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March 31, 2011: Volume 11, Number 48

Dog Hair


I was recently entered a Nordic ski race and after the event I was walking my dog around the Nordic center waiting for the results.

as I was waiting I was approached by the manager and asked if I could take my dog back to my car. I certainly understand not having dogs on groomed ski trails but when I asked why I could walk around the Nordic center where all the foot traffic is I was told that they did not want dog hair in the snow where it could be picked up by racers who are skiing with high fluro and other high level waxes. I have never heard that before and never been asked to take my dog away from a Nordic center due to dog hair.  Will skis pick up dog hair in the snow and if so will it really make a difference in the skis performance?



Yes skis (kick wax and glide wax) can pick up most any foreign substance they ski across and dog hairs on the base would interfere with the skis kick and glide.



 Classical Rollersking



 My goal for next year is to improve my classic skiing.  I would like to incorporate classic style roller skiing into my training regimen  but I'm also afraid that striding on roller skis will contribute to  poor technique (late kick).   Now, being aware of this is part of the  battle but are there certain drills, etc, that could actually turn the  tables and help me improve my classic technique?   My skate technique has improved a lot this year as a result of roller skiing and I'm

hoping that I can get the same results next year with classic.



Rollerskiing on my mind


There are a couple of drills that can be done on rollerskis (and snow

skis) to enforce strong kicking impulses. One of the tried-and-true ones is the scooter drill -- kicking off of one foot without a ski and gliding on the one with a ski. Think about starting your kick when your feet are almost parallel to each other (kicking foot slightly in front of the gliding foot), and make sure that you punch down quickly.

[Scooter drill might be a bit of misnomer; what you shouldn't try to do is swing your foot way out in front and drag it through behind you.]


Another thing that I think about is focusing on most of the power coming through the ball of my foot. Although old[er] school striding technique has you keep your heel down and kick off the whole foot, new ski construction makes the kick pocket close from the ball of your foot/toe. It's difficult to kick late while applying pressure to the front half of your foot.


Jason Cork

Coach Team CXC

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What we learned on the Europa Cup.


Not Every Day is an Extra Blue Day!


The NCCSEF invested $43,000 in six 2010-2011 Cross Country Ski Racing Projects with a goal of helping Team Tomorrow become Team Today!  One of the investments was in a trip to the Europe Continental Cup (Europa or OPA Cup) Finals in Rogla, Slovenia and Ramsau, Austria, March 7-21. We want to share some thoughts athletes and coaches developed from this trip that will help them better pursue their dreams.  

 Not an Extra Blue Day

Sylvan Ellefson-Ski and Snowboard Club Vail-Team HomeGrown - Learned:

         Europeans are no more talented than Americans. We train just as hard. We just need to change our mentality about overseas racing.

         A solid, positive group of racers can make a racing experience even better.

         Having support from coaches from all over the US can give you perspectives in a different light for the better.

         Being more accustomed to racing on European turf helps prepare and be more ready for the next time you encounter racing outside of the US.

         Not every day is going to be Extra Blue skiing. When going gets tough and variables you can't control prevail, you have to learn how to dig deep and find what that motor of yours can actually do.

Noah Hoffmann-US Ski Team-SVSEF/ASPEN - Learned:

         The importance of patience when things aren't going well or you can't race because of sickness or injury.

         A ton from watching my fellow teammates. I especially enjoyed the sprint. We have some incredible athletes in this country who have some of the best technique in the world. I can learn a ton from watching them and I'm looking forward to training with them this summer!

         That there is no reason to be scared of athletes from Europe or put them on a pedestal. They are doing the same things we are and they aren't, as countries, better than us.

         Just how hard the coaches work when they are doubling as wax staff. I am so impressed with the work ethic and dedication of the staff, and I gained a whole new respect for them and their work.

         The importance of being able to ski on all courses and in all conditions. When we first got to Ramsau, I thought I was racing, and I was really nervous about the flatter course and the icy, fast conditions. I don't know how well I can ski in those conditions. I need to work on those weaknesses and build confidence so that it's not an issue.

