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US Secretary of the Interior to XC Ski & Snowshoe at Crater Lake

 

US Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell plans to kick off the annual National Park Week from the rim at Crater Lake in OR on Saturday, April 19. Jewell plans to go XC skiing with Crater Lake National Park's volunteer ski patrol and then accompany a Eugene school group on an educational snowshoe walk.

 

The National Park Service's annual National Park Week begins Saturday and runs through April 27. Fees will be waived Saturday and Sunday at Crater Lake and 132 other national parks across the country. The remaining 268 national parks don't charge entry fees, according to the National Park Service. National Park Week coincides with Tuesday's Earth Day celebrations as well the Park Service's National Junior Ranger Day on April 26.

 

The National Park Service recently released a report that in 2012 national parks generated $26.75 billion in economic activity and supported 243,000 jobs across the country.

 

The former chief executive of the outdoor gear company REI, Jewell was sworn in a year ago as the secretary overseeing agencies with more than 70,000 employees that manage more than 20 percent of the nation's lands, according to the Interior Department. Agencies under the secretary include the Bureau of Land Management, the Park Service and the national wildlife refuge system, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Reclamation.

 

Best Job in the World

 

At the recent Cross Country Ski Areas Association Conference held at Lone Mountain Ranch, 5 people announced to the attendees that they not only love their jobs, but that they had the best job in the world (this includes my daughter's comment that I lead the most glorious life). Here are some current job openings in the XC ski industry:

 

Far West Nordic has an opening for a webmaster/social media coordinator. This part time, paid staff position will be responsible for maintaining and updating the Far West website, Facebook and Twitter feeds. Familiarity with the Nordic community as well as marketing/writing experience will be helpful. Salary DOE. For more information, contact info@farwestnordic.org

 

The Cascade Cross Country Center in Lake Placid, NY has a managerial position opening for next winter at Cascade Cross Country Ski Center. If interested in the details contact Art Jubin at xcski@cascadeski.com or 518-523-9605.

 

Garnet Hill Lodge in North River, NY has a number of positions open. Check website for details and send info to jobs@garnet-hill.com or 518-251-2444.

 

XC Equipment Sales Boom in February

 

In February, much of the country saw better snow and the eastern US was not as cold as earlier in the winter prompting a boost of XC ski equipment purchases according to SIA Retail Trak, a point-of-sale system at 1,200 snow sport retailers. SIA Research Director Kelly Davis expected that the entire snow sports industry product sales will reach $3.6 billion this winter and there will be leaner-than-average inventories remaining at the end of the season. The SIA report for the entire winter season will be finalized when it incorporates statistics through the end of March but the February stats have just been tallied.

 

The SIA research of retail sales through February showed the XC ski equipment category up 17% in units and 14% in dollars compared to last year. Women's XC ski equipment sales surged up 36% in units and 24% in dollars through February. Backcountry accessories were up 12% in dollars and 10% in units. As an example there were 23,000 sales of climbing skins sold representing a 7% increase in units through February.

 

Snowshoe sales increased by 12% in units (98,000 pairs sold through February) and 14% in dollars (to $14 million). The snowshoe inventory level at retail is down 33% with some of the more popular models becoming hard to find.

 

Interestingly, the women's XC ski equipment category increase may show a positive trend because participation rate studies have shown that there was a decline in this category compared to the past when there were more female XC skiers than males. The most recent statistics claim that only 40% of XC skiers were female, but women's programs at XC ski areas are prolific. The age groups have also flip flopped where in the years 1998-2004, 64% of the XC skiers were aged 45 and older, but 2013 participation studies show 75% of XC skiers are below age 45.

 

Double dating Strengthens Relationships

 

The USA Weekend Magazine recently had a blurb about double dating and its effect on sparking romance and passion in a relationship. The research cited that getting acquainted with a new couple spurs passionate feelings about your own partner. Beyond bowling or going to a movie, the double date must include conversation and opening up because it conveys understanding and validates feelings of passionate love (toward your partner). The studies show that novelty and new experiences reinvigorates long term romantic relationships. Sharing time with the other couple increases a positive mood and adds passion to your existing relationship.

