Volume 14 Issue 45: March 7, 2013
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Skis Bogging Down


Hi Andrew:
Question: today in mid-Wisconsin I discovered that with very little effort skating onto the ski, absolutely flat skis, more weight on the heels, and quite upright posture, I found glide with a sensation of ease. But, as soon as I worked harder to go faster with longer stretches on each ski and more push-off, my skis bogged down and the snow seemed stickier and grabbed at my skis. I also noticed in the 'more effort' skiiing that my skis were smacking down harder on the snow. The snow was new yesterday, the temperature about 34, the skis an older pair that might be a bit short for my weight, not sure about the glide wax. Can you explain to me what was going on? And, can I somehow extend the glide into a faster and longer glide?



D in Wisconsin



It is difficult to explain all via email without seeing you, the snow and the skis. But if I talk about equipment and not technique... With warm new (mash potato snow) the main issue for glide is soft snow moisture management. What you are most likely feeling is suction between the skis and the snow. When you are light on the skis and popping lightly from one ski to the other the suction is not noticeable and are getting to the next ski before the suction magnifies. But when you press on the ski longer and harder the water layer increases and you do not have enough structure (and Fluors or soft/warm track ski design) to break the suction. If you only have this feeling in these conditions that I suggest more structure, more Fluors and a Salomon SoftGround ski that manages the snow in these conditions. If you feel this in all snow conditions than we need to look at your technique.


Andy at SkiPost 

Cushioned Kick


A question from a classic skier from the Birkie this year.  I spoke with many skiers and heard a number of responses.  One that caught my attention was to cover a warmer kick such as red with a cold one.   I have covered klister with a cold wax but wanted to better understand cover waxing. 

Thanks, DB


There are two reasons to do a cover.  


The main one is to create a "cushion" where the under-layer wax is softer than the outer-layer.  The under-layer softness allows the entire wax layer to flex/or cushion so you get better adhesion to the snow. The harder outer-layer makes sure the new sharp snow crystals do not penetrate the wax. It bends but will not break. The caution with cushioning is that if the softer layer breaks through and is too warm you will get icing. This is the same idea with Tar kick waxes as the outer layer of tar gets harder than the same tar under-layers. But the joy of Tar is that you can wax with one type of wax and get cushioning and if you expose the under layer it is the same wax and hardens on its own as exposed. The drawback is that Tar waxes are not durable so we do not use as the primary kicker in a marathon. But as a final overcoat!


The other reason for a softer under layer is hoping that you will wear off the colder over layer in time and you will have a warmer wax come through when you need it in the warmer second half of a race.  This is a tougher system to regulate, because if it comes off to soon or breaks through in spots you will get icing.


Hope this helps.


Andy at SkiPost

Birkie Guide


Just wanted to let you know, is posting Birkie Stories from a variety of skiers. We have more than half a dozen posted here, and are glad to post more!





Ankles, touch and feel.


PSIA Nordic Instructor Tip


I have often stated that what separates a good classic and skate skier from a great one, is the use of their ankles.  Great classic skiers, for example, seem to possess a touch and feel for the snow conditions and terrain that other skiers struggle to find.  They have the ability to find the 'sweet spot' in the kick zone all the time and their glide is timed to perfection.  Touch and feel are the minor physical adjustments we make that enhance our forward momentum.


I believe that ankle proprioception is critical to balance during classic and skate skiing, creating this touch and feel.  Proprioception is defined by Shannon Lee, as "the process by which the body can vary muscle contraction in immediate response to incoming information regarding external forces".  Because the ankle joint is located in close proximity to the body's base of support, the ankle plays an integral role in providing valuable feedback to the brain.  It helps provide the sensory feedback information required for fine motor control and body positioning.  


These proprioception mechanisms, along with our inner ear which feels the pull of gravity and helps keep us oriented and balanced, are unconsciously utilized by the brain to provide a constant influx of sensory information.


