Ask us, We Answer
Do you have a Nordic training, technique, equipment, travel, or event question?
Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Bad Weather Training?
What do you do for training if the weather is bad out?
If you are World Champion Jessie Diggins
you go out and get your interval session in no matter what. Here she was yesterday getting her interval session done in the middle of a snow storm on rollerskis.
Ironing Kick Wax
This may be an ignorant question - and I may have missed something basic over all these years of skiing, but here goes . . .When I read the instruction for applying grip wax the suggestion is almost always to cork it in. Why not, specially for the base layers, lightly iron it on for better penetration? Why not iron on the top layer of grip wax? Would not you get a faster ski with a more long lasting grip wax?
I definitely have had very good results lightly ironing in red grip wax during warm conditions - fantastic grip and great glide. But what about colder conditions? But more generally my question is; why are the common instruction to only cork grip wax on? Thanks for SkiPost. I enjoy it every week; its gets me excited to ski again.
Btw, currently snowing in northern Vermont! Think Snow,
Excellent questions regarding why or why not to iron in grip wax.
We do recommend that you always iron in your base wax. This is because it helps the wax to better adhere to the ski and thus it will have better durability. Occasionally when conditions are in between hard wax and klister conditions companies will recommend also ironing a softer wax into the base wax to make it tackier. The problem with this is it can be difficult to know what ratio to mix the wax and if you are waxing multiple skis you will likely end up with different wax jobs. Start makes a Base Wax Extra specifically for more abrasive conditions that is tackier and more durable than regular base wax.
To answer the second part of your question. Why not iron in the top layer of wax? Occasionally with warmer waxes we will iron in the top layer. For a klister race wax job we always do. However, there can be problems when melting kick waxes together. First as I said before there can be a consistency issue with how much of each wax is used producing different results. Even more important, in my opinion, is that when melting top layers of kick you are likely melting them into layer beneath. You've created a different wax and you no longer have that layered effect that helps with: durability, icing, and speed/dragging of the kick. This would be especially problematic when waxing for cold hard wax conditions as the base wax underneath is going to come to the surface and be to warm causing icing and slow skis.
I would recommend sticking to ironing base wax and klister waxes only. The reason ironing in a red wax works well is because you are essentially using something very close to klister that is formed into a hard wax tin.
Start America Product Manager
More info on waxing through these links.
Recreational & fitness waxing guide Race Waxing Guide Start Wax Cheat sheet
Classic Wax Pocket
I have some experience in classic skiing and waxing, but have tended to err on the side of a more secure kick. I'm becoming more interested in classic skiing and racing and wondered how much effect training equipment might have on ski/wax performance. Specifically, when fully loaded for training with a hydration belt, heavy jacket and thermal pants, I may be nearly 5 lbs heavier than when I'm in just the racing basics. Assuming a well-fit ski and consistent conditions, is this weight difference enough to require a change in wax choice or application methods?
A related question on classic waxing, again assuming a well-fitting ski and trying to optimize kick and glide, are there general rules for when you might use a longer wax application, thicker application or choose a stickier wax, or is that too dependent on the specific action of the skis camber and the snow conditions. Thanks in advance,
Having 5 lbs of additional weight will (with all other things remaining the same) slightly shorten your wax pocket. But most training days are lighter efforts than race days so the added weight may perfectly compensate for the easier efforts without need to alter your wax pocket length.
The length and thickness of the wax is most dependent on the flex, camber height and fit of the ski. A classic skis camber height is really a key factor in finding an easy kick and good glide. Skis for cold snow should have low camber heights because cold waxes can be applied thinner. Warm skis need have higher cambers to keep the thicker soft waxes off the snow. If you have a high camber you will need many layers of wax to get kick in cold snow. If you have one ski for all your wax pocket will be shorter when using a thicker warm wax then when using a thin cold wax and visa versa.
You need to build the wax up in shorter and shorter layers under the foot to match the peak of the camber.
Most layers under the peak of the camber, and fewest layers at front and then rear of kick zone.
Andy at SkiPost
I am an avid roller skier. I typically classic roller ski in the summer and fall. I feel that my technique has improved over the last several years, however there is one problem that I have never improved on. Although I keep my pole tips well sharpened, they are constantly slipping. Even as my technique improves the slipping problem never seems to get any better. Are there any recommendations for planting poles to avoid slipping?
