Volume 17 Issue 43: Feb 25, 2016
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Do you have a Nordic training, technique, equipment, travel, or event question? Just email us at 
Birkie Champions

Dave shares his Birkie Victory story with us below.

Last Saturday, I competed in the largest, most esteemed race in North America. After 52k of exciting, tactical racing, I took the win- fueled by the support of the crowd and the fans on Main Street cheering so loud I couldn't even hear myself breathe. It was an event that beyond exceeded my expectations- with over 10,000 racers and an even larger number of spectators, ...... I am humbled by all the encouragement and support I have since received; the Birkie community and culture is what made this win so much more memorable than the rest.

With headlamps on and only a few hours of sleep under their belts, the Rossignol techs headed out hours before the race start to help me choose between my S2 and S3 white base skis. It was decided that my S2s would be the best overall ski through the variable conditions I would face on the course. From the gun, the pace went out steady for the first 10km before settling in, with a lead pack of just about 15 or 20 guys forming. As the pace settled in, I narrowed my focus on staying out of trouble- trying to avoid any pole breaks and attempting to ski efficiently through the rolling terrain. Since joining APU two years ago, I have been working a lot on my skate technique with my coach, Erik Flora. In order to save my legs for the surges that I expected to happen towards the last quarter of the race, I tried to ski with a strong core and an elastic kick to keep my legs from getting stiff.

When the pace picked up, I was ready for the push. With about 7km left in the race, the lead pack blew apart, leaving me alone with six other Europeans. As we skied onto the lake as a group, I knew the race would come down to a sprint finish unless someone picked up the pace before Main Street. Skiing across the slushy, soft, lake, I had deja-vu to training on Eagle Glacier with APU. Skiing there for the past three summers has taught me how to push effectively through nearly bottomless slush conditions. I felt comfortable with the technique needed to ski efficiently leading into the last kilometer of the race.

I took the lead a few 100 meters before we came off the lake increasing the pace, and when I hit the bridge I was going all out- having raced for over two hours to get to this point. As I exited the bridge, I started believing more and more in myself that I could take home the win. Sprinting down Main Street was the loudest cheering I have ever heard; the screaming from the fans could seriously be compared to the noise produced at a rock concert. I had no perception of where my competitors were around me because of all the noise- something I have never experienced before. 

This was a huge win, and I couldn't be more excited about my accomplishment. What really made it special was the entire Birkie experience and all the amazing people who congratulated me and have supported me so far in my ski career. Big thanks to APU Nordic Ski Center, Rossignol Skis and Boots, Exel Poles, and Bliz Eyewear and the many other individuals in the ski community.

Dave Norris
American Birkebeiner Champion

Photo:Paul Walsh
White Bases?

Do white base on high-end skis really make enough of a difference? Just wondering how many pairs of skis I should get for next year's race season.

Dear CR,

White base skis are most often wet snow skis. But it is not just the white base (or grey base in Salomon's warm carbon ski) but the entire camber and pressure distribution that is different on the skis to deliver optimal glide in wet snow. Is it noticeably faster in the right conditions, yes. Do you need it? All depends on your goals and budget. Do you do your own hand structuring now? If not that would be your next step of improvement in glide.
Andy at SkiPost

I am a taking part in a 27K skiing event in Ontario next month. It is not a race, it's an end-of-season happening. I X-C ski often and my level of fitness is good, my health excellent, but musing about the upcoming 27K distance I began to plan the items I would carry in my pack and I mentally listed Granola bars. So, given that preamble, here's my question: Can you recommend a bar or gel type of product that will provide me an energy boost, or help me perform without bonking. I am planning on a steady, smooth pace that is not too taxing. Thanks for your help. Terry

I would always recommend a water bottle (or bladder pack) with sports drink in it. I would also recommend gel packets as they digest fast and enter your system fast. But try these in the weeks leading to the event and just not on the day of the event. Try a caffeine one with 30 minutes to go. And best of all, eat Oatmeal the morning of.

Andy at SkiPost.

Once again, great blog! I'm a wave 5 Birkie skate skier and am wondering if you would be able to offer some advise on the potentially very warm conditions for Saturday's race. I would love to hear your input on fuel, hydration, tips for wet/warm skiing (especially being back in wave 5), and any other thoughts you have to help make Saturday as fast as possible for everyone.Thanks in advance,

  • WARM UP- To decrease chance of bonking your body needs about 20 minutes of warm up pace before going into oxygen debt so it burns fats. If you are going to sporing for a good position at the cannon then warm up by running at the start. If you are not gunning for race position warm up during the first 5km and then slowing pick up pace.
  • WATERPROOF YOUR BOOTS - Or else your boots will be many lbs heaver at the finish. This can save you minutes in weight and uncomfortable feet.
  • WATERPROOF (FLOURCARBON) YOUR SKIS-  Fluorocarbons are the waterproofing for your ski base. It keeps the water (and dirt) off so you glide much faster. In this Birkie it can save you many many minutes.
  • DRINK ENERGY AND GEL- Drink energy drink before during and after race.  Get a drink at the early feeds zones when no one else is drinking so you feel better later in the race when no one else is.
  • GLIDE - Remember to glide and not rush your technique.

