Volume 15 Issue 44: Feb 27, 2014
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Lifelong endurance sports prove risky for some athletes' hearts
By Mike Ivey For the Capital Time
As thousands of dedicated cross-country skiers tackled Saturday's American Birkebeiner, a 50-kilometer trek over the wooded hills of northern Wisconsin, one disturbing reality has emerged: for some athletes, a lifetime of endurance sports can mess up the heart.

The connection is somewhat counterintuitive since exercise is generally recognized as good for your health.

But recent medical evidence suggests that long-term aerobic activity does indeed cause problems with heart function in some people. Avid cross-country skiers seem especially vulnerable since those athletes use both arms and legs over long distances, keeping the heart rate elevated for hours on end, often over years of training and competing.

Complete article here


Birkie Wax
Hello I just raced the "Epic" Birkie. I went with Start's Wax rec and used LF08. While I felt dreadfully slow I was passing people on every downhill so I must gauge it as the good call. What did Start apply for Start Race Service, and do you know what the winners used?  Nate, Birkie # 17 
For Start's Birkie wax service they used SG8, then HF80 covered by SFR 75 Cold Powder.  Start's Product manager Evan Pangelly waxed numerous elite skiers skis. Of the top finishers (that we can mention) he applied this formula to 3rd place Rosie Brennan, 5th place 47 year old Laura McCabe, as well as Betsy Youngman 11th overall and 1st in the 50-55 age group.  Evan also did the skis for 2nd American male finisher Lex Treinen winner of the 18-24 age group and 10th overall. We have an unsubstantiated report from the lead pack that the winner used SFR75 but have not received an email confirmation from him on this yet. For kick Start ran on Oslo Green.
Andy at Start Wax

Waxing for future Polar Vortexes.


Dear SkiPost,


Polar Inversion #2 just passed and temps have moved into the double digits so I went out for a noon ski and found that I was skiing on Styrofoam.  No glide, very noisy snow.  The snow fell fresh/cold on Sunday and then double digit below zero temps on Monday and Tuesday.  And very dry.  My thought is that we should use the coldest wax available for this snow even though air temps are up to 20 today.  But alas my wax tech failed me again.  Can you advise, is there wax that will work on this cold cold snow and what are some specific waxes (brands and grades) that would work in these conditions. None gliding Nora,


Hello Nora,


We understand your pain. Skiing in very cold dry snow can be a very slow and grinding experience but there are ways to improve glide and we are here to help!


Probably the best thing you can do for yourself in cold dry conditions is to use a ski with the proper structure. This means going to your local ski shop and asking for a stone grind with a very fine linear structure. Skis do not come from the factory like this so it is something you need to do aftermarket. If you have too much structure you will have increased friction and travel even slower. 


The next step is to properly prepare your ski base. Let's assume this is a relatively new ski. First step is to get soft wax into the base followed by a harder wax. Start makes waxes just for this purpose. We recommend 3 layers of our Service wax followed by 1 layer of Base Wax LF, 1 more layer of Service Wax, followed by 1 layer of Base Wax LF. After this your skis are ready for action and the wax of the day.


For Polar Vortex temps you need very cold and hard wax. Start makes the hardest wax on the planet SG8 Start Green and its Fluor brotherin FG18, LF08, HF80. Test into the hardness of waxes have proven this true see chart below.


As you can see a hardness test show the hardness of each brands wax. Notice that not all green and blue waxes are created equal.

We recommend 1 layer of Start SG8 Green wax for the coldest conditions to provide optimal glide in Styrofoam type snow.  Start Green is going to work well all the way up to 20 degrees Fahrenheit so in the Midwest it is often a go to wax.



For racing we recommend using a Start Green wax with some fluor in it. Fluor is going to help repel the small amount of moisture in the snow and it is also going to repel dirt over the course of a long race. The longer the race and the more road crossings you have the more important it is to have higher fluor content. The great thing about Start Green is that it remains the same hardness all the way up to Start HF Green.


To recap have a pair of skis with fine structure, properly prepare the ski with service and base wax. Put down the coldest wax on the planet, Start Green and then go skiing. It may be slow still but you should be faster than those around you without the proper preparation.


Note: One common mistake people make is to continue to just put layer after layer of very cold hard wax into their base after skiing without ever adding a softer wax. Because the ski does not easily absorb this wax they begin to fry out. Make sure that in between skis you use a softer wax like Start Base Wax or a violet wax to prevent you base from drying out.


Enjoy the Glide


Evan Pengelly

Start Product Manager



Thanks, he did pretty well for the Birkie but this is good info.  This waxing issue can really lead to marital stress!  But the rule is I do the cooking and he does the waxing - I just have to keep him using the right ingredients and the right cook book! 




What Glasses did Caitlin Win On?
What Bliz was Caitlin wearing when she won the Birkie?
I cannot find the model on the web site. But I like them and want them. 
Cailtin Fan , Nancy from  St Paul
Caitlin won wearing the new Bliz Tempo. It will be available in March from your local Bliz Dealers. She got it Friday and won in it Saturday fog free.


