Volume 15 Issue 26: Oct 24, 2013
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Do you have a Nordic training, technique, equipment, travel, or event question?
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Race Day Fuel!
Good Day!

     My question is about carbo loading for endurance races like a marathon, or the Birkie:  With the development of electrolyte-replenishing sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade, and concentrated carbohydrates in the form of gel-paks, like GU, is it still necessary or important to carbo-load in preparation for the event?  It seems like I might just be packing on extra pounds that I'll have to get rid of later.

And, a related question:  I noticed that the GU packet I used for my race this weekend actually contained 20 mg of caffeine.  If I am ingesting 6 of them for a four hour marathon (or perhaps more for the Birkie), that's like drinking four Mountain Dews during the race, which I would never think of doing, because of the diuretic effects of the caffeine.  I have heard of some positive benefits of a little caffeine on race day, but this seems like too much of a good thing.  Am I inadvertently dehydrating myself by using a carbohydrate gel chock full of caffeine?

Thanks for the advice!  J

Answer By Abby Larson, 



Thanks for the questions. To answer your first question: Carbo-loading once or twice a year for an important ski marathon event almost certainly won't cause you to gain weight. With that being said, if you plan on racing a marathon each weekend you may want to rethink your carbo-loading strategy. Generally in the days leading up to an important race we decrease training volume which essentially spares muscle glycogen and allows us to use what carbohydrates we are consuming as a means to further build up those muscle and liver glycogen stores.  Although it is commonly thought that it is necessary to stuff yourself with carbs on the days leading up to your big event, I wouldn't recommend this as it can lead to bloating and GI upset. About three days prior to race day, 


I would suggest decreasing the volume of usual training and eating the same number of calories as usual but about 70% of those calories should come in the form of carbohydrate (preferably from whole grains and not refined sugars). By tweaking the composition of your diet and maintaining caloric intake you will avoid bloating, weight gain, and possible GI upset but will have adequate carbohydrate to allow for full glycogen repletion. The problem with relying on exogenous sources of glucose (GU and sports drinks) DURING the event is that your muscles will still preferentially be using stored muscle glycogen for energy. This is because it is more efficient to use glycogen for energy production compared to circulating blood glucose. Once you use all of your glycogen stores in a given muscle you will begin to rely more heavily on glucose in the blood but since that process is less efficient it means you will be less efficient. Blood glucose can't be used to resynthesize muscle and liver glycogen during exercise, this process can only happen at rest. 


The real purpose of sport drinks and gels during exercise is to maintain blood glucose thereby postponing the ever-dreadful "bonk". This is different than being glycogen depleted in a specific muscle group (such as the quadriceps).  When you "bonk" it usually affects your central nervous system and you become a bit "loopy", gels and sports drinks will delay this, but when you deplete your glycogen stores in a muscle, gels and sport drinks will be of little help and that muscle will no longer contract and relax as quickly or powerfully. To summarize, fill the tank with high octane fuel before the race, don't overflow the tank because it won't do any good, and try to top off the tank while you are racing.....


The amount caffeine that you would ingest in 6 gels is about 120 mg (if each contained 20 mg) - that's about what you would find in 8 oz of coffee. I know a lot of athletes, myself included, that can't even get their race number on without at least 16 oz of coffee. The diuretic effect that this amount of caffeine has is negligible, even for the unhabituated caffeine consumer. I wouldn't be concerned about the amount of caffeine in gels from a hydration standpoint, as most research indicates that caffeine isn't a very potent diuretic, but I would be concerned about stomach upset. The combination of highly concentrated carbohydrate and caffeine can cause GI upset in some individuals. Caffeine is a proven ergogenic aid for short and long duration events. The ergogenic benefits stem from its stimulation of the central nervous system. Urban sport legend touts caffeine as being able to enhance fatty acid utilization and demonizes it for being a diuretic - both of which are unsupported by the vast majority of research. This being said, if the combination of carbohydrate and caffeine doesn't cause stomach upset then I wouldn't hesitate to use caffeinated gels liberally on race day. 




