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Ask us, We Answer

Do you have a Nordic training, technique, equipment, travel, or event question?  Just email us at 

Beer anyone?

Hey all!
So, I've just read an article on Yahoo about the immediate effects of a single beer, and it brought to mind a lingering question; how will a single beer, a day or two out, effect my race?
For big races like the Birkie, there's a definite social vibe going on if you get to town a couple of days prior, like we do. I've allowed myself the beer or two on Thursday, and then try to avoid it the day before the race (but I'll admit I haven't always been successful at that).
This past weekend I took part in a very long, very hot big race in Wisconsin. Finishing up final preparations the day before (also in sweltering heat), I broke down and allowed myself a cold one. Avoiding my normal stronger beer, this one was not only light, but low alcohol as well. In the race on Sunday, I felt great and actually finished above expectations.
And - full disclosure - I'm not an elite-level athlete on the brink of greatness. I'm a Wave 3-4 Birkie skier, I usually can hit the top 20-25% in bike races, but I'm not vying for any wins here.
I'd love to hear some opinions. Is it better to 'keep the focus' and save it for after, or - without sounding like a raging alcoholic - is giving in to temptation the day before just a nice way to avoid a little extra stress?
Thanks - keep up the great work!

Dear DM,
Everything in moderation. While there will be scientific answers I will just answer with a short note. As you are not a professional racer, you do this for your whole Event result and not just the Race result. The event includes, the training for the event, the joy of the travel to the race, the comradery before after and during the race and so much more, the race is your physical and mental effort from the start line to the finish line. I say maximize your Event and your Race result will generally also be maximized.  To that end, having a beer in moderation a day or two before your big race will be just fine especially if it aids you in maximizing your whole Event experience.
But I will share with our readers and see what they all have to say
Andy at SkiPost

Readers what is are your opinions? Reply to 
NNF Bliz Trackers
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Base Cleaner
I just watched a video recently, where a US team ski maintenance guy said that he did't use citrus based cleaners on ski bases, because of the oils in the cleaner.  Instead he just uses "solvent". It's been my impression that ski bases need to be cleaned with stuff that's made for ski bases. ???  Is it even necessary to use cleaner on the glide zones of your skis?  If so, what's the solventdu jour?

We try not to overdo the use of a base cleaner on a ski base because we are trying to keep wax in the base. But often using base cleaner is the only way to get all the dirt out.  The wax tech is using a cleaner used for ski bases. He would be referring to a non citris based wax remover designed for removing fluorinated waxes. From Start is it Start's polymer cleaner 05040. Do most of your cleaning by hot wiping the skis with a soft wax while molten, and use base cleaner when that is not sufficient. 
Andy at SkiPost
Race Energy

I have been trying to get most of my electrolytes and calories from my energy drink when I train and race. My thought is that I need water with the salt and the calories and its just easier to drink it rather than open gel packs or energy bars or pop salt pills along the way. For long races or workouts I might bring some food along and refill water bottles along the way. I would appreciate your thoughts on this approach. I should add that I sweat out huge amounts of water and salt and this approach has helped me reduce cramping, but I'm open to other ideas. 

Frank is on the right track. Sports drinks are specially formulated to optimize carbohydrate delivery and rehydrate the body quickly. Generally sports drinks are a 6 - 8% glucose/fructose solution. This is the optimal amount of carbohydrate and glucose and fructose use different transporters thereby allowing both to be absorbed across the intestinal wall without competition. Any higher than 10% and the osmotic load is too high and it slows the passage of fluids and carbohydrate into circulation. In some cases when athletes consume gels in addition sports drink the amount of CHO in the gut can exceed the body's ability to digest and absorb it and it can lead to stomach cramping as well as reduced hydration and carbohydrate delivery. Sports drink also contains sodium which is important for several reasons. Sodium reduces diuresis which means you will "pee-out" less of what you take in - that's a good thing, it means those fluids are in circulation and not in the toilet. Sodium also increases the "drive to drink" meaning you are more likely to drink more, and sodium is needed to maintain electrolyte balance and avoid hyponatremia (low plasma sodium levels), which is a dangerous condition that results from drinking too much water without any sodium sources over long-duration exercise (4+ hours).
Hope that helps!

