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March 22, 2012: Volume 12, Number 49

Best places to Ski? 


Hi, I am a woman skier from Quebec and would like to know what would be the nicest place to ski in  Europe or in America ? I am planning a ski trip at around Christmas 2012. I  do not really know where to go. I was thinking may be Lillehammer in Norway but not certain.



Our readers suggested: Oslo, Truckee, Sun Valley/Ketchum, Crested Butte, Houghton, MI, Seefeld, Austria Methow Valley, WA, Anchorage, AK,  Truckee/North Lake Tahoe/Soda Springs, CA,American Birkebeiner trail, Sun Valley/Ketchum, ID, Silver Star, BC, CAN  Toblach /Dobbiacco- Italian Dolomites,  Alpe de Suisi or Sieser Alm -Northern Italy , Austria  "Olympia Region" of Seefeld and Leutsch, Lillehammer area-Susjoen,  for more US options check out 


For a complete details on our readers suggestions visit the SkiPost Blog here


Tapering for the big race? 


I am 77 years old. Prior to a freestyle half marathon, I would assume that the day prior, or 3 days prior, I should not ski 24 K. How far back should I make my maximum effort? What do you suggest as duration of aerobic exercise for several days prior to the race? I noticed this week that having not skied for 10 days (but doing other running, etc.) I felt fabulous and time was good. Thanks, J 


Hi J, 

Tapering for important competitions is both an art and a science. There has been much research in the last 5 years on this subject and some applicable information has begun to emerge. 


Before we begin a discussion about the most effective ways to taper, let's get a few ground rules on the record:


1) It is possible to taper for only two (or with exceptional planning, three) events per competition season. This is not something you do for each race on your calender (although a rest day 2 days pre-race can be helpful). Save your tapers for the big ones, whether those are the Birkie, the Boulder Mountain Tour, Masters Nationals or World Cup Finals.


2) Tapering is very individual. The findings sited below are general. Only by trying different types and durations of taper will you discover the method that works best for you.


3) Tapering is not the same as resting. You will continue to train during your taper, although the time spent training and the focus of that training will be quite different than your normal routine.


Tapering is effective.The most in-depth research in this field has been conducted by the Spaniard, Dr. Inigo Mujika. I've been lucky enough to see him speak at US Olympic Training Centers on several occasions. His book, Tapering and Peaking for Optimal Performance is a great resource. His findings with elite athletes from a broad range of sports has been that a well executed taper can yield performance increases of 3-5%, which, while it may not sound significant at first, could equate to an advantage of 3 minutes per hour of race time. In a race like the Birkie, depending on your pace, this can mean a difference of 12-20+ minutes and hundreds of places.


The essential considerations in a taper include duration of the taper, volume of training during the taper, distribution of training during the taper and type of training during the taper.


According to Mujika, the duration of an effective taper can be anywhere from 5-21 days. This depends on several athlete-specific parameters, including fast to slow twitch muscle ratio, length of event, general fitness level, etc. Without extensive testing, we usually use a 10-day taper, which has been shown to be effective in most people. 


The volume of training during a taper is generally quite low. Again, research indicates a range of approaches for different athletes. Values anywhere from 10-40% of the hours one would normally train during a certain period have proven effective (ie. If you normally train an average of 15 hours over the course of 10 days, your 10-day taper could call for as little at 1.5 hours (10%) or as much as 6 hours (40%)). In lab studies and in my work in the field, the number that has proven most effective for the greatest number of people was a reduction to about 30% of your "average" training volume. This will feel like a big reduction! You may feel a little restless and be chomping at the bit to get out on a long ski, but don't do it! This heightened state of energy is precisely what we are looking for.


The distribution of training during this 10 day period is not flat. We are interested in creating a plan with what we call a "fast decay" of volume, meaning that the volume at the start of the taper (the first day or two) will be considerable higher than the volume during the last 3-4 days. 

The type of training that we utilize during a taper is quite different than the type of training used at other times in our training cycle. About 50% of the workouts during this period should be quite intense. Generally, we try to do some type of speed or interval work every second day during a taper. As we move through a taper, the intensity sessions change from longer Lactate Threshold Intervals (Level 3) in the first few days to mid-length Anaerobic Threshold Intervals (Level 4) in the middle of the taper, then finally to Anaerobic Speed work (Level 5) in the last few pre-competition sessions. We increase the intensity of training during the taper because, in its' rested state, our body is more prepared to absorb this training. Intensity work is essential to sharpening up for a top performance.

Here's an example of how all this might come together: If your average training volume for a 10 day period is 20 hours, we would plan for a taper that allowed for 6 hours (30% of 20 hours) of training during the tapers' 10-day duration. We would then distribute the training using the "fast-decay" mentioned above, and plan intensity sessions accordingly, giving us something that looks like this: 


Day 1: 70 minutes, including 3 x 12 min @ Lactate Threshold (LT)

Day 2: 60 minutes, easy ski

Day 3: 50 minutes, Including 3 x 7 min @ LT

Day 4: 40 minutes, easy ski

Day 5: 30 minutes, including 4 x 4 min @ Anaerobic Threshold (AT)

Day 6: 30 minutes, easy ski or jog

Day 7: OFF

Day 8: 30 minutes, including 2 x 3 min @ AT and 4 x 15 sec SPEED

Day 9: 25 minutes, easy ski or jog

Day 10: 25 minutes including 4 x 10 sec SPEED

(total of 360 minutes)

Day 11 - Race! 


Again, the only way to find the tapering solution that works best for you is to experiment over a few seasons. The example above is just a combination of the taper types that have proven effective for the greatest percentage of test subjects. 


Hope this helps, and best of luck out on the trails.


Travis Jones for SkiPost




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Better To:

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Waxing for Wet, Dirty Snow.

Spring Nationals!


SuperTour Finals/Spring Nationals will be taking place in Craftsbury Touring Center in VT starting Saturday.  With temps in the 70's this week it is amazing that they any snow remains. But Craftsbury has been making and stockpiling artificial snow all winter, and this snow has survived. Waxing for such extreme wet and dirty conditions require special waxes. 

Craftsbury Piles of snow 


We called Harri from Start Finland to get his special advice on what we should test for these special conditions when National Championships are on the line.  The waxes and layer he recommended were:


1st - BM6 - hard dirt resisting primer 

2nd - N2 Nano Block - High Nano Fluoro for dirt and water also test HF-40

n1 - 2 drops polished 

n5 - Warm Nano Powder on top for the crystalline layer


Caldwell Sport, a Start Race Service Retailer, will be at Nationals testing Start and other wax brands. Follow their testing and advice on their Facebook page 


BM Green
BM^ for Artificial Snow & Dirt
N2-For Extreme Wet
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n1 & n5
n1 creates tight fluor wrap n5 creates Fluor crystalline surface


START - Application of n1 liquid glider and n-series drop test
Application of n1 liquid glider & drop test


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About SkiPost

Cross-Country skiing's community lodge. Where knowledge and stories are shared. The goal of SkiPost is to make the sport of Cross-Country skiing easier and more enjoyable for all who choose to participate. If you have questions on Cross-Country Skiing see or email us at

Enjoy Winter,
Andrew Gerlach
Director/Editor- SkiPost

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