Leif Zimmermann-Bridger Ski Foundation Elite Team - Learned:

         Time change vs. Performance. After traveling to and from Europe many times now, I have been able to develop a routine to help me adjust to all the changes your body has to cope with, then race to the top of your ability (e.g.- large time change, different food, different beds, different snow and climate, ext...) This has been really challenging for me to overcome. Yet definitely something I have improved on!

         Ski and Grind selection. I always learn something new about how my skis and grinds run over in Europe!

         Coaches and Athletes. Working with new coaches and athletes from around the country is always a learning experience! I am 100% confident everyone took something away from this trip that will improve their ability!

         Competitors. I always learn a lot from racing with developing and world cup level athletes from around Europe. From warming up with medal winners, to skiing with other skiers in the race, to seeing how they utilize there technique on different terrain. I take away something every time I'm exposed to these Competitors!

         Enjoyment. For me, after racing for 12 years, sometimes a new "venue" can be very refreshing and also very motivating! I always enjoy experiencing a new country and culture! To have these new experiences, while following my true passion, is something I will keep with me long after I'm not a "ski racer" anymore.


Becca Rorabaugh-APU Nordic Ski Center - Learned:

         Everyone has ups and downs.  Some of the girls that seemed unbeatable one day would be in the teens on the result list the next.  They didn't seem upset about it either, they knew that they were capable of more and would show it next time.

         It's important to be flexible and relaxed.  This is something that I noticed during a few trips to Europe: the food probably won't be familiar and comfortable, the wax team will have a different way of organizing ski work, and the course might not be finalized until the day before.  In the end, it's going to be fine.  You can perform well on schnitzel and potatoes, the skis will not ruin your race, and everyone has to do the same course...

         Don't ski too hard on the first couple of days at altitude after a 10 hour time change!  I think I came close to giving myself a cold from that.  Even if your training buddy goes fast, you shouldn't!

         Ski racing is a professional vocation.  The European teams really impressed me with their professional manner.  Everyone on those teams was on the job at the OPA races.  The athletes are there to race, and the techs are there to tech.  I am not saying that wax techs shouldn't get to watch the races too, I know I appreciate Brian, Gus, and Casey cheering out there, but all of the other wax rooms were packed up and moved out by the end of the last race because the techs were packing during the race.  They were there to get their stuff done, just like the racers were.  It's a little different from the American perspective because we have trouble seeing skiing as a true vocation; people see full-time athletes like us almost as ski-bums.  I think it's easy to start thinking that skiing is something that we do because we don't have a bigger or better opportunity because that's how other people tend to see us.  Watching the Euro's approach to skiing helped to remind me that it's not.

         It's really important to practice skiing in all kinds of conditions.  Most of the snow that we skied on was not at all like what I have raced on in the US, even the hardwax classic skiing was greasier and trickier.  The last day in Ramsau was sloppy and wet klister skiing, something that I hadn't really practiced until I started training with APU on Eagle Glacier in the summers.  Racers in the west and in Alaska need to make sure to find some gnarly training conditions sometimes, because it's pretty rare to get to race on extra blue hardwax in Europe!

Bryan Fish-Continental Cup Coach-U.S. Ski Team- Learned:

         It is really valuable for clubs and the National Team to work hand-and-hand.  Learning happens full circle.

         We have warm conditions in the states, but they typically happen towards the end of the season.  This is no different than overseas.  Maybe we need to continue skiing and racing later into the year like our counterparts overseas.  Seek out these "unfavorable" situations as a learning experience instead of planning away from them.

         A great amount is learned in skiing with and against others of equal or slightly higher level.  When I say ski - that means training and competing.  There is a huge value in seeing what other successful athletes and teams are doing day in and day out.  You pick up a little piece here or there and add it to your tool box.

         There is a learning curve when taking groups from a variety of backgrounds.  It is positive, but merging athletes and coaches from a variety of programs takes patience, strong communication and cooperative efforts.  It's an adjustment for all parties, but the end result - can and was totally positive.