Depending on the amount of information, where in the body it comes from, and from what proprioceptors, determines if the information will be made conscious or processed unconsciously.  I believe touch and feel are the unconscious adjustment actions we make to the input that the nervous system has received.  The information is processed, and depending on where the body is in space, certain muscles will be told what to do.


Creating the touch and feel requires us to develop ankle proprioceptors to their full potential.  If we can teach and train our ankles where they are in relation to the ground at all times, how much load is on them and the feel of the snow, we are more likely to create the touch and feel that is necessary.

A good measure of how in tune our ankle proprioceptors are is to balance on flat ground, one legged and blindfolded for as long as you can.  Take notice of the difference between your left and right side and what direction you tend to fall.  A little time spent on this during your workouts will go a long way to help develop the ankle propriceptors so that the flow of information is unconscious.  


Ankle joint proprioception is of particular importance, as it provides some of the most important information regarding where our body is in space.


Ross Matlock  PSIA Nordic Demo Team

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.


vbt 2  

 Come ski with us at 


See you on the trail! 

Garrott Kuzzy, 

2010 Olympian/VBT Skiing Product Manager



Start Race Day Waxing Suggestions


Check out our blog for more wax recs.


Great Bear Chase


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.

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   

Birkie Kick Waxing Feedback 


Dear SkiPost

I though you would like to know of my pleasure to use your Start kick wax for the Birkie Classic race.  I could tell that the RF blue recommendation would not be enough for my kick, so I alternated layers of Rf Blue and RF Red.  I had the luxury of time to test my kick on my way from Telemark Lodge to the start of the race.  I was needing just a bit more umph, so I dabbed on some Black Magic just under my foot and smoothed it out.  I never had to touch my kick again, even though I carried quite an arsenal of waxes in my pouch.  When the track on the edge firmed up in the second half of the race, I was able to pick a path around the herringbone mush and walk right up the hills, even most of Bitch Hill.  It may not have been faster, but I saved a lot of energy.  I did ice up a tad on the long climbs, but was able to stride hard and remove the ice each time.  Thanks to Andy Gerlach, who convinced us to buy the new RF Line.  We have been using Start waxes ever since Kjell Kraatz (Swedish coach for Team Scania) introduced us to the product in the late 1980's. Thanks for all your help and especially the stories in Ski Post.

Nancy Bauer



I am a third wave skier and did my ski prep on friday afternoon, Weather Undergound forecast 12F at start time and 25F for 1:00 finish time Here is what I put down, Start binder (for fine snow) Iron on SYN Blue over, 2 layers of MFW blue corked in 1 Layer Tar Blue 20 minutes before the start I got nervous and put on a quick layer of MFW red, it was too warm (27F) already! I wanted to cover with Tar Red but the kick zone was getting thicker than I like. The skis worked well for the most part, they did ice up a little in the first 10 K then worked well to the 35K and then started icing again.  Not much help for you, but keep posting what is working.


Shane Tulowitzky
Mel's Trading Post   



I tried the Terva waxes at the start line and was surprised I did not have more success in the new snow conditions.  Terva waxes have always given me reliable kick in new snow this year and I have used it extensively as cover wax.  Saturday AM I tested VR45 (5 layers) at the start line (I am using up the Swix before converting over to the RF waxes) with marginal kick.  It may have been icing.  It improved with a layer of Terva Blue, but didn't give me the bomber kick I was used to.  I then applied a layer of Terva Red and the kick worsened.  I finally applied a layer of Rode MG violet and had passable kick for the first 5-9 K.  The rest of the race my kick was great and improved as the race progressed, and I'm not sure which of the kick waxes was working.  The glide (SFR 75) was fantastic after OO and pretty good early. Thanks for the great kick waxes.



             The Snow did not act much like new fallen snow since most of it was plowed off and moisture compressed into the remainder. Also with thousands of skiers using the same track the crystals gets turn very quickly into old snow. RF red/blue mix with a bm cover/mix to prevent icing was the call.




