Volume 15 Issue 9: June 27, 2013
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Just A Birkie Story- Not a call for help

by Jeff Bolte


A dislocated elbow on Memorial Day 2012 called into question the ability to ski at all by the time the season arrived. Healing progressed well and if ever there was a year to enter the  Prince Haakon 12k, this was it. The Korteloppet deadline had passed and it did not feel like the elbow would have been ready for 23k anyway. Recovery issues had really limited the time on skis this season.


The skis for Prince Haakon were Fischer RCS Cold classics. Kick zone prep started with Toko binder going on with heat.  The kick wax of the day would go on at the car before I'd get on the bus. Its "only 12k" so a cold application should hold up if it was layered well. Glide wax was Fast Wax High Flouro Tan. On race day it was 23 degrees at the parking lot with 27 predicted. Fresh snow was down with new snow falling. Swix VR 45 went on over the binder (for the warmth to come)followed by a colder wax on top. The skis took the wax well from being in the warm car. 


On the test loop near the start line, I had zero grip for kick. Something's wrong here and they're calling the Haakon skiers to the first of the three start pens.  There was killer glide in the track.  I got the VR 45 out of my pocket and tried like mad to cork it in to the cold skis. The wax just glopped up. The good arm won't spread it with more pressure on the cork.  There was no time to get into the heated tent and get the skis warm enough to take the wax. The glopping application continued. With no follow up test I penned up with the Haakon wave skiers.


I had no idea what I was getting in to except knowing there would be pack skiing. What was known is that Haaken is not an "easy" course just because it is short. No worries there.  I hung way back in the wave at the start. The flags went up and we oozed out of the start at walk speed with skis tip to tail. I was a beginner once so I get it. The track on the trail acts exactly the same as the test track except I have a solid kick. The walk pace adds up to a lot of little strokes when it lasts all the way to the Power Lines 2.5k down the course. The walk pace was spread three skiers wide across the trail with no room to pass up hill, down, or flat.  Being rude to achieve the pass is not fair to the other skiers that do not yet know about race etiquette and passing. It was what it was, and it was slow. This is not going so well.  I was going to fly when I got loose! 


At the Power Lines I jumped out on the fluff and shot past a bunch of the field both uphill and down. It was a short flight.


The triple wide walk resumed on the Birkie Classic Trail as the elevation gain began. This stretch had a couple of tougher down hills with the proverbial "luge runs" in them. At the top, the inexperienced skiers stacked up like penguins on the edge of the iceberg waiting for one to fall or get pushed off the edge. Knowing the drill and how the skis behave in luge runs, I butted in and flew down the hill while the spectators spectated. I have not forgotten  that I was the spectator when I first encountered a luge run on Noquemanon 2009.  Down hilling in a pack was not completely new to me either, just leave some room to bail out if needed.


As the Haaken course joined the Korte trail  there was a gentle series of rollers and shallow grades for most of the first kilometer.  I hammered the double pole to move along down the skate deck or in track as room allowed. I'd had enough of the slow stuff! The skaters were suffering with that new snow and my double pole pace hung in there with them on the flats. 


I never did break free of the casual touring skiers so I had to hold the proverbial lid on it in track most of the time. All I wanted was my own touring pace of around 8-10 k per hour.


Many of the skiers around me were in way over their heads when it came to the tougher hills with turns in them as the 13 kilometer marker was passed.  My trip wasn't squeaky clean either. I had to hit the rough lumpy stuff outside the track along the edge of hills four times to avoid fallen skiers; eventually joining them on the ground three times.  I ran clean in the rough stuff past the first fallen one so I could do this as often as needed, right?  A chain reaction crash began on a gentle hill out ahead of me. All I could do was bail out right into the messy stuff.  I went down as a ski tip buried. Outer edges bit in twice more trying to turn at speed in the rough stuff.  I avoided the fallen skiers but I went down too. No, it's not a case of starting a hill with a fallen skier lying on it. They had cleaned the tough part or they were running good but fast almost at the bottom.


Most of the touring skis I've been on do not run reliably straight out of track when evenly weighted and skied flat on a polished surface. A typical snowplow will run faster than the skier's comfort zone so the hill skis the skier. Skis wobble and edges catch regardless of technique. The speed is beyond anything in which the new skier has felt in control. Been there, done that, fallen flat, I get it.


