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 Nov 4, 2010: Volume 11, Number 27

Foot plant position when skiing?

Can you tell me the proper foot plant position for ski striding?  Do you land on the forefoot first and touch down briefly with the heel or do you plant the whole foot down?


One helpful tool for training the correct foot plant position is to think about reaching forward with your heel.  If we are trying to encourage a glide that is as powerful as possible, we really can't think about focusing our weight on the font of our foot when it first hits the ground.  Instead, think about the glide phase happening with your weight being spread across the whole foot.  Another reason we try not to focus our weight on the ball of our gliding foot is that most skis are designed to collapse when about 60% of your body weight is on the balance point of one ski.  By stepping from the ball of one foot to the ball of the next you are essentially insuring that your ski (given it is flexed correctly) will never glide very much.  Think about your whole foot coming down parallel to the snow, and reaching forward with your heel. 

If this is hard to picture, go outside and put only one ski on.  With your non-ski foot simply scooter along by stepping down on the snow and standing with all of your weight on your other ski.  Mess around with where your weight is on your gliding (with the ski on) foot, and see what provides the futhest glide.  Again, with correctly flexed skis, you should find that the best glide will come when your weight is spread out across your entire foot.
Justin Easter

Training Advice



I have two x/c ski races on my schedule this winter, a 15k classic and a 58k skate.  It's looking like I'll have plenty of time to train for these, so I want to seize this opportunity to train hard and do well at these because this opportunity may not come around again for quite a while.  I'm hoping you can help me make the most out of my training hours.  


To get started, here is some basic information about me and where I ski:  I'm 44, used to do quite a bit of Nordic ski racing from 1996 to 2000 but have done next to none since then (moved to Portland, OR which means 90 minute drive to the snow and only a handful of very small races, so I gravitated away from it all).   I do log quite a few hours (9-12 per week) swimming, cycling, and running, so I'm not just getting off the couch.   I'm now unemployed, which is why I no longer have the  time constraints.    Just as a benchmark:  I skied the City of Lakes 33k in 2009 in a time of 2:06 (with no ski-specific training) and the Teacup classic 15k in 2007 in 58 mins  (again with no ski training).  My best ever ski race was 42k classic (Mora) in 2:25 (but in 1998).   I hope to do the 58k at Mora in under 3 hrs and the 15k Teacup classic under 55 minutes. 


Sorry, that's a long intro but I figured that info would help.  Here is what I am thinking for this upcoming fall and winter: 


2-3 days of on-snow skiing.  These will be long sessions, 2-4 hours to make the drive time worthwhile.  The time could be split up:  ski 60 min, rest 30, ski 60).   2 days of roller skiing.  I plan to use one session to hone my balance and technique, the other could be distance training.3 days of running.  One will be a hard, interval type of run over hilly terrain. 2 days of strength.  (Roller board maybe, or specific strength on roller skis.  Spenst training and bounding)

Cycling and swimming.


What I am wondering is how I put this recipe together.  I don't want to get burned out but yet I want to get as much as possible out of my training because as I said before, this opportunity may not come around again for a while.


Thank you very much in advance for any advice you can offer.



Portland, OR



Hello D,


Greetings from Hydra, GRE (and of course Sun Valley, ID). 


From the suggestions you mention in your request, you already have a good idea on how to prepare for the winter's ski races; if you do this "program" on a regular/diligent basis, you will do OK from your current vantage point.  In order to advise you more specifically, one would have to know the time-frame and which events you are planning to do.  Please keep in mind that, although you have previous experience, the "one-time" event is dicey to predict, plan and certainly optimize. 


This leads to the first point of advise; use one of your ski days as a quality/interval day.  In order to ski fast, you need how to train fast, and learn how to generate and maintain good speed efficiently.  Once "comfortable" on skis after a few times on snow, make one of your on-snow days an interval day.  Warm up, ski four times four minutes or more at or slightly above.   aerobic/anaerobic threshold pace with ditto active recovery periods.  That should fit nicely into your outline time frame.

Close to your races, you could beneficially make two of your three ski days "quality" days, one as race simulation, and one targeting your upper end aerobic capacity/lactate tolerance for peaking and racing performance.  In order to do give you more direct and personal advice on that point, one would have know more about you, your physiology, and your specific objectives. 


In summary, your questions are very good and you have quite good solutions by experience and intuition.  You will enjoy and have a good project doing the plan you suggest with your question(s).  However, to improve the productivity of your time and effort, and hopefully race results, you may consider consulting someone who can analyze your personal data and situation to narrow your pipeline for best targeting your goals and objectives. 


All the best in your upcoming season! 


Cheers,  Jon Engen   - 

The Must Do New England Races


I'm relatively new (2 years) to x-ski racing and I wonder if you could indicate me which are the greatest race (long history, decent field, scenic, etc) to do in New England (I'm from Montreal, Canada). I know the website of NENSA but it's difficult to know which race are small community race from those who are "must do".



The Nensa calendar is indeed somewhat confusing. But there are several coherent series:

  • The Eastern Cup races have all the top juniors and overall the deepest fields.
  • The Zak Cup (Citizen Series) races mostly (excluding Bolton and Bond Brook--which are fine races, just not as old) have long histories, and while I haven't raced many of them, they do tend to have consistent fields, especially among master skiers.
  • The Craftsbury Marathon is the biggest 50 km in New England, and is a wonderful race. The Rangely Lakes Loppet and Sugarloaf Marathon have smaller fields (this has more to do with being in remote parts of Maine than not having good courses or organization).
  • Other races to consider: The Stowe Derby is a New England classic that races from the top of Mount Mansfield down into the town of Stowe, and is a one of a kind event. The Ski to the Clouds is the reverse: you ski halfway up Mount Washington in a race that seems destined to become a classic. And the Bretton Woods Marathon is another great race if you like the 50 km classic event, though as a new event it is having a hard time attracting a big field.

