Tuesday, 6 February 2018

On Line Instruction - A new way to improve any aspect of your cross country skiing

By Keith and Heather Nicol
      The best way to learn a sport is to have individual instruction by someone who has been trained to look for areas of improvement and then come up with drill or exercises to build the skills that are lacking.  I usually teach cross country skiing at a few different areas in B.C. in the winter but through my you tube channel  (https://www.youtube.com/user/k2nicol) get a number of requests for feedback on people’s skiing. These skiers live in various places in North America and beyond, often where they may not have regular access to good ski instruction. 
Want to glide longer when striding?

Improve your skating
     Often with lessons or clinics, skiers are presented with a variety of techniques that they try to learn in a short period of time. Usually change is slow and unless the skier comes back periodically for lessons through the winter they will invariably revert to their original ski errors once they leave the lesson.  Even if they practice the areas they need to improve , without guided feedback they often won’t know if they are improving or not. 

     With my new on line instructional programme the skier shoots video (using their smart phone or tablet) of the techniques that they would like to improve and then emails these to me for analysis. I review the video and provide video drills and other written feedback for how they can improve. A week or 2 later after more practice they send off some more examples of their skiing for more feedback. Then gradually over time they can begin to improve their skiing through this on line programme of feedback throughout the ski season. If you are interested in learning various aspects of cross country skiing from classic to skating to downhill technique including telemark skiing – contact Keith Nicol for information on how to sign up for this on line ski programme  and current pricing at k2nicol@gmail.com  Keith Nicol holds Canada's highest ranking in both as a cross country and telemark instructor and has taught 1000's of skiers since 1985. He has taught at Supercamp at Silver Star Ski Resort and Sovereign Lake in BC's  Interior for many years and also represented Canada at 4 Interski events.He was the CANSI Technical Board member for the Atlantic Provinces for many years.
Improve your ability on corners and hills

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Another successful World Community Film Festival

By Keith and Heather Nicol
     We always like attending the World Community Film Festival and this year was no exception although we had to unfortunately miss the 2 feature films on both Friday, Feb 2 night and Saturday, Feb 3 night due to previous commitments. This year was the 27th anniversary of the event and we enjoyed most of what we saw.  On Saturday morning we headed to the Lower Native Sons Hall to see True Conviction.  It tells the story 3 previously incarcerated men from Dallas, Texas who were innocent of their crimes but had spent many years in prison before they were finally exonerated. These three  decided to help others in the same situation and this film shows their struggles with trying to get the law to reopen cases. Since 2 of the 3 men are black, race certainly played a huge role in wrongful convictions and by the stack of letters they would regularly receive many other inmates are in the same boat. One success was finally getting a man out on parole who had supposedly committed a $200 robbery. He had spent close to 35 years in prison for this offence! The next film Footprint: Population, Consumption and Sustainability was a disappointment. It blamed climate change and the world’s other environmental ills mainly on 3rd world countries who have high rates of population growth.  The Western World’s high rates of resource utilization and energy was glossed over.
The Lower Native Sons Hall is a cozy film space
    We had lunch in the bazaar area of the Florence Filberg centre and noted that the “Stop site C Dam “booth was getting lots of attention.  Lots of people were signing petitions and donating money to this cause. After lunch we headed to the Sid Williams Theatre to see a great film called Bending the Arc. This film was amazing and if you didn’t see it , then join the World Community Society and get it from the lending library. The story of several American doctors who over many years travel to Haiti and other very poor nations to set up clinics and provide health care was truly inspiring. We finished our session by seeing a film about a local organic farm called Amara,located just outside of Comox and run by Arzeena  Hamir and her husband .This short film provides an insight into how hard small scale organic farming is but that it also provides a rural lifestyle that this family loves. This film is called The Hands that Feed Us and is worth seeing.  It goes without saying that we missed a large number of films since films were being shown simultaneously in 4 venues so we plan to hold on to our programme and check those of particular interest out of the lending library. The organizers should be pleased with the large number of people that attended this year’s event.
The bazaar offered a chance to learn about other environmental issues

       The World Community also has a travelling component so if you know people in Nanaimo, Prince George, Kelowna, Winnipeg, and Duncan be sure to let them know about it. For more info see: www.worldcommunity.ca  

