Volume 14 Issue 44: Feb 28, 2013
SkiPost: Birkie Main Street Night
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Birkie Champion
Caltin Compton Gregg

Last week we picked Caltin Gregg and Brian Gregg as our favorites for the race. Well Caitlin made us look good and is the 2013 American Birkiebeiner Champion.  Caitlin also won in 2011 and was 2nd last year.

Brian also has a great race finishing in the lead pack in 11th just 2 second out.  Here is a video of the Women's race at 

Positive Coaching


PSIA Nordic Instructor Tip

Megan Spurkland


Several weeks ago I traveled south to race the Boulder Mountain Tour and had a great opportunity to briefly reunite with my old college ski coach, Eli Brown.  Eli was the coach for three of my years at Whitman College.  


Packed into the Galena Lodge before the start of the race, Eli introduced me to the masters skiers that he was coaching and said, "This is Megan.  I taught her, and now she teaches other people."  The he laughed and peered at me closely (everyone peers at each other closely in the Galena Lodge before the BMT), "What DID I teach you?"


I reflected on this as we traveled back to Alaska.  To be completely honest, I do not remember one technical thing that Eli taught me.  I am 100% sure that his coaching made me a much more technically proficient skier, but I can't dredge up any moment of "drive your leg forward," or "compress with your double pole."  Instead, what he taught me made me a better person, instructor, and eventually, a better athlete. 


1.  Eli focused on the POTENTIAL, not the shortcomings.

I remember distinctly one September as we watched a video of us rollerskiing by the local golf course.  Having just come off a three-month commercial fishing season, I was sufficiently strong muscularly, and sufficiently out of cardiovascular shape.  Eli watched the video and exclaimed, "Can you IMAGINE what you could do if you actually trained in the summer?!"  He said this without the slightest hint of negativity, and somehow his voice implied awe at the mere thought of me being able to train.  Immediately in my mind, I was in awe of the thought of myself training.  Just a few years ago when the salmon runs were particularly bad and I spent most of the summer tied to the dock, I found myself running solo marathons on village runways and flying through the mountain passes of Anchorage during trail races.  I had achieved the POTENTIAL that Eli had introduced into my imagination!


2.     Eli rewarded the EFFORT, not the achievement.

As school got out in the spring, Eli would give us a training log to fill out.  On each page was a suggested training plan, with two blanks after each day.  One blank was for what you actually did, and that other was for what other obligations you had in your life that day.  We were supposed to fill it out and bring it back in the fall.  I turned it in in September with TWO workouts, and 87 blank days that said "fishing" in the obligation box.  Instead of shaking his head sadly and setting it aside, Eli held it up in front of the team to applaud the fact that I had filled out my log and that it gave him (and me) an idea of how to plan my training for the fall.  My teammates, fit and fast and who obviously had done more than two workouts but didn't put it in a log, did not receive this recognition.  I have kept a training log every day since!


Eli's skill and enthusiasm as a coach is reflected in his athletes.  Just from our small college team I know that four of us are still coaching, racing seriously, and our most famous teammate, Holly Brooks, has blossomed into an amazing athlete and Olympian!  We were a tiny Division III school and he took us to Senior Nationals, hooked us up with forerunning the World Cups at Soldier Hollow and barbecued salmon for the whole team in his backyard.   He was enthusiastic, positive, and filled us with visions of our own potential. 


 As coaches, we may spend hours pouring over how to get an athlete to set their wax pocket correctly, but without joy and enthusiasm they may not stay in the sport long enough to learn it.  Enjoy your week and as we watch the World Championships in Italy, think about how each athlete represents a community of coaches that not only made them the amazing technical skiers that they are, but that fostered in them a love for skiing and faith in themselves.  Thank you, Eli!  


Join VBT on the Worldloppet Trip of a Lifetime!


I'm still all smiles after adding two more stamps to my Worldloppet Passport in January.  A dozen of VBT guests traveled to Austria and Italy for 12 days in January to compete in the Dolomitenlauf and Marcialonga. Of course, the 42km and 70km competitions were highlights of the trip, but they book-ended one of the best weeks I've ever experienced in Europe.


The Italian's have a saying, "hunger is the best spice."  There's nothing like working up a big appetite after a day of skiing, then sitting down for a satisfying meal of homemade Italian ravioli and a fresh caprese salad.  At Hotel Maria in Cavalese, we even had a cooking class where we learned to make apple strudel, then had it for dessert after dinner.  Of course, the breakfasts of hard-rolls, sliced cold-cuts, homemade jams and fresh squeezed orange juice were a great way to kick off the day, too-especially with the 70km Marcialonga to go before lunch!