Carbo Load


I know a lot of skiers who - the night before a race (whether marathon distance or half) - like to strap on the feed bag and punish the local spaghetti feed organizers. Although I'm always looking for a good opportunity to pig out, it's my understanding that while it's good to load up on carbs before an event, you can't really 'overfill' the tank, and any excess calories just head to your hips or otherwise get wasted.Thanks for the info. 



Carbo loading and eating a large Carbo based meal are two related but not identical activities. First of all do not do anything Birkie week out of the norm. It is good to eat carbs before a marathon or marathon. So do eat a good carbo meal that is within your normal diet. Do a short hard activity the day before the race. And then eat a meal that is 70% carbs. Eat oatmeal on race morning more than 2 hours before the race. But do not overeat.  True Carbo-Loading consists of some level of depletion leading up to the event, tapering of training, a hard workout and then Carbo Loading.

But most important to avoid the Bonk is a Warm-up before you go anarobic. Try and warm-up completely for more than 20 minutes before you go hard. This means find a way to warm up before the race for 20 minutes. This can be in running and does not have to be in skiing. If you do not have the ability to do a warm up you need to be extra cautious at the start of the race.


If you go anaerobic when the gun goes off your body will start searching for quick sugars rather than fats and you will likely bonk. But if you warm up before you max out, you can burn fats the entire time and avoid the dreaded bonk.


Andy at SkiPost

Off snow Training


 I'M training for my 15th engadin skimarathon that is scheduled for 9 march, i'm trying to improve every year. This year i've started late due to lack of snow here in italy, do you have a traning plan to suggest, form here to the raceday? Consider that i can train 3 days x week on snow Thanks in advance Paolo.


I have not been racing much lately but I can tell you what I would do if I were Zani.


3 days a week on snow: 

  • one day ski long 2.5 - 3 hours
  • one day of intervals 5x4 minute (race pace, not as hard as he can go)
  • just enjoy skiing on the third day


Get in a race one or two weeks before the Engadin, even if it is just a short one. The best preparation for a race is a race -- so long as there is time for recovery.


I would try to get in a couple of weight room workouts per week -- body weight stuff like, pull-ups, dips and stomach. Try to run 45 min - 1 hour twice a week. I don't recommend trying to train every day with a full work schedule, you will just get tired. Especially with the race two weeks away -- take days off and be rested.


Thats what I would try to do. I wish I were working out that much. Here I come Birkie.


Carl Swenson 

American Birkebeiner Champion ......

Kick wax over Grip Tape.


Can you add kick wax over Grip Tape?


Yes you can add kick wax over Grip tape.


If it is really cold and you want more kick add a colder Terva, thin.

If it is really warm and wet and you want more kick at a warm RF.

If the grip tape is dirty it will lose kick you may wish to clean it or start fresh.


Grip tape's main attribute is its versatility and vast temperature range. For long races like the Birkebeiner when you are out there for huge temperature changes grip tape is something to consider. 


Andy at Start


Salomon unveils the CARBON.

The 1st boot pair that weighs less than a pair of skis.
The 1st boot with a complete custom fit removable liner.
The First boot.....the list goes on 
check out more CARBON details here
Pole Straps.

                Is there a correct position for the placement of hands on the cork section of the skate-ski-length pole?  I feel there's a little give in mine when my hands are through the straps, so that my hands are down just a bit from the point where the straps come out from the poles.  I know there's a formula for the correct pole length, but should the hands be as high on the pole handles as possible, or is it a matter of comfort and not a question of efficiency?  Thanks.




The poles strap set up is a matter of comfort. But you want the straps tight enough so you can transfer your forces through the strap completely and not by holding tightly to the grip. you also want them tight enough so you can have a full release behind you and still have the pole return quickly. So most racers have very tight straps even but this is often difficult with large gloves or mittens on.


For this reason Start has created what they call a "Solid Strap".  With a solid piece of carbon fibre coming from the grip on a hinge. It  wraps the underside of the hand for full power transfer through the strap and also immediate return.  It has been tested to be 1 second faster per minute of racing by the University of Salzburg.


Hope this helps

Andy at SkiPost/Start


Start's Solid strap.



 Race Wax Suggestions


follow this link 


For added support from Start Wax you can 

Events and Destinations 



The Great Bear Chase


March 8th


The Portage Health Great Bear Chase Ski Marathon has something for everyone and enough snow to go around, even in March! We have distances for all racers, from our signature 50 km races, to 25k or 10k events that are great for skiers of all levels. The Great Bear Chase has earned a nation-wide reputation as a laid-back, skier-oriented weekend that allows racers of all experience levels to finish their season with a high quality event.  


Yellowstone Rendezvous


The 35th Annual Rendezvous Race March 8, 2014

Youth Ski Festival Sunday, March 9th


Snow is falling in West Yellowstone, Montana, and skiers of all ages are invited to participate in the 34 annual Yellowstone Rendezvous Race on March 8, 2014.  Race organizers have been busy marking the course and making final preparations for the event. If you have been to the Rendezvous Ski Trails in West Yellowstone at any time this season, you'll know the skiing has been great all winter. 


