Volume 17 Issue 45: March 10, 2016
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Do you have a Nordic training, technique, equipment, travel, or event question? Just email us at 
I am a citizen racer and completed my second Birkie this year. Both last year and this year my legs started cramping up during the second half of the race. I never cramped any other time in my life, including during ski training, triathlons, etc. I know the Birkie is a grueling race, but what suggestions do you have that can improve my off season training? I am a skate skier; do you have any specific drills I should do?

Cramping most often comes from muscle fatigue. Your muscles need to get used to the 2,3, 4 hours of marathon skiing. I do not know how much your train now of what your long days are and if you do intervals etc. But the only way to hope to avoid cramping in next year's Birkie is to replicate your Birkie effort in training leading up to the Birkie, to train your body for that effort.  You need to get some long days in skiing replicating the efforts that you will be racing the Birkie. Up hills, down hills and balancing on one ski over uneven terrain and in sloppy Birkie snow.

I think the unusual nature of the Birkie with the often sloppy snow and the stop and go nature of maneuvering around other skiers adds additional strain on your muscles. So you should try and replicate that effort. If you do not already do it, you should start rollerskiing in the summer, and increase your long days come fall. In winter do one LSD day a week and increase that throughout the winter. Race other ski marathons before the Birkie and then peak at the Birkie. There are no secrets. It just takes time.  

The difference in a ski marathon to a triathlon or a running marathon is the unpredictability of the snow condition. On a bad/sloppy snow day it takes allot more muscle work to remain balanced. That, plus skiing in a huge crowd wears on you. And this is why I believe you may be cramping at the Birkie but not at a triathlon. So work on technique so you can ski more relaxed. Skiing faster, easier can be done with fitness and also with technique. Many people focus on fitness not enough people focus on technique. So learn how to glide father faster.
I hope this helps
Andy at SkiPost
Cleaning Skins
Waxing Skins

You mentioned how to anti ice skis. But how do I clean skins?

You want to use Start Polymer Cleaner to clean skins that have dirt and or klister on them. Do not use harsh wax removers but use our gentle Polymer cleaner. You can also use the Start Polymer cleaner on your glide zones to remove dirt, klister and kick wax from the glide zones without removing all the glide wax.

Dear Andy, 

My skins skis worked great for the first half of the wet Birkie and then the kick diminished to next to nothing.  We used the Start Anti Ice rub on. At the finish line I looked at the skins and at first I thought the skins has dissolved and disappeared. But examining the skis at Gear West I discovered that the skins had become matted down to almost no hairs visible which reduced their kick. The skins had picked up klister and dirt along the way. The anti-ice worked for about 25km and then gradually diminished its effectiveness  What could be dine in future make skis work longer when it is that wet, dirty and klistery?

I had a few people who let e know they had good ski kick for the 50k using just the Start Anti Ice. Some who just put on one treatment and one who puts it on each and every outing. So it can work for 50km of wet slog if the skis are super saturated with anti ice form day 1.

I did have a few racers use the Start FHF 1 and FHF 3 or SFR 300 fluorcarbons. 

You can use Start Polymer Cleaner (our most gentle cleaner-not wax remover) on the skin. Do not use a wax remover.

For next year Start has developed a new Start HF Skin treatment that will be the go-to Skin solution. 

Andy at Start/SkiPost

American Birkebeiner Race Report - by Caitlin Gregg
Bliz Athlete

Waking up the morning of the largest cross country ski race in North America and the largest cash purse in the country ($10,000) I look out the window to check out the weather.  Temperatures still haven't dipped below freezing, meaning that this will be one of the warmest American Birkebeiner races in recent history.   It isn't uncommon for a big temperature swing on race day, but the last few years it has been a cold snap.  The body takes time and energy to adjust to changes in temperature and fueling become even more important.  A lot can happen along the 52 kilometer trail from Cable to Hayward and this is one of my most important days of my year.  My fitness is strong but I know that sometimes that isn't enough in a big competitive race.  Some of my biggest fears are a broken pole or a missed feed.  With the trail winding through the woods my team has scouted out the various logging roads and snowmobile crossings where they will be able to connect with me on the course, there are six of them.  

In the past I have noticed other athletes not feeding in the first 20 km and I know that they are the ones who will drop off the lead pack first.  Myself, I feed a lot.  It is so important that I ski with a water bottle and swap it out for a new one every 5-10 kilometers at the checkpoints we have scouted earlier.  I see the Green hat of my service team my mother-in-law or sister-in-law and receive my first 3 bottles perfectly.  We cross the 4th road and I look for my feed.  Unfortunately my friend is not there, they must have gotten lost on the many unmarked back roads you must take to get there.  I still have a little of my custom Infinit mix left and have been feeling good so I should be good until the next feed zone.  I have tried to make several attacks on the group but the warm snow has meant the course is fast, I can get a small gap but the group working together can bring me back and I am unable to break away.  I see my friend at the 5th feed and I take my full bottle.  

