Volume 14 Issue 42: Feb 14, 2013
SkiPost Felix
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Flat vs. Hilly Course

I will be doing my 19th Birkie in a few weeks.
My average time (classical) for the 54 km's is 5 hours and 45 minutes, hence, for me, it is an "event", not a race.

This past Saturday, I participated in the little known, Muskoka Loppet, near Huntsville, Ontario (about 3 hours north of Toronto).  I skied 30 km's in 3 hours and 6 minutes. The course is unusually flat, in contrast to the Birkie.


I am curious about energy output on a relatively flat course as compared to a hilly course. Are there any "equations" which support a 30 km "flat" course requires more energy than 30 km's of the hilly Birkie course (let's say from the 15km to the 45km mark).   Or is 30km's, 30km's (irrespective of terrain),  like a pound of feathers is as heavy as a pound of metal?

I'm thinking the 30km's on a flat course is tougher than a hilly 30km course (with good choice of wax for both courses).  Perhaps my legs are stronger than my arms and the 30km flat course requires much more arm involvement than a hilly course.

All the best,






This is a pretty complex question and to answer it thoroughly requires a technical, neuromuscular and physiological analysis. Technical economy, or the amount of oxygen used to produce energy at a given grade and speed, is one of the big determinants of overall energy cost. The strength of the specific muscles, their ability to produce power over long distances and their resistance to fatigue is also an important consideration. Finally, the Maximum Oxygen Uptake, VO2max, along with percentage of maximal oxygen uptake that one can sustain for the distance of the race is perhaps the most important determinant. Those with better economy and/or a higher VO2max will be able to produce power more efficiently and ski faster over long durations and at a lower energy cost. 


Individual technical economy can vary by as much as 20% and more for less skilled skiers. That is, at the same speed one athlete may use 20% less oxygen than another athlete to produce energy. We also know from a wide body of research that the metabolic cost of skiing in flat terrain at race pace can be as much as 30% lower than in uphill terrain. This is due in part to a large contribution of the upper body in the V2 techniques, and in general reduced muscle mass activation when on the flat terrain.



Given the complexity of the issue, answering this question is difficult, but to simplify and generalize...the energy cost of racing on a flat course should be lower than the cost on a hilly course. It is likely that on a hilly course the anaerobic energy system will be functioning at a higher level and as a result, the subsequent glycogen depletion will bring muscle fatigue on more quickly. In either race topography, the limitation is the ability to deliver oxygen to the working muscles to produce aerobic energy, the availability of substrates used for energy at the local level of the muscle, and the ability of the muscles to produce power and to sustain contractions. In the short term, the most reasonable way to improve economy is to improve technique and muscle power function. 


Jim Galanes, 

Galanes Sports Lab  Institute



As you would probably presume, we don't get to use zero skis too often here in Anchorage. However, with so much new snow and many Chinook winds with high temperatures and rain, it's been very optimal zero conditions. This season, I purchased a pair, and have no clue as to what types of grit of sandpaper to use or methods to prep my zeros. If you could please enlighten me of any special care or preparations of my zeros, I'd greatly appreciate it. 


How to prep Zero Classic skis


Zero skis are optimal when it is snowing wet and heavy snow and when there are large fluctuations in temperature. In these conditions the zero skis provide kick while normal kick wax ices up resulting in slippery skis.


Zero skis are produced with a rubber inlay in the wax pocket zone that needs to be prepared before skiing. Rubbing the base of the ski makes the hairs, which lie in the base material, stand up. These standing hairs provide the grip needed for wet/zero snow conditions. Coarser rubs will be required for more humid snow, i.e. wet, heavy snow.  Finer rubs are used for aggressive snow, i.e. snow with lower humidity.  The rubbed area stays ice free by rubbing in an anti icing solution. Glide zones must be waxed like for a normal classic ski.



Rubber inlay in the wax packet zone of the Salomon Zero classic skis

What you need:

  • Sand paper: 60, 80, 100, 120 grain
  • Cork
  • Anti icing solution (Start or other brands)

Instructions :

  1. Start by wrapping a piece of coarse sand paper (60 or 80 grain) around a cork.
  2. Rub the hardest part of the camber (under the binding).  Continue rubbing 15-20 cm forwards and backwards from this point.  Important: make sure to remain in the center of the ski with the coarsest sand paper, not rubbing too far toward the tip or the end. Rubbing too far from the center will damage the glide zone and result in slower skis. Rub the kick zone area of the ski several times to force the hairs to stand up. Repeat rubbing from both sides to create a cross pattern.
  3. Switch to a finer sand paper (80-100 grain). Wrap the sand paper around the scraper or cork and work as described above. Start rubbing at the end of the coarse rubbing zone and work towards the ends of the special base material. Rub backwards and forwards. 
  4. Work the final 5-10cm on each end of the kick zone (special base material) with fine sand paper, 100-120 grain.
  5. Rub Start Anticing Solution in the rubbing zone making sure to cover the entire kick zone.  This solution is very thin and does not interfere with the dry friction that is involved in getting the kick. 