The Yellowstone Rendezvous Race is part of the American Ski Marathon Series and is a big part of the history of cross-country skiing in West Yellowstone.  This year, the Yellowstone Rendezvous race is happy to welcome Holiday Inn West Yellowstone as the title 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.


Register before February 25thto save on entry fees. Race registration deadline is Thursday March 6th at 12 noon. Please visit  for more information, and find us on Facebook for the latest grooming reports and updates on the race. 


On Sunday, March 9 th, the West Yellowstone Ski Education Foundation will host their annual Youth Ski Festival where kids 13 and under can participate in a variety of ski games including relays, musical chairs and more! Bring the family and experience winter this year.  Day-of registration.  Please visit for more information.
As the title sponsor of the Yellowstone Rendezvous Race, Holiday Inn West Yellowstone offers a variety of lodging facilities in West Yellowstone and is your hub for registration, many meetings, events, clinics, and tasty vittles and drinks in The Branch Restaurant & Bar. For more information and to learn about special skier rates, call (406) 646-7365.

Equinox Snow Challenge


March 22-23, 2014

Rendezvous Ski Trails, West Yellowstone, MT.

Race Type: team relay or solo / 3, 6, 12, or 24 Hour / fatbike or Nordic ski

Contact: Sam Newbury                                                      

Phone: 406-209-3533



Lake Placid Loppet

March 8, Mt Van Hoevenberg

The Lake Placid Loppet is one of the best events of its kind in the country. Over the past 30 years, thousands of skiers have enjoyed skiing and racing on the challenging Mt. Van Hoevenberg trails at the Olympic Sports Complex. The Lake Placid Loppet is conducted by the Olympic Regional Development Authority on the Olympic Sports Complex Cross Country Ski Trails.  The Loppet and Kort-Loppet run on a slightly modified version of the 50km course constructed for the 1980 Winter Olympics making it one of the most challenging citizen races in the world. Skiers should consider carefully whether to enter the 25km or 50km event.  However, many recreational skiers do participate at a less strenuous touring pace. 

Check out the 2014 Birkie Video by Yahoo sports.


  Birkie 2014 Video


The Giant Ski Race



Fat Bike Birkie


Fat Bike Birkie Nears 500-Rider Cap 



HAYWARD, Wisconsin (February 26, 2014) Get your fat bike to the starting line of the first U.S. National Fat Bike Championship at the Fat Bike Birkie on March 8 in Cable, WI. The American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation is repeating the invitation from its first annual fat bike event last March to elite and new fat bike riders alike to take on the world-famous Birkie Trail. There is a cap of 500 riders for the 2014 event and right now there are just 49 spots left.



Save $15 when you register by March 1


Take advantage of this one day a year when these snow-covered, expertly groomed Birkie Trail is there for the sole use of fat bike riders from around the country. The Birkie Trail is in fantastic shape right now and will continue to be groomed up until race day to make sure the course stays as firm and fast as possible.

6 Reasons to Ride the Fat Bike Birkie:
From Rebecca Rusch


Nationally ranked rider Rebecca Rusch is one of many elite and citizen participants alike the Birkie is looking forward to hosting. We got in touch with her about why she's headed for the Fat Bike Birkie. Here's what she had to say:


"Yes, I'm very excited about the Fat Bike Birkie!  My boyfriend (also a world champ cyclist and the one who got me turned onto fat biking) and I are signed up and coming out for the event. We had no idea about the national championship designation until after we already signed up."    



Here's how to make a total fat bike weekend out of your visit here and participation in the Fat Bike Birkie:


POST-RACE PARTY - AT THE FINISH! - Starting at 11:00 a.m.

Craft Beer on Tap and Grilled Birkie Brats! Get your first beer FREE! Hang out and watch riders come in, eat, drink, win door prizes from our sponsors, see the presentation of the first annual U.S. National Fat Bike Championship Awards. and generally party fat-bike style!



Then, at 7:00, the party continues at Rivers Eatery in downtown Cable. Head over for this fat bike after-party and more prizes, hosted by the crew at



More great riding, this time on the local's favorite singletrack fat-bike trails that the Namekagon Fat Bike Club keep groomed.




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
Ask Us
Skiers Hearts
Birkie Wax
Caltlin's Bliz Tempo
Carbo Load
Off Snow
Kick wax over Grip tape
Salomon's CARBON
Pole Straps
Race Wax Recs
Birkie Wax Rec



Start Kick Waxes

Start Wax  and Poles Explained

start poles

Start Wax and Poles Explained

Start Wax & Pole Catalog 1314 

Salomon Nordic
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Support Tomorrow's Nordic Stars Today
New World Wax table foot clamp

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

CXC Academy


Get Lungplus to preheat your breath and save your lungs. Get a Lungplus and ski like the Norwegians!
For more information go to 

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