When we weren't skiing or eating, we took advantage of a variety of other activities. The 7km downhill sled, or rodel, as the Austrians call it, was one of the highlights. After skiing all morning, I really felt like I'd earned the chairlift ride to the top of the mountain, where we soaked in the afternoon, alpine sunshine before sledding back down to the village of Obertilliach.


 You can't spend a week in the Alps and not sneak out for a day of alpine skiing.  Famous in the Nordic ski community for hosting the final climb in the Tour de Ski, Alpe Cermis is also one of the best Alpine ski areas in the Dolomites-it takes two gondolas and one chair lift just to get to the top of the mountain! Once you're there, you can see across the Alps all the way to Austria and Switzerland.  There's something awesome about coming home with a sun tan in January. 

Check out VBT's Photoshare site to see more photos of our adventures.  If you're interested in learning more about joining our 2014 Worldloppet tour, check out the VBT website. Act quickly, as our registration for the 2014 Worldloppet Ski Tour (including the Dolomitenlauf and Marcialonga) closes on March 12, 2013. Yes, that's less than 3 weeks from now! You can contact our sales team to learn more about Worldloppet departures , and our other 2014 cross-country ski tours.


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 Come ski with us at 


See you on the trail! 

Garrott Kuzzy, 

2010 Olympian/VBT Skiing Product Manager




Italians sweep Birkie on Start SFR 75


Start's Birkie Glide recommendation was perfect with the Italian Team taking the top 4 spots on START SRF75. They purchased our last vial of SFR 75 on Friday at 5pm after testing it earlier in the day and running out.  I almost did not sell it to them as I needed it for our skis and did not want them beating the American's.  Here are Alan Martinelli and Fabio Santus getting our last vial of SFR 75 Friday night, and them on the podium the next morning.

Italy getting their SFR 75  


Podium men  


Results Men  

One of my favorite race performances was put in by Betsy Youngman, the 1989 champion now 53 years of age, who finished 15th. Only skiers in their 20's and 30's finished ahead of her.  Betsy stated, "My skis were absolutely fantastic on the course. It was amazing how much fun I had on the rolling hills. Thanks for helping me to select the soft ground Salomon's as my race skis and for arranging for the Start wax job"


On the Kick Side: We recommended Start RF Blue with a tar blue cover for early competitors and RF red for very later competitors. We were told by early competitors that this Blue ran well at the start, ok until 00, but did not provide enough kick after 00.  Those that ran RF Red had icing before 00 and if one could clear the icing ok at the end.  RF Red  RF blue cushion (with a Black Magic anti icing cover) might have been the ticket but we could not test race day conditions until race day and we are sorry we could not be at the start.  Next Year we need to be at the start line with start wax on race morning to help with kick.


Please email us at with your Birkie kick wax comments. 

Start Race Day Waxing Suggestions


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.

Start Race Day Waxing Suggestions


Tour of Anchorage

Start Race Service Waxing  

offered at Snow Mountain Ranch for Snow Mountain Stampede


Contact Snow Mountain Ranch Nordic center 970-887-2152

or Tim Carter at 970-531-2031.

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Team News
Jessie & Kikkan World Champions
World Champions       


 What a Weekend

Kikkan and Jessie dominate to become World Champions! 

Nordic Combined Team gets its first World Championship Team medal! Sarah Hendrickson is World Champion in Ski Jumping!


For American Nordic sports this weekend will go down as one of the greatest ever. In three different disciplines, the United States was on the podium. Add Tim Burke's Silver Medal from Biathlon World Championships a few weeks ago and Americans have won World Championship Medals in every Nordic discipline in one season. Just think about that for a minute... 


This is the result of a combined effort from athletes, parents, coaches, wax tech's and our American Nordic community over many years to believe that American Nordic success was possible and to go out and do the hard work to make it happen. 


We are seeing our athletes inspire others to take part is the sports we love. They are leading others to have the courage to put their soul into trying to become the best in some of the World's toughest sports and learning incredible life lessons on the way. The Team Medals won by Kikkan and Jessie and Billy, Todd, Bryan and Taylor are a tribute to and a result of that inspiration. Two different generations of athletes were a part of each of those Medals. Each one had a hero and now each is a hero.