Abigail Larson PhD., RD, CSSD, CSCS
Southern Utah University
Physical Education Department

ASMS Champion
2006 Nordic Olympian
I am a 62 year old avid citizen skate racer but a serious Birkie Guy.  6 ft 1 and 170 lbs and haven't been able to crack 3 hours-11 In age bracket last year. Made it into 1st wave this year. Other races with less climbing I do in 2:45. I feel I'm muscling thru the races. I think time to  focus on technique. Off season is mostly aerobic Training with strength mixed in. I have been roller blading As well but think I should switch over to roller skis.  Which set would you recommend? Any training or other suggestions would be very.
Welcomed. I did physical age/chronological age survey
Related to senior Olympic profiles and came in at 53.

Many Tks

Yes I would recommend you start some rollerskiiiing. Rollerblading is nice for conditioning but your heel is locked down. With rollerskiing you will feel much more like you are on snow. I would recommend the Swenor Skate Elite. Start with double poling on the flats in an empty parking lot when no cars are in it. Work on turning, starting and stopping then add skate technique and  gradually advance to flat paved trails or roads.I hope this helps
 Andy at SkiPost 
Swenor Skate Elite
Swenor Skate Elite

JR Waxless, 
Classic Vs Skate
My son (age five) has been skiing with me since he was two, and as part of a club (Minnesota Youth Ski League) since he was three. I was wondering about your thoughts on a couple of issues: 1) when should I move him from fish scales to waxable classic skis? and 2) when should I introduce skating? I know that there are many thoughts on these questions. I just wanted to hear yours.
Heia, heia!
Minneapolis, MN

1) you should move him from waxless to waxable as soon as the waxable skis are holding him back from enjoying extra glide and keep up with his friends. The simplicity of waxless is often an advantage to not only you buy also him because it makes it simple. But as soon as his friends out glide him he will want to move to a waxable ski.
2) you should introduce skating again once they want the extra speed. But the weight transfer skills they get in classic is very valuable for the rest of their skiing lives so you need not rush. Most kids seem to enjoy the simplicity of skating more than classic. But if you start with skate they will likely never enjoy classic enough. So do both but do not forget Classic. If you are only going to do 1 do classic.
Andy at SkiPost.

Thanks for the speedy reply. So, in sum, I will know when the moment is here (for both transitions) when the moment is here. I know that is the right answer. I guess I was was just looking for affirmation of what I already thought.
The Norwegian approach (and probably that of many other places where skiing is loved), as I have been told, is to introduce classic first, and then transition them to skate/freestyle when they have mastered the basics of classical. It's just difficult to know when that moment comes, because--as we all know--mastery of classical is a lifelong project. Bjorn, my little boy, has the legs somewhat down, but his poling is not yet there. I will probably give him another year of classic specialization before I bring in skating.  
Thanks, once again.

To V2 or not to V2?


I'm a 49 year old wave 2/3 Birkie skate skier living in MN.  Been skiing for 20 years and have taken it more seriously over the past five years.  My question is regarding how much time and effort should I be devoting to learning multiple techniques.  For years I was a left side V1 skier - skiing an entire 50k race off my left side with a basic V1.  In recent years I've added the alternate V2, but still mostly off my left side.  I see a lot of "good" skiers fly by me on the trails using a strong V2.  During summer/fall rollerskiing, I've been working on my V2, but it's coming slow.  I feel faster and more efficient climbing a slight incline using my V1 vs my rough V2.  Plus, due to inefficiency, my heart rate really spikes when I attempt to V2.  My question is should I even bother with trying to learn the V2 technique, or at my age/ability would my time be better spent focusing on the V1 and V2 Alt on the right side (become more balanced) as well as becoming more efficient on my left side.  I typically train 6 days/week for 6-8 hours/week - mixed between rollerskiing, biking and lifting.  My goal is to ski a sub-3:00 Birkie and qualify for wave 1.

Thanks in advance.




Yes I would encourage you to work on your V2 as it will make your skiing much more enjoyable.

A key to the V2 is learning the body positioning to balance on the one ski for an extended time. Many people have difficulty with the V2 because they keep their center of gravity between the two skis so they are forced to rush from one ski to another. But you must get up on one ski and glide on it for an extended period and then under your own free move to the next ski. Once you learn how to do this your glide will also improve on your V1 and V2 alternate as only once you know how to glide on one ski at a time can you dictate your tempo in any of the techniques. I suggest you find a coach or attend a good clinic and get help with your V2.


Let me know if you have more questions.


