Welcome to the Year 2000 version of Nordic News from the Far West Nordic Ski Education Association. We're excited about the upcoming cross country ski season, and we're especially happy that you've chosen to read about it in this, our annual newsletter.
Join Far West Nordic! Therenow that we've gotten the "hucksterism" over with, we can begin to explain just what this organization is all about. If you love cross country skiing as we do, and plan to participate in one of the many events that occur in the Far West division, we hope you'll take the time and join our "club." Joining costs next to nothing, and the benefits are many. The mission of Far West Nordic is to promote the sport of cross country skiing in our part of the world, whether it be racing, junior athletics, or simply just getting the family out on skis. Our goals are to provide opportunities for athlete skill development, provide coaches' education, endorse Junior, Senior, and Master regional competition teams, and promote cross country ski racing. We firmly believe that the activity of cross country, or nordic, skiing is one of the greatest sports on earth, and will lead to a lifetime of enjoyment and physical betterment.
What's in it for you? Besides achieving that warm, fuzzy feeling inside of knowing that you're helping to promote the best sport in the world, we have other, more tangible benefits that we're happy to enumerate. The first benefit of membership is our regular newsletter (no, not quite as big as this one) published throughout the ski season, featuring articles on skiing technique, training, and personalities within our sport, all with an eye to our goal of encouraging communication about cross country skiing. The second, and most tangible feature to your wallet, are the various discounts that Far West members receive at many of the cross country ski resorts throughout the region (see our Benefits of Membership section below). Use one of these discounts just 2 days during the ski season and you've paid for your membership! Finally, your membership automatically makes you eligible in the Sierra Ski Chase, a great series of racing events that culminates in an end-of-the-season raffle with tons of wonderful prizes (see page 12 for details).
Help our Gold Rush! Our annual Auction/Raffle (January 22, 2000) and the California Gold Rush at Royal Gorge (March 19, 2000) our the Far West's biggest fundraisers. You can help by either volunteering or participating in these incredibly fun events.
So whether you're a race-hardened master skier, a junior racer (or parent thereof), a casual resort skier or even a backcountry tourer, please join us in our quest to make Far West Nordic strong, healthy, and fun! And don't forget to volunteer, whether it's at one of our special events, competitions, junior ski camps, or just by signing up to participate in the Sierra Ski Chase. We look forward to seeing you on the snow.
Far West Nordic Administrator
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Allan Bard was one of the pioneers of the cross country ski industry in the United States. Known best for his achievements in the backcountry skiing world, Allan was also involved in teaching skiing on the tracks, both on the East Coast at the Trapp Family Lodge, and here in California. He was also a well-respected mountaineer, guide, and telemark skier, but most of all, Allan was also the "Reverend Bardini of the Church of the Open Slopes," probably the preeminent proselytizer of fun on snow. Allan died in a climbing accident in the summer of 1997, but those of us whose lives he touched will remember him forever. The following is one of his many writings that is still applicable today, and is reprinted with the courtesy of the Bardini Foundation.
What is cross country skiing today? The answer to that question is complicated, because cross country skiing is not one sport any more, it is many. The question is further confused by the technical issue of whether there is a right way to ski. Considering the myriad paths to nordic oneness and all the volumes of technical theory, can truly boggle the mind, but ultimately all forms of cross country skiing, in the spirit of old fashioned ski touring, are still just skiing across the countryside. It can be that simple.
Maybe it's a sign of oncoming age that the days of my youth seemed a simpler time. In the old days, we were just cross country skiers, waxing our wood skis and sporting our ubiquitous costume of knickers and sweater. We were often looked upon as granola crunching, yogurt eating, Volkswagen driving, health conscious, tree-hugging environmentalists. Alpine skiers thought we were weird because nordics believed sweating was okay. We were unique at best. We were outcasts, the poor folk of skiing. Poor folk that couldn't afford full width skis or a lift ticket. In some ways we were the original snowboarders, because for us nordics it was cool to be different and chic to dress funky.
Nordic skiing today is far from funky. Modern cross country skiing is pretty slick, and skiing in general, has become expensive. Both alpine and nordic skiing, as practiced at groomed areas, are now family sports for a constantly shrinking population of families. Once family participation was the mainstay of the ski industry and although it is far from being a sport only for the wealthy, it seems like it's going that direction fairly fast. You don't think so? Have you seen the cost of trail passes and lift tickets? Years ago I could have lived for a month for the cost of a weekend of family skiing. All of a sudden family ski touring looks pretty attractive. When was the last time you bought new gear? Whether you're wearing the form-fitting lycra and the ultra-light track slats of the aerobic guerrilla set or modeling a Gortex one-piece, shod in the latest of short fat skis and plastic fantastic tele boots of the backcountry fanatics, you spent a bundle equipping yourself. Cross country skiing ain't cheap anymore.
Nordic skiers are now experiencing many of the mainstream complications as the alpine folks. Even us nord boarders are a part of this hula-hoop culture that is crazy for fads and trends and the Madison Avenue jargon of buzz words that accompany them. Answer this. What kind of skier are you? Track skier? Classic or skating? Tele skier? Backcountry skier? Extreme skier? Ski tourist, or maybe even just a plain cross country skier, or a nordic skier? These are all types of cross country skiing, but they often employ very different equipment and have seemingly separate technique. Some of this variety in ski theory has a great deal to do with the diversity of terrain available in the U.S., but the myth that these new ski sports are anything but another form of classic ski touring, disguised in the rhetoric of catch phrases and trendy titles, is to some degree perpetuated by manufacturers in order to entice the consumer into being the fully rigged nordic skier of the 90's. Why own one ski when you could own five different skis. Don't get me wrong, all the new specialized gear is great and truly superior to the old woodies, leather shoes, and cane poles. I personally own all kinds of modern nordic gear. But it is a little complicated sometimes. We are a culture of excellent consumers. We not only buy product, we buy into the boondoggle of definitions and we become believers. Although there are many of us that enjoy many forms of cross country skiing, there are folks out there that relate to one of these subspecies of free heel schussing more than another.