SkiPost and Start,

I love the fact you do a follow up wax discussion on what worked and what did not work. I like to learn from mistakes and see how I can improve (especially kick waxing). I layered in Start RF Blue, and on Friday it was working great for me, I tested ski flexes and went with my softer pair. My one good decision of the day.....On race day I was slipping at the start during my warm up in the woods on the small rises, this made me panic. I did not have Start red or the black magic with I added VR 45 lightly tip to tail and this helped, I added another very thin layer of VR45 under foot. All seemed good, I had good kick, but felt draggy on the hills in the powder. I think I should have covered the VR45 with the black magic or with the RF blue as a cushion as you recommended. I did run into a buddy at the finish who kicked by me at 00 effortlessly, he said he went old school swix blue (Special? too many for me to memorize) and said he waxed more into his powder zone instead of going warmer with the wax. He said his skies were fast and had good kick.


Food for thought, next year can you have a "panic tent" at the start for us all to run to for last minute help!?!?! HaHa


Thanks, off to buy the black magic and RF red !




I wanted to let you know, and thank you, with regard to my 2013 Birkie waxing experience and my great experience with Start waxes this season. 


For the Birkie, on my Fischer hole skis (standard western grind, medium flex) I put on: 

SkiGo Graphite scraped and brushed, then a second layer consisting of a small amount of Swix FC3 cold powder mixed with more SkiGo Graphite.  Why the powder?  I thought it was a good idea to have a pretty hard underlayer, but with plenty of fluoro.  Plus, this was my first Birkie, and I figured I needed just a little voodoo. One layer of Start HF 70, the same stuff I was glad I had on at the Boulder Mountain Tour, based on your recommendation.  You may recall that I bought this at the Perch the day before the race. Top coat of Start SFR 75 powder, ironed and then brushed vigorously with the soft blue nylon.  I took your advice once again, Andy, and bought this at the Birkie expo the day before the race.  I actually put this on over Swix FC7 powder that I'd already put on in Boise.  But I was glad I did.  My son  used the SFR 75 also (over Toko HF Red/Blue mix, plus L04 structure) and said his skis were wicked fast.  L04 structure,  The result:  skis were scary fast.  I outran everybody I came up against, even big guys (I weigh    150).  Never lost a wax race.  This wax was still good, essentially unchanged, at the end of the  Birkie, unlike what I heard from several other folks using other waxes.  Given the conditions   (basically slow), these were some of the fastest skis I've ever been on. Thanks again for your advice, Andy.  Expensive, yes.  But worth it!

nnf word  
Team News

The Cross Country OPA/Continental Cup got underway in Nove Mesto and our skiers KILLED it!  The women swept the podium in the pursuit led by Kate Fitzgerald, who won both days. The men were led by Patrick Caldwell who was 4th in the prologue and 9th in the pursuit overall and the top junior. Race trips don't start out much better that that.   


2)Sophie Caldwell 1) Kate Fitzgerald 3) Rosie Brennan 6) Rebecca Rorabaugh


For more pictures go to:


After a weekend off, Nordic Combined's Continental Cup got back to racing in Norway with Adam Loomis leading the way both days. 


World Championships finish this week with some gutsy performances and impressive results. Liz Stephen's 5th place in the 10k Skate, Noah Hoffman's 15th in the 15k Skate and the US Women putting together the best distance relay in championship history finishing 4th. The Nordic Combined team had a solid end to their championships with all 4 guys in the top 30 in the Large Hill competition and a 6th place in the new Team Sprint event.


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We do.

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Salomon Nordic visits US Wax Room

Check out the very successful U.S. Ski Team's 

wax room at World's. Click on image to go there.

Events and Destinations 
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

Jackson Ski Touring Foundation

We will be looking for ski instructors and ski patrol.  Jackson Ski Touring Foundation is the largest cross country ski area in the Eastern United States.  Friendly staff and busy work environment.


Send resume to for consideration


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
Ski Bogging
Cushioned Kick
VBT Worldloppet Trip
Concept 2
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start kick waxes

Start Gliders Explanation

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