 

What does this have to do with skiing? Well, when you are on a XC ski outing you often stop along the trails and that gives you plenty of time to chat with another couple. Alpine skiers get time on the chair lift rides where the quad chairlifts (4 skiers sit on the lift) fit the bill perfectly. Of course, during a ski outing there is often a break for lunch when meaningful conversation can take place between couples, too. Go on more double dates!

 

Dave Carter of Carter's Cross Country Passes Away

 

David Carter of Carter's Cross Country, in Bethel and Oxford, Maine passed away on March 3 of cancer. David had a positive attitude and was still skiing the week prior to his passing. He is survived by his wife Anne and 3 daughters. The couple runs two trailheads, operates a lodge, and a retail shop. They were instrumental in the creation of the new non-profit operation Bethel Outdoor Center to operate the trails of the now defunct Sunday River Inn operation.

 

Dave Carter had more than 40 years experience XC skiing. He started on the Gould Academy XC ski team and went on to compete on the U. Maine XC ski team. Dave was hired to start the Sunday River Ski Touring Center and he was one of 4 Mainers, who helped start the Jackson Ski Touring Center, in Jackson, NH.

 

He also worked to promote more back-country skiing. "If you're an alpine skier, you'll like our hills. We have elevation," he said. "But if you're not, we have flat, too." Dave was a farm boy and serious XC skier. He says Anne was the first girlfriend who didn't leave after he took her cross country skiing. They skied and bushwacked almost 10 miles uphill and back. It was her first time on skis. They have 3 daughters who help in the business as well. "They cross country skied the day after they walked," Dave says. They also have 2 granddaughters, who are the 8th generation of Carters in the area.

 

Carter has been focused on keeping the business green, since before it was a popular phrase. The lodge is built of wood which was cut on their land by the Carter brothers, and custom milled. All the windows and doors were furnished by their cousin (at Western Maine Supply). The lodge was economically designed by Dave. The rental cabins are "off-grid". Even the new trail groomer has been optimized so that it uses 1/6 the amount of fuel that the old groomer used, to reduce the carbon footprint. The lodge and cabins are also heated with wood that comes from the property. The wax room at the lodge is a passive-solar greenhouse.

 

The XC ski industry will miss one of its true luminaries.

 

Sun Valley Lodge Renovations Announced

 

Plans were announced for a renovation project at the Sun Valley Lodge, in Sun Valley, ID. It was originally constructed in 1936 as America's first destination ski resort and is incorporated into the 1941 musical film "Sun Valley Serenade" with ice skater Sonja Hennie, John Payne, Milton Berle, and the Glenn Miller Orchestra.

 

The project will refurbish guest rooms and update the lobby, restaurant, and other guest amenities. Some of the smallest rooms will be combined to create suites with fireplaces and expanded bathrooms with large showers, baths and vanity areas. The renovations will maintain the character and essence of the historic building and an adjoining 20,000 square foot full service spa and salon will also be constructed. The spa facilities will include large locker rooms, relaxation lounges, a yoga studio and a large fitness area. Great XC skiing and snowshoeing at nearby Galena Lodge.

 

Junior National Championships at Trapp Family Lodge

 

The 2014 USSA Junior National Cross-Country Ski Championships will be at Trapp Family Lodge from March 1 - 8, Stowe, VT will be transformed into a mini-Olympic Village with its own Parade of Athletes and Opening Ceremonies to kick off a week of races at Trapp Family Lodge's Nordic Center, and festivities planned throughout the town.