As in any activity that gets specialized there are always zealots, folks that would sing the praises of their chosen discipline and denounce others as incomprehensible, heresy, or just plain lame. Even in the nordic realm. For instance, track skiers that think backcountry skiing is nothing but a laborious activity that lacks much speed and grace, or backcountry types that think most track skiers are under-clothed fitness freaks who wouldn't appreciate the joy of a good set of turns through the powder anyway. Or maybe, telemark aficionados that can't relate to backcountry skiers that don't telemark. You get the idea. I guess some of this amazes me because my nordic roots are from a generation that believed in brown rice, world peace, tofu, and cross country skiing. It was just regular old ski touring, but somehow the soothing feeling that came from a quiet ski through the woods has been lost on many of the tele-rad or skate-to-be-bad ilk.
It is the tendency of every ski zealot to somehow perfect their particular discipline technically, indeed to seek the stone tablets of skiing "right." It is as if perfecting technique validates your chosen path. Like the great Crusades, the search is often an end to itself, because the quest to find the one true and right way to ski is, at best, elusive. Last spring some friends and I, all ski instructors of some renown and great experience, were skiing in Colorado trying to unfold the mysteries of correct technique. There has been some evolution in ski technique, but largely we ski the same as always, we just teach it and talk about it differently than we used to. After a whole day of skiing every imaginable kind of snow and terrain, we came to the incredible conclusion that there was no one technique, it was instead, all technique. Each kind of skiing and technique complimented the other old and new, diagonal skiing and skating, telemark and parallel. When called to action we used every trick and technique we knew, sometimes in rapid succession. Often we made it up as we went along. Sometimes skiing is like life, you're halfway through it before you realize it's a do-it-yourself thing. There are no real manuals. Total mobility and the possibility for some homespun self-propelled creativity is what I've always loved most about cross country skiing, a dance that you learn as you go.
So what is cross country skiing today? Well it's certainly different than it used to be, but some aspects remain the same. It's still a dance. It is the blending of all skiing in a composite movement that responds to changing snow and terrain with total forward flow. Cross country is as much complete skiing today as ever, but it is also far more varied in form than ever before. Is there a right way to ski? I don't know, but as I have often said, the most important technique in skiing is to go skiing, and the most important kind of skiing is the one that inspires you to action. The total variety of available movements in cross country skiing are the joys of our sport. The spirit of today's nordic skiing, in all of its forms, has mobility and simple travel at its roots. One thing hasn't changed when you go cross country skiing: you still go with the flow.
by Jeff Schloss
Skating has only been a dominant cross country technique for the last 15 or so years and in that time there have been some major break throughs and re finements to allow us to ski faster and with less effort. The top racers in the world are not skating a lot differently than they were 5-10 years ago but they are skiing a lot different from most of us out on the tracks. Here is a summary of what I think we can learn from how the top racers skate.
The old saying "Nose-knee-toes" is still the basis for lining up over each ski. You must have a complete weight shift and land lined up over the new ski. The upper body should be held stable, with no twisting and no excess up and down motion. The line of the shoulders and hips should remain parallel with the ground. The upper body should be angled about parallel with the lower leg. This means there should be a very sharp angle at the ankle, and at the knee. One way to achieve this sharp knee angle is to think about driving the knee forward over the ski. World cup skiers are skiing very bent forward at the ankle and knee, not sitting back. The hips are forward and you should feel that you are falling forward all the time.
There should always be an equal push off with both legs no matter what the polling technique being used. The push off should go through the whole foot rather than just toeing off. This will help in pushing to the side rather than pushing back which twists the hips and doesn't allow proper weight shift over the new ski. Complete each kick and strive for extending the leg on the push off. When the ski is brought down it should land on the outside of the ski and glide on a flat ski before pushing off to the new ski. Especially on uphills it is not advantageous to bring the feet together on each stoke. Instead focus on bringing the foot and ski forward (up the hill) instead of clicking your heels.
The poles should be planted close to the body rather than with an extended arm. This will allow the upper body to hang on the poles and transfer all of the power of the upper body into the polling. The elbow should be flexed and the slower you are going, like on a steep uphill, the closer to the body the poles should be. The poles should be used to push you in the direction of travel rather than side to side. The closer you can make the polling like classic double polling the more efficient it will be. Active use of the upper body includes crunching at the stomach and completing the polling by extending the poles behind you and then actively propelling the poles forward.
This World Cup type skating is all about going fast. It requires a great deal of conditioning to ski this way, with the extreme bend in the ankle and the powerful use of the upper body hanging on the poles, but it will translate to more speed. Of course most of us are not anywhere close to these top racers in fitness and perhaps cannot ski as powerfully but we can pick up some valuable minutes in the next Great Race if we try adopting some of these refinements to our skating style.
by Mitch Dion
I was handed an article recently called "Pulmonary Injury After Ski Wax Inhalation Exposure" from the "Annals of Emergency Medicine" (Nov 98), which describes the respiratory failure of a skier after waxing 40 pairs of skis in one session. The guy makes it, but after 3 days in the hospital with severe breathing difficulty and fluid filled lungs. The article, by the Swiss doctors who handled the injury, makes the case that gases from fluorocarbon ski wax were the culprit.
This is enough to get the attention of anyone who spends a portion of their winter in the wax room. How bad is this stuff that we are exposing ourselves to?
"We haven't been using fluorocarbon waxes long enough to truly understand the danger," says Ian Harvey, National Sales Manager for Toko. Harvey, a former Olympian and U.S. National Team member, recommends a cautious approach when working with fluorocarbon and hydrocarbon waxes.
Hydrocarbon waxes are made from petroleum products. Smoke and gases produced from burned petroleum products aren't good for you; that's why we avoid automobile exhaust.
What we know about fluorocarbons is not based on extensive testing of ski wax products, but gleaned secondhand from studies on commercial plastic products, such as teflon and waterproofing compounds. Waterproofing compounds that contain fluorocarbons have been shown to cause pulmonary toxicity from inhalation of airborne vapors.