Classic Shoulder Movement?

I was out working on classic technique (no poles) the other day and started paying attention to how far my shoulder came forward. It seemed like the more I rotated my shoulder girdle (pushing my right shoulder forward as I reached out my left foot for glide, and vice versa) the better I moved along.  Then it occurred to me that the other shoulder (the back one) is in the final stage to pushing off with the pole. My question is how much of the poling effort comes from this axial rotation of the shoulders? Is this rotation generally considered a good thing, or is it one of those technique variations that leads to wasted motion, instability, and inefficiency? If you lay on your belly and crawl on your elbows it seems similar to the action I'm describing.
Big River Pete

Dear Big River Pete
You actually want to minimize that shoulder reach, and especially the axial rotation.   Too much reach, and and axial twisting, is, as you guessed, a "technique variation that leads to wasted motion, instability, and inefficiency."  If you watch video of the World Cup skiers, they are not rotating or reaching with the shoulder. 
Bottom line is that it adds a little momentum to help you down the track, so when you are single sticking or no-pole skiing, you feel the effects a lot.  However, when skiing normally, the extra momentum gain is lost compared to the extra power of full body skiing, and it often leads to poling cross-body, instead of down the track.  Further, it adds only the smallest of gains, that is more than lost by the extra time you must take in your cadence to create the effect. Hope this answers your question, and have a great winter!
Michael Sinnott

Marathon Taper-Peak

I'm an avid ski racer and most of my races throughout the ski season are marathon (~50km) skate races. This season I have been thinking more about how to properly taper and rest between marathons without loosing fitness. For example, the Birkie is next weekend, followed by a two week break until the Yellowstone Rendezvous on March 5th. I'm hoping to feel fast at the Birkie, and peak for the Rendezvous. What types of workouts do you recommend to make sure I recovery from the Birkie but peak (instead of loosing fitness) going in to the Rendezvous? I'm very comfortable with interval training, but am not sure what types of intervals (duration/ intensity/ reps), if any, are appropriate in this late phase of the season. 
Thanks for your help!
K Bean

Hi K-Bean,
First of all I am impressed that you are prioritizing a race in your schedule.  It is easy to want to do well in every race you enter, but prioritizing one race each month can help you to have a truly great race rather than a bunch of so-so races.  I would recommend maintaining your average training load up until Tuesday before the Birkie, then I would recommend reducing your training load by 50 percent for the next three days.  Keep the training frequency the same, but just make each workout a lower load.  If you normally ski for an hour, just go for a half hour.  If you noramlly do 6*4 minute intervals do 3*4 minute intervals.  Maintaining the workout frequency will help you to still get the hormonal and physiological benefits of the training but the lower load should help you feel good and fresh for the race.  You will not loose any fitness over three easy days.  After the Birkie, feel free to take a day or two off, or better yet get out for a super slow recovery ski, walk, bike, yoga or jog.  Keep the intensity super low as the purpose of any training is to help your body recover.  Hopefully by Wednesday you will begin to feel good again.  Resume your normal training load and frequency.  Since you have already had a hard race effort, I would reccomend threshold interval workouts with burst of speed thrown in.  A favoring of mine is 6*8 minutes at level 3 with 2*15 second bursts in each interval.  The focus of this workout is helping your body to buffer lactic acid and to improve your comfort and technique at speed.  If you still feel the load from the Birkie, just do easy distance skiing with 10 x 8-12 second bursts of speed at 10 km race pace. Give yourself a good 2-3 minutes between each burst.  The entire week of your target race drop your training load by 50%.  If you get that restless feeling, that is a good thing, just save that energy for the race.  March is one of the most fun times to be a skier as you can essentially rest and race.  Good luck,
Brian Gregg
2014 Olympian XC Skiing

Full Happy

Two weeks ago the ski community, and I, lost Alex Diekman a good friend and grand supporter of Nordic skiing after a battle with cancer. Alex always had an infectious joy for the sport and life that was contagious. He shared this love with his son's and wife and all those he touched. Alex only knew one pace, Full Happy. I will miss Alex and thinking of him will push me to get outside and do more with my family with a full happy attitude.  