 

Visitors and spectators will be treated to four days of races and events, including an "Olympic" torch relay, fireworks, and Village Festival and an opportunity to see Olympic hopefuls in action in classic and freestyle events, including sprints, endurance, and individual and team relay competitions. On March 2 from 2-5 PM, Main Street in Stowe, VT will have the parade of athletes and a block party with snacks and ice cream, displays and lighting of the torch. On March 8 at 4:45 there will be a torch run with special events at local businesses where the torch will be handed off to the top of the Mountain Road. Additional information is available at: www.jn2014stowe.com 

 

Taste of Truckee at Tahoe Donner, CA

 

The Taste of Truckee at Tahoe Donner on March 23 for an on-snow gourmet food and wine event. Food samples from local restaurants with a wine selection. The event will be 12:30-2:30 with an apres ski party until 4:30. Contact Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Ctr. for more info or tickets for the event.

 

Fun Dog Sled Race in Michigan

 

Nature’s Kennel Sled Dog Racing & Adventure presents the Thrilla in McMilla on March 29 in McMillan, MI. Race a team from Nature’s Kennel or your own on a 20-mile course. Volunteers needed. Musher meeting at 9:30 AM on March 29 and race time is about 11:30 AM. Youth race (about 2 miles) at 3 PM.  Banquet, trophies and prizes, best dressed musher and team. For more details: info@natureskennel.com or 906-748-0513.

 

Jackson Ski Touring Season Pass Offer

 

Jackson Ski Touring in Jackson, NH is offering next year's 2014-15 season pass at this year's prices through the end of March. Skiers would be able to ski on the trails for the rest of this winter and all of next winter on the new season pass, which is priced at $115 for adults. After March 30th, the price will be $139. A 5-pack Value Card is $99 for all ages and provides 5 transferable day passes to ski on any 5 days. There is great snow cover in Jackson and the trails are expected to remain open into the spring. Skiers can get credit on a day skier’s ticket towards the purchase of a season pass when they upgrade before the end of the day.  This allows a skier a ‘try before you buy’ option. Kids under 10 always ski free in Jackson, too. The 2015 Season pass goes on sale starting March 2, 2014, and can be purchased online at JacksonXC.org, by calling 1-800-XC-Snows or by visiting the ticket office during operating hours. 

 

Maine Winter Sports Center Needs Funding

 

The Maine Winter Sports Center (MWSC) has developed a global reputation for program quality and the impact it is having in Maine. For the past 15 years the financial support of the Libra Foundation has made that all possible, but now it is time MWSC to develop a new funding model. MWSC programs are in over 140 communities across Maine, from Eliot to Fort Kent and Farmington to the outer isles. The Youth and Olympic Development race programs are having unprecedented success and hosted events are bringing the world to Maine. To help MWSC continue making a difference in Maine, please help by giving generously. They need to raise $550,000 by March 31. For more info or contribute click Maine Winter Sports Center Gift

 

An Olympic Competitor's View of the Sochi Games

 

The National Nordic Foundation has posted an article written by US Cross Country Ski Team member Holly Brooks speaking frankly about the US XC ski results in the Sochi Olympics pointing to a number of best ever finishes and some expectation disappointments at National Nordic Foundation.org. The team understands that the industry is unable to promote best ever finishes to encourage a substantial increase in the number of newcomers to XC skiing. Put succinctly, only Olympic medals can sell and publicize the sport to the larger population - good snow and weather is important, too.

 

Maine Huts & Trails Announces New Packages

 

Maine Huts & Trails in Kingfield, Maine announced new package and booking options for XC skiers and snowshoers, which are available online for trip planning for 4 different itineraries. The Backcountry Beginners package offers 3-days, 2-nights at one hut. The Intermediate Adventure package offers 3-days, 2-nights hut-to-hut with 2 overnights options between huts. The Ultimate Hut-to-Hut package offers 4-days, 3-nights with the overnights and travel between 3 different huts and the Expert Expedition is a 5-day package at all 4 huts with 50 miles of skiing.

 

The Maine Huts & Trails Passport Program offers one night at each of the 4 huts for a discounted rate and it includes lodging, dinner, breakfast, and a travel lunch. Also, March 16th is the Maine Huts & Trails Marathon & Tour for experienced skiers. Check the MHT website for prices and details.

 

 

Check the Newest Feature Article Topics

 

Selections for Valentine's Day Getaways.  