Fluorinated compounds are really bad when you heat them up to their incineration point, which is about 280 ° C. (536 ° F). By-products released at these temperatures kill small test animals. Fortunately, this is hotter than a waxing iron can go (@ 200°-220°C), and even then you would likely melt your skis before the fluoro's started burning.
However, the by-products of heating fluorocarbon waxes (as well as hydrocarbon waxes) have another negative effect. According to Ian Harvey, these by-products can lower your VO Max and is detrimental to your oxygen intake system, which is the last thing you want to do to yourself when getting ready for a ski. In one test alluded to in the "Emergency Medicine" article, all subjects that were exposed to ski wax vapors heated to 145° C (300°F) showed a 10% decrease in CO (carbon monoxide) diffusion capacity.
Harvey thinks that we may be ironing fluorocarbons more than we need to. Harvey recommends corking on the fluorocarbons as actually more effective in a lot of situations where durability is not the key issue.
"In a 10K race where the snow is not exceptionally dirty, corking is faster," says Harvey. Harvey also like roto-corking his fluoro, but cautions that this is not safer than ironing. The roto-corking generates as much heat as ironing, in addition to particulates. Roto-waxers should definitely should consider respiratory protection and safety glasses.
Dan Hill, sales representative for Fischer Skis and Swix wax, questions the need to "see stars" when applying fluorocarbons. Convention wisdom had us heating the fluorocarbon waxes to the point where small crystals or stars appeared. Hill says top international waxers are tending toward lower application temperatures, finding that ski base damage due to high iron temperatures is very common.
Harvey agrees, except in certain circumstances. " If I'm getting ready for a Marathon in spring, with dirty corn snow, I would definitely iron the fluorocarbon until it starred. I want the better dirt resistance."
Hill also cautions that other by-products of ski preparation, particularly ground P-tex, pose a possible long term health concern.
Ventilation can help. The best scenario is to do all your waxing outdoors, with a gentle crosswind carrying dusts and vapors away from you. Unfortunately, most of our waxing is done in confined areas with little ventilation. That is why we should be taking other precautions, such as respiratory protection. Most waxers I know who are using masks are using painters masks with a cartridge that is approved for organic vapors. These are readily available at hardware stores, but are probably not the best selection for our particular situation.
I was lucky enough to run into an industrial hygienist for the 3M Company, a manufacturer of respiratory protection. Her job is to make technical recommendations on what sort of respiratory protection should be used. The lucky part is that she who is also a cross country skier and very aware of the fluorocarbon issue. Her concerns as and expert in this field are:
1) the mask must fit properly to do its job
2) a dust/mist pre-filter should be used in conjunction with the mask to prolong the life of the cartridges.
3) cartridges wear out and should be replaced periodically (once a year for recreational skier, depending of course on how much waxing you do)
4) a multi-gas cartridge is more effective than the traditional painters mask. It is 3M's best product for fluoride derivative gases. This type of cartridge is available from many sources, but technical description should include NIOSH approval similar to below:
"Certain organic vapors, chlorine, hydrogen chloride, chlorine dioxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, ammonia/methylamine, formaldehyde, or hydrogen fluoride"
Far West Nordic (with thanks to Mitch Dion) can supply its members with the proper masks from 3M at a very reasonable price. We highly recommend that all skiers, and especially Juniors, have and use a respiratory mask. You must be a Far West member to qualify. Please call our office for details.
Ten premier cross country ski events stretching from Vermont to Alaska, the American Ski Marathon Series (ASM), returns in the year 2000 with a stellar ten race line-up held in nine different states. Ranging in distance from 30 to 52 kilometers, the ASM Series is entering it's 22nd season as North America's largest and longest-running cross country ski series.
The 2000 ASM calendar kicks off January 9th with the Craftsbury Marathon held in Craftsbury, Vermont. The series then briefly moves to the Great Lakes region with the Subaru Vasa in Traverse City, Michigan on January 15 followed on January 29th with the Lake Placid Loppet held on the famous Mt. Van Hoevenberg Olympic Trails located in upstate New York. The next weekend action shifts to beautiful Sun Valley, Idaho for the February 5th running of the First Security Boulder Mountain Tour...shortest event in the Series at 30 kilometers. Next up are three more Central region dates, the Mora Vasaloppet (second largest ski event in the United States) in Mora, Minnesota on February 13th; the Minnesota Finlandia located in Bemidji, Minnesota on February 19th; and the grand-daddy of them all on February 26...the American Birkebeiner in Hayward, Wisconsin (the largest non-European ski event in the world). The series then turns west continuing on March 5th with the Tour of Anchorage...an event that actually crosses the entire length of Alaska's largest city. The March 11th Yellowstone Rendezvous in West Yellowstone, Montana is next cruising along the edge of majestic Yellowstone National Park.
The 1999 ASM Series finishes off on March 19th with the California Gold Rush traversing the historic Emigrant Trail at the world-famous Royal Gorge Cross Country Resort.
Every ASM Series event offers an entire winter festival comprised of a host of exciting and fun-filled activities for all ages. Each venue features a headline "marathon" event (42km equals roughly 26 miles...same as a running marathon) as well as half distance race/tours, will participate in ASM events in the year 2000, with up to 100,000 additional spectators, officials and volunteers also involved.
The Overall ASM Champion's Cup returns in 2000 with a new best 4 out of 6 race format. The Champion's Cup recognizes top overall male and female finishers in the six selected events with points awarded for the top ten places at each event. Cup winners are annually recognized by the ski industry as the top ski marathon competitors in the country.
For 2000, the California Gold Rush will not only close the overall ASM calendar but will also be the final race in the Champions Cup competition. In 1999 the women's Cup came down to the final Cup event where the Far West's own Karen Radebold was edged out of the crown by one point! With two-time defending men's champion Carl Swenson turning his attention to the Worldloppet circuit look for a similar battle on the men's side in 2000.
For the "weekend warrior", the exciting ASM Regional Cups divide the nation into West, Central and East regions. Skiers then compete in a specified number of events in a particular region. Points are awarded in five year age groups with prizes provided by Patagonia for all Regional Cup Champions.
