Ski cross serviceman: Honey’s a busy bee with the wax
The ski cross season is unfolding as FIS World Cup racing begins in Nakiska, Alberta on December 8. From there World Cup and World Championship races will run through 11 countries and four months, keeping the Canadian ski cross racers perpetually on the go.
Behind the skiers on Alpine Canada’s team are the coaches, medics and technicians—amongst them, Sun Peaks local Rod Honey.
Honey’s the team’s ski serviceman, or service technician. He’s the guy who travels with the team testing, tuning their skis, and motivating the racers to be on top of the podium.
Honey’s been tuning boards for decades, both in Whistler and Sun Peaks, including a stint with the Canadian Snowboardcross Team that took him to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. From that gig he moved on to the Canadian Ski Cross Team in 2010, a good fit for a lifelong skier and former speed ski racer.
Describing their gig as “the travelling circus” the men (and it’s really an all-male industry tuning skis) are busy from dawn ‘til the wee hours scraping, tuning and waxing skis for the athletes to test, train and race on each day.
“Our ski room (if we’re in France) is usually a small damp garage with rats, with (minimal) power and light,” Honey says of his on-the-road office. “We put the circus up, we take it down. You don’t sleep a lot . . . if you show up for work as a ski serviceman with us and you complain about jet leg, you’re fired.”
This year is an interesting one in ski technology as GS skis, what ski cross skiers use, have changed their shape, and thus their performance.
“The new skis are really, really stiff; they’re a little bit tougher to move around,” says Honey. “I think we need to test them to see if they’re better, or if they’re not. That’s kind of the interesting thing but it’s a lot of work.”
That’ll be part of the ski testing that makes up Honey’s job. The other technical part is tuning.“GS skis are usually dead flat so they’re usually really sharp and really aggressive,” he explains. “So we’ll give (the ski cross skis) a little more base bevel so the guys can float the skis a bit better . . . because they have to step over guys’ tails. When they’re wrestling with each other in the corners it makes it really tough when the skis are sharp. They’ll hook up and they’ll end up making a pile up.”
What’s Honey looking forward to over the next few months?
“Winning everything,” he says. “I look forward to everyone on the team, I think everyone is going to do well.”
And check out the ski cross team’s true assistant “Helmut” on his facebook page: Helmut.SkiCross. This guy travels everywhere with the team, and makes podium appearances. Well connected, he already has over 300 Facebook friends, but is always keen on some more.
Friend Helmut at: http://www.facebook.com/Helmut.SkiCross
Help us bring you more local news
SPIN has been able to serve Sun Peaks as its sole news source for over 20 years thanks to the overwhelming support of our community. Join over 126 of your neighbours and become a monthly or yearly member so that we can continue to regularly publish the digital newsletters and stories our readers rely on.