Andy at SkiPost 


V2 Technique
V2 Technique

Awesome V2 Drill: The Double Double

BY Scott McGee PSIA Nordic Demo Team

I wholeheartedly concur with Andy about learning the V2. If you found a really great deal on a used truck, but found out third gear didn't work, would you buy it? (Likely, the 4
th gear would be somewhat efficiency-impaired in this analogy.) But hey, there's a really great mechanic just around the corner, and for a really great price, he can help you fix that 3
rd gear, and bring 4th gear efficiency into the 95%+ range. The deal checks out. Get the truck. Get the mechanics in gear, so to speak, and you're off to the races, so to speak.

The Double Double is a drill that reinforces the balance needed to optimize V2 efficiency. For starters, find some well-groomed tracks, and practice balancing while gliding on one ski. A very gradual hill helps. Note the efficiency of your body position. Are you 'stacked' with effective vertical skeletal alignment? Or do you roll you ankle and knee in and your upper body out?...a difficult body position to maintain, and more work to boot. A 'stacked' stance means you're doing the minimum amount of work needed to stay in balance, and you're also better positioned to re-balance when needed.

Now, you're ready for the flats. Try double poling in the track on one ski. How many double poles can you do before placing the other ski in the snow for balance? Are you stacked? Do you occasionally (and scarily) tip to the outside? If so, pat yourself on the back for really getting over the ski. Try to get to this 'almost overtipped' position more often.

Now for the V2 Double Double. Double pole twice on each ski. The rhythm goes like, "Skate, pole, pole, skate, pole, pole." At first, you might be short and choppy with your double poling, as it's easier to stay balanced without much follow through. Although V2 doesn't call for much follow through, we're after balance here. Try following through with longer and longer pole pushes...especially on the second one. For all you go-getters, try to the Triple Double: three double poles on each side! Once you're really getting over the gliding ski, you're ready to peel it back to good old V2.

With the Double Double in your back pocket, you can glide and balance on one ski for as long as you like. You may not come all the way over the ski in high tempo V2, or you can cruise flatter sections of the trail in a lazy V2, getting higher speed and better rest at the same time. In either case, the improved efficiency of riding a flat ski, getting more glide and being able to choose how long to glide on each ski will pay dividend with the other techniques, or 'gears,' particularly V2A.

Have fun with it, make a game of it, and by all means, get that 3rd gear working, and you'll be able to cruise up hill and crush it. Enjoy challenging yourself to develop greater balance, and more effective body position for improved efficiency in all of the techniques.

Scott McGee PISA Nordic Demo Team

Eriksen Road Bike Drawing

Kent Eriksen Cycles is partnering with Central Cross Country Ski Association to support CXC's Adaptive Program for children with physical disabilities and visual impairment by giving away a dream bike!
The 1st place winner will receive a custom designed, hand crafted, Eriksen titanium road frame built with Shimano Ultegra wheel-set (or similar equivalent) and Shimano Ultegra speed component group (or similar equivalent). Total manufacturer's suggested retail price of the bike and included components is $8,500.00. Second, third and fourth places will be able to choose between three packages in the order of the finish:
How Do I Win?

Tickets go on sale starting August 3, 2015 until they are sold out. The winner will be selected at the drawing on October 3rd. Delivery of complete bike by April 1, 2016. Need NOT be present to win.

Running vs Cycling

Is running an essential component to a successful xc ski training program?  I find as I get older that I get less joy out of running.  Right now my summer training regime is based upon mountain biking, road biking, hiking and a little roller skiing.  I still do lots of intervals (biking) and overdistance (hiking and biking.)  As summer ends I add in more roller skiing. On snow I skate most and classic a little.Will that work? 


Answer from US Ski team coach Jason Cork


My short answer, with a caveat is: If you don't get any joy out of running, then you probably shouldn't devote a lot of time to running. 


I don't know your background or your goals, but if you're cross-country skiing in the winters so you can get out in nature, stay fit and maybe hop in a few races for fun, then I don't think you need to live your life according to a specific training program. Instead, I think you should figure out things that you can do in the summer that also let you get out in nature, stay fit and maybe hop in a few races for fun. If biking, hiking and rollerskiing fit in the "I like doing this" category, then you should stick with them. If you're training many hours with aggressive goals, running is, in my mind, an essential form of cross-training for skiing. 


The biggest "but ..." that I should offer is that running is an exercise that helps maintain bone density, as the stress from repeated landings stimulates bone cell growth. Biking and rollerskiing most likely aren't going to give you that same level of stimulation. I know that weight training can keep your bones strong, so maybe that would be a good addition to your lifestyle. That is one reason that many ski racers run and lift weights, rather than spend the entire year rollerskiing and skiing on snow. (See also: Boredom; overuse injuries.) I'm not an orthopedic doctor, so one of those might be a resource for exercise modes that promote healthy bones. 