Of note to Far West skiers, the West Regional Cup consists of the Boulder Mountain Tour (Feb 5); Tour of Anchorage (March 5); Yellowstone Rendezvous (March 11); and the California Gold Rush (March 19).
An official ASM registration form is required to be scored for the Regional Cups. Forms are available on the official ASM website or at all individual event offices.
For the third year in a row, Cross Country Ski World (http://www.xcskiworld.com), the world's leading cross country ski news and information source, is the official website of the Series providing links to all member sites and updates throughout the 2000 Season.
For more information on the American Ski Marathon Series please contact:
ASM Series · PO Box 5 · Bend OR · 97709
email: email@example.com · Call/Fax: (541) 317.0217
The 2000 Subaru National Masters Cross Country Ski Championships targeted for St. Paul, Minnesota February 5-11 is shaping up into what organizers are calling the biggest XC ski event of its kind ever held. Over 500 Master skiers from throughout the United States and from several foreign countries and thousands of local spectators/volunteers are anticipated to take part in the four race event week held right in the heart of the St. Paul metropolitan area.
Utilizing three different urban park venues...all within a short drive of the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport and downtown areas...the 2000 Subaru Nationals will feature three individual races and one sprint relay over a six day period. In addition, organizers are putting the finishing touches on what could turn out to be the largest cross country ski Expo ever held which will kick off the event week on February 5th.
"The St. Paul 2000 event promises to be not only the largest national championship in U.S. history but also a celebration of XC skiing as a sport," says Richard Hunt, Executive Director of American Cross Country Skiers (AXCS). "We are going to see people out there that would normally never think about attending a National Masters. Plus, we will also see spectators in numbers that we have not seen even when the U.S. hosts international World Cup events. This is really going to be something special."
With title sponsorship provided by Subaru of America as well as additional support from more than 25 other sponsors including such notables as Nature Valley granola bars, 2000 organizers have already shattered all previous sponsorship records for U.S. National Masters.
According to John O'Connell, Chief of Fundraising for the 2000 Subaru Nationals, "The Masters Ski Community in the Twin Cities is gratified by the generous and enthusiastic response that we have received to date from public agencies, organizations and businesses willing to be a part of National Masters 2000."
About Subaru's title sponsorship, National Masters 2000 Executive Director John Fitzgerald says, "It is indeed a unique opportunity to have a title sponsor whose products are so widely accepted within the Nordic ski community. Subaru is a product which we can be very proud to promote in conjunction with our event."
Bill Cyphers, Vice President of Marketing for Subaru of America is equally upbeat about the new partnership. "Subaru is proud to be associated with cross country skiing, a sport known for its endurance and dedication," Cyphers says. "Our new relationship with the National Masters just further strengthens our 29 years of history in the snow sports industry."
Saturday: Healthy Lifestyle Expo, Pasta Feed and Silent Auction at Race Headquarters, in St. Paul.
Sunday: 30KM Freestyle race at Phalen/Keller Regional Park in St. Paul. Spectator trails will be groomed alongside the racecourse to allow local and visiting citizen cross-country skiers to enjoy their sport, while watching the race.
Monday: Off day. North Star Ski Touring Club Meeting, Slide Show presentation of the 1998 Arctic Circle Cross-Country Ski Race in Greenland.
Tuesday Evening: Sprint Relays at Winthrop St. Trails, Battle Creek Regional Park. Two person teams, each person will ski 1KM, 3 times on the newly lighted trails.
Wednesday: Off day.
Thursday: First leg of the Pursuit Style Race.10 KM Freestyle Race held at Battle Creek Winthrop St. Trails.
Friday: Second leg of the Pursuit. 15 KM Classical Race at Battle Creek Upper Afton St. Trails. Skiable from Race Hdqrs.
Hotline: (651) 730-5192
By introducing kids to cross country skiing at an early age you are doing them a favor. Involvement in any sport has obvious benefits for a child's physical & emotional development. Through our enjoyment of the outdoors, we can nurture an important "sport & health for life" attitude in our children.
One of the great things about cross country skiing is that the whole family can share in the enjoyment of being out on the trails together. Kids just love to explore the winter wonderland - scrambling up hills for the reward of whizzing down the other side, looking for animal tracks, racing dad to the next tree and of course guzzling hot chocolate at that distant warming hut.
We are extremely fortunate in The Far West to have such an extensive selection of beautiful places to ski. There are hundreds easily accessed forest roads, meadows & frozen lakes to explore. Around Tahoe alone we have 10 groomed cross country ski areas. A short drive and we can be skiing groomed trails in Mammoth, Bear Valley, Montecito Sequoia, Yosemite, Grand Canyon & even Flagstaff, Arizona. So much opportunity for a year round healthy, fun lifestyle!
Skiing with the family is fun, but kids enjoy skiing with friends even more. Cross Country Ski racing is another way for kids to have fun on skis. Children are excited by the challenge of competition and enjoy learning new skills, and making new friends. This year we add a new incentive for kids to try racing The Sierra Youth Ski Chase. (page 18 for details).
We pride ourselves in his sport that we attract the "good kids". There is no room for tobacco or drugs... or "other bad stuff" in the life of a dedicated cross country ski racer. As with all individual sports, to be successful in racing, requires not only exceptional physical fitness but solid self-discipline and self-motivation - skills that also enhance personal growth and academic success.
Far West Ski Education Association is working with local communities to continue developing youth and junior programs to encourage youth to ski. Many elementary schools around the Sierras offer cross country skiing as part of P.E. Local Clubs and Parks and Rec. are providing after school and weekend programs for all ages. Here in California & Nevada we have produced some top results at Junior National Level competition by developing athletes through Middle & High School Ski Teams.
This work is being done by a small group of dedicated volunteers who spend much of their spare time developing programs, coaching young skiers and fund raising to make it all happen. If you would like to help us with your time & expertise or would like to make a tax deductible financial donation to Youth and Junior development please contact the Far West Office.