So how did the kick wax hold up? Remember, it's "only 12 K."   On Friday, the radio had the correct wax recommendations for all brands. These  were based on in track skiing, which is what one would expect. I probably ripped all the kick wax off in that sharp, fresh snow out of track on the Power Lines hills. There was still a kick but it was really precise in the polished track. The kick works because basic drills are part of every recreational trip. Having  skied a lot of K's on just the Toko binder, I know it works alone in a reasonably wide range of temperatures. The binder would ice up on the climbs just a little if it was a ski up or a herringbone stroke. However, there were some maneuvers in the luge runs that put additional wear on that kick zone which concerned me. Had  the VR 45 been layered with heat, the wax maybe holds up with all the out of track time in fresh snow. There wasn't room to do anything  but go easy so a tiny little kick was sufficient. Being in the "Tail End Charlie wave," the entire trail was showing wear. If there was track, it was rock solid and lightning fast.


Starting maybe 200th th among the 260 classic skiers in the wave, I finished 124th with a hideous time of just under 1:50:00 for 12k. Looking back, skiing from the front of the pack I'd have been somewhere behind the rabbits. However, it would not take us sub-rabbits long to catch the wave of Korte classic skiers out ahead and return to the slow stuff.


There's a bib and a finisher's pin on the wall. It was my fist Birkie event: Prince Haakon. I had fast skis, a workable kick wax, and skiing skills were at their peak for the season.  All that stuff made no difference; I couldn't use it! The clown show in ski "racing" rolls on - squashing my Prince Haaken puppy.   Trouble is, I'm the one at the wheel driving the Clownmobile.


As for race events in 2014, I still love the idea of a long, supported event and expect to enter some.  


As for Birkie week 2014, I'll be around as a spectator and participant. Look for me in the wooden ski event with another prize from my racing past, bib # 1313.



Jeff Bolte


Pole tips ..


In 1985, I started roller-blading, in Central Park to prepare fo the Tug Hill Tourathon, north of Syracuse.  I took the baskets off my old ski poles and used them for climbing the north hills of the


I found the poles slipped but more significant was the stress on my arms when I planted as

many of your writers have experienced.


I put rubber furniture tips on the ski pole tips; they worked to soften the plant and they gripped well however they wore out after about 50 K's.  Eventually I changed to hockey tape (known as friction tape in the USA).  I would wrap the end of the tips; when the tape wore out, I wrapped another layer 'round the tip.  Eventually, I would have quite a wad of tape, which would have to be stripped, every couple of years.  And then I started using duct tape.  Inevitably, this would wear off.  Well, I just stopped re-taping.


After many years of no tape, the tips have become both "body and pavement  friendly". 

The tips have been dulled after many K's of blading and I plant lightly; I get good grip and I am happy to report that I have never had any arm problems/tendinitis.  Another advantage of dulled flat tips versus sharp ferrules is the avoidance of getting a tip caught between two planks of wood on a bridge; this reduces the risk of losing an arm to the bridge.


I've done 19 Birkies and I'm in the 5th Wave-Classical; the above recommendation may not serve skiers in higher waves and/or skaters and/or roller skiers.  I'm a roller blader with poles; those that stop to ask me about my poles have what has become known as "pole envy".


All the best,

Ken Hundert


Strength training for X-Country skiing
Strength training for X-Country skiing

 Know Where You're Starting From!

By Judy Geer/Concept 2


Over the past month, nordic racers and biathletes around the world have been getting back to training. For many of those at the upper levels, this means a round of testing. It might be VOmax testing on a treadmill or SkiErg, strength testing of various sorts, uphill runs, double pole rollerski time trials-there's a wide variety, but the important point is that it makes good sense to test at the beginning of the training year so that you have a baseline from which to measure your progress.


Most of us don't have ready access to a rollerski treadmill, or a VOmax lab, so we find other ways to test ourselves. Ideally, the test(s) should be repeatable and accurately measurable, so that results can be compared from one time to another and offer meaningful guidance.


If you have access to a SkiErg, it's a good option testing option because it doesn't have the innate variability of most outdoor tests. And the Performance Monitor is self-calibrating so tests can also be compared from one SkiErg to another. Compare your results with a friend in Europe, or across the US.


Here are some test distances you might consider using in your own testing protocol. Several of these are also included in the Concept2 Online Ranking, and SkiErg Performance Series, so you can see how you stack up there as well.


  • Speed/Power: 30 seconds
  • Sprint: 1000m
  • Distance: 2000m
  • Distance: 5000m

  Kikkan Randall on Ski Erg Ski Erg


Kikkan Randall                                                  Jim Fredricks 


...and Make Sure You Get Where You Want to Go


The one kind of training that we all hope to avoid is rehab, but sometimes it is unavoidable, whether due to overuse or accidental injury. The challenge becomes finding good training activities that can still be done without hindering the recovery of the injured body part. Recovery from injury demands patience, determination and creativity. On the bright side, these are all good attributes to develop and you may find new training modalities that you truly enjoy. And a lower body injury may help you make significant gains in upper body strength and power, and vice versa. But enough of the optimism!  Injuries are not something any skier wants to deal with.