I hope this helps,

Justin Freeman


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Fischer Skis Carbonlite Demo Centers


Fischer Skis will host Carbonlite Demo Centers at 33 retail locations nationwide bringing skiers everywhere the opportunity to try and buy the most successful cross country skis and boots from the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games. Carbonlite Demo Centers will be available at participating retail shops daily during the 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 ski seasons. RCS Carbonlite skis and boots won more medals than any other brand in Vancouver in 2010.

 carbonlite demo centers

"We're excited to create this once in a lifetime opportunity for skiers of all levels to experience and purchase the same equipment that world-class Nordic athletes are winning on this very season,"

said Peter Ashley, vice president, Nordic Division, Fischer Skis U.S.A. "We're convinced that once skiers try Carbonlite skis, boots and poles, they will not only understand why more World Cup athletes choose Fischer products than all the other brands combined - but also be inspired to adopt the gear the pros choose."



Demo centers feature a wide selection of RCS Carbonlite skis, boots and poles. Participating retail outlets are listed below. For more contact information please visit and click on Carbonlite Demo.



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November 23 - 27, 2010


The Yellowstone Ski Festival is a few weeks away and last minute plans are in full swing.  There is still time to book a room, sign up for Nordic clinics, and register for the races.  West Yellowstone is preparing to welcome thousands of skiers later this month.  Entertainment is scheduled, wax rooms are readied, and skis are arriving daily.  The timing is perfect.  This weekend looks to be the last of the "nice" weather with snow in the near future.

Sign your kids up for the Montana Outdoor Science School (MOSS) Friday and Saturday Rigister by Nov 5th 

On-snow training is the life blood of the Yellowstone Ski Festival.  There is no better way to start off the cross-country ski season than a Thanksgiving week clinic.  West Yellowstone's three-day option is the most popular and available in women's only or mixed groups.  The Nordic clinics are open to all level skiers in both classic and skate techniques.  Spend the holiday under the direction of an elite group of XC ski professionals including retired world class skiers, coaches, and qualified instructors. 


The 2010 Yellowstone Ski Festival is proud to partner with the Holiday Inn, West Yellowstone.  The hotel and conference facility have been the Yellowstone Ski Festival headquarters for many years.  For this upcoming season, the Holiday Inn and two sister hotels (Gray Wolf Inn and Yellowstone Park Hotel) are under new ownership and committed to being skier-friendly.  Reserve a room now and stay where the action is.  Best of all, all three properties are within walking distance to the Rendezvous Ski Trails. 


Only 4 inches of snow is needed to transform the Rendezvous Ski Trails into your Nordic Playground.   

What's New at the Yellowstone Ski Festival

  • 2 Day Skate, Classic, and Combo Clinics
  • 1 Day "NeverEver" Beginner Clinic
  • Free Adaptive XC Clinic
  • USSA SuperTour Sprint Showdown
  • Evening programs geared towards kids and families, i.e. Birds of Prey presentation
  • A food and beer pairing with Samuel Adams at the Holiday Inn
  • Kevin Michael Connolly

Don't Forget the Favorites

  • 5 day, 3 day, and 1 day Nordic Clinics
  • On-Snow Demo to test drive the latest and greatest products
  • Novice Biathlon Clinic and Race
  • USSA SuperTour Freestyle and Classic Races
  • On-site Yoga and Pilates classes
  • The Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center Wild Winter Program
  • The Backcountry Film Festival
  • Wax Clinics
  • Montana Outdoor Science School for kids K-6th grade
  • Thanksgiving Turkey Trot

Enjoy your First Tracks in West Yellowstone.  Whether First Tracks truly means the corduroy and you, or it is the first time on skis this season, or the first time on skis period; you are invited to take them at the Yellowstone Ski Festival.  Think Snow and make plans now toattend the 2010 Yellowstone Ski Festival.  For more information, visit and follow westyellxcski on Twitter or Facebook friend Yellowstone Ski Fest for up to minute news.

8th Annual Steamboat Nordic Camp

Dec 11 - 12th, 2010 - Registration Open

Kick off your ski season with area's top coaches helping you improve your skills. A remarkable collection of coaching talent including former Nordic Olympian Sarah Konrad and top area coaches will assemble for the 2-day instructional camp to take place Friday evening at Ski Haus, and Saturday at The Lake Catamount Touring Center and Sunday at Steamboat Ski Touring Center

The Camp caters to all ability levels: true beginner to advanced and race oriented. Clinic groups are divided by ability and group size is small so that participants can get the most from their coach. Thanks to Ski Haus, 10/11 Nordic ski equipment will be available to demo at the "try before you buy" demo tents: Fischer, Salomon, Rossignol, Atomic, SWIX, Toko, Madshus representatives will be on hand with equipment and information to assist you. Last but not least, hearty lunches, happy hour, great prizes and fun camaraderie add to this "not to be missed" Nordic event. For more information and to register:
Early registration fees are $165 for two days and $100 for one day through Dec. 4th. Register online at or in person at Ski Haus. Sign up early, this camp will fill up.

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