Your slippage could be caused by a multitude of things and it is impossible to diagnose without seeing you in person or on video. Things to consider are pole planting position in regards to the feet, pole position when looking from in front, tee pee vs vertical
I see a lot of people that are not poling very dynamic so the tip doesn't grab. Long slow poling without that dynamic impact at the beginning of the poling phase. I like to work on this by doing ab only (also called lock and load) double poling. Basically you stay in your initial double pole position throughout the crunch phase without ever changing the angle of the arms at the elbow and the upper arm to the torso. Both should be at roughly 90 degrees. Work on being very dynamic and quick at the initial phase of the pole plant there should not be any problem with tips gripping the pavement. Start out doing short 30 second repeats on a gradual uphill.
Race Day Fuel!
An article by Dr. Allen Lim of Skratch Labs dovetails nicely with Abby Larson's concerns from august 24 about highly concentrated carb solutions in the GI tract. Allen explains that not only is upset stomach a concern, but that these solutions are actually counter-productive with regard to hydration. The article can be seen here
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.
WARNING: NEVER EXPERIMENT WITH NEW FUELING STRATEGIES ON RACE DAY!
Dr. Abigail Larson Central Washington University
2006 Nordic Olympian
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
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
Cross-Country Ski the Julian Alps with VBT
VBT is an expert in active travel to Eastern Europe. In the summer, we offer popular bicycling vacations to fascinating destinations like the Czech Republic, Croatia, Poland, and Slovenia. Our Slovenia biking tour is one of the most popular as we head into our 5th season of operating in this undiscovered gem of Eastern Europe. The towering Julian Alps provide a splendid backdrop on our bike tour-rated as easy- as we pedal through the flat valleys on bike paths, admiring the surrounding scenery.
In the winter, these same valleys fill up with some of the best snow in Europe, powered by storms coming off of the Mediterranean Sea. One of our accommodations on our bike vacation, the Hotel Vitranc, is also used for skiing as it is nestled in the Slovenia alpine village of Kranjska Gora. Groomed ski trails are set within walking distance of our hotel and the famous Vitranc World Cup Slalom slope and Planica-the world's largest ski jump-are just a short ski away. The great skiing made the Hotel Vitranc, and Slovenia, an obvious choice for our popular winter ski tour.
While our bike tour rides right past the International Dogsled School-where we can hear Iditarod competitor Ararad Khatchikian's huskies barking as we cruise by-our ski tour actually stops at the dogsled school. We learn all about dogsledding from this expert and then have the opportunity to drive our own dogsleds!
Although Kranjska Gora was once a border town on the western edge of the Soviet "Iron Curtain", the border is now open for all to pass through-even unencumbered by those without a passport. This makes skiing across the border from Slovenia into Italy as easy as...well, going for a ski. The Ski Jumping World Record of 239 meters (over 2 football fields long!) was set off the Planica Ski Jump in 2005. We'll have the opportunity to ski to this modern marvel and then have a chat with Joze Slibar, a Slovenian who set the Ski Jump World Record in 1963, in the Slovenian Olympic Training Center.
Of course, no VBT ski tour would be complete without a warm drink at the end of your ski. We'll stop at the Saisera Hutte for hot lunch and warm glass of Bombardino-a warm, delectable Italian drink. Just like our bike tours, our two local trip leaders will be on hand to answer any questions you may have, as well as provide support while you're out skiing, and even offer some additional little treats along the way.
Whether you've already been to Slovenia in the summer, or if you've never been to this unique corner of Europe, you're sure to have an outstanding winter vacation (and we didn't even mention the 3 days you'll be in Ramsau, Austria-skiing, sleigh ride, fondue dinner...). Contact our sales team today to learn more or book your vacation. Our space is limited and filling up quickly!
Log on to VBT's website at www.vbt.com to view detailed itineraries or to sign-up for the latest full catalog of all of VBT's vacations. VBT's Tour Consultants can be reached at 800-245-3868; Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 6:30pm EST.
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.
Fontana Sport, Madison, WI November 1-3 View full weekend schedule...
Supporting Tomorrow's Nordic Stars Today
NNF Calendars are now available here
Support tomorrow's Nordic skiing 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. The Drive for $25 is the country's largest nordic fundraising effort.
Nordic Town USA
has groomed skiing
check out or help update SnowFinder to see who else has snow.
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 http://yellowstoneskifestival.athlete360.com/
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 Festival.com
Steamboat Nordic Camp - 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.
Early registration fees are $175 for two days and $115 for one day through Dec.6th. Register online at
Active.com. Sign up early, this camp will fill up.
Nordic Job Openings
Webskis Job Opening
WebSkis (WebCyclery.com), 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. resumes email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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 www.teamsoldierhollow.com Please send a letter of interest and resume to email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com, 907-746-8400 WasillaHigh: firstname.lastname@example.org, 907-352-8213
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org To apply for the position please contact Rich Ferro, ARHS Athletic Director, at 413-362-1747 email@example.com
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 weanswer@SkiPost.com and visit SkiPost.com