Volume 17 Issue 30: Nov 26, 2015
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Dynamic Warmup

A lot of the US ski team posts from camps this year have talked about dynamic warm ups holding poles. Could you give a rundown of the exercises they do? I am looking for good warmups for the high school team I coach.

So here is the what/why for the Dynamic Warm up that was created for the team.
First of all the purpose of a dynamic warm up is to continue to prepare the muscles and tissues of the body for the activities needed.  It is to be done after an easy aerobic warm up and it serves to work more on sports specific movements, body preparedness, mobility, and for preparation of higher intensity exercise.  Typically the team will do higher intensity skiing after they finish with the dynamic warm up as part of the entire warm up preparation.
The dynamic warm up is built to continue to increase core temperature, increase blood flow to the muscles, enhance movement patterns and coordination.  I like to build in multi-planar movements that incorporate many ranges of motion and are as full body as possible.  It is also intended to help reduce injury and improve performance.
The needs I looked at when developing this was:  Thoracic spine mobilization, lumbo-pelvic stabilization, tight hip flexors, increase range of hip extensors.  I also tried to keep it to minimal equipment needs so it could be done on course if needed, and to avoid exercises lying on the ground (snow).
They start with:
Four way jumping jack - hitting all planes of movement
Alternating punches with and without a hip opening step - T-spine/chest opening
Stick diagonals using a ski pole (squat and press in 3 directions each arm) - T-spine/chest/shoulder ROM
3 direction Lunge and front raise (using ski pole) - Hip ROM, shoulder/lat stretch
Lunge and press behind neck (using ski pole) - same purpose as above
Rise and shine push up - Continued arm/chest/back warm up.  Lumbo-pelvic stabilization
Push up stabilization with 3 way hip ROM - same purpose as above but added Hip ROM in multiple planes
Turtle rotations - Internal/External rotation of the shoulder joint.  Lumbo-pelvic stabilization
Stationary or moving A-skip series - more dynamic rhythm and Hip ROM.
This is the basic series of exercises that takes about 5 min to complete.  Athletes then have additional exercises to address more specific individual needs if they want.  Some do extra work for low back, Achilles, hamstring tightness, etc.
Hope this helps.

Tschana Schiller
Senior Physiologist
High Performance Department

Thumbs Up

Hi Andy - I have been roller skiing all summer and yesterday, tripped over my pole doing hill repeats (up, that is), and learned that I broke my thumb. I don't think it's terrible and am seeing a specialist on Monday, but I'm mostly concerned about keeping up with skate ski specific exercises to do thumb-less over the next 6 weeks... What would you suggest?
Thank you!

It is never bad to ski without poles so go ski or rollerski without poles and work on weight transfer and glide.

I also suggest you perhaps try Start' s Solid strap that wraps the hand completely in Carbon/nylon taking pressure off the thumb.
Andy at SkiPost
Keeping the Turkey Fresh

(annual posting)
My name is Pete Vordenberg, and I was a Thanksgiving Turkey.  One particular season I ripped through two weeks of intervals in mid November and pronounced myself fast, faster than I had ever been.  Two weeks later I pulled off exactly one and a half OK races.  Two weeks after that I couldn't ski my way out of a soggy paper sack.  My best races that season were spent in a few interval sessions in November - I was an extreme Thanksgiving Turkey.
Top racers are able to ski fast from November to April.  The key to consistent results is consistent training in the preseason, and making a wise transition onto snow.
Here's how to avoid racing with the stars in November and hanging with the hard-luck crowd for the rest of the season.
By building steadily and progressively toward ski-specific modes and intensities of training throughout the summer and following a ski specific routine of dry-land ski imitation, such as ski walking, bounding and rollerskiing you can be sure that your summer and fall training base will support your winter-long racing efforts.  Snow skiing, however, still has a much higher energy cost than any mode of dry-land training.  Therefore, the transition onto snow demands a decrease in overall training intensity because of the increased load of skiing.  Training volume generally peaks during the first month of snow skiing.  Couple the increased demand of snow skiing with the increase in training volume and you have a potentially drastic rise in overall training load.  Skiers who do not monitor their training intensity properly during this phase often unwittingly raise the overall training load too dramatically.  The result is often fatigue and sickness or a short-lived spike in fitness followed by a longer lasting decrease in race performance - this is the essence of being a Thanksgiving Turkey.
To insure that the training load continues to rise progressively, skiers must make sure the intensity of their aerobic endurance training stays low (level 1!).  Training in level 1 when you are excited about skiing fast takes discipline.  At the same time, high-intensity training should take a back seat to aerobic work.  During this transition, many skiers continue to do their higher intensity training on foot where the intensity is easier to control and the overall energy cost is not as high.  For skiers with a long and ski specific training history and/or who train on snow periodically throughout the summer, this transition period can be shorter (a week or so), while for most it should be at least two weeks and up to four.