It is a well-researched & documented fact that many children between the ages of 10 - 18 lose the desire to participate in sport. Self-consciousness, peer pressure, group acceptance, recognition etc all begin to mix with teenager hormones and sport is often the first to suffer.
Several studies have come to the same conclusion that if we can keep sport FUN we have a chance to keep more kids involved in sport. The definition of fun is different to each individual though friendships, socialization, staying in shape & self-improvement are most commonly mentioned as reasons for continuing sporting activities.
Self-esteem is an area where we can have a great impact. It is often hard to know what to say to a child after a disappointing performance. A child is quick to feel the pride or disappointment of a parent or coach after a race. Learn to keep winning in perspective. Create a supportive atmosphere where kids view mistakes as a natural part of the learning process.
It is always exciting to see your child win a race, but to keep kids in sport we need to instill positive self image through personal achievement not comparison to others. Personal improvement and goal achievement are more important than coming in first in a race. A "good race" is a race that was fun regardless of where we placed! A "winner" in a race is everyone who achieved a personal goal. Maybe we managed to ski up that hill we had always walked up in the past; maybe we tucked down the hills instead of snowplowing!
This type of success is within an individual's control. Setting and achieving goals is fun and everyone can be a winner in the same race.
Special Races For Age 13 & Under. Race in 3 of the following 6 Youth Ski Chase Races to earn a Special COOL Ski Chase T.shirt !
You must also register for each race at the host ski area on the day of the race.There will be no additional entry fees except for the Super Cross at Royal Gorge. Awards for for age category placings & participation.
PRE REGISTRATION REQUIRED Mail Form & a CHECK FOR $10 (Payable to FWNSEA)
to Youth Ski Chase, PO Box 829, Soda Springs, CA 95728
You must also register for each race at the host ski area on the day of the race.
Age Date of Birth_______________________________________________________________
T.Shirt Size (circle one): Youth XS (2-4) ·S (6-8) · M (10 12) ·L (14-16) ·XL (18-20)
For more information contact Sally Jones @ Auburn Ski Club (530) 426 3313
Race details & start times will be mailed on registration
This low key racing series, is going into its 9th season. We thank our past sponsors, Fischer Skis, Sierra Designs, and Dr. Wm. Krissoff for donating valauable prizes and co-sponsoring our t-shirts. We are excited to welcome new sponsors, Bear Bones Physical Therapy and Timberland Eyewear. Everyone is welcome to enter. Registration is free for Far West Nordic members. Non Far West members will be asked for a contribution of $12. All prizes go into a raffleeveryone who completes the series is a potential winner! The top man and woman will have their names inscribed on the Sierra Ski Chase Perpetual Trophy on display at Auburn Ski Club.
Ski Chase participants from Mammoth and Bear Valley may have up to 2 races in their own area count as a straight points race to fulfill Ski Chase criteria, as long as they send a result sheet with their names highlighted to Far West.
We have selected 12 races, and you only have to complete a minimum of 5 races. Age handicap points will be given to the best 5 races per participant. That means 1 point will be added per year over age 34. Everybody will recieve 10 points for finishing a race, plus placing points. After the 5 race requirement is fulfilled, each additional race will be scored 10 points. The Gold/Silver/Bronze Rush will also be scored with 10 points, no age or finishing points because of the nature of the race.
Races that have 40 participants or less will be scored with 10 pointsno age or finishing points. In response to suggesions, please notice the minor change from "first 5 races" to "best 5 races." Any questions or suggestions, contact Helga Sable (530) 546-3675 or by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
The top Senior skiers (20-29) will be named to the Far West Team, meeting the same race criteria as the Far West Masters Team.
The top skier in each age group is named to the Far West Masters Team. Candidates must be citizen racers; members of the U. S. Ski Team are not eligible. Skiers must be Far West Nordic members and must complete a minimum of five (5) of the qualifying races, one of which has to be a classic race. Up to ten (10) races count toward a point total. If there are two skiers who are consistantly close in the results, both will be named to the team. Masters who place at the Masters Nationals and/or Masters World Cup in individual races, also overall winners in the Marathon Series and Masters who do a minimum of 4 Far West races will be named to the Masters Team.
In the Far West Division masters age classes are separated into five year increments starting at age 30.
The Far West Juniors certainly turned a few heads by their exceptional results in the Junior Olympics in Anchorage last March, seemingly coming out of nowhere to achieve 12 medals in the 3 races of competitions at Kincaid Park. And this was in spite of the fact that perhaps the best junior nordic skier in the program, Jenny Rassuchine, was competing at the N.C.A.A. Championships in Maine at the time. To make matters even more dramatic, 5 Far West athletes missed winning medals by a cumulative total of just 3 seconds! Truly, the Far West was the "Cinderella Story" of the Junior Olympics, winning more medals in this one competition than they had wontotalin almost 20 years!
With just a couple of exceptions, all the kids who were on the podium in March will be returning as Juniors for the Far West in 1999/2000. In the J1 Boys division, attention will need to be paid to medal winners Ian Case of Nevada Union/Grass Valley (8th in the J1 skate event at Kincaid), Scott Hill of North Tahoe (7th in the J2 Classic), and Tony Bozzio of North Tahoe (8th in the J2 Classic). Another strong J1 racer at JO's was Zach Violett of Nevada Union/Grass Valley, who is spending a year in Norway, skiing and experiencing a totally different culture. Nick Sterling will anchor a strong J2 Boys group. The team of Hill, Bozzio, and Sterling finished an unprecedented 3rd place in the Team Relay event. Other boys to look for include Dana Mosman of Nevada Union, Louis Van Blarigan of Truckee, and Tobias Barr of North Tahoe.
The J1 Girls division also features a few returning stars, including sisters Laura and Anne Spohr of North Tahoe, Jessica Ford of Lee Vining, and Emily Robins of North Tahoe. In the J2 division, good things are expected from Rory Bosio of North Tahoe, and Shannon Lankenau and Betsy Van Blarigan of Truckee. The relay team of Bosio, Ford, and Spohr (L.) finished in a strong 4th place in the J2 Relay, while Anne Spohr, Emily Robins , and Kari Todd placed 5th in the OJ event. Jenny Rassuchine returns for her final year as a Junior, and is looking for top results as a member of the University of Nevada, Reno squad.
