December 2002

Fresh Snow: Cross Country Skiing, Snowmobiling and Alco-Tourism


polarOn the surface, recreational cross country skiing is not a sport prone to conflict or controversy. Yet, the skier versus snowmobiler conflict is one topic that often surfaces and is something we address in this issue. I can understand the smell-sound-pollution arguments that skiers make, but we as skiers seem to be a pretty inoffensive lot. While there are the ideological differences of non-motorized versus motorized choice of recreation, why, I wonder, would snowmobilers dislike or even care about us?

It would seem to be pretty simple - in most places we have our trails and they have their trails, and the opportunities for interaction are relatively limited. Maybe they resent the "superior" attitude that some skiers take. Although I admit, it's hard not to feel just a little "superior" when you think of your ability to propel yourself down the trail or visit the remote backcountry totally under your own power with little or ... Read more >

A Balanced Life


Nordic Walking Today I'm speaking from experience here. A couple years ago, I grabbed a weekender cyber fare from Minneapolis (elev. 815 ft.) to Calgary (elev. 3,557 ft.) where my best pal lives. In no time flat, we borrowed a pair of skis from a friend and piled into her Subaru wagon, loaded down with water, Gore-Tex and gorp. And up to Lake Louise went we.

Things weren't so easy once we hit the trail. The borrowed skis required wax, and we hadn't brought any. So I slipped around the snow like a dog on ice, which didn't ... Read more >

December 2002

Training & Technique


Training & TechniqueNot even the best skiers can climb every hill with the diagonal stride. The alternatives, the herringbone and the side step, appear to be simple techniques, but, in fact, many skiers struggle to use them effectively.

The herringbone uses the edges of the ski to grip the snow when the wax or waxless pattern is inadequate to the job. To use the edges, place your skis in a V position with the back ends at the point of the V and the front tips spread. Turn your toes out from the hips to spread the tips of your skis. By rotating your entire leg, you keep your knees aligned over your feet as you flex your knees and ankles. This position is both ... Read more >

Kick and Glide


Kick and Glide People frequently ask me whether flex, structure, or wax is the most important factor in having fast skis.

In fact, the skis are the most important factor. Some skis would be slow if you coated them in Fluorocarbon, weighted them with a heavy rock and dropped them off a cliff. Other skis are just pain fast. Ski speed depends on the base material and, especially, pressure distribution. In my experience, the fit of the ski is not nearly as important as whether you have a good pair of skis. In the elite international ski world, men and women frequently share and swap skating skis. If they are fast skis, that's fine. If the skis are fast for a light person, they'll be fast for a heavier person. Some skis get raced on twice a day during world championships and Olympics. Of course, it is nice to have a ... Read more >

December 2002

HARNESS YOUR DOG'S ENERGY


Training & TechniqueOnce you are ready to introduce your dog to skijoring, acquaint your canine companion with the equipment during dryland practice before you hit the snow pack. When you head out on your first snowy adventure, have another person ski in front of you-preferably one who your dog will want to chase to educate your dog into pulling. When my wife Debbie and I skijor, I am "the carrot" for Debbie's two dogs, Tundra and Siskiyou. After a few kilometers, when the dogs' initial burst of energy dissipates a little, and I can catch up, I skate ski in front of the threesome as a training tool to entice and encourage the dogs' development, building up strength and ... Read more >

THE BARNEBIRKIE A CHILDREN'S EVENT PAST & PRESENT


Kick and GlideIf you were asked to name the largest cross country ski events in the United States, chances are you'd start with the American Birkebeiner and continue with a handful of other major marathon ski races. You might be surprised to learn, however, that one of America's largest Nordic ski events doesn't involve a horde of adrenalin-charged, fitness fanatics, but over 1,000 kids, age three to 13.

The Barnebirkie, or "Children's Birkie," is one of the several cross country ski events that comprise the three-day American Birkebeiner celebration of Nordic skiing. It is the kick-off event that jump-starts the festivities leading up to the big daddy of cross country ski .... Read more >

December 2002

Black Hills, White Gold


Black Hills, White GoldWhen the autumn nights in the Black Hills return with their characteristic crisp chill, and I wake to see powdered ponderosa pines, I'm reminded of why I love living in the highest reaches of this ancient mountain range. The beginning of each winter brings the promise of days on the trails in sun and silence. I recall my first taste of cross country skiing at nearby Eagle Cliff Trails, which remain my favorite place to ski.

Of course, snow didn't bring the first settlers to the Black Hills -- a mountain oasis in a sea of prairie called the Great Plains. Nor was it a million and a half acres of pine-covered hills, clear-running streams, free-roaming wildlife and azure skies. The miners, muleskinners and madams who rushed to the western frontier community of Deadwood in 1876 were drawn by gold.... Read more >

Ice Hotel - Duchesnay: Apres-Ski on the Rocks


Duchesnay: Apres-Ski on the RocksIf you were asked to name the largest cross country ski events in the United States, chances are you'd start with the American Birkebeiner and continue with a handful of other major marathon ski races. You might be surprised to learn, however, that one of America's largest Nordic ski events doesn't involve a horde of adrenalin-charged, fitness fanatics, but over 1,000 kids, age three to 13.

The Barnebirkie, or "Children's Birkie," is one of the several cross country ski events that comprise the three-day American Birkebeiner celebration of Nordic skiing. It is the kick-off event that jump-starts the festivities leading up to the big daddy of cross country ski .... Read more >

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