I am 60 year old birkie wave 5/6 skate skier (i.e., very much a citizen as opposed to a racer).   When I ride long fast downhills my leg muscles get very tight (probably out of fear) such that it is hard for me to smoothly step into a no pole skate as I hit the bottom of the slope in order to extend the momentum achieved by the downhill ride.  I have to sort of take some minor, inefficient steps to sort of release the 'fear grip' in my legs before being able to move into a smooth no pole skate.. This is especially true when there are turns on the hill or near the bottom that I must negotiate. I am afraid that I both waste energy in my legs by tightening so much on the downhill itself, AND lose efficiency and glide at the bottom not being able to just naturally immediately step into a nice skating motion. Any tips or training suggestions to relax more on the downhills (without losing balance) such that I can transition back to skating more easily and milk that glide momentum more than I am? 
Thank you!


I would suggest you just practice downhills. But start on a smaller hill that you do not fear and see if you can increase your speed and efficiency on it. Work on getting into a good flat ski, gliding position and try to make every skate stride push off work for you. Practice how long you can balance up on just one ski.  Do not take micro skate strides but work on a complete push off then glide on next ski. As you get better at the easy hill move to medium hill. And make sure your boots fit you well as they are foundation for stability.
Andy at SkiPost 

60+ Threshold

As a 60+ yo skier, trail runner, and cyclist, I'm interested in more information regarding benefits/costs of threshold training (L3; 85-90% max HR) and your comments about it having "less than optimal benefits" and "high cost".  I've always read that threshold training was the "best" training for endurance athletes, especially as we age.  L4 (90-95% max HR) was usually recommended for the 3-4 weeks before competition season, specifically due to it's high cost to the CV and also immune systems.  Other times it was explained as "older" skiers focused on marathons anyway (not always true), and most would rather avoid L4 training (also not true).  Can you recommend any specific literature for us to investigate or personal coaching experiences that have led you to question those older beliefs?  Does it have to do with the time required to do the longer L3 workouts, the recovery time needed, or the overall stress required to truly make a significant change in the system?
Thank you for your time.
Answer by Jim Galanes
Thank you for your question. This really gets to the "heart" of the matter.
First a brief preface.  It is not clear to me how people are defining "threshold" or Level 3 training.  The research I have read suggests this point typically occurs somewhere around 85%-88% of max heart rate.  I suspect many athletes are classifying training as L3 or threshold at levels significantly lower than this.   I am answering your question assuming that threshold refers to training at this higher level as I am very confident there is very little benefit and significant downside to training at levels around 80% of max heart rate.
We look at this threshold training question from a cost / benefit analysis.  Here's what we have learned using Firstbeat.  The workload of any giving training session is a function of time and intensity.  Threshold training tends to be of longer duration at a relatively high intensity level.  As a result, it will produce an EPOC training load of somewhere around 200.  Maximal training will likely produce a very similar workload because it is typically done for a shorter length of time.   So we are starting from the premise the cost of these two types of training are approximately the same.
What do we learn from exercise science?  I believe the science has verified the benefit of VO2 Max training (training above 90% of max heart rate).  It results in a positive shift in lactate threshold; an increase in mitochondrial and capillary density in the working muscles, and, most importantly, it improves performance.  Some may argue that there are only marginal gains for an already fit individual in aerobic capacity.  This may be the case but I believe the positive effects on other aerobic markers such as the ability of the muscles to produce higher levels of power and improved training and competitive performance are significant.  With my athletes I consistently see significant improvements in speed and power at threshold and I attribute that to maximal training.
What does science tell us about "threshold" training?  I have not found much research that documents significant positive effects.   This is not to say that there are not benefits, but only that I believe the positive effects are not consistent or clear.  I do believe it can improve economy, efficiency and fatigue resistance all of which become important in longer race efforts.  Also, I can see some value in threshold training early in the year as part of the base building phase to prepare for harder intervals.
It is our fundamental belief that the best effects from training come from reducing errors of implementation and doing those things in training that we know work and have the desired effect.  Given its inconsistent and unclear benefits, I do not believe threshold training should serve as a staple intensity training for skiers.  It costs too much for inconsistent and unclear benefits. 
One final note, it is important to carefully monitor the dose of maximal training and ensure effective and adequate recovery.  For most masters age athletes, in a period when we focus on Aerobic Capacity training, we might recommend a small dose, 5-6 minutes one time per week and slowly increasing the load over weeks or even a couple of months. For most, the recommendation would be on one session per week or perhaps two every ten days to ensure proper recovery.
Jim Galanes           

