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April 12, 2012: Volume 12, Number  51


Music anyone?


Are there any songs or music that matches the rhythm of skate skiing? How about classic skiing?  


email weanswer@skipost.com if you have music that gets you going.

Skiing in Argentina?


I am planning a ski vacation in Argentina this July.  We'll be staying in Ushuaia (Tierra del Fuego) for the first week, with plans for the second week still undermined.  I understand there are several XC ski areas with groomed trails near Ushuaia, but I've had difficulty finding much information on more than one via the internet. 


My name is Matt and I have been involved in one capacity or another with cross-country skiing in Tierra del Fuego since 2002. The good news is that in those ten years, Nordic skiing in Tierra del Fuego has improved in several ways. The less good news is that, compared to modern standards, it remains undeveloped in other ways.


There are two main areas with groomed cross-country skiing near Ushuaia. The first is the Francisco Jerman Nordic Ski Area (Pista de esquí de fondo Francisco Jerman) located about ten minutes north of downtown Ushuaia. It is owned and operated by the Club Andino Ushuaia, a local non-profit outdoor club, and has a shelter with bathrooms, water, woodstove heat, basic rentals, and a friendly attendant employed by the CAU. The trails consist of about 12 km of concentric loops all easy to intermediate, a bit narrow in the woods for modern skate technique, and groomed by a very old Pisten Bully that occasionally breaks down. For the austral 2012 winter, the CAU hopes to have a 1.5 km sprint course homologated to FIS standards within the trail system. See

www.clubandinoushuaia.com.ar  for more details.


About thirty minutes northeast of town lies the greater Valley of Tierra Mayor which is a nature reserve except for a handful of "winter centers" and the specially permitted Cerro Castor Alpine ski area, the southernmost downhill area on the planet. The annual Marcha Blanca 21/7 km ski race is held in this valley on a traditional single loop course that is also designated the Provincial Cross Country Ski Trail or PIPEF. In its second year now, the 42 km Ushuaia Loppet ski marathon covers roughly the same course, looping twice in the opposite direction from the Marcha Blanca. The race organization for both events is the same, it is overseen by the CAU, and the organization funds the grooming of the course for those events. However, outside of those events, grooming on the course is not fully funded. Centro Invernal Tierra Mayor grooms 3-5 km with a Pisten Bully, Las Cotorras grooms 1-3 km with a snowmobile, and Cerro Castor may groom a little with a Pisten Bully. One of the current goals of the Marcha Blanca race organization is to innovate a system of regular grooming on the course for a period of at least a month. See

www.marchablanca.com for more information. 


The only other groomed cross-country in Argentina is about 3 primitive kilometers near Bariloche. Regarding telemark rentals, I'd check directly with Cerro Castor, www.cerrocastor.com . Cerro Castor is the 2015 Interski host and rightfully proud, they have come along way in the past ten years. I think they are the first southern hemisphere Interski host ever. Enjoy your trip! Argentina is a big adventure. 

Chau! Matt "Mateo" Muir


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  Store your skis properly! 


Last week we included a complete article on how to clean, base wax and store your skis for the summer. It can be viewed here.

But many of you will continue to put this off, so here is the last bit of advice.


It is much better to do something than nothing. So at the very least crayon your softest glide wax onto your glide zones right now!

 What is a ski base made out of? 


Ski base material is amazing stuff, providing a durable and fast surface with a material that can be tuned to conditions using wax or structure. The base material is actually made up of two distinctly different polymers and additives. 
The structural backbone of the base is Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene; a "miracle plastic" that is crystalline up to high temperatures (resists thermal damage, or "burning"), very scratch resistant, extremely slippery, and chemically stable (it doesn't oxidize). UHMWPE is used in a wide variety of industrial and medical applications, including joint replacements. In ski bases, small particles of UHMWPE are pressed together in a process known as sintering, along with lower density plastic and additives. 
The resulting sintered base material is a non-porous (there are no tiny holes in it!) dual-density conglomerate, with crystalline areas of UHMWPE surrounded by lower density amorphous zones. If the UHMWPE provides the backbone and the core material properties of the base, then the amorphous zones provide the ability to tune and modify the base material. 
When you wax a ski, the wax goes into solution in these amorphous zones (like sugar dissolving into tea), which allows you to modify the hardness and the chemical properties of the whole conglomerate. In addition to altering the material properties of the base, the wax provides a very thin lubricating film that is replenished as it is worn away as it gradual precipitates out of solution in the base.

While UHMWPE is extremely tough and resistant to damage, the softer amorphous materials are quite delicate, and extremely thermally sensitive. It is easy to damage these areas, and some degree of damage is inevitable with normal use. Damaged bases don't run as fast, and don't hold wax in solution well, often resulting in bases that appear dry or have a white film on them after skiing (often referred to as "oxidization"), or wax shavings that come off the ski black. 
For that reason, it is necessary to periodically refresh the base by removing a layer of material and exposing undamaged base. To ensure optimal performance and longevity of your skis, it's a good idea to have them stoneground by a nordic-specialist grinding service once a year. 
Spring is a great time to do this. Take the opportunity to consult with a service professional on the performance of your skis this past season (while it's fresh in your mind), and make sure that you're well prepared for next season before it arrives.

Stone Grinders


While there are great nordic stone grinders scattered throughout the country some of America's premier grinders that SkiPost has used and can recommend include BNS, Caldwell SportFinnSisuGearWest, Nordic Ultratune and Riverbrook


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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 www.SkiPost.com or email us at weanswer@skipost.com

Enjoy Winter,
Andrew Gerlach
Director/Editor- SkiPost

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