A discussion about Grooming that Provides Better Trail Conditions.  

Dog Sledding for Winter Fun.  

Test drive cross country ski equipment at a Ski Demo.  (posted Jan 22)

 

Cross Country Skiing on TV

 

Recent sitings of cross county skiing on broadcast television had Kikkan Randall (see Personalities article) featured for her nutritional responsibility in an Kashi advertisement. Kikkan has been in a number of Olympics and the ad give credit to her winning cross country ski races (and the World Cup title) thanks to eating better. We'd reported about the Kashi's sponsorship of Kikkan earlier this year and there are great hopes for Kikkan at the Sochi Olympics. I saw the ad during the CBS Blue Bloods (Tom Selleck's show) program on Friday, Jan 10. Then on the following Monday, in the Two Broke Girls show, the girls are arguing about selling their cupcakes in a New York City snowstorm when their neighbor Sophie cross country skis up to the girl's storefront window to get a cupcake. After some light banter, Sophie eats the cupcake in one bite and takes off on the skis down the street.

Billy Demong (see Personalities article) Nordic Combined medal winner in the Vancouver Olympics is featured in a CitiCard commercial pitching the use of his credit card to download music. The ad shows him working out, XC skiing, and jumping. And the first-time Olympic competition for female jumpers is also featured in another credit card commercial. (posted Jan 23)

 

Royal Gorge Ski Resort Temporarily Closes

 

Royal Gorge Ski Resort in Soda Springs, CA temporarily closed its XC ski trails on Jan 8 due to the lack of snow. The lack of natural snow and warm daytime temperatures have cut into the resort's snow base on the trails and it has had difficulty linking ski trails together and grooming the resort's terrain. The resort will remained closed until further notice and will re-open when snowstorms allow the resort to provide continuous XC skiing on its trails. Royal Gorge is operated by nearby Sugar Bowl Resort alpine ski area

 

Winter Trails Day Activities on January 11, 2014 are Free and Easy

 

The 19th annual Winter Trails day on January 11, 2014 offers children and adults an opportunity to try snowshoeing and/or cross country skiing FREE at venues throughout North America. Winter Trails is easy to participate in, super fun and a great activity to do with friends or family while getting some winter exercise outdoors.

 

How Winter Trails Day Works

Do Now: Get excited to try snowshoeing and cross country sking this winter. Invite some friends to take with you. Find an event location on that WinterTrails.org. Choose an event you like - such as one that is near you or that has features that interest you. Complete the online registration and print the completed acknowledgment to take with you.

 

On Event Day: Get up early and have a great breakfast. Dress in whatever you have that will keep you comfortable outside in the winter conditions. Don't forget your hat, gloves and a camera. When you arrive, you must go through registration, but if you have the printed form you already completed, it should be a breeze. Get outfitted with snowshoes and cross country skis, and have fun.

 

"Winter Trails events are designed to be simple and fun while introducing people to new winter activities," said Reese Brown, director of the Winter Trails program. "Our goal is to get people excited about getting outside in the winter. Snowshoeing and cross country skiing appeals to a very diverse group and Winter Trails makes it simple and free to try."

 

With over 100 locations around the country offering activities each year through Winter Trails, it is the perfect way to begin building a love of snow sports. After you try it once you can simply arrange for return visits to your location of choice. Most event sites operate daily with rentals and instructors.

 

Winter Trails locations, hours and offerings are posted at WinterTrails.org. Venues include a variety of public and private operations. Details accompany each event's listing on the Winter Trails website. Advanced registration is suggested, though many sites also offer on-site registration. Check the location listing for specific information. There is no charge for the use of equipment or trails. Most locations offer snowshoeing AND cross country skiing. Some locations only offer snowshoeing.

