Skier finds silver near old Canmore mines
Skiing: Dennis McIvor finishes second in 7.5km and 15km races
By: Bruce Campbell
| Posted: Wednesday, Feb 20, 2013 12:43 pm
That’s not grey on the temples of a 77-year-old cross-country skier from Okotoks; it’s silver, to match the cross-country skiing medals he won at the 55-plus Alberta Winter Games last week at the Canmore Nordic Centre.
Dennis McIvor finished second in both the 7.5km event and the 15km event in the 75-plus division Feb. 14-15. His times were 31:05 and 1:15:37 respectively.
He lost to a slightly more experienced skier.
“I got beat out by a guy who was 83,” McIvor said with a chuckle. “He beat a lot of younger guys. He’s a good skier out of Camrose where they have a nice ski hill.”
McIvor finished about four minutes behind William Gibson in both races, despite the fact he had to go twice the distance on Friday.
“I didn’t like my time on the 7.5k because I didn’t pick the right wax,” he said. “I was slipping when I went up the hills.
“I went out before hand to get the feel of the course, but I chose the wrong wax.”
McIvor still managed to finish 40 seconds ahead of the bronze medalist in the race.
In the 15km race, McIvor started before Gibson and he knew he had a lot of work to do when the Camrose skier passed him during the race.
“I didn’t think I would catch him, he is a good skier, but I didn’t worry too much because I was passing a lot of people too,” McIvor said, adding he felt he had the proper wax for the conditions for the 15km race. He was more than seven minutes faster than the third-place skier.
The pair of silver medals was impressive, but it wasn’t McIvor’s best Alberta Senior Winter Games.
He won gold medals in the 5km and 10km races in the 70-plus division at the Winter Games in Coaldale four years ago.
McIvor tried downhill as a younger man, but found having to go up a chairlift a bit of a drag.
“I found it repetitious — up and down, up and down,” McIvor said. “Plus I would get cold going up the chairlift, I felt like jumping off halfway up. I go cross-country skiing and it’s 30-below and I kept warm.”
He added a cross-country skier can still get his speed thrills going down slopes like Blueberry Hill at Kananaskis.
McIvor began cross-country skiing approximately 35 years ago, just prior to the sport going through a mini-boom as a result of the construction of the Canmore Nordic Centre in 1988 for the Winter Olympics in Calgary.
He started skiing in some of the historical trails such as Lake Minnewanka and Shadow Lake in Banff.
“But once Peter Lougheed Park got going, I skied there and didn’t bother going further west,” he said.
He’s not about to slow down. He admitted he wouldn’t mind being like Canadian legend Herman “Jackrabbit” Johannsen who skied well into his 90s.
“I hope to be anyway,” McIvor said. “I don’t see why I should have any problems. It’s not hard on you and it’s a full-body workout.
I have made a little track out back at my acreage and it’s nice to strap them on and go out.”
He wasn’t the only person with foothills roots to slap on the boards at the Games last week and do well.
Victor Neufeld from Bragg Creek slapped on some downhill skis and won the 75-plus men’s slalom and giant slalom at Nakiska on Feb. 14-15.
Jim Park, 79, who grew up in Black Diamond, finished eighth in both the men’s 75-plus slalom and giant slalom.
Clint Doeken of Bragg Creek was sixth in both the 55-plus men’s slalom and giant slalom.