Although to many outsiders it may seem as though the Far West division's success at JO's was an overnight turnaround, those associated with the program know that these results were the culmination of years of hard work and foundation-building by a core group of coaches in the division. The success starts at the top with Far West Junior Head Coach Glenn Jobe, who took a part-time coaching position and created a division-wide system of success. Glenn, along with Assistant Coach Nancy Fiddler of Mammoth Lakes and Debbie Waldear of Kirkwood, have tried to unify the goals and teaching systems for the athletes throughout the Far West. All three of these coaches attended the USSA Coaches Symposium in Lake Placid last July, and just recently held their own "clinic" for over 30 of the high school and junior coaches in the division. Perhaps the strongest point for the Far West is that all these coaches have great respect for one another, and are willing to work together for the benefit of the junior skiers, without letting any individual egos interfere with the basic goal of improving the level of competition throughout the division.
As the athletes have matured and become more consistent in their training, these coaches have worked to provide year-round training opportunities and a wider range of racing challenges, including trips to West Yellowstone over Thanksgiving, a regional competition trip in January, the Junior Olympics, and a Spring Camp in Bend, Oregon. They have developed a year-round training logbook to assist the athletes and to help the individual coaches to keep track of their progress and individual needs. In addition, this summer featured 4 separate dry-land training camps in various areas of the state. These 4-day camps were well-attended by the Junior athletes, and served both as opportunities to develop training programs as well as establishing a base-line for testing using the USSA XC medals skills test. In addition, many of the top athletes and coaches attended a team-building session utilizing a local "Ropes Challenge" course.
Because of the momentum built from the results of the past year, and the fact that all the systems are in place for these junior athletes, the Far West Division is looking forward to the 1999/2000 season, to prove that the results at the 1999 Junior Olympics were just the start of continued success in cross country skiing at the national level.
By Mike McElravey
Here is a brief look at some changes for the new millenium, and some of the same fun stuff leftover from the 20th century.
Director Paul Petersen has added more packages to their extensive choices of lodging. Also new this year is Consecutive Day Pricing, where you can buy 2 or more trails passes in advance, a second Bombardier PR 400 groomer, improvements to the Nordic Hostel, and a free season pass for the over-70 crowd. And don't forget the always fun Bjornloppet Ski Race and Festival on March 11 and 12.
Diamond Peak has signed a lease beginning next season to move their base to Sheepflat Meadows. Expect, as always, great early and late season snow conditions. Director Kris Kozar has added that dogs will be allowed on all trails after 12:30 daily, including weekends, and they are now offering "Skijorring" clinics.
Debbi Waldear and staff have one of the most beautiful locations on earth to XC ski, and this year have added an expanded snowshoe center, Free Skating lessons on Saturday mornings, 2 dog trails, "Stop and Turn" lessons for beginners every day, and additional Telemark Clinics.
A new director in Jen Noerdlinger, replacing long time Northstar manager Tom Couse. New this year is a warming hut on their Big Springs Trail System, 12 price Mid-week specials for locals (with ID), and a 15 minute introduction to skating, every day at noon.
John Slouber's cross country ski paradise hardly needs improving, but this year highlights a few new items. Kids 12 and under ski FREE. There is a new cabin at the Wilderness Lodge, and they have added 2 new trails along with new, state-of-the-art tillers for the grooming machines.
Director Max Jones has added a second grooming machine to his fleet, so his almost always perfect grooming should be twice as good. Also, there are two new snowshoe trails and a new high country trail to go along with the two wilderness cabins available on the trail system.
Formerly Lakeview XC (and Tahoe Nordic prior to that). Everything but the trail system at Tahoe XC is new this year. Now a not-for-profit business, TXC has hired Kevin and Valli Murname, formerly of Montecito-Sequoia, to help re-structure and operate the resort. Changes include 2 new Bombardier groomers, with operations to be run by Doug McNair. 2 new warming huts have been added, plus a remodeled lodge. Trails are back to the simple yet elegant wax names, and dogs will be allowed on some trails at specified times. There will be after school programs for local students, a 45% off "Learn-To-Ski" package on Tuesdays, a 1 hour, free introductory Skating Lesson on Tuesdays, and 2-for-1 passes on Thursdays.
This popular Truckee resort has added some new and exciting items for the upcoming season. There is a new trail that links the cross country area to the Tahoe Donner Downhill resort, and with your trail pass you will be allowed one ride on the Eagle Rock chair lift. In addition, there is a new "fast-access" trail to the Euer Valley, and an extension to the expert-only "I'm OK-Euer OK" trail that extends it to over 1,200 vertical feet of descent. They have also added another Bombardier grooming machine, and best of all for parents, children 10 and under now ski for free.
Tamarack, now owned by Mammoth Mountain, has a new management team this year. Director Ueli Luthi is a retired U.S. alpine team coach. Jean Louis Villiot is in charge of outside operations, and Nancy Fiddler is director of skiing, races, and other special events. Nancy is also coaching juniors and masters, in addition to her position as Far West Nordic Junior Assistant Coach. The Mammoth Marathon is back, promising a great party and prizes.
The Far West Autumn Newsletter contained our first annual Trivia Quiz, featuring questions about Far West Nordic skiing and its illustrious history. Following are the answers to these (often difficult) questions, along with some interesting tidbits for those history buffs in the group. Congratulations go to Doug Read (1st Place - A Pair of Fischer Skis), Dave Stover (2nd - Salomon Daypack) and John Downing (3rd - One Year's Membership to Far West Nordic) for their winning answers, and thanks to all who took the time to enter. Special thanks to Skip Reedy, Jane Dulaney, Nancy Fiddler, and Glenn Jobe for supplying the information here.
1) What place did Far West Nordic Assistant Junior Coach Nancy Fiddler finish in the first leg of the relay at the 1992 Olympics?