I read Jim Galanes reply to DS regarding efficient/ effective training loads for master skiers with great interest.  This has been an issue of study for me and my 'senior' training group for some time.  I would encourage anyone finding themselves in a performance oriented training mentality to read Joe Friel's new book Fast After 50.  The book details the changes associated with an aging athlete and what must be accepted and what can be done to maintain performance.  Generally, the prescription is consistent with Jim Galanes' recommendation.
Most master/senior athletes train too hard when they should go easy and too easy when they should go hard.  Most don't recognize the critical component to training of rest.  I think of the cost / benefit dilemma as determining an effective training load.  A training partner of mine, who is also a retired cardiologist, introduced the idea of metabolic units (METs) as a practical way of judging training load.  METs gives me a unit of measure to account for a strength circuit session in the gym and a long hike with poles and VO2 max interval session and virtually any other activity I do.  For instance, an hour of vigorous circuit training is 8.0 METs, ski walking with poles is 4.8 METs per hour, skate ski intervals can be as much as 15 METs per hour.  I have added a column in my training log to account METs.  I'm finding that at age 69 and living and training above 9000 feet, I stay fresh and ready accumulating between 50 and 60 METs each week.
As with any structured training system, METs must be fit to the individual.  At least however, it gives me a somewhat objective way to judge and design my training program that considers a wide variety of activities.  A good place to begin is
to 'see what you are doing' to and for yourself.
thanks for a great skiing resource,


Lighter Swing Poles = Faster Skiing


Why should skiers care about their ski pole selection?

Ski Poles are often the most overlook piece of a Nordic skier's equipment. But ski poles are the only piece of your ski equipment that you actually hold, swing and lift the entire way. Racers average between 30-45 pole plants per minute. Over the course of a marathon like the 52 km American Birkebeiner the winner may have lifted his poles more than 5,000 times.  A skier completing the race in 3 hours could have poled 7,000 times and a 4 hour skier might have lifted her poles 10,000 times.

But how much difference can a few oz. make?

Extra weight is not fun! If you and a friend ski a 3-hour Birkie and the friend uses their new Start Race 1.0 and you use your old CT4's, you are lifting an additional 3 oz. per stroke. If each stroke moves your pole 5 feet. This equates to lifting an additional 6,500 ft lbs during the race! Like curling 1 gallon of milk in each hand 375 times. Will you still beat your friend?

The most important shaft properties are overall weight, swing weight, stiffness, and strength.

Swing weight refers to the pendulum motion of a pole plant and that more weight near the pole tip requires more energy from the skier. The stiffer the pole the more of your energy goes into forward movement and the less into bending the pole. Strength refers to the durability of the pole.

What is the Recommended Pole Height?

Start recommends skier's body height in cm, less 20 cm for skate, and less 30 cm for classic as our Norm for most Recreational Racers. In most cases, this will, for adults, result in classic poles that reach the center of the shoulder bone.  For skate the pole will reach around your mouth.  This is measured with normal shoes on.

Do advanced skiers use taller poles than beginners?

For shorter races such as sprint; definitely yes. World Cup skiers can use 5-7.5 cm longer poles than recommended above.  We have also seen a trend that World Cup skiers in general have increased their pole lengths the last decade. The reason is most likely the much stronger upper bodies for professional skiers these days, and shorter (sprint) tracks with fewer long sustained climbs. There are of course individual differences, but in general World Cup skiers use 2.5 cm longer poles than determined by the Norm above. But if you are a weekend warrior classical skiing long sustained climbs like at the Birkie be careful about chasing what World Cup skiers use in length. The norm is good.  