A few kilometers later one of the largest climbs of the course is coming up.  The Infamous Bitch Hill, with 12 km to go to the finish I make my move.   At the top of the hill it is down to me and a French Racer who wears the red leaders bib of the FIS Worldloppet Cup.  I can see she is hurting but I can't shake her, when I try to get her to lead she slows the pace down and I worry the others might catch us.  I attack again and again.  Now we are on a lake and the draft advantage makes it too hard to get away.  I continue to pull at a constant pace.  With 1 km to go we climb off of the lake and on to the streets of Hayward.  Leading across the lake is not a smart move in this race.  Now is when I know my fueling really comes in to play as I gear up for the finishing sprint.  I make another attack and focus on the finish line ahead.  I don't hear the breathing of anyone behind me, I glance left, I glance right, I have crossed the finish for my 4th American Birkebeiner title.  

Nearly 2.5 hours of racing and it all came down to the final sprint.  I can't hold back the enormous smile on my face from crossing the finish line first.  This race has literally changed my life as it helped me pay off my debts from training for the 2010 Olympics, it bought my husband and my first house, it helped me coach him to his first Olympic Team (2014) and allowed me to win a medal at the 2015 World Championships.  The best part now is that 8,000 of my friends, training partners and sponsors are also about to come across that finish line.  This race is the focal point for many cross country skiing community and part of the lifestyle that I love so much. 
If you would like to try Caitlin's Mix, or customize your own Infinit Mix use discount code: TeamGregg to save 10% on your order at

Caitin Gregg

Dave Mac Apparel

Dave McLaughlin, one of the founding athletes of the Factory Team, first generation professional mountain biker and director of the Luna Cycling program, has launched his own Lifestyle apparel brand named 

DMAC is a line of hand crafted clothing in premium wool. Inspired by a combination of craftsmanship and an active lifestyle - these versatile styles that are equally at home on the slopes, the street, or your favorite café.

DMAC | Designed for this | 4k
DMAC | Designed for this | 4k

You can get yours through their kickstarter program here

If you're not familiar, the way Kickstarter works is that once you set a funding goal, if it's not met, you don't get any of the funding. In cases where you exceed your goal, the cash gets put back into the company which, in the case of DMAC, will go toward product development and sample charges for the 2017 season, as well as funding production of the styles not on Kickstarter. Those styles can be seen here:
Junior National Championships 2016
 Live Stream

Bliz Start and Swenor art proud to be sponsors of the 2105 Junior National Championships this week in Cable Wis. 
We are sponsoring the Live Stream at

Wind Chill Wax?

Hi Andy.  Love your posts.  Congratulations to ALL Birkie skiers that completed the event.  I would LOVE to try that someday.  I have a quick question for you that I'm confused with.  It is in regard to waxing.  I have been using the air temperature to pick my glide wax, but this year I'm finding that up here in Timmins, Ontario, we have been getting "wind chills, that are very different from the actual temperatures (a lot colder).  My glide has been inconsistent at best using the temperature to pick the wax.  I know you once said to use the "snow temperature" but I don't carry a thermometer for that.  Would "wind chills" make that much of a difference in the snow temperature or not?  Should I try using a colder wax or try mixing waxes?  Let me know, Mike

Wax temp recommendations are based on "air temperatures" as snow can never be warmer than 0 C because above that it becomes water. But when you are glide waxing you always want to error on the side of too cold rather than too warm. You want the glide wax to be just harder than the snow crystals it is gliding over. The more moisture present the warmer and rounder the crystal acts. "Wind Chill Temps are based on the airs effect on the skin." But Wind also dries out the snow and makes the crystal act colder (harder). Also dirt needs to be taken into consideration. The more dirt and the longer the dirty event, in dirty snow you need to harder wax to keep the dirt off as dirt sticks into soft wax. We promote Start Wax, and Start waxes are generally harder than most other brands at every temperature so you need not make as large adjustments.  In dirty and coarse snow we use the BM line which uses Molybedenum.  
Does this help?
Andy at SkiPost

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

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


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

 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

Start is the low swing weight and high durability
from thick wall construction.

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 has recorded more World Cup podiums and is now ranked in the top 10 of the overall worldcup.Follow all the World Cup action at



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                                                      

Ski West Yellowstone

Tour de Spam Nordic Ski Stage & Night Race
March 18-20

The Rendezvous Ski Trails in West Yellowstone, Montana still have some great snow. Everyone is invited to take part in our new Nordic Ski Event March 18-20th, 2016. Tour de Spam is a three (3) day Nordic Ski stage event, featuring Montana's first night race!

Friday night will be a 3K Prologue in the Freestyle Technique. We will use the 1K lap, with floodlights and lanterns. All racers will be advised to wear a headlamp. Race will start at 7:00pm. Saturday will feature a 7.5 K classic race.  Sunday will feature the distance event as racers will go 15K Freestyle. Saturday and Sunday races will start at 9:00am. The racer with the fastest overall time in the 3 races will be declared the winner. Sign up for this series of low key, but challenging races or just one day.  Prizes awarded to those who stuck it out and raced all three day (top 3 male and female overall finishers).  All ages and all levels of skiers invited. The challenge for most racers is this: completing all three races without exhaustion setting in! For more information and registration visit 
nnf word
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.

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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Bliz Active Logo

Bliz RX now available
Email for details

Bliz ULS
One fogfree lens 
that does it all

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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