If, when you try your ski they are sticky, the kick can be mellowed by using a finer sand paper (4 or 5 passes). If you need more kick, use a slightly coarser sand paper in the center of the kick zone. This method allows you to adjust your kick as you would with traditional kick wax.

Exercising in Cold Weather 

by Allen Lim


 from Skratch Labs skratchlabs


So far, every time I've gotten on a plane this year, I've flown to somewhere colder than where I was previously. I started the year in Los Angeles, leaving LAX at a nice balmy 70˚F, before heading back home to Colorado where temperatures were a cold but manageable 40˚F. Unfortunately, things started really getting tough when I headed out to spend the week in Verona, Wisconsin for the Cyclocross National Championships, where we brought the Skratch Lab's kitchen trailer to cook for racers and spectators. I knew it was going to be cold heading out, but working in 20 to 30˚F temperatures all day was a harsh reminder of all of the challenges and risks associated with exercise and exposure in sub-freezing temperatures.


While I've spent a large part of my career thinking about how to improve performance in hot weather conditions, the reality is that humans are extremely well suited to cope with the heat. When it gets hot, we easily and effectively redirect blood flow to help dissipate heat to the skin, we sweat to help cool that skin, we make quick hormonal adaptations that increase our ability to hold and store water, and we become more efficient at this whole process the more we are exposed to the heat....   read more here at skratchlabs


At the Birkie Expo

Get your Proflips, Pursuits, Pace and Velo 

and enjoy the Birkie with relaxed and warm eyes.

Proflip from $116.90
Pursuit XT Templed Strapped
Pursuit XT and Pace from $77.90
speed black
Motion and Speed $39.90


American Birkie

It likely to be cold
temps between 6 F and 19 F
Likely a Start Green Day

Base: LF08 Green Low Fluorinated wax
Glide: HF80 Green High Fluor glider (perhaps HF70 if it gets warmer)
Top: SFR75 fluor powder or SFR 92 Block
HF80   SFR 92 BLOCK -4F to 16F  sfr 75

Base: Base wax mixed with Synthetic Purple with heat
Kick:  Spread good layer of Synthetic Blue  on the Base. On the top lay some good layers of Blue RF. Heat the mixing with iron and let cool down. Smooth outside with cork.
Start note: Spread one thin layer of Tar Blue (-2°...-6°C) kick wax on the to get greater glide.

Start Blue Kickers

Visit the Start Booth at the Birkie Expo to get up to the minute wax recs and purchase the winning wax combo.
start RF  
email  with waxing questions 
Birkie Wax Service at Riverbrook

Birkie Wax Job  
If you get your skis waxed at Riverbrook you will get waxed where last year's winners had their skis waxed. Read more about Caldwell Sport winning skis and wax jobs applied at Riverbrook here 

Start Race Day Waxing Suggestions



Minnesota Finlandia, Bemidji, MN

Snowflake & Inga-Lami Races, Baker Park MN

Far West President's Cup & JNQ

Bryce Canyon Festival , UT

AMH Anchorage Cup

Lake Catamount Marathon, CO

Romance Half Marathon Race Ripton VT

TD Bank Eastern Cup at Bond Brook 2 day

Honey Bear Classic, Marquette MI

Book Across the Bay, Ashland WI

Michigan HS Championships 3 events



Check out our blog for more wax recs.


You can also select the race day wax alone. 

Download Start tech manual here.

Go to pages 20-30

Decide of you have new, old,  or coarse snow.

Determine he likely temp.

Read the recipe and wax your skis.


questions please email 

You can do it.
 SkiTrax FIS Fantasy 
Nordic Worlds Fiemme Contesta

SkiTrax FIS Fantasy Fiemme Worlds 2013 Contest Launching Soon - Salomon Grand Prize Worth $1,497


We are thrilled to announce that Salomon has come on board with a fabulous S-Lab grand prize package including skis, poles, boots and bindings valued at $1,497 for our final fantasy contest this season the FIS Fantasy Fiemme Worlds 2013 Contest launching soon.


Alex Boeuf Silver  


The 2013 Nordic World Championships take place from Feb. 20-March 3 in Val di Fiemme, Italy and we'll have lots of coverage and more contest news soon.


Check out our visit with Salomon's Isaac Wilson at the SIA Show 2013 Demo at Devil's Thumb Ranch in Colorado for the inside scoop on Salomon's new 2013/2014 S-Lab ski and boot line HERE.


for more info visit

Team News
Training Programs and Camps 
Do you have a program you wish to promote? 
email and we will share.
Events and Destinations 
March 2
March 3
March 9

26th Annual Sonot Kkaazoot 

Saturday, 23 March

Nordic Job Openings

Nordic Job Opening? email to post

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 email us and visit


Enjoy Winter,

Andrew Gerlach
Director/Editor- SkiPost


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In This Issue
Flat vs Hilly
Exercising in Cold weather
Bliz at Birkie
Birkie Wax Rec
Birkie Wax Service
Wax Suggestions
SkiTrax FIS Fantasy
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Support Tomorrow's Nordic Stars Today 
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NNF 2013 Calendar Now Available 
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