Jason Cork

Men's Coach

US XC Ski Team




From Andy at SkiPost


Skating is more similar to cycling and puts more emphasis on fewer/larger muscle groups.  Classic is more similar to running and uses many smaller muscles groups.




ROSANNA CRAWFORD "Incredible training here in Norway! 


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 More at Bliz Eyewear

Which Swenor?

Swenor has so many rollerski models. Can you explain the differences?

Swenor is the worlds #1 rollerski brand and it has so many models much as shoe companies have many different running shoe models, different people have different needs. Some models are better on rough roads, some models are extra light some are extra stable, some are for light weights.....

For classic the most popular is the Fibreglass as it provides Swenor's famous On Snow Feel plus medium size wheels that manage the pavement and offer stability while remaining lightweight.

For skate the most popular is the Skate Elite as it offers Swenor's famous On Snow Feel and durable skate wheels. Check out all the details on the images below.

Swenor available at these and other fine retailers: AMH, Backwoods, Continental, Elephants PerchFontanaGear WestHigh Peaks, Hoigaard's, Idaho Mountain TouringPioneer MidwestNordic UltraTune, Rollerski ShopSki RackOutdoor Gear Exchange, Wild Rose



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Top Reasons 
You Should Register for the Birkie Trail Run & Trek Now  

# 9 - Fun!  The great running buddies you meet on the trail!
# 8 - The Colors!  See the north woods in all its spectacular autumn glory!
# 7 - No Traffic!  Get outdoors and close to nature (no honking horns here)!
# 6 - Refreshment!  The ice-cold, post-race craft brew-ski will taste so good!
# 5 - The SWAG!  Wait 'til you see what we have in store for you this year!
# 4 - Bonfires!  Where else can you camp with friends near the start & finish?!
# 3 - Chow down!  Running burns about 450 calories in: 30 minutes 
# 2 - Celebration!  cool down to the tunes of Duck for the Oyster!
# 1 - Because you can!  Bonus!  
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What makes Start poles different?

Start Race poles have the lowest swing weights on the market. Swing a Start pole and compare with others, you will feel the difference. Lower swing weight = faster skiing.


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Nordic Job Openings
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Supporting Tomorrow's Nordic Stars Today
Job title: Nordic Groomer at Snow Mountain Ranch/YMCA of the Rockies, Granby CO
Position Summary:
The Nordic Groomer is responsible for laying down a high-quality snow/trail product.  This will be accomplished by operating and maintaining a Nordic grooming equipment fleet including snowmobiles, with pull-behind implements such as track setters and rollers, and when properly trained, the Nordic groomer will operate the cat groomer.  Groomers are also responsible for on-going trail maintenance during the winter season, which requires the ability to safely operate chainsaws and other trail maintenance equipment.
To see an overview of the position, including requirements, compensation, and the application process, please view the Nordic Groomer position here:
 Job title: Nordic Center Worker at Snow Mountain Ranch/YMCA of the Rockies, Granby CO
Position Summary:
Work collaboratively as a member of the Nordic Center team in carrying out the daily operations of the Nordic Center. To see an overview of the position, including requirements, compensation, and the application process, please view the Nordic Groomer position here:
More than 20,000 skiers per year visit our property covering 5,200 acres of mountain meadows at an altitude of 9,000 feet.  Snow Mountain Ranch's Nordic Center has more than 100 kilometers of groomed trails accommodating everyone from the first-time classic cross-country skier or snowshoer to the elite racer/skate skier.  We are proud to host members of the U.S. Paralympics Nordic team for their training, regional races, the Colorado Biathlon, and other world class events. Beyond cross country skiing, families and groups can enjoy ice skating, sledding & tubing, snowshoeing and sleigh rides. Canine companions are welcome to join skiers on some of the trails, for a full-family workout. 
Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundatio

 The Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation is seeking an Assistant Nordic Coach to lead, motivate, educate and provide direction to athletes/ members of the MBSEF Nordic program and assist the Nordic Director in all facets of the Nordic Program, including Collegiate Programs, Masters Programs, U18/U16 racing programs, Middle School, Youth, and Biathlon.

Job Qualifications: Practical knowledge of current cross-country techniques and training methods. Assistant coach must have proficiency with wax selection and application, an aptitude for equipment repair and selection, and a working knowledge of video equipment. In addition to coaching duties, the assistant coach will be expected to perform various office duties which requires some basic computer skills, good communication skills and some office work experience.

