Vernon's Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre is abuzz with pre-race setup for the FIS Nordic Cup-US Super Tour, which gets underway Wednesday.
The four-day event is the season opener for the International Ski Federation and hosts about 350 international cross-country and skate skiers from across the globe.
Sovereign Lake general manager Troy Hudson says this year’s event is bigger than anticipated and has skiers from Austria, Mexico, and England.
The largest contingent is from the United States, with 140 athletes.
"The hopes are to make North America stronger. What we want to do and why we are racing head to head with both Americans and Canadians together is to elevate our collaborative performances so we can compete better," says Bryan Fish, U.S. ski, snowboard, and cross-country development director.
Athletes are competing for points that will help coaches determine who goes on to ski in international competition.
Hudson explains: "This is a good points race and determination for coaches and Nordic Canada, and the U.S. as well to pick their athletes that are going overseas."
The top five finishers will make it to the podium and, of course, gain the most points.
Hudson says because this is the first event since before COVID, they've made room for more spectators.
"It's a great opportunity to see athletes at their finest, the top skiers in North America showing really good technique," he says.
He encourages anyone who is new to the sport to come out and watch – but reminds people that parking is at a premium and would encourage everyone to carpool.