We are feeling a huge boost of enthusiasm from our young skiers. More kids of all ages getting out to try skiing getting healthier as a result and are picking up a lifestyle that can create healthier people for the rest of their lives. 


We are experiencing an unprecedented demand by our developing skiers to compete internationally so that they might one day follow in the path of our Champions. Right now we have a part of that next generation in Lillehammer, Norway as a part of our USA/Norway Junior National Exchange. They are having a great time and skiing well. It is opportunities like these that are building blocks to the success that we are seeing in Val di Fiemme. 


Thank you for helping make all this possible.


NNF will be having regular updates from the NNF funded World Championship athletes throughout the races on


Events and Destinations 
March 3
American Birkebeiner Champion Caitlin Gregg and her Husband Brian Gregg will be racing the Great Ski race this Sunday.  This is a bucket list event that everyone should do.

The 34th Annual Rendezvous Race 



Start off Your Spring Ski Racing with a Bang!


There are just over two weeks until the cannon fires for the 34th annual Yellowstone Rendezvous Race, on March 2, 2013.  Make plans now to participate in this historic race, and experience some of the best skiing the world has to offer in West Yellowstone, Montana.  Race organizers are already busy marking the course and making final preparations for the event. If you have been to West Yellowstone at any time this season, you'll know that the Rendezvous Ski Trails are in outstanding shape!


The Yellowstone Rendezvous Race is part of the American Ski Marathon Series and is a cornerstone of cross-country skiing in West Yellowstone.  Once again, this year the race is proud to have Yellowstone National Park Lodges as its corporate sponsor. There are six different race divisions offered for skiers of all ages.  Marathoners can enter the 50 kilometer freestyle race, which consists of two laps around the perimeter of the Rendezvous Ski Trail system.  Racers can enter the 25 kilometer classic or freestyle events, and the 10 kilometer race is a great choice for those preferring a shorter distance. The 5k and 2k races are geared for kids... bring the whole family! 


Make plans to do the Yellowstone Rendezvous Race. 


For more information please visit 

Still got Birkie Fever? 

We've got the perfect cure for you!
the Great Bear Chase

great bear chase
The GreatBear Chase had several board members on hand to witness and/or participate in the event, and we know from past experience that hundreds of Birkie enthusiasts will be making their way to the Keweenaw in two weeks for the 33rd annual Portage Health Great Bear Chase Ski Marathon on Saturday, March 9.


That's right, the ski season isn't over! If you still have a little of that Birkie Fever biting at you, make sure you sign up to participate in the 2013 Great Bear Chase .We've got everything you're going to want: 14 km, 25 km, 50 km classic and freestyle skiing races, onbeautifully groomed trails that have more than two feet of base right now.


"There is no better way to end your ski season than a trip up to the Keweenaw to participate in the Great Bear Chase," said Craig Hughes, a board member who completed several ski races this year. "It's shocking to many of the people from Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota that come up to the GBC, because many of them don't have any snow on the ground by the time March comes around. Up here we're still measuring our snow base in feet most years, including this one."

The snow has hit the Keweenaw especially hard this year, and it should mean great racing condition. Plus, what better way to prepare for the 2014 Birkie than to get in a good qualifying race while you're still in 2013 shape! Yes, our race is a 2014 Birkie qualifier.


Register for the GBC before March 7 to save $10 on your fee! That's right, the ski season isn't over! If you still have a little of that Birkie Fever biting at you, make sure you sign up to participate in the 2013 Great Bear Chase

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
Birkie Champion
Positive Coaching
VBT Worldloppet Trip
Italians Sweep on Start
Wax Suggestions
World Champions
Great Ski Race
Great bear Chase
Salomon Nordic visits US Wax Room
Salomon Nordic visits
US wax room here
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Get Active
Marit likes her Bliz


BLIZ  Dealers

Get Active 


For more BLIZ USA info 


VBT ski tours
Cross Country Ski Vacations
find the time
The one gift you receive at birth is time.  You'll never have more  than you have today.  Find the Time.

Nordic Ski Colorado
Bjorn Daehlie
west Yellowstone
Ski West Yellowstone

ski erg
st cover jessie

start kick waxes

Start Gliders Explanation

start poles

german wax Truck Salomon Nordic visits
German wax truck here
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Support Tomorrow's Nordic Stars Today 
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NNF 2013 Calendar Now Available 
to order visit
Visit Sun Valley Nordic
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