Primary Responsibilities

* Contribute to a positive and motivating environment to foster a lifelong love for the sport of cross country skiing
* Works to support the vision, mission and philosophy of MBSEF
* Assists head coach with Full-time, Winter Term and Middle School program athletes including collegiate athletes

* Travel with selected MBSEF teams
* Help design schedules and training programs
* Instruct Master skiers in MBSEF program
* Assist Director with organization and execution of MBSEF citizen races
* Supports staff and racers at local races
* Attend various staff/program meetings

Secondary Responsibilities
* Assist with some MBSEF fundraising events
* Help to maintain the integrity of the MBSEF Nordic as well as all other programs and activities of MBSEF

Reporting Responsibilities
* Reports to Nordic Program Director for all matters relating to the Nordic Program

Salary: Dependent of experience, availability, and prior success.
Applications: Send resume to
Tahoe Cross Country
Seeking Head Coach for Junior Development & Competition Team
The Tahoe Cross Country Ski Education Association (TCCSEA) program is seeking a Head Coach to work with its Nordic Junior Development and Competition Team, serving primarily middle school and high school age racers. This is an exciting opportunity to join an established association and be a part of the very successful Devo/Comp Program. This is a 7 1/2-month salaried position (mid August through early April) with an opportunity to stay on for the 2016/17 summer/winter season. The position requires that you be available for practice 5-6 days week and assist in other aspects of running the team on a more flexible schedule. Additionally there might be longer day trips and camps on the schedule. The position is part-time. Approximately 30 hours per week including weekends. Additional work might also be available at the Tahoe XC Ski Area. Please email expressions of interest to: Visit our team's website:

Ashwaubenon Ski Club seeking a female coach
Green Bay and the Ashwaubenon Ski Club is holding a training camp July 31st to August 6th in the Porcupine Wilderness Area on Lake Supierior.  They are seeking a female coach to help round out the mix for 6 boys and 6 girls.  Contact

BNJRT Co-Head Coach and Assistant Coaches
Boulder Nordic Junior Race Team (BNJRT) seeks candidates for Co-Head Coach and Assistant Coaches. The Co-Head Coach will be responsible for overseeing development of younger skiers (U14-U8) and assisting (and collaborating with) the current Head Coach, Adam St.Pierre, for older skiers (U20-U16). Assistant Coaches will primarily coach younger skiers with options to assist on race weekends. We seek coaches that are able to teach classic and freestyle techniques to athletes from 8-19 years old with varied skiing and athletic backgrounds and are able to find creative ways to integrate fun into training.Interested applicants please send a resume and cover letter to the BNJRT Board of Directors About

Agamenticus Ski Club
Assistant HS Coach & Assistant MS Coach
Agamenticus Ski Club of York, Maine is now accepting applications for two part-time positions: Assistant High School XC Ski Coach & Assistant Middle School XC Ski Coach. Interested candidates should have a background in cross-country ski racing and coaching, along with enthusiasm for working with local & regional Jr. xc skiers and introducing new racers to the sport.  CPR/AED, USSA Level 1 Coaching Certification or PSIA Nordic Instructor Certifications are preferred.  Both Part-time Positions extend from November 1, 2015 to March 1, 2016; coaching stipend D.O.E.  For more information, please send cover letter, resume, and three references to Head Coach/Program Director Laura Creagan at:
Clarkson University
Asst. Nordic and XC coach
 Clarkson University (Northern New York) is looking for an Asst. Nordic and XC coach.  Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. To submit your application, go to  and click "Career Opportunities" on the left hand navigation bar.  

Momentum Northwest
Assistant Coach
 Momentum Northwest, a Seattle-based junior cross-country ski team, is now accepting applications for an Assistant Coach. Position extends from September 1, 2015 to March 15, 2016; competitive salary D.O.E.  For more information, please send cover letter, resume, and two references to Head Coach/Program Director Sam Naney  

Northern Michigan University
Assistant Coach
NMU has a full time assistant coach position open. Full time 10 Month position with full benefits, one can apply via the NMU web

 Mansfield Nordic Club
Development Team Leader Position
 Mansfield Nordic seeks to hire a Development Team Leader to drive our top youth skiers toward higher level skiing on our Competition Team. This Team Leader will be a high-energy skier with strong communication abilities among individual athletes, groups, parents and volunteers. As a motivating and enthusiastic presence, the person who fills this leadership role will be an individual who is supportive, enthusiastic and ready to make a positive difference in the lives of skiers both on and off the trail.
To inquire about this position, please submit a resume and cover letter to Adam Terko:


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