A ceremonial will be held for Alex in Bozeman's Emerson Ballroom on Friday, April 8th from 3 pm - 6 pm. RSVP to Lisa at

Roof Rack Ski Bag Carrier?

Hello, I like to carry my Nordic skis in bags, one for me and one for my wife. When we travel with our 09  Subaru I just strap them on the top rack and they flop around up there until I finally get them to lie still. Do you know of an attachment that would allow me to securely lock down these bags? I don't like the idea of a full blown top box since we only use the top rack when we travel a distance to ski. I googled this a little but didn't come up with anything that I liked.  Call me old fashioned but I really like the bags but not the box.  Perhaps there is a more streamlined version of the Box?  I love your Q&A!

I will ask our audience if they know of any ski bag or ski bag accessory that they know that attached easily to a roof rack without straps slapping around? Send suggestions to

Get a Sport tube or similar ski carrier which is used for air travel. Great for on the car and if you ever need to fly with skis comes in handy. FL

We have a box and love it but also have a hard shell ski bag used mainly for air travel. I suppose this could be strapped to a roof rack. Would work well for two people traveling with both classic, skate and poles. Attach to the roof rack with bungee cords and away you go. Would look like a small ski box. Take off and store in your hotel room at night.  Sold at most reasonable sized ski shops.  Either that or drive a vehicle with fold down seats. Regards R M

I'm in West Yellowstone. Several people here have 5" or 6" PVC pipes for racks. Caps that screw or pop on. 

Why not keep the ski bags, just secure them with something like this cargo net:

I have a couple of "Sportube" hardside travel cases for my skis when I go through the airport. When I drive, I just lay them on the roof rack, bungee them down, and then put a cable lock through the sport tube handle and wrap it around the roof rails for security in motel parking lots. Taken long trips to Canada and it works great. P

A sport tube secured with NRS straps cut to length is pretty bomber on top of the car.Plus you can go right from the roof to the plane and keep the airline monkeys from destroying your gear.
Snowmass Village, CO
I use a bag and just tie it down to the roof rack with some nylon cord and they don't flop at all.  CFrinak


Do you have any sock suggestions? There seem to be so many brands but none are perfect. Most that are warm are either too bulky or too tall for my skate boots. 
Froze Toes

My new favorite is Point 6 socks. I discovered their all new Nordic socks at the Outdoor Retailer show this fall. They reinvented a Nordic sock from the toe up.
They are the perfect size for skate boots, not too tall, not too short. They come in the various thicknesses, not too thin and not too thick. They have models with extra padding around the ankles bones for skate boots They are made with Merino wool for warmth and durability and are made in America, and based in Ski Town USA,  Steamboat Springs, Colorado. (Yes, they are now an advertiser on SkiPost, but this is because I love the socks.)  

Andy at SkiPost


What suggestions do you have for a light for night skiing.  I have a great bike light but no way to mount it for night skiing use.   The others (strapped flashlight type) I've use simply don't provide a lot of illumination.

I have used various good battery powered headlamps and most have served me fine for night skiing. But a different approach is the Lumen by UltraSpire. Rather than a headlamp is a waist lamp and broadcasts the light from lower down for less eye strain and better ability to pick up trail variations. 

Andy at SkiPost

 Wax Recs

All Start Wax Recs can be found at 


Many more Start Wax recs are posted at 
Also try out the Start Wax Choose at  

Andy at SkiPost/Start email questions

Birkie Wax

Thanks for the tips at the Birkie.  We went with the Start FHF Red klister and had great kick!!! Thank you,

Hi Andy,
Thanks again for the support at the Birkie.  The purple was the right call.  My skis were competitive with any of those in the packs I was skiing with, and really shined in the last 20k when it was filthy.  You could really see others skis slowing at that point.
Thanks again,

email us your Birkie wax feedback at

Concept2 is excited to be back as a sponsor of the 2016 Slumberland American Birkebeiner®-and pleased to be able to offer Birkie skiers, and all members of a regional ski association, a discount of $50 on the purchase of an effective Birkie training tool: the second generation Concept2 SkiErg.
The SkiErg is a convenient and effective addition to your training, especially if you have ever been faced with any of the following challenges:
  • There is little or no snow
  • Safe roller skiing roads are too far away
  • Daylight is fading and it's unsafe to be on the roads
  • You are recovering from injury
  • You want an accurate way to measure you training progress
  • You are under a time crunch and need a fast, effective workout, in the convenience of your home or club
The SkiErg can be mounted directly to a wall if floor space is at a minimum, or you can order it with the optional floor stand. The floor stand supports the SkiErg if wall mounting is not an option and makes the SkiErg free standing and mobile-use it anywhere!
For more specific ways to use the SkiErg in your training, 

visit for a wealth of information.