 

Rikert Nordic Center Hosts Adaptive XC Ski Lessons on Winter Trails Day

 

Adaptive XC ski lessons for people with disabilities will be offered on the Winter Trails Day on Saturday, January 11 at the Rikert Nordic Center in Ripton, VT courtesy of the Vermont Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, the Northeast Disabled Athletic Association, and Rikert Nordic Center. A collection of adaptive sit-skis paired with trained instructors will be available at Rikert Nordic Center throughout the day. Space and equipment is limited so reservations are preferred. Please call NDAA at 802-862-NDAA (6322) or the Rikert Nordic Center at 802-443-2744 for details and to register. (posted 1/6)

 

Elevation Outdoors Magazine 2014 Poll Results for Colorado XC Ski Areas

 

Devil's Thumb Ranch was selected as Elevation Outdoors Magazine's Best Nordic Center in Colorado as it manages to make the very Euro sport of Nordic skiing feel distinctly like it belongs in the American West. And it's a place where any level of skier can get out and feel the joy of the glide. With over 100K of varied trails, skaters can taste speed, classic skiers get their kicks, complete novices will simply enjoy cruising around the meadows; aspiring racers can learn from the staff, and anyone can get out and challenge themselves on big, long loops. And you can finish off with a gourmet meal.

 

Elevation Outdoors also selected YMCA of the Rockies, Snow Mountain Ranch as the best Nordic center for kids in Colorado. Snow Mountain Ranch has more than enough to keep kids engaged. First the Nordic skiing, complete with a wide range of kids' programs and rentals, will make children of all ages giddy. This is a YMCA facility so there's a heated indoor pool, sauna, archery, roller skating, basketball, volleyball, ping pong, foosball, a climbing wall, yoga… and the Craft Shop features everything from leather working to tie-dying. Multiple-family size cabins that allow dogs make it an ideal place for kids to go in conjunction with their friends' families. A cafeteria makes meals easy.

 

Former Minneapolis Mayor Suffers Heart Attack and German Chancellor Fractures Hip While XC Skiing

R.T. Rybak, the former Minneapolis mayor suffered a heart attack while XC skiing at Theodore Wirth Park in the area. He was taken from the trails to the hospital in an ambulance and received two artery stents to repair blood flow restrictions. As an XC skier, who experienced a heart attack in 1999, I (the XCSkiResorts.com editor) can attest to many more years of XC skiing after getting such a stent procedure.

 

In another injury story, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was XC skiing in the southeastern Swiss region of Engadin over the Christmas holidays when she was injured in a fall. She has cancelled several meetings in the next three weeks. After she fell, the injury was thought initially to be just painful bruising, but after her return to Berlin, doctors Friday diagnosed a fracture in the pelvic area, which makes it necessary for her to lie down a lot for three weeks. Merkel, 59, will mainly work from home during that period. She has cancelled a planned trip to Warsaw on Wednesday as well as a visit to Berlin by Luxembourg's new prime minister that had been scheduled for Thursday.

 

Vermont Changes Maple Syrup Grading

 

On January 1, the state of Vermont officially changed its maple syrup grading standards to coincide with the International Maple Syrup Institute. Formerly, the Vermont grading system included Grade A Fancy and Dark Amber and Grade B. Now all of the grading is Grade A with flavor descriptions such as Delicate, Rich, Robust, and Strong Taste. Of course, the place of origin will continue to be prominent on the label as no matter where state maple syrup is produced, it is commonly claimed that it is the best maple syrup available. The Canadian grading system, which uses flavor terms such as vanilla, milky, and spicy currently uses a Grade 1 and 2 system. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is drafting newly proposed rules about grading at this time. In Vermont, the producers can still use their old labels on their products in the first year, so expect to be totally confused when you reach for maple syrup in Vermont.

 

New England Withstands Warm Spell

 

After two mid-December snowstorms covered the region, a warm spell and rain put a damper on the exhilaration that New England had been experiencing. Early Monday morning after the rain, Jackson Ski Touring Center in NH reported that they had plenty of snow on the trails and they'll let the water drain before they groom and ski on granular.

