish for that shot for many years to come.

You won World Championships bronze in the Men’s Relay in Oslo. What do you remember about that race? How did it feel to stand on the podium with your brother?

The World Championships bronze was very special. It was my first medal, I achieved it with the rest of my team and I was sharing the experience with my brother. Oslo was an excellent atmosphere and the race was so exciting from start to finish. I still wonder sometimes how we did it.

What have you already done for summer training and what is the plan up until December?

Summer training has been fairly normal for me. Most of the training has been in Canmore, and I’ve had two training camps: one in eastern Canada in Quebec and one in Park City, USA. The first camp is a low altitude, high intensity training focus and the second is a high altitude, volume focus. For the fall training I’m staying in Canmore where I will ski on Frozen Thunder and then prepare to leave for Europe mid November.

What are your goals for this season?

My goals for the season are to build on last year’s good results and increase my consistency. I would like to see consistent top 20 results with some top 10’s in there too!

What’s it like training, competing and travelling with your brother? Do you get on well?

Travelling with my brother is great. He is like a piece of home I can take with me everywhere I go. We get along very well.

Is it true that you want to study medicine after biathlon? Have you always been interested in that?

I have always been interested in medicine, and my focus in school is to still pursue that career. It’s just taking me a very long time.

Do you have a favourite biathlon track? Where is it and why?

My favorite track is in Antholz. It’s a beautiful place, with great food surrounded by mountains. It also reminds me the most of home so I like it for that reason as well.

Who is your favourite biathlete (past or present) and why?

My favorite biathlete is Ole Einar Bjorndalen. I had his poster from the 2002 Olympics on my bedroom wall when I was growing up, and I always saw him as the greatest biathlete ever.

Does your rifle have a name?

I do not have a name for my rifle. Maybe I should think of one?

Quick fire Questions:
Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Switzerland
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): Michael Roesch
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): France
Favourite shooting range: Ruhpolding
Favourite biathlon siblings (not yourselves!): Bø brothers
Lucky bib number: 24
Funniest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Michael Roesch
Nicest biathlete on the World/IBU Cup: Anais Bescond
Best thing about being a biathlete: Skiing all winter.

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Ian Daffern: The Interview!

Photo Credit: Les Berezowski Photography.

Ian Daffern is the head ski technician for the Canadian Para-nordic team. He has been to five Paralympic Games with the team starting in Salt Lake City and continuing all the way to the Winter Paralympics this past March in PyeongChang. He oversaw the skis for the 14 athletes who won a record 16 medals including 4 gold medals in cross country skiing but more importantly 1 in biathlon! 🙂

You can follow Ian on Twitter: @skiingwithian

Why did you become a ski technician? How long have you worked with the Para-nordic team?

I have been working with the Canadian Para-nordic team for 17 years. In the fall of 2001 Brian and Robin McKeever were looking for a ski technician to help them prepare and compete in the Salt Lake City Paralympics. They had just started with the team on the Para World Cup circuit and needed more ski and wax support on the race days. Since I had experience coaching at the same ski club and was friends with Brian and Robin it was a natural fit and as they say the rest is history. Five Paralympics later and I’m still excited to help as best I can in support of the Para team athletes quest for Gold.

The Canadian Para-nordic team had an amazing Paralympics. How did it feel to contribute towards that success?

Yes it was an unbelievable Paralympics for the team. It was amazing and very satisfying to see Canadian athletes on the podium everyday knowing the wax room technical plan and hard work since Sochi to prepare specifically for Korea was paying off. I have to thank my wax team of Laurent Roux, Bruce Johnson and Bjorn Taylor for believing and contributing to my personal Paralympics wax room goal of trying to have the best skis of the field for every race.

Can you describe what your typical day was like in PyeongChang?

A typical race day started with a 6am alarm followed by breakfast in the village food hall and a 7am bus to the race site. At the site we would check out the track conditions, have a quick discussion about the weather, snow and temperatures and start to prepare and plan the ski and wax testing for the morning prior to the athletes arrival. Once athlete skis, wax and structure selection was made the skis were prepared for racing just before the athletes start time. We had a runner who would bring the skis to the start line from the wax room. Strava records were broken everyday. 😉

Once the races were over, the afternoon was spent prepping, grinding and testing athletes skis for the next day races. Almost every night, due to the athletes success, the wax team would often go to the medal plaza for the 6:30pm ceremony followed by dinner back in the athletes village. After dinner there would be an athlete team meeting followed by a coaches / technicians meeting to go over the next days assignments usually finishing up by 10-11pm each night. Luckily Bruce is an expert at making cappuccinos on a wax iron so we were never short on caffeine!!

What is it like waxing in the cross country relay when you have someone racing two legs? What can you do to the skis in such a short time? Is it a bit stressful?!