Durable Poles?
Thick Wall Construction.

I see you guys promoting Start Poles as light swing weight and durable. They are light, but how can they be durable when they are tiny at the basket? 
Dubious Fred


You point at just the Start innovation that makes them light weight and durable, their race geometry. Start's race series poles are 17 mm in diameter (wider than many) at the handle and has thin wall construction for stiffness and lightweight. Uniquely its diameter and wall thickness change gradually from handle to tip. Start race poles are 8mm at the tip (thinner than most) and has thick wall construction for light weight and extra durability. By having only 8mm at the basket Start can make the walls extra thick for the greatest impact resistance so the poles do not break when a ski hits the pole near its tip, yet are still extremely light.  

Andy at SkiPost/Start  

Start is the low swing weight and high durability

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

Andy at SkiPost/Bliz
Salomon Nordic

Jessie Diggins recorded another World Cup podium last week. Follow all the World Cup action at

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Supporting Tomorrow's Nordic Stars Today

National Nordic Foundation Allocates $154,280 to
2015 - 2016 Pillar Projects    read more here

NNF online auction starts soon Read more here.

U-18 Trip

Among the most important projects funded by the NNF, the U18, World Junior and U23 Teams represent the respective pinnacle for events focused on skier development. 
The U-18 Trip 
The cost to the athlete is $750 with 
NNF picking up an additional $1457 per athlete.
U18 Men
Hunter Wonders | APU Nordic Ski Center
Gus Schumacher | Alaska Winter Stars
Karl Schulz | NYSEF
Noel Keefe | Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club 
Daniel Streinz | Maine Winter Sports Club
Peter Wolter | Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (pictured above)
U18 Women
Hannah Halvorsen | Sugar Bowl Academy 
Leah Lange | Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation
Hailey Swirbul | Aspen Valley SSC
Leah Brams | Cambridge Sports Union
Brooke Dunnagan | Bogus Basin Nordic Team/Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation
Ezra Smith | Summit Nordic Ski Club
The first races ever supported by the NNF (originally the NCCSEF), the U18 races have seen athletes like Kikkan Randall, Simi Hamilton, the Bjornsen siblings, Liz Stephen and more get their European start. This year those races are taking place in Otepää, Estonia.  Six men and six women qualify using their best two races at the championships (scored using a World Cup format). Martin Benes, coach at Sugar Bowl Academy will lead the trip which takes place in late February.

LIVE broadcast from all scheduled competitions of u-18 Nordic Junior Competition. You can follow the broadcast on website    
All information and pictures on the Estonian Ski Association website:




Mt Bachelor Nordic Center announces inaugural running of the Cascade Crest 50km Nordic Ski Marathon and Relay
Enjoy the splendor of the high Cascades while testing your limits at the 2016 Cascade Crest 50km Nordic Ski Marathon, 25km, 10km or 50km Relay, slated for Saturday, March 12, 2016 at the Mt Bachelor Nordic Center.                                                  
Routed along the trails of the Mt Bachelor Nordic Center and US Forest Service land in the shadow of Broken Top Mountain, this year's course will provide breathtaking views and a festive race venue!
Event Calendar:                
Friday, March 11, 2016:  4:00 - 7:00 p.m.  Packet Pick Up, WebSkis Ski Shop Bend, Oregon
Saturday, March 12, 2016: 9:00 a.m. Start 10Km Skate/Classic
9:30 a.m. Start 50Km Skate
9:40 a.m. Start 25Km Skate
9:45 a.m. Start 4 X 12.5 Km (50Km) Skate Relay
8:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Vendor Expo at Finish Area
All events at Mt. Bachelor Nordic Center
6:00 p.m. Awards Party, WebSkis Ski Shop 550 SW Industrial Way, Bend, Oregon
Sunday, March 13, 2016: 9:00 - 2:00 p.m. Cascade Crest On-Snow Demo Day Mt. Bachelor Nordic Center
 Details here                                                      

2016 Great Bear Chase!

Registration is now open for the 36th annual UP Health System Portage Great Bear Chase. The race will take place on Saturday, March 5th, 2016 at the beautiful Swedetown Trails in Calumet, Michigan. To register now, visit

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

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Support Tomorrow's Nordic Stars Today

Bliz Active Logo


This Bliz
This Bliz

25 Medals for Bliz Athletes 

Start Kick Waxes

Start Wax  and Poles Explained


Point6 Nordic Socks 
West Yellowstone








Jon Engen

Jim Galanes


Start Genius Dealers 


For more Start USA info  



BLIZ America Dealers 



For more BLIZ USA info 





find the time
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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