 

Weston Ski Track outside of Boston that the machine-made snow is holding up great and they had a good base to groom 2 km of well conditioned trails for skate and classic skiing. Up in Waterville, ME the Quarry Road Recreational Area had as much as a half inch of ice but they expect to fire up the snow guns to cover 3-4 km of trails after Christmas Day. When the Quarry Road snowmakers are fully operational, they can become fully operational after one night where they can power 15 snow guns at one time.

 

Rikert Nordic Center in Ripton, VT stated that it can cover 1,000 feet (about 1/3 of a kilometer) of trail with two feet of snow in eight hours. Rikert's trails were still covered with snow and they'll resurface with snowmaking and then regroom the trails. People visited Rikert to ski in November from more than two hours away. If you want to find fresh snow from the eastern storm, check out eastern Canada and Mt. Sainte-Anne (posted 12/23).

 

Ride the SnowCoach Above Treeline on Mt. Washington

 

Winter on the Mt. Washington Auto Road in Gorham, NH officially opened in mid-December this year with custom-built four wheel drive Chevy passenger vans and their four massive treads ferrying passengers up the road to an elevation of 4,000 feet. The SnowCoach goes about two-thirds of the way to the summit of Mt. Washington, the Northeast’s highest peak. “The specially-trained SnowCoach drivers can take anyone at any age into the alpine environment that they may never see otherwise,” according to Auto Road General Manager Howie Wemyss. “It is really a comfortable adventure for the whole family to see an unforgettable place.”

 

The SnowCoach ride up Mt. Washington takes about 75 minutes and departs daily, weather permitting. Many passengers bring their skis to going XC skiing back down to the base lodge at Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center.

The price of the SnowCoach tour is $45 for adults, $30 for kids aged 5-12 or part of the Total Trails Ticket ($69) that includes a SnowCoach tour, all day trail pass, tubing pass, and snowshoe or XC ski rental equipment at Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center.

 

Night Skiing Under the Full Moon

Full moon ski and snowshoe tours are very popular and tonight (Dec 17) is the December full moon. The shining moon will last a few nights and if it is a clear night, you can see and ski without a light. Many areas will line up a Friday or Saturday night to conduct a full moon tour so check with a XC ski area near you (see the Resorts Pagefor a list of areas). Some areas set up a bonfire to reach as a destination and have smores (graham crackers or cookies with chocolate and marshmallow) and some just roast marshmallows on a stick. Often get togethers are held after such a tour back at the lodge. This year as a bonus, the February full moon is going to be on Friday, February 14th, which of course is Valentine's Day. So plan to glide your way to romance this Valentine's Day at a XC ski resort. Full moons are also expected on January 15 and March 16.

 

Maine Huts & Trails Announces Opening and New Programs

The season commences beginning December 20th at Maine Huts & Trails. A promotional offer for youth aged 17 and under to stay for free on Dec 20th-22nd and for half-price on Jan 1st-15th. Also new this season, Maine Huts & Trails is offering gear shuttles from the Poplar, Flagstaff, and Stratton Brook Trailheads, and between the huts beginning Jan 17th for $25 per bag at the time of booking. The new Passport Program is offered for guests looking to have a true hut-to-hut experience, allowing guests to spend one night at each of the four huts: Flagstaff, Stratton Brook, Grand Falls, and Poplar, all for a discounted rate. The passports are non-refundable but each night can be redeemed separately if desired, and includes 4 nights' lodging, dinner, breakfast, and a trail lunch. Passports rates for Maine Huts & Trails members are $299/adult and $165/youth 17 & under, and for non-members the prices are $349/adult and $205/youth 17 & under.

 

Biathlon Proliferates at XC Ski Areas

Biathlon is now on target at many XC ski areas across the country. The sport of biathlon combines cross country (XC) skiing and target shooting. The roots of biathlon are traced to Scandinavia in the mid 1700's, and currently in Europe it is the most popular winter sport attracting 700 million annual television viewers. XC ski areas in the US are now offering programs with real 22 caliber biathlon rifles, laser rifles, and even paintball markers (guns). Some of the XC ski areas that conduct biathlon programs include the Olympic Sports Complex in Lake Placid, NY, Tahoe Donner Cross Country in Truckee, CA, Rendezvous Ski Trails in West Yellowstone and Bohart Ranch in Bozeman both in MT, Craftsbury Outdoor Center in VT, and the Nordic Heritage Center in ME. See the full article on the Resort Features Page.