Nancy Fiddler replies," I finished in 5th place in the first leg of the1992 Olympic relay, only one second behind fourth and seven seconds behind third. The conditions were new snow, temps approaching freezing. It was a hard wax condition, in the tricky, near 320 range. I believe we were testing hairies, so it must have been snowing. I stayed in the pack near the back of the top nine or ten racers, and then was able to pass a few people in the last kilometer or so. It was fun to pass Marje-Lise Kirvesniemi on the last uphill! I felt it was a very good race for me, as I was so close to third place, and only 35 or so seconds behind the leader, Elena Valbe. The bad news is that the U.S. dropped the ball on the second leg to come in last or second to last place.
2) What was Far West Head Coach Glenn Jobe's best finish in a World Cup Biathlon race? Bonus points question: What brand of skis was he on for that race?
14th in 1979. Bonus Question: Karhu
3) What year were all races at U.S. Nationals skating only? Bonus question: Where were they held?
The 1986 U.S. Nationals, held at Royal Gorge, were all skating events. This National Championships occured right at the time when classic skiing was nearly dropped in international skiing. In 1984 and 1985, skiers were using whatever technique got them around the course, and in 1983 and 84, for some skiers, it was a combination of skating and classic skiing. In the 1986-87 season, international events were separated into classsic and skating events. The U.S. Nationals followed suit in 1987. Conditions at the 1986 Championships were spring-like, and all events began at 8:00 am in order to take advantage of the frozen snow. The long events and the relays were started down at the lake, and the two other events were started up at the Summit Station lodge.
4) What does CNISF stand for?
California Nevada Interscholastic Skiing Federation.
5) The very first Great Ski Race in 1976 had to be cancelled due to lack of snow. Who were the three sponsoring cross-country ski areas?
Tahoe Nordic, Squaw Valley Nordic and Big Chief Ski Touring Area. While skiing from Tahoe City to Truckee in the winter of 1975, Jim Schwartzman (late director of the first XC ski school in Tahoe City 1971-74 at Paige Meadows), Barry Dow (director of Squaw Valley Nordic in 1977-78) and Skip Reedy (director of Tahoe Nordic) discussed having a race some day to see who could get to Truckee first. So the following year (1976) Skip set up the race with Squaw Valley Nordic, Tahoe Nordic, and Big Chief Ski Touring (on Highway 89 just north of Squaw Valley), only to have to cancel it due to lack of snow. The first couple of races were stupidly scheduled at the end of March until they realized that the first weekend was really the best time, and for about 17 years the first Sunday in March had the best snow and best weather of all the weekends in March. The first course was set by snowmobile and Thiokol by Doug Read, Larry Sevison and Billy Dutton, among many other volunteers. The first couple of years the race profits went to the High School Nordic race teams but as most of the work was done by Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue Team members, the race turned the profits over to them starting in 1979. Jan Bjorkheim and Melissa Duffy won the first race on classic skis in times of 1 hour 44 min and 3 hours 5 minutes, respectively. Note the extreme difference between man and woman which has been reduced to somewhere around 9 minutes nowdays!
6) The highest point of the Great Ski Race is named after what early Tahoe skier and why?
Starratt Pass 7,500 feet was name after Jack Starratt who skied the future race course in the 1930's and several times carried US Mail packets when the road was closed. Starratt grew up in Tahoe City and skied for the local nordic ski teams in the 1930's and 40's. Jim Schwartzman suggested to Tahoe Nordic's Skip Reedy a year or so before Jack died to memorialize him by naming something after him at Tahoe Nordic. It seemed appropriate to name the pass after him where he skied the mail over to Tahoe City and Truckee.
7) Who had their skis chopped off for jumping the gun at the start of the Great Ski Race but still finished the race with a set of cowhorns on his head?
"Cowman" Jim Shirk. There lived a mountain of a man at Tahoe during the 70's and 80's who eccentrically wore a set of cowhorns in all his races (Why? Nobody ever really knew). He ran marathons, rode and ran in the Ride and Ties, competed in the local Tahoe Triathlon, and XC ski raced always wearing his horns and mooing his support to all the racers at the hardest parts. He never won any races but was always up there at the finish line. He entered the Boston Marathon, Levi Ride and Ties, Western States 100, and Hawaii Triathlon always wearing his horns. Without this helmet he could have probably placed much higher. He now lives in Kona Hawaii still entering every year the Western States 100 from Tahoe to Auburn. As for the chopping incident, Skip Reedy writes, "I had been having trouble every year with people jumping the gun at the Great Ski Race, so I pre-arranged with Cowman to wear an old pair of skis and a friend to hide in the trees half way up the starting hill with a big double bladed ax. So when I started the countdown for race start, Cowman began skiing up the hill with a few other skiers shuffling behind him. Out of the woods jumped the ax wielder and proceeded to chop off Cowman's skis. All the ski racers froze. It took me several attempts to restart the race after that but everybody started at the same time. Cowman pulled his race skis out of the woods and finished the race in the top percentages and I never had any problems with racers jumping the gun again."
8) How many Snow Cats does Royal Gorge currently operate?
10. John Slouber says that the first cat he purchased came from Squaw Valley. He had to get financial approval from Alex himself for the credit to have Squaw Valley finance the sale. John didn't have any money, and no one would lend a "cross country guy" money for a machine. Before that they used snowmobiles. It would take two guysone to drive the machine, and one to ride on the tracksetter. If the machine got stuck, the guy on the tracksetter would have to jump off, start tugging on the front of the snowmobile, and let it half drive over them to get started, and then get up and jump back on the track setter as it went by. The hardest trails to groom were Palisade and Telegraph. The first track setter he owned was a Cushman Tracksterwhich ended up in lake Van Norden on a blustery day, as a groomer got too close to the edge of the lake (probably why there are no trails across the lake), and they were able to catch it before it floated too far down the creek. The first brand of snowcat at RG was a LMC Thiokol. They currently run Pisten Bulley's, LMC's, and Bombardier. It takes 60 man hours to groom the track system from scratch.
9) In what year did Kirkwood Cross Country begin operation?