Does technical ability change this?

Not really, but skiing with longer poles than recommended requires good technique.

Why do classical skiers use shorter poles than skaters?
In skating, bigger movements, greater speed, and always using two poles simultaneously allows you to use longer poles.

How is a ski pole length measured?

For most pole brands the length is measured from the tip (spike) of the pole to the top of the grip (not including any building height of the locking cap/wedge).


What makes Start poles special? 

Start's pole deliver minimum swing weight and maximum durability at every price point. With 8mm at the basket Start delivers the lowest swing weight plus thicker sidewalls for best durability.


Start is the low swing weight 
and high durability 
pole choice of 

This Bliz 
 Bliz for winter are now in stores.

 Check out  the This Bliz video from Bliz World Cup stars including Charlotte Kalla, Marcus Hellner, and Robin Bryntesson. 
This Bliz 
This Bliz
Nordic Glasses?
What are your most Nordic specific glasses not Flips?

The Bliz Rapid for small face and Bliz Force for larger faces are our Nordic Glasses with frames and lens shapes for fog free skiing.

Andy at SkiPost/Bliz

Salomon Nordic



  Skin is in.

With the first FIS World Cup kicking off the season in Kuusamo, Finland on Nov. 27, we're pleased to announce the launch of our annual 
SkiTrax FIS Fantasy World Cup 2015/16 Contest for contestants around the world and apologize for the delay. Next up is our popular Tour de Ski Contest as the legendary tour celebrates its 10th anniversary.

These are the only FIS Fantasy Nordic contests of their kind worldwide so don't miss your chance to enjoy fabulous top level xc ski racing and the chance to win fabulous prizes.



Product Testing

 Start Poles & Wax
 Bliz Active Eyewear

Nov 24-28

 Sunday, December 13th




Saturday, February 6, 2016
Sun Valley has snow 


West Yellowstone has perhaps best skiing in the world
 right now.

A skiff of new overnight snow, 22 F. Trails groomed: Rendezvous, Dead Dog, Deja View, Biathlon Range and both Sprint Loops, Volunteer, Jerry's and the Doodle. Really nice early season skiing. Skate and classic 5.5 meters wide, skate lane is starting to stiffen, should be very nice skiing with the mild temperatures.

Yellowstone Ski Festival

With the 2015 Yellowstone Ski Festival in sight, the final details are wrapping up.  It is not too late to register for a clinic.  Consider a three or five day Nordic clinic to start the ski season off right.  Or a one or two day to fit your holiday schedule.  Take in an early season race.  There are five different races at this year's ski festival.  Online registration is available now.  Sign up by Thursday, November 19 to avoid late fees.  

Enjoy your First Tracks in West Yellowstone. Whether First Tracks truly means the corduroy and you, or it is the first time on skis this season, or the first time on skis period; you are invited to take them at the Yellowstone Ski Festival. Think Snow and make plans now to attend the 2015 Yellowstone Ski Festival. 
For more information on the Yellowstone Ski Festival, please visit



 Don't Miss Out on the

Greatest Show on Snow!

Nordic Job Openings

Nordic Job Opening? email to post

Copper Country Ski Tigers Head Coach Devo Program 
Galena Lodge Nordic Ski Instructor Check out 

Snow Mountain Ranch/YMCA of the Rockies, Granby Nordic Groomer info here
Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation Assistant Nordic Coach
Tahoe Cross Country Head Coach for Junior Development & Competition Team

BNJRT Co-Head Coach and Assistant Coaches About

Agamenticus Ski Club Assistant HS Coach & Assistant MS Coach
Momentum Northwest Assistant Coach  

Mansfield Nordic Club Development Team Leader Position

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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25 Medals for Bliz Athletes 

Start Kick Waxes

Start Wax  and Poles Explained


West Yellowstone




ski erg


Jon Engen

Jim Galanes


Start Genius Dealers 


For more Start USA info  



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The one gift you receive at birth is time.  You'll never have more  than you have today.  Find the Time.

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