Sunday, November 30, 2014

Nordic Skate Ski Glide waxing

Here's a nice series from the folks at FastWax on getting your skate skis ready for the season. Similar approaches can be used on the glide surfaces of classic skis (tips and tails) if you want to go extra fast.

For most of us the steps outlined in the first two videos are all that need to be done to get ready for the season. The final two videos are more for race prep.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Join the new Burg Nordic Club!

12/03/14 Update
Please check the update here.

Information on the new Burg Nordic Club is posted here.  Remember, we have ten sets of classic skis available for free for the high school kids, and the Outdoor Resource Center (ORC) at BYU-I has both classic and some skate skis for rent on a daily basis (first come, first served).

No previous experience is required, truly.   As Jeff said, those who know a little more will be there to help those who know a little less.  Come have fun, learn new skills, get in fantastic shape (if you feel like pushing yourself), and learn to love winter like never before.  Join us on Dec 6 for the Nordic Ski Kick-Off.  We will coach the high schoolers at 4pm-ish (come when you can) on Mondays and Thursdays, starting December 8th, at the Teton Lakes Golf Course, but anyone can show up to ski.

Note, there are no additional fees for the Monday/Thursday ski club.  You bring yourself and your equipment, and just show up and have fun.  Any extra activities (like races) are completely up to you.

Nov 24 Ski Report

It's 10:45am, just finished skate skiing  at the golf course. The base track is firm and icy, but the new snow from the weekend is cushion enough to make for some fun stretches. It's actually like spring crust cruising. There are a lot of bare patches. Don't try to do everything. Stay off the Cow Pasture for sure, and avoid the Clover Leaf. There are some good areas, but enough bare spots to not make it worthwhile on the Clover Leaf. The best skate skiing is on The Boot, especially the south side. 
Also, be aware that someone rode their bike down the first half mile or so of the Perimeter (from the parking lot, to the West side, and straight north). I caught my skis in that rut several times. Please spread the word that bikes are not allowed on the skate track. They're even worse than classic skis (which aren't good for the skate track either), since the bikes leave a much deeper rut.
The descent at the northeast corner is very ice, so take it easy there.
If you get out before it gets warm, I think you'll have a satisfactory ski.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Nordic Skiing Stunts

For anyone who thinks nordic skiing is boring...

(Thanks for sharing this, Dave).

P.S.  No, we will not be doing this.  Yet.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Nov 21 Track Report

Teton Lakes Ski Report

I skate skied this morning and was surprised and pleased that the track had held up since yesterday.  After yesterday's warming, I thought there would be little left of the track, and that anything left would be too icy to be fun.  But it actually was practically identical to yesterday morning's conditions - not icy, a little soft, but slippy enough for a good skate.  Snow and rain are predicted this weekend, so we'll see how things turn out at the golf course.
I was really happy to see a couple of ladies I know out there classic skiing this morning - they are regulars and I saw them lots last winter.  I also ran into a friend who was scoping out the skate track.  It's pretty early in the season to have any sort of track or to have people interested already, so this is pretty exciting and it will only get better.   I think this will be a great year for the Nordic community (as long as there's snow!) with hopefully lots of people joining in the sport and spreading enthusiasm.  The more the merrier!


Don't forget the upcoming Cross-country Kick-off!  If there's no snow, then we'll figure something out, maybe just getting fit for skis, some basic instruction on dry land, and outfitting the High Schoolers with the city skis that we have.

Ski Festival

Also, a lot is going on in West Yellowstone this weekend and next week.  Check out the West Yellowstone Ski Festival to get an idea of how interesting and popular this multi-day event is.  We will take our kids up for the one-day kids clinic (and a clinic for ourselves) next Saturday.  It'd be fun to see any of you up there if there are slots still available!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

City Offering Family X-Country Ski Clinics

The City of Rexburg is going to offer a clinic for families.  Tom Anderson is spear-heading this event.  He is a great skier with lots of experience.  He will definitely make it a fun activity for all ages (bring the kids!).  Here's the info:

Beginners Cross Country Ski Clinic

If you have always wanted to give cross country ski a chance, now is the time. We will have 2 family clinic days in January. You must provide your own equipment: equipment can be rented at the ORC at Brigham Young University – Idaho. Come out and give it a try. We will have instructors there to help all ages. Make it a family night out and come out and enjoy the snow.