 

Snow Sports Sales Report Looks Promising

 

SnowSports Industries America (SIA), the snow sports product supplier member-owned trade association, and Leisure Trends, an NPD Group Company have released SIA RetailTRAK™ numbers for Aug through Oct 2013 and total market projections are based on data collected from the Point of Sale systems of more than 1,200 snow sports retailers , who sold $624M in apparel, accessories and equipment from Aug 1 to Oct 31, up 3% in dollars sold compared to the same period in 2012. Good snow conditions in late Nov and Dec are expected to have a positive impact on the snow sports market during the critical holiday buying season. Typically, about 35 percent of total season sales are made between Black Friday and Dec 31.

 

Snow explains about ¾ of the variance in snow sports sales season to season. The job market, gas prices and other variables do little to explain overall trends in the snow sports market. Overall, the snow sports market has more than 19M participants in skiing, snowboarding, XC skiing, snow shoeing, telemark, and alpine touring.

 

This season, it is projected that consumers will spend more than $3.5M on equipment, apparel and accessories in the snow sports market. Cross country ski sales increased 13% in units sold and 7%  in dollars sold during the reported period. XC boot sales are up 16% in units sold to 11,000 units. XC sales suffered significantly with below average snow and late snow the past two seasons. The category should recover much of the decline with good snowfall this season.

 

TV Interview at Cross Country Ski Headquarters

Cross Country Ski Headquarters of Higgins Lake, MI is the site of a MyFoxDetroit interview with proprietor Bob Frye and his daughter Mariah on a TV news segment talking about XC skiing. Mariah models the new Swix Romsdal skirt (puffy skirt worn over leggings) and Bob straightens out the interviewer about XC skiing by stating "It's easier now than it ever was and most of all, it's fun." If you haven't seen the skirt yet, Mariah shows how fashionable it is...and how easy it is to take off - check it out at Cross Country HQ TV interview. Mariah also mentions the Winter Trails program set for January 11 as a free introduction to XC skiing and snowshoeing at nearly a hundred locations.

 

Great Glen Outdoor Trails Schedules Warm Up Series

With snowmaking around the base having begun over Thanksgiving weekend at the Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center, the annual Nordic Warm Up Series begins on Monday, Dec 9th. The Nordic Warm Up Series is conducted by Olympian and Great Glen Trails Ski School Director Sue Wemyss and will take place on Mondays, Dec 9, 16, and 23 from 10-11:30 AM, with an optional wax clinic being held from 9-10 AM. It is open to skiers age 16 and over and will cost $60 for the three week program or $25 for a single session, all of which include a trail pass for the day. Group size is limited and reservations are required for the Nordic Warm Up series. For more info or to register, email Sue at: sue@greatglentrails.com, or call Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center at 603-466-2333, or go online to: www.greatglentrails.com. Also, Great Glen will host the Kids Ski Fest on Sunday, Dec 12.

 

 

XC Ski Areas Open on Thanksgiving Weekend

 

Thanksgiving Weekend saw XC ski areas open in most regions across North America. Enchanted Forest XC Ski & Snowshoe Area in Red River, NM, which received 18 inches of snow was 100% open with 35 km of trails to lead the XC skiing in the US. Enchanted Forest operator Geoff Goins said they had a great weekend and he reported that the Swix Romsdal skirts (puffy skirt worn over leggings) jumped off the racks and sold out. The Rendezvous Trails in West Yellowstone, MT hosted their annual Thanksgiving festival with indoor exhibits and fashion show, biathlon race, and clinics with reports that the trails were perfect (see the photo). Canadian XC skiing was lead by Gatineau Park in Quebec with 52 km open for skiing. Check out the mid-winter conditions on the Web Cam at Mont