Saturday, 27 January 2018

The 27th Annual World Community Film Fest is coming up in Courtenay

By Keith and Heather Nicol
    A couple of days ago we picked up a copy of the 27th Annual World Community Film Festival  (WCFF) newspaper at the Sid Williams Theatre box office in Courtenay and began to have a look at what films we want to check out for this year. Since we moved to the Comox Valley 3.5 years ago we have taken in the WCFF every year and this year’s lineup looks impressive again.  The WCFF runs February 2 and 3 this year so it is right around the corner and will take place at the Sid Williams Theatre, the Native Sons Hall and the Florence Filberg Centre.  The committee has selected over 30 films dealing with various social justice and environmental issues and some are as local as “Link Arms with Us” dealing with fish farming along the BC coast and “Vancouver: No fixed address” whose topic is pretty much self explanatory.  On the other end of the geographic spectrum are films like “The Silent Land” which takes place in Cambodia and deals with how small scale family farms are being taken over by large industrial farming operations. There is even a set of films for children which look interesting for kids of all ages.  
The World Community Film Fest attracts a large following
Since there are 4 venues showing films at the same time you can’t possibly see all the films but the good news is that if you join the World Community you can view the films you didn’t see by borrowing them from the film library at the Bayside CafĂ© opposite the Driftwood Mall in Courtenay. There will also be a Saturday bazaar in the Upper Filberg Hall in Courtenay which is central to where the films are being shown. Entry to the bazaar is free and the film festival admission is either $40 for the weekend or you can buy a daily pass for the Friday night feature film ($14) or all day Saturday ($26). You can order tickets on line at: www.sidwilliamstheatre.com. There is even a closing banquet for just $22. This year the meal will be a vegetarian feast with dishes from Morrocco, Lebanon and other Middle Eastern countries. All in all it looks to be a great weekend with films that will inspire as well as raise awareness of what we need to change in the world around us.  For more information on the World Community see: www.worldcommunity .ca 
The bazaar is a chance to get a bite to eat and visit some of the booths that are set up


Thursday, 18 January 2018

"Views of the Salish Sea" presents a varied history of the Salish Sea

   by Keith and Heather Nicol
Add this new book to your bookcase
     Views of the Salish Sea by Howard MacDonald Stewart is a new book that will appeal to a wide range of readers interested in the Salish Sea. With roughly 2/3rds of British Columbia’s population living near Georgia Strait and the Strait of Juan de Fuca (the Salish Sea) it is now one of the fastest growing places in Canada.  Historically it was also an attractive place to live and this has meant that there have been many changes that have occurred related to resources, interactions with first nations people, recreation and water pollution. The book focuses on a mix of these topics spanning the changes that have occurred in the last 150 years. Chapter headings include the sea as a barrier and highway, interactions with native peoples and early settlement, on shore activities like mining and forestry, fishing and aquaculture, the sea as a waste dump, and recreation on and along the Salish Sea. The final chapter deals with what the future might hold for this important body of water.

 The book will appeal to anyone interested in a history of this area from a variety of viewpoints. As newcomers to this area (we moved to Courtenay 3 years ago) we enjoyed seeing how local aspects of history fit into the larger narrative. For instance we like hiking and exploring the area around Union Bay (just south of Courtenay) and enjoyed seeing old photos of some of the coal washing infrastructure that was built in the late 1880’s on Baynes Sound.  Coal was mined in Cumberland and shipped out at Union Bay. Views of the Salish Sea links this activity at Union Bay to some of the other coal mining operations owned by the Dunsmuir’s in Nanaimo.

Heather at the old coal washing area at Union Bay

   We also enjoyed reading about Mack Laing (whose old house we have walked past many times near Brooklyn Creek in Comox) and how he promoted an appreciation of natural history. Evidently he was one of several naturalists and artists who were attracted to the Comox Valley for its beauty and wildlife. The book is also critical of how we managed resource extraction issues of over fishing or overharvesting of timber and how we have mismanaged municipal sewage and pulp mill effluent . The author reminds us that this attitude must change and “it is our duty to care for this place with the care it deserves”. Views of the Salish Sea is published by Harbour Publishing and is a worthy addition to your bookcase. For more information see: www.harbourpublishing.com
Mack Laing historic house along the Comox waterfront

Monday, 15 January 2018

Cross country skiing at Mount Washington was spring like on January 14th

by Keith and Heather Nicol
Sunny above with cloud below
     Initially we were not sure if we were going to go cross country skiing on Sunday, January 14th at Mount Washington but when we saw the thick fog in Courtenay and the sunny skies on the MW web cams we couldn’t resist. One down side of weekend cross country skiing at MW is that it gets crowded and the parking lot can fill up quickly so we opted to arrive early. This proved to be a good bet since when we left in the mid afternoon we saw cars parked along the side of road almost to the Hawk Chair!

      But even if you had a bit of walk the skiing and the skiing and views would have been worth it. We mainly skied the trails Strathcona Park but the views from “Far East” were superb of the valley cloud/fog covering Georgia Strait while we were in the bright sun.  That trail is many people’s favourite and you can see why given the open skiing and expansive views. We joined up with one of our ski buddies Doug Rose and decided that with the soft conditions that classic skiing was the way to go. 

Doug Rose skiing along the Ponds Trail
   Another bonus is having lunch on the sunny deck of Raven Lodge with the views of Mt Albert Edward and the surrounding range in the distance. Temperatures reached 10 C on Sunday afternoon and seemed even warmer on the deck.There were lots of families up there sliding, skiing and snowshoeing and everyone was wearing a big grin. And you don’t have to ski or snowshoe to enjoy Raven Lodge- you can simply drive out the cloud and fog in the valley and have a meal in the sun! But be sure to check the web cams since it is not like this everyday.  The cams can be viewed at: https://www.mountwashington.ca/ at the top of the page and click on the Nordic cam to get views of the area around Raven Lodge area. 

The sunny deck and Raven Lodge was packed on Sunday, Jan 14

Keith skiing along "Far East" with the mountains of the BC mainland behind