Dates:                                                                   January 12th & January 26th
Day:                                                                       Monday
Time:                                                                     4:00 – 5:30 pm
Where:                                                                 Teton Golf Course
Activity Fee:                                                       $20.00 per family
                                                                                $10.00 per person

Roller Ski to Skate Ski Transition

I need to report on how a summer of roller skiing helped with today's skiing:

I had my first ski of the season today.  Randy groomed the course two days ago, and I stayed off it yesterday to let it set up (well, truthfully I stayed off just because I hadn't prepped my skis yet).  This morning I spent too much time scraping off the storage wax Jeff had put on my skis at the end of last season, then applying a couple of layers of new wax.  I was anticipating a third application when Randy called to tell me I'd better just go ski before it warmed up too much.  So I finished scraping and brushing and buffing the second layer, then drove to the golf course, a little worried that the track wouldn't be skiable.  But it was great (I skated on CH7 wax), especially for so early in the season.  The base had set up well in many areas, although there were plenty of bare places I had to step around.  Do the snow dance, everyone! It won't take much more snow to even out the track.
So for my inaugural ski, I was interested to see if it would take much time to find my ski legs again.  Usually it takes me a fair bit before I feel comfortable again at the beginning of each season.  Three years ago it was a couple of weeks; two years ago it was a couple of days; last year it was about two hours (improving with age!).  But this year I have a whole summer of roller skiing under my belt, and I was really hoping I'd have zero trouble transitioning to snow.   Well,  I think roller skiing helped because today, although not zero minutes, it did only take about 15 minutes on the snow before I felt stable.  However, I was still surprised at those first 15 minutes.  I slipped and slid and caught my tips and wobbled all over the place like I'd never skated before.  I had to relearn to lift my ski higher than a roller ski and remind myself what it feels like to skate on slippery snow rather than skate on bumpy asphalt (I prefer snow any day.  It doesn't hurt when you fall).  I had to practice skating without poles, and then with poles.  Then the most bewildering moment was when I wanted to stop to adjust my gloves.  I leaned back on my right leg and waited for the stop to come.  It was a confusing moment as I kept gliding, until I realized I was trying to lean back into a non-existent roller ski brake.

Roller skiing is not the same as skate skiing.  The motions are extraordinarily similar, but there are still differences, even if only subtle ones. Anyway, when I stopped acting as if I was roller skiing on the snow today and started skating in earnest, I had a great time.   There were some really good, long stretches of fast track (mixed in with some patches of grass and gravel).  I can tell I am not as strong now as I was at the end of last season, but the fitness will come back.  Still, I was pleased that roller skiing has made me better at V2, and also doing V2 Alternate on my right side.  Last season I spent probably 90% of the time doing V2 Alternate, pulling only on my left side, and never felt entirely comfortable switching sides or switching to V2.  Roller skiing also made me better at pulling on both sides of V1 when climbing hills.  Finally, I noticed that roller skiing has helped my arm and core strength go from negative to just-barely-positive (I'm a wimp!).  Previously, I've skated with most of the power coming from legs only, even skating pretty much the same speed with or without using my arms.  That's not good.  So although I felt like my legs weren't as strong today, I think my whole body was more balanced.  Improvements in form, and yet a loss of fitness, made for a moment of mixed feelings.  But then the euphoria of just being out there trumped everything.

Roller skiing was a ton of fun this summer, and like skate skiing, it makes me feel like I'm flying.  It helped me get ready for winter, and it was fun, but nothing is as fun as actual on-snow skating.  And how nice is it that we have the golf course just a few minutes away?  Thanks to Randy for grooming and making this possible.
Groomed and put down a base for the track, it is skiable but try not to get on it when it is warm from noon on. Stephanie and I got our legs, arms, and lungs broke in this morning and enjoyed our annual re-learn session. Hopefully we will get some snow this weekend so we can build on a great start to the season. There are section that set up real nice, short grass in the fare ways, but the rough is rough. Any sun at all will take what snow there is in those sections from exposed grass. Two sections to avoid is, the road around the river, especially on the north side and the short kick up on the home stretch by the club house (by #1 tee box up to hole #27 on the middle nine) the sledders have kicked up some pea gravel there. Try to spread the word that snow bikes are not welcome on the track, we have limited resources ( my time) to keep the track in shape.
Anyone know what a good wax would be for grass?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Attention High Schoolers: Several City Skis Available for Free Use

Exciting news for our High Schoolers  

The City of Rexburg has about 10 pairs of classic skis that they will loan out to our high school club members for the season, free of charge.  I'll post more about how we'll check them out as I get that information.
We really want to make the sport accessible to everyone, so this is a fantastic development.