It’s more of an adrenaline rush knowing you only have about 6-7 minutes to prep a pair of skis between relay legs. This was the case when Brian and Collin Cameron won bronze in the relay in Korea with each skier doing 2 legs. With the dirty snow conditions the main goal is to clean the skis right away and then apply a layer or two of the best testing flouro liquid or puck as quickly as possible. We were lucky to be able to bring a bench close to the exchange zone so it was fun to be in the thick of the action.

Are you excited about the World Championships coming to Canada? Will you have a wax advantage on home snow?! 😉

I am very excited to have the World Championships this upcoming season in Prince George. Head Coach Robin McKeever and I did a site visit in April to ski the trails and learn more about the conditions we can expect. I think and am hoping we will have a wax advantage since I plan to do some pre World Championship testing and we are familiar with the cold February conditions and snow in Canada. Some of the athletes on our team have competed on these trails before so they know what to expect. It will be a great event with challenging trails, a world class biathlon range and a enthusiastic organizing committee.

Are there any differences in waxing for para cross country than able bodied?

For a skier like Brian who is at a high level as an able bodied skier there are no differences. In classic skiing, grip waxing can slightly change for one arm or no arm skiers depending on the snow conditions as one pole or no poles can effect the amount of grip wax needed to climb the hills. Testing and waxing skate skis for the visually impaired and standing classes would be the same as for an able bodied program.

The biggest difference for sure would be in the sit ski category where there are many factors to consider such as whether the sit skier will use the tracks or race outside the tracks, the fact that the skis are always on the snow, the ability of the sit skier to control the skis on corners and on downhills etc. Most of the testing for sit skiers is done by the sit skiers whenever possible so they can test not only for speed and free glide but also their ability to turn and control the skis on corners. In a pinch though if time is tight one of the techs or coaches can run the sit skis since they have regular ski bindings on them.

Are you responsible for certain athletes skis or do help with them all?

As head technician I am responsible for the overall working of the wax room and all the athletes skis. Unlike many able bodied wax rooms I don’t assign specific techs to certain athletes skis as we are too small and few in number but instead have developed our own system of making sure each athlete has the correct skis for race day. I work closely with all the athletes each race to discuss and make sure the correct skis get tested pre race with the help of other coaches and technicians. Our grip wax specialist Laurent Roux will work only on classic skis but for all athletes on the team.

Have you ever had any waxidents? (accidents with wax)

Well most of our waxidents involve our grip waxer. 😉 He once set our wax table on fire with a heat gun and since he used a lot of soft klister wax in Korea our door knobs and everything else were always sticky. Perhaps the funniest waxident in Korea though was when I found klister wax all over our ski caddy which is used to take skis out on course for testing. It took a lot of wax remover to clean it up so I could use it for glide test skis again….

Do you have any good waxing tips for the non-expert?

Best advice for novices looking to make fast skate skis is to keep it simple. Sometimes the least expensive waxes can be the fastest especially in colder conditions so don’t be fooled by the price or amount of flouro as it doesn’t always correlate to ski speed. High flouro powders, gels, liquids and pucks for sure can be faster in humid and wetter snow so in those conditions try some of the newer waxing methods out such as the fleece buffer applications instead of ironing in powders and creating lots of fumes and smoke unless you have proper safety masks or good ventilation system. Also when the snow is wet, ski structure to prevent suction is more important than the wax so it’s good to invest in some basic ski structuring tools.

The Para-nordic season is pretty short with usually 3 World Cups and a major Championships. What do you do for the rest of the year?

Currently I am in Bend, Oregon (this was in June) where the Canadian Para team is having their first camp of the season. We normally have 3-4 camps in the off season which I help out at with the biggest being a 3 week skiing camp at the Snow Farm in New Zealand in August. Besides assisting at camps I am involved with planning, budgeting and purchasing equipment and wax for the upcoming racing season. Part of the this involves visiting the Fischer ski factory in October to select and pick up athletes skis followed by testing and a camp in Ramsau on the Dachstein glacier. Once we can ski in Canmore on the Frozen Thunder stored snow loop I am working with the athletes testing new skis and wax and preparing for the upcoming season. I often end up waxing at non para races throughout the winter season also.

Describe yourself in three words.

As a ski technician I would say organized, calm and relaxed.


Quick fire Questions:

Favourite biathlete: Mark Arendz of course!
Favourite track: Snow Farm, New Zealand.
Favourite biathlon nation (not your own): Sweden
Favourite rifle design (any biathlete): Samurai design on Mark’s rifle
Favourite ski suit design (from any nation): Italy
Funniest ski tech on the World Cup: Our grip waxer Laurent Roux !
Nicest ski tech on the World Cup: Steiner from the Norwegian Para Team
Best thing about being a ski tech: Celebrating a great day with the athletes.

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