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Racing, travelling and bringing familiar foods to faraway places

March 06, 2018

March is here, the ski season is over halfway done and I’m currently midway through a trip in central Europe, gearing up for another few weeks of international racing! This winter has so far been an amazing whirlwind of racing, recovery and travel. The season kicked off in December with some NorAm (national-level) races at Silver Star and Rossland, BC.

I love competing in Canada in the early season because it usually involves tons of snow, fun road trips with my teammates and getting to catch up with ski friends I haven’t seen in a few months.

Finding the “pain cave” in December racing.

After the December NorAms, I went home to Athabasca, Alberta, to spend Christmas with my family. Luckily, there was lots of snow for skiing and, as always, delicious home-made ravioli and a turkey dinner. It was great to have some time to relax with my family after a hard month of racing.

I then headed back to Canmore, Alberta, where I currently live, to put in a short training block before Olympic/U23 World Championship trials. These selection races were what I had been focusing on all year and my goal was to qualify for both U23 World Championships and for the Olympics. I left for trials in early January feeling nervous but excited and ready to race!

Unfortunately, I narrowly missed qualifying for the Olympics. This was heartbreaking and disappointing for me because being an Olympian has been a dream of mine from a very young age. However, I did qualify to represent Canada at U23 World Championships, so a few days after trials, I flew with the rest of the Canadian team to France for a pre-Championships high-altitude training camp.

Getting excited to race at U23 World Championships!

After a week of skiing around in the beautiful Alps in Praz-de-Lys, France, we headed to Goms, Switzerland, for U23 World Championships. We lucked out and had some amazing cold, sunny, bluebird days in Goms as well, making for near-perfect skiing conditions. At the Championships, my best result was in the skate sprint, where I finished eighteenth. This is the best result I’ve had at these Championships before, which was really exciting, and it was so much fun to represent Canada on the world stage!

Proudly racing in red and white.

I’m now with a contingent of Canadian athletes competing in some smaller-scale races in central Europe, to gain more international racing experience. The trip has been great so far and I’m looking forward to the next few weeks of racing!

Morning ski in the Alps, fuelled by dried apricots.

This is my fifth time travelling in Europe and although I love it here, one thing I miss about Canada is being able to cook for myself. Although the food here can be delicious, it’s also a problem because I usually find I feel best and race best when I can eat things I’m familiar with. So this year I decided to bring some Rancho dried fruit, seeds, nuts and chocolate treats with me to get in those important nutrients and to feel more “at home” on the road!

Here are some of the ways I’ve incorporated Rancho products into my European adventures:

  • Airport snack: Travelling by plane can often involve missed flights, delays or unplanned events. I always find it’s best to not be hungry (which can turn quickly into grumpy) while travelling, so I like to bring a bag of my favourite dried fruits as a snack. Some delicious chocolate-covered almonds also go a long way towards cheering me up if I miss a flight!
  • Emergency meal: I usually travel with a mini kettle and some dried oats so in a pinch I can make “emergency” oatmeal as a meal replacement. I like to add dried apples to the oats as they cook and to sprinkle chopped walnuts or pecans on afterwards. If you don’t have access to a kettle, you can make overnight oats with oatmeal and water/yogurt. I like to let the dried apples soak with the oats overnight and I sprinkle crisp nuts on top in the morning.
  • Energy bar replacement: In new countries, it might be hard to find the type of energy bar you like. I love eating dried apples and apricots during workouts instead!
  • Travel day treat: If you’re going somewhere new, especially if you’re travelling by train or other type of public transportation, it can be hard to predict when and where you’ll be able to find food that’s safe to eat. I like to bring a bag of Rancho snacks with me on travel days just in case.

I’ve found the best way to travel with dried fruits or nuts is to pack them tightly into Ziploc bags (make sure you bring extra bags in case they break). A bonus is that you don’t have to worry about them going bad or getting squished and they all pack really well into a suitcase.

So far, I’ve loved having more familiar foods with me on the road and have had fun experimenting with ways I can incorporate them into meals! I’m looking forward to these last few weeks in Europe before I head back to Canada.

~ Happy skiing, Maya MacIsaac-Jones

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