Please refer to the Nov 16th Post on the Burg Nordic Club for start-up information.  As a quick recap, here's what you need to know: all ages and abilities are welcome to join in at the Teton Lakes Golf Course at 4pm Mondays and Thursdays, starting December 8th (conditions permitting).  Coaching and individual training will be geared to the High Schoolers, but all are welcome to learn as we go.

The Cross-Country Kick-Off will be Saturday, December 6th at the Teton Lakes Golf Course (NOT the municipal golf course) at 11am.  Bring your gear.  You can rent from BYU-I, and we will have city equipment for the high school kids, although I'm still not sure about boot sizing.  We'll figure it out.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Consignment Shops

Update on Purchasing Equipment

The Outdoor Resource Center (BYU-I's "ORC") does not sell equipment, but Scott Hurst made me aware of some nearby consignment shops you should check out:

Victor Outdoor Seconds in Victor, Idaho
Headwall Recycle Sports in Jackson,Wyoming

Also, I've been told that Play it Again Sports in Idaho Falls sometimes has good nordic ski equipment.  

Happy trails, and keep doing the snow dance!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Skate vs. Classic Skis

(Please see the post following this one for start-up information on the 'Burg Nordic Club)

Nordic, or Cross-country, Skiing includes two styles: Classic and Skate.


Classic skiing, also known as diagonal stride or parallel skiing, requires less effort to learn, is cheaper (and also slower) than skate skiing, and is more versatile.  We will be learning on groomed trails (as opposed to back-country skiing), where two tracks are set in the snow, so learning will be easy and fun.

We recommend beginners lean toward the classic method while they get comfortable on skis, learn balance, and then work on fitness and form.


Skate skiing requires more overall physical effort and know-how but is also much faster.  You need a wide groomed trail, longer poles (about 10cm longer than the classic poles), and skate specific skis - although I learned and raced (not very well!) on old classic fish scale skis.

Skate skiing is really a lot of fun, and we will be happy to coach anyone on skating if they desire.

FYI, while classic and skate require different skis and different poles, there are combination boots that serve both classic skiing and skate skiing (combi boots), which would be a great investment for entry-level skiers.

Here is one of the many youtube videos on classic and skate skiing.

The 'Burg Nordic Club

12/03/14 Update

Please Check out the full update here.

Skip this Saturday BUT Still Come on Mondays & Thursdays

After months of discussion, we are finally putting together a volunteer-based Nordic Ski Club, serving Rexburg and surrounding areas (read: everyone is welcome).  Starting in December,  Steve Barrus (Madison High School cross-country running and track coach) and Stephanie Hancock will meet for race training and coaching.  At this point, the training is specifically for high-school age kids, although everyone is welcome to join in as long as the teens get the front-row for now. Eventually we hope to provide coaching for all ages.



Rental packages are available (first-come, first-served) at a very reasonable cost at BYU-Idaho's Outdoor Resource Center (The "ORC").

Everyone is in charge of their own gear, however I know many of you are new to the sport and may be overwhelmed with the start-up costs of outfitting yourselves or children with ski equipment.  I suggest starting off with renting before you buy anything.


The ORC does not sell equipment.  There are some area ski shops, though, which include:

Peaked Sports (Driggs)
Free Heel and Wheel  (West Yellowstone)
Skinny Skis (Jackson, WY)
Idaho Mountain Trading  (Idaho Falls)

Also, you can check out consignment shops in Victor and Jackson (see blog post for 11/17).

Online purchasing can be hit-or-miss.  I suggest you rent first, and then if you decide to purchase online, make sure you have your fitting information from the rental before purchasing.

Cross-Country Kick-off

Feel free to drop in at the ORC for rental fittings on your own, or meet there on Saturday, December 6, 10am.  Please bring money for renting that day.

We'll be on snow at the Teton Lakes Golf Course on Saturday, December 6th, starting at 11am.  We'll hang around for a few hours, depending on how things go.


High School kids, please plan to practice on-snow at Teton Lakes Golf Course on Mondays and Thursdays at 4pm (or as soon after 4 as you can get there).


Please be in charge of your own transportation.  I'm sure carpooling can be arranged.  High Schoolers, feel free to talk to Steve Barrus with any concerns about transportation.


We want to make the Nordic Club available for everyone.  As of now, there is the potential for scholarship monies to help the High School kids with equipment rentals.  Please talk with Steve Barrus.


There are some nearby races coming up, including the Cupid Cup here in Rexburg.  We'll put more information up throughout the season.

The snow machine is getting a yearly service and check up and hopefully we can have some trails groomed later this week. Great start to the season, face shots on the pass last couple of days!