Roger Lohr, xcskiresorts.com
A recent Washington Post editorial commented about the President heading off on vacation to take 15 days with his family, and the US Congress and their staffers leaving work for their August recess. But of all the world’s advanced economies, the US is one of the few that has no national vacation policy…while American workers have 577 million unused vacation days annually.
Weekends might often be called “workends” as people sleep with their smartphones and take work along on their vacations. Twenty years ago, 80% of families visiting Yosemite National Park stayed overnight and today the average visit is 5 hours. According to the US Travel Association, in 1975 family vacations lasted one week and by 2010 they were down to 3.8 days.
The travel and tourism industry has launched the Vacation Equality Project, planning advertisements and petitions as it pushes the Congress to pass legislation to mandate a guaranteed minimum amount of paid vacation. There is research citing the value of taking vacation that shows improved attitude and productivity after the relaxation, which is also known as “restoration.” Society can be happier and healthier if workers would just take more and longer vacations. And we should not forget about the lasting memories that vacations bring to build family bonds.
Yes, it might be too much to expect that the restorative nature of vacation will prod the politicians to return to work after the summer and deliver something called leadership on the many dangling issues. From the perspective of the travel-oriented industry, we can only hope that the Vacation Equality Project encourages millions of people to take a trip.
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Jessica Jerome demonstrated her world-class talent picking up her 11th national title on Sunday, Aug. 2 with a win in the large hill competition at the U.S. Ski Jumping Championships in Park City, Utah.
Nita Englund and Tara Geraghty-Moats soared to their first national championship spots with a 2nd and 3rd place respectively. The normal hill U.S. Championship will be held in October during the Flaming Leaves tournament in Lake Placid, NY.
“It was nice to see some of the younger girls step up and have good performances. Nationals is always timed right for me as I start to get a good rhythm this time of the summer," Jerome said. "Now it will be interesting to see how I stack up internationally.”
At the 16th annual Springer Tournee held in Park City the same weekend, Gabby Armstrong, of Lake Placid, NY, and a participant in WSJ-USA's new Fly Girls development program, earned an impressive 1st place in the U18 Nordic Combined comp and Logan Sankey, of Steamboat, Colo., also on the Fly Girls team, sailed in for 2nd place in the U18 HS68.
Also during the Springer Tournee, Jerome won the normal hill competition (90 meter) with teammates Sarah Hendrickson in 2nd and Englund in 3rd.
Hendrickson, 2013 World Champion, is still rehabilitating from a knee injury last season and elected not compete in the large hill national championship. Lindsey Van, 2009 World Champion, and Abby Hughes did not compete in the large hill national championship as both are still recovering from knee surgeries.
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Lauri Ann Stricker
What does it take to be a powerful, smooth, energy-efficient skier? A skier with rhythm and flow, gliding seamlessly from one movement to the next?
Just about any skier can become an energy-efficient gliding machine. To be smooth and yet powerful, to feel that your skis are an extension of your body, requires core-centered movement. Core-centered skiing means tapping into what Joseph Pilates referred to as the “powerhouse.” The powerhouse refers to the muscles of the torso: hips, abdominals, chest, back and shoulders. Pilates targets these muscles and can help you become a stronger, smoother and more powerful skier.
Skiing requires proper alignment, lower-body fitness, core strength and a strong mind-body connection. Muscle imbalances in the legs, such as tight or weak hamstrings, coupled with overly powerful quadriceps, can leave the ankles, knees, hips and back vulnerable to injury.
As a cross country skier, you’ll appreciate the additional core strength gained from Pilates. Tapping into a strong core, you’ll improve your balance, agility and be more in control. By tightening your core, you’ll reduce impact on your back, hips and knees. As you improve your flexibility and core strength, your alignment will improve and so will your technique.
If your hips and core muscles are not strong, or if your muscles are inflexible, you will be challenged every step of the way. Moving from your center, balancing your muscles and improving your flexibility go a long way to improving your technique, your endurance and will help you avoid injury. Over the past 60 years, the Pilates method of body conditioning has trained athletes how to effectively strengthen and move from their core.