We've heard from a number of skiers who have found that the SkiErg can be a really helpful training tool during the rehab period for lower body injuries. Pull up a stool, or spin bike, and you can do any kind of workout you want: from intervals to distance. Or, if you can stand but can't bend your knees, you can ski that way as well. Ideally, through your rehab period, you'll be able to progress from seated to straight-leg standing to full use of your legs.


We sincerely hope that it is not injury that introduces you to the SkiErg, but if it is, we hope you find it helpful and we wish you a speedy recovery!


Judy Geer-Concept 2 


Check out the SkiErg Here





  Noname Banner Final


Noname is a genuine Scandinavian sports brand, established in 1999, specializing in design, production and sales of custom made sport textiles for clubs and companies. The Noname head office and warehouse is located in Vaasa, Finland while national offices are situated in Borlänge in Sweden, Halden in Norway, Moscow in Russia and Tartu in Estonia. 

At Noname we live and breathe running, skiing and orienteering, it's in our veins and it's built into our textiles. Noname sports gear lives up to the highest standards of every aspect in sports textiles. The excellent function and style is designed by people who love their sport. No matter if you are a world class athlete or if you just exercise for your own fun; we have the products that will help you go all the way.

 Noname is finally available for Nordic Teams/Clubs in USA and CANADA



 Prices for USA and Canada upon request.

Contact for USA and Canada: Robert Lazzaroni

Cell: +1 435 901 4656





Events & Destinations
Friday July 12th, Saturday July 13th, and Sunday 14th

& Biathlon Clinic

West Yellowstone, Montana on June 22-23, 2013.



Total participant cap is 10,300 register at


Birkie Trail Run
September 21
10 New Reasons to Take On the Birkie Trail Run & Trek more Here.
Nordic Job Openings

Nordic Job Opening? email to post

Seeking Coaching Assistant at Harvard (NCAA Div. I)


4 month position.  Salary commensurate with costs of living in the Boston area; highly subsidized health care; free access to extensive athletic facilities.  Please contact head coach Chris City



Looking for Assistant Coach for Jr Program


 Info at the link below:


 Bogus Basin Nordic Team

Coach opening  


The Bogus Basin Nordic Team (BBNT) in Boise, ID  is seeking to hire a Part-time Head Coach for the middle school Comp-Devo Team/Assistant Coach for the high school Comp Team.   Position requires availability for practice 4-6 days week and assistance with other aspects of running the team which can be flexibly scheduled around other commitments.   Additionally there are 5-6 overnight trips scheduled each year in whichthe assistant coach would be expected to take part.    Please contact Head Coach/Program Director Nick Crawford at with any questions or to submit a resume. 

XC/Nordic coach at Clarkson University 



The position offers free tuition, healthcare and stipend.  Perfect for someone looking to work on a graduate degree.  The NCAA link is below.

Questions? Email head coach Jim Allott at ,

Many thanks,

Jim Allott Head Coach


International Coaches looking for U.S. positions
Sondre Thune Lunde

DOB 22nd of November 1983



My name is Sondre and I am working as a Head Nordic skiing coach at a Sports Academy in Norway. Toppidrettsgymnaset in Telemark For the next season I look for a real adventure and I want to proffer my coaching skills abroad. I thoroughly enjoy working with Nordic skiers who seek to get the most out of their talent. As a coach I believe that mutual respect for one another plays as important a role as the actual training, both on and off the field. Therefore, I strive for harmony and balance in all aspects of the athlete's lives. In order to achieve their sport's goals, discipline as well as good sportsmanship and positive life skills are of great importance. Every individual is a member of a team, and I always try to create a winning mentality in the group. 
Lars Hänel 
Oberwiesenthal, Germany 
Date of birth 27/11/1985 
I have been studying sport science for two years, with an emphasis in winter sports (cross-country skiing, biathlon, alpine skiing).  Professional cross-country skier in German national ski team for 5 years. Regular work as ski instructor for cross-country skiing and alpine skiing. Work as an assistant trainer at cross-country skiing center in Oberwiesenthal.  "Trainer B"-Licence after finishing the bachelor study (09/2013)   Good knowledge in waxing/ski preparation

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
A Birkie Story
Know where you're starting your season
Events and Destinations
Nordic Job Openings
Coaches looking for US position
Ride Sun Valley Returns June 29 - July 7 2013!
Ride Sun Valley Returns
June 29 - July 7 2013!

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