I think US athletes are more familiar with their equipment and racing below the freezing point.  I think we should seek out opportunities to develop a level of experience and comfort in warmer conditions


For more information on NCCSEF, and these and future funding initiatives,  and to make your charitable contribution visit

Back Pain Continued 


Dear ski post,

I have always enjoyed your posts about xc ski related matters. However the answer to the last post with the reader questioning about back pain was very disappointing.  As a physical therapist and avid skier I feel strongly that some key points were missed.  Physical therapists are experts at diagnosing movement problems, so while seeing a doctor is a good first step seeing a physical therapist is crucial.  A physical therapist can pinpoint if there is a mechanical problem and/or a muscle imbalance problems i.e. tight hip flexors and weak core.  Yoga is great but a more specific exercise program tailored to each person is best before undertaking a general program.  I also think that the skiing upright comment for techniques is very vague.  More than likely the individual with back pain is hyperextending their back as their ski kick behind them causing compression and overuse of the back muscles, this is made worse if there is a weak core and tight hip flexors.


In any case my two cents.  


Keep up the good work!



Reader asks what readers favorite formats for citizen races?


Thanks for the FIS multistage race information. I am glad to have it. My reason for asking is to plan similar events for local races.  We won't have FIS points for starting position assignments, but many of the other World Cup methods can be used. That suggests to me that other clubs might like to do the same thing, and that an article or two would be of interest.  Here are two examples:


1-Two stage combined:  1 Km sprint in the morning, 10km race in the afternoon with handicap starts.  For high schools events, sprint start waves would have a member from each team seeded by ability. The Sprint times would be multiplied by 4 (for example) and used in reverse order for a Nordic Combined type handicap start in the afternoon distance event.  Or host clubs could opt for the easier to manage 30 second interval start with leading skiers going out first, or last, depending on the wishes of the host organization.  Results can include Sprint, Distance, and Combined.


2-A 6 Km coed sprint relay:  Teams consist of two to six persons, who start in any order they wish. Teams with only two strong racers can complete along with teams who can enter up to six skiers.  Host clubs could extend the number of laps to any number they see fit. And teams might be allowed to incorporate various strategies by altering their running order during the event.   



Many of the new exciting FIS race formats could be adapted for all levels of racing, from BKL up to college and beyond.  It  would bring fun and excitement and help expand an already great winter sport



Reader asks what readers favorite formats for citizen races?

Let us know at





Fischer Skis and Boots Dominate the

Nordic World Ski Championships with Record Number of Medals


Fischer Athlete Kikkan Randall Sets New Record for U.S. Sprint Overall


AUBURN, N.H. - March 30, 2011 - Fischer Skis announced today that its skis and boots dominated the Nordic World Ski Championships in Oslo, Norway, and Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, held February 24 through March 6, 2011. The company beat its record figures from the Vancouver Winter Games to win 50 gold, 45 silver and 35 bronze medals, making Fischer more successful than ever before. Overall, 71% of the ski medals and 32% of the boot medals went to athletes who choose to compete on Fischer equipment.


U.S. Ski Team member and Fischer ski athlete Kikkan Randall finished third in the sprint rankings and tenth in the Overall World Cup. Her third place finish in the overall sprint was the best finish ever by a U.S. Nordic sprint athlete.


"Fischer has a long history of dominating the race circuit, and our performance at the 2011 World Championships proves that our commitment to innovation is second to none," said Chris Hall, Nordic racing director, Fischer Skis U.S. "We are especially pleased with the success of our boots, which exceeded our expectations."   


"This World Cup season has been my most successful yet," said Kikkan Randall. "I rely on the consistency that Fischer skis deliver to help me compete in every stage of the season, and I am already excited to see what we can accomplish together in the coming year."


For a complete list of Fischer's Nordic World Ski Championships medals and winners,  please click here for more information 


Kikkan Randall worldcup


Toko Race Wax Tips


Tokos rec for The Great Nordeen Bend Oregon

Toko's rec for Mammoth Marathon, Mammoth Lakes CA

Swix Weekend Racing Wax Recs


Swix's Wax Rec for the Great Nordeen in Bend OR

Swix's wax Rec for Mammoth Marathon, Tamarack Lodge XC


Summer Ski Prep by Swix



Cleaning your ski bases and proper base wax saturation are perhaps two of the best ways to protect your ski bases during the summer. Store skis properly and you'll be ready to go come early winter.



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