Pilates helps skiers to accomplish three things: prevent spo ... ... read entire story here...
Compiled and Edited by Allison Slavick
Tahoe Donner Association commemorated the official commencement of construction for a new Cross Country Ski Center on Friday, June 13, with a groundbreaking ceremony. Staff and supporters gathered to celebrate the new Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Center designed to improve operational and energy efficiencies, while implementing necessary protections to natural resources.
Representatives from Tahoe Donner including Robb Etnyre, general manager, Tom Johns, president of the board, and Forrest Huisman, director of capital projects, attended the groundbreaking along with project supporters. Truckee dignitaries including Truckee Mayor Patrick Flora were present as well.
“At long last, with years of research, collaboration and planning we are excited to be able to move forward with construction of our new Cross Country Ski Center,” said Johns. “We sincerely appreciate the efforts of those who attended the planning commission hearings, wrote letters of support and helped make this project become a reality.”
The new Tahoe Cross Country Ski Center is designed to meet the growing needs of the community and will include energy efficient and environmentally conscious design, an enhanced rental facility and new public locker room, protection of adjacent wetlands, improved food service, and an architectural vision that contributes to the mountain community.
“Today is a celebration of the valuable collaboration, community relationships, and project coordination that has taken place during the last three years of planning . The success of this project is a result of everyone’s continued vision and support,” said Huisman. “Collectively, we are making history by dreaming big, developing our shared vision, and following through for the collective benefit of the Truckee ... ... read entire story here...
The American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation (ABSF) has appointed Allan Serrano as its new Director of Race Operations. Serrano will replace Shellie Milford—who served in various capacities for 13 years and then Director of Race Operations for the past 15 years—announced her retirement earlier this year. Serrano and his family will be relocating from New Paltz, NY. He assumes the ABSF position on September 15, 2014, and will work with Milford until her departure in March of 2015.
“Allan comes to the Birkie with a wealth of knowledge of Nordic ski racing. As we continue the tradition of excellence that the Birkie is known for, Allan’s skills will be put to good use immediately. We look forward to welcoming Allan and his family to our community,” said Sue Scheer, Board President, American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation.
Serrano brings to the American Birkebeiner his experience in leadership and management needed to be a successful Race Director. “I have a sense of the pride and ownership embodied in the greater community surrounding the Birkie. The brand is successful due to the diligent work of staff and volunteers over the years. I see the critical mission of this position is working with the Chiefs and volunteers to uphold the tradition and values, as well as developing changes to keep the experience current for all of the constituent groups,” Serrano said.
Previously, Serrano has served as an International Ski Federation (FIS) Technical Delegate which has created opportunities for him to work with race organizers and regional event staff. Serrano’s technical, communication, and organizational skil ... ... read entire story here...
Training exercises and drills will help improve endurance, strength and technique. Whether you are a strictly recreational skier, or on the road for a race most weekends, better technique and endurance will make things a lot more fun.
The quest for better fitness and better technique never ends. For the dedicated – some might say the hard core – summer is the time to build the endurance base, strengthen the core, and work on basic technique.
Experts will tell you that successful skiers are formed in the off-season, so here are some drills to keep you focused through the low-snow months. Most of these drills require just the basics – you and your shoes. And no poles, unless specified.
While many of these drills are commonly used by coaches across the country, this compilation is derived from a comprehensive collection of drills distributed at local clinics by coaches Rob Bradlee and Jim Stock.
Classic Technique Dryland Drills
Basic Athletic Position (BAP)
Many of these drills start with the basic athletic position (BAP), a relaxed athletic stance. Your pelvis is in a neutral position (as in the start of a crunch), ankles and knees are bent, and your shoulders are relaxed and rounded.
Arm Swing Drill
Swing your arms easily, with your hands and fingers loose and relaxed. As you swing to the front, your hands should come as high as your face. Make sure to relax the shoulders and let your arm hang loose in the socket. Do not rotate your shoulders around the spine. Try swinging your arms faster and faster, but stay relaxed.
Arm and Leg Swing Drill
This drill is great for balance. Assume the BAP stance. Swing one leg about 15 times, then switch to ... ... read entire story here...