1973. According to founder Glenn Jobe, Kirkwood also started its operation in the equestrian stables at the resort. (see question #14)
10) Harry Johannson was the first person to ski around Lake Tahoe in the early 1900's. Who was the second and what was the difference in their routes?
Johannson skied 72 miles around at lake level. He skied from Tahoe City to South Shore on the unplowed roads and decided to continue around the East Shore on the way back the next day. (75 miles). Doug Read skied in the spring of 1982 around the rim of Lake Tahoe, about 200 miles, taking 5 days using Epoke lightweight touring skis. Doug writes, "I left home early one morning in April and skied up to Brockway Pass (Highway 267), and to Martis Peak, Baldy, Mt. Rose Knob, then Mt. Rose Highway, then crossed over to a ridge above Incline, and on to Marlette Peak, then to Marlette Lake and down Snow Canyon to Spooner Summit. Hitch-hiked home. I Got John Percival to go the next day from Spooner to Dagget Pass (Kingsbury Grade). On Day Three we went up over Monument Peak, around Heavenly Ski Area, down below Freel Peak, over a pass, then to Armstrong Pass and over Luther Pass. Then we skied down through Christmas Valley and up a lost trail called Glen Pauly Grade to Echo Summit (a long day.) Day Four we got Bo Lindstrom and Chris Burnett to go along. We skied Echo Summit, Echo Lakes, Lake Aloha, Mosquito Pass, Rockbound Valley, then up to Miller Lake, and finally down Blackwood Canyon in the dark. Day Five was back to John and I, scooting around from Blackwood north along the West Shore to Paige Meadows and down into Tahoe City, up to Tahoe Nordic Center and home. I guess it was 140-150 miles.
11) What was the name of the nordic center that was briefly in operation on the east side of Mt. Rose in the early 1990's?
Atoma. A few of you listed Galena, which was proposed but not ever in official operation.
12) What Far West XC Junior skier won the CNISF High School State Championships 4 years in a row?
Jenny Rassuchine, 1995-1998
13) In 1976 there was a race that started in Squaw Valley, went to Tahoe City and finished at the River Ranch. It was the very first race of its kind to be named a word that became famous in world-wide racing. What was the race called and what was the event(s). Bonus: Who won the first event in '76?
The Tahoe Triathlon was arguably the first race to ever use the name "Triathlon." It consisted of Cross Country Skiing, Bicycling and Kayaking. 1976 Winner: Gunter Hammersbach. There are those who believe that the word "Triathlon" was used previously to that event, notably the Clear Lake Triathlon (Rick Sylvester) or at Eppie's Great Race (Jeff Schloss). The Tahoe Triathlon 1976 started in Squaw Valley on cross country skis over the ridge to Alpine Meadows and down to River Ranch, Bicycling River Ranch to Tahoe City, kayaking down the Truckee River to River Ranch. Skip Reedy states, "I got this idea one day after I had bicycled to work at the Squaw Valley Nordic Center and was skiing with Carl Toeppner and discussing an afternoon of whitewater kayaking. The conversation turned naturally to who would be the fastest person in all three. So we organized a race, expecting some local to win, but Gunter Hemmersbeck from Oakland showed up with a new downriver racing kayak and beat all the local hotshot skiers and bikers. Whether this was the first 3 way race to be called a Triathlon is debatable. There were earlier 3 way races for sure, but when I was coming up with a name I could find no use of Triathlon nor whether to call it Triathalon or not. Choosing to eliminate the extra "a" I chose the shorter name. Nancy Molitor wrote a column in Spring 1987 Cross Country Skier magazine about the history of Triathlon asking if anybody knew of an earlier use. Never heard of any."
14) What Far West cross country ski area used a horse stall as its base for the first two years of operation?
Tahoe Donner Cross Country (extra points if you said Kirkwood XC as well.)
15) What Great Race winner also designed the logo that has been on every Great Ski Race t-shirt?
Wink Luskin worked for Tahoe Nordic 1977-79 and had artistic talents that were put to use designing logos and trail maps in between teaching lessons and renting skis. The organizers wanted to show the nature around Tahoe Nordic and include a little of Lake Tahoe. After the demise of Tahoe Nordic, Skip Reedy allowed its use on the T-shirts of the Great Ski Race. Wink won the Great Ski Race in 1979 and 1980. She worked as manager of Patagonia in San Francisco for several years and last heard was working in management at Patagonia.
16) Why were the ski trails given the names of colors at the original Tahoe Nordic XC resort in Tahoe City?
Tahoe Nordic trails were given the names of wax and klister colors because they were easy to remember and mark on the signs and trail map. Extra and special meant that they were outside or inside the loops of the primary colors. Gold andSilver wax was a two part waxing system made for beginners by Swix, above and below freezing. Tahoe XC will be renaming their trails after Tahoe Nordic's color scheme. (Most skiers called them by their original names anyway.)
17) What year did the Wilderness Lodge at Royal Gorge first open?
1973. The Royal Gorge Wilderness Lodge was born of a guiding service that did trips to Yosemite, Yellowstone, Canada, Norway, New Zealand and Wilderness Lodge on Donner Summit. This was all related to John Slouber's mountain hut experience as a ski guide in Europe. After a few years of super human efforts in getting beginning skiers and their gear into the lodge, the motorized sleighs were a good solution.
18) Who was the only North Tahoe High School graduate to win the Great Ski Race?
Dan Mainka, 1987 & 1988
19) In 1976, one person was the director of 5 different cross country ski areas in the Tahoe Area. Who was it, and what were the areas?
Skip Reedy was director of Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows, Granlibakken, Clair Tappaan Lodge, and Tahoe Nordic. Skip actually had a partner in 1976, Jerry Smeltzer, and both ran the 5 different areas. Actually, another Nordic Ski School was run by them at that time out of Alpenglow Truckee.
20) What is the oldest race still on the Far West Schedule, and what year was it started?
Yosemite Nordic Holiday race. This year is 27th annual, with Yosemite missing a year in 1997 due to the floods of '97. The inaugural year was 1972.