Dr. Abigail Larson  Central Washington University

2006 Nordic Olympian



Our author Abby Larson racing in the 2006 Olympics

Ski Quiver?

I started XC skiing roughly 4 years ago and competitively 3 years ago. I use the word competitively loosely as at 56 its all about having fun and improving your skill and fitness level, at least this is what I keep telling myself. I own two pairs of skis, the first set I bought to get in better shape (4 years ago ) and the second pair I bought two years ago when I decided I could do better in the races I entered. The race skis I bought are designed for cold conditions with a stiffer flex pattern that suits my weight - I bought these based on the advice from the local ski shop.  The question I have is: do I need a softer, warm day race ski?  I generally race in 6-10 races a year in varying conditions. JJ

Dear JJ,


It is impossible to give a complete answer from just this information. But if you race 6-10 times and are asking you probably feel that you need a ski upgrade. It is best to bring your skis into your race shop and they can examine how the skis fit you, and your goals, and your snow.


To select a quiver of skis (even 2) for one skier used to require selecting a ski stiffness based on the skier body weight and the snow type. Soft track required a softer % of body weight hard track a greater %.  Wet soft vs warm hard all a different flex (or fit) to make them work in the selected snow-type or as all condition overall ski.


Now ski manufactures have created specific ski constructions/flex patters that are ideal for specific snow types.  This allows a ski to be selected for the skier much easier than ever before. Select the snow type, know your weight select your ski length and flex. And yes the skis will still work fine outside of the ideal condition. They just work at their best in each snow type.


I work closely with Salomon so I will give you information on how Salomon's 3 (4) S-Lab Skate ski types. 


1)       Cold-Slab Skate - This ski has long and fixed front & rear glide zones. This helps melt the cold snow rapidly to develop a thin film water layer which is necessary to increase cold snow break-away speed often a limiting factor in cold snow.  

2)       Warm-Slab Skate - This ski has short shifting front and rear glide zones and tip and tails that splay up. This allows the ski break wet snow suction to maximize top end speed often a limiting factor in warm snow.

3)       Soft-Ground - This ski has very long, low pressure, front and rear glide zones that are always shifting  plus low torsional rigidity. Together these create a "snake effect' that allows the ski to maintain its speed by floating over rather then compress both cold powder and, perhaps the most difficult snow condition, wet mush.

4)       Artificial snow - This is a rare ski for a very focused need. The key feature is the forward shift of the peak of its bridge to increase acceleration at the early part of the skate phase on artificial snow (compact, coarse and high moisture). 


So if you have a good cold snow ski I would suggest a Soft Ground as the second ski in your quiver.


I hope this helps


Andy at SkiPost

Woodski Ski Clamp


Woodski has released a new innovation in ski clamps. The new foot clamp is here and ready to take on the world!  Combined with the New World Wax table, or your existing table waxers will reach a new level of efficiency and ease in waxing. The foot clamp uses a pedal to release the spring loaded clamp allowing for two handed handling of the skis. Klistered skis, new unmounted skis, wide bindings are all easy to handle with the new clamp.  

Wax guru Zach Caldwell has this to say about the new clamp: "I'm totally spoiled by the foot-activated pneumatic vice in our shop. When I've been working a lot I tend to stamp on the floor everywhere I go, expecting doors to open, faucets to turn on, etc. Now I'll be able to keep the foot-stamping signal strong when I do ski service on the road. The world's best waxing table just got WAY better!"



More details are at the website




Jessie Diggins Partners with Podiumwear

Brand Ambassador for New Women's Line


Podiumwear Custom Sports Apparel has announced that World Champion Jessie Diggins has signed on to be an official ambassador of a new line of custom women's apparel for nordic skiing and racing - a first for the nordic apparel industry. 


"It is such an honor to have Jessie Diggins on board," said Podiumwear owner, Reid Lutter.  "Podiumwear is the first custom apparel company to offer a line of products designed especially for women.  That's a big deal and we wanted someone really special to be the ambassador of the line," said Lutter.  "Having watched Jessie go from a MN State Champion to a National Champion to a World Champion has been incredibly inspiring.  As a growing company that makes all our products here in Minnesota, we thought she would be the perfect representative.  We couldn't be more thrilled. 




Diggins, who is from Afton, MN is only 22 years old, yet she has already made a name for herself on the world nordic stage.   Last season, along with teammate Kikkan Randall, she was crowned World Champion in the Team Sprint.  She is preparing to race at the Olympics in Sochi, Russia this year. 


Diggins has helped with the design and testing of the products. "I feel awesome about supporting a line of ski clothes for girls, she said.  "I think it's fun because I get to give input on what would make my ideal ski suit and training jacket, and then see it become available to everyone!"  On supporting a Minnesota company, Diggins says: " I think it's great that Podiumwear is made in the U.S. and specifically in Minnesota.  I have a lot of MN and local pride in my community and ski culture, and to be representing a line made in my home state feels really good!"


The new line of products is available on the Podiumwear website:

CXC Super Fit Weekends are back by popular demand!



Get your cross-country skis superbly fitted and selected on a state-of-the-art 3D pressure mat by CXC Team members. The crew will not only provide you with great performing skis but also with a better understanding of how your skis turn kick and gliding motions into speed.  Be sure to bring in your old skis so the team can help pick a pair of new skis to complement those you already own.


FinnSisu, St. Paul, MN October 25-27  Fall Fest info here


Fontana Sport, Madison, WI November 1-3 View full weekend schedule...



nnf word

Supporting Tomorrow's Nordic Stars Today

Drive for 25

NNF's fundraising goal for the 2013- 2014 season is $275,000 for both Cross-Country and Nordic Combined.Please consider the NNF in your year end giving and in the year to come. Sign up. Become an NNF ambassador. Support tomorrow's Nordic skiing stars today. Click the red or blue icons below to support Nordic Combined or Cross Country NNF fundraising. Named after the grassroots support of many $25 donations, the Drive for 25 is the country's largest nordic fundraising effort.

Donate to Cross-Country Drive for 25 Nordic-Combined  



Events and Destinations 


Preseason discount trail passes available for Yellowstone Ski Festival


*Order by October 31, 2013 for the best rate 


Passes may be purchased online (for a small processing fee) at


Plan your trip now for Thanksgiving at the Yellowstone Ski Festival. Ski from your hotel to the trails, ski and eat, ski & eat, ski some more, ski to Old Faithfull and test the latest gear ...  Yellowstone Ski

Nordic Town USA


Plan your trip to Sun Valley/Ketchum, Idaho (Nordic Town USA) this winter, to take in over 200km of immaculate groomed trails along with fine dining, sunshine and many other accoutrements for the entire family. We are destine to have a record breaking snow fall and record long ski season.  


Visit Sun Valley NordicTownUSA



Sun Valley Nordic Festival Video Highlighting The U.S. Paralympic Nordic Team from 2013  

 Steamboat Nordic Camp  - Registration Open


11th Annual Steamboat Nordic Camp Dec 14 - 15th, 2013 - Registration Open


 Kick off your ski season with top coaches helping you improve your xc skiing skills.  A remarkable collection of coaches assemble at the 2-day instructional camp taking place Friday evening at Ski Haus Ski Shop, Saturday at Lake Catamount Touring Center and Sunday at Steamboat Ski Touring Center , Steamboat Springs, CO.

This camp caters to all ability levels: For more information and to register:
Early registration fees are $175 for two days and $115 for one day through Dec.6th. Register online at Sign up early, this camp will fill up. 

New Telemark Property Owners Assures 2014 Birkie Race Start

Hayward, Wisconsin (Oct. 23, 2013) - The first meeting between the new owners of the Telemark property in Cable, WI, the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation (ABSF), and other Hayward/Cable area events and parties took place on Tuesday, October 22, at the Cable Area Chamber of Commerce. The Telemark property had been purchased just one week earlier on October 15 for $926,000 by Newco, LLC, a privately held company based in Colorado. Ben Popp, Executive Director of the ABSF, represented the Birkie at the meeting. He reports that the ABSF has been assured by the new owners that the American Birkebeiner, which uses portions of the Telemark property to hold its February ski events, is welcome to proceed as usual for 2014.

"This was a very positive meeting and an open, wonderful conversation with some really good people. While several interests were represented, we especially want Birkie skiers to know that we have the full support of the new owners to proceed with all of our 2014 events on the Telemark property as planned," said Popp.

More details Here

Nordic Job Openings

Nordic Job Opening? email to post

Webskis Job Opening


WebSkis (, located in Bend, OR,  is looking for a knowledgeable and customer-oriented nordic ski-tech/salesman. Applicants will need to have a working knowledge of nordic ski flexing, waxing, boot fitting, wax testing procedures, etc. Bicycle knowledge, while not required, is beneficial. Applicant must be organized and work well with others. Position is full-time 32-40 hrs per week, will require working on many Saturdays, and could be year round employment for the right person. Flexible schedule offers the chance to ski on a daily basis (Bend has great skiing 6-8 months out of the year). WebSkis focuses on providing avid skiers and racers with excellent customer service and quality hand picked ski equipment and waxes. Send resumes to


Alaska Jumping/Nordic Combined Coach Opening


Looking for Jumping/Nordic Combined ski coach in Anchorage at the Karl Eid Jumps.

Come coach our rapidly growing program in Anchorage. This is a paid part-time position with

some great benefits! email:  call: ( 907) 242-2633

Team Soldier Hollow Seeks Devo Coach


Team Soldier Hollow, located at the 2002 Olympic venue in Midway, UT, is looking for an enthusiastic and energetic coach to work with our Devo Team skiers (ages 10 to 13). Ideal candidates will have experience cross country ski racing and/or coaching and waxing. Current USSA Coaches License is required.

For more information on Team Soldier Hollow visit

Please send a letter of interest and resume to

Summit Nordic Ski Club  


The Summit Nordic Ski Club (Summit County, CO is fielding letters of interest and resumes for a part time J2-OJ coach for the 2013-14 competition season. Reply to: Dan McCrerey, SNSC President:

Alaska High School Coaching openings


Cross-Country Ski Coaches Needed for Palmer and Wasilla High Schools in the Mat-Su Valley, Alaska.
Head and Assistant Coaches are needed for the high schools this year. These are paid positions. contact: 
Palmer High:, 907-746-8400 Wasilla High:, 907-352-8213 

    The Vail Nordic Center


The Vail Nordic Center, located in beautiful, Vail, CO. is looking for full and part-time help for this winter. The ideal candidate will have retail experience and a  good knowledge of Nordic skiing.  Teaching experience in classic and skate skiing is a huge plus.  Please contact Mia at for all inquiries.  

Nordic Skiing Head Coach, Amherst Regional High School, MA


Amherst Regional High School is looking for a new head coach for their Nordic Ski Program. Contact Nat Woodruff, Current Nordic Head Coach, at 617-939-4317 To apply for the position please contact Rich Ferro, ARHS Athletic Director, at 413-362-1747

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
Ask Us
Race Day Fuel
Ski Quiver
Wood Ski Clamp
Diggins Podiumwear
CXC Superfit
NNF Drive for 25
Events & Destinations
Nordic Job Openings
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Support Tomorrow's Nordic Stars Today
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Keep Focused


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Bliz America Blog

BLIZ America Dealers



For more BLIZ USA info 


Noname Banner Final

Get your team custom unis from NONAME
 and separate yourself team from the pack.

Woodski roller skis
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 Ski Seefeld, Austria
February 26 - March 5, 2014
7 Nights, 8 Days of Skiing 
CXC Academy
Salomon Nordic

ski erg

start poles  

Start Wax and Poles Explained

Start Wax & Pole Catalog 1314 

Start Finishing Fluors

Start Wax and Poles Explained

Start Kick Waxes

Start Wax and Poles Explained

Ski West Yellowstone
Nordic House Rental
Big Sky MT
Close to W. Yellowstone & Big Sky.
7 km of your own private and hilly Nordic trails. 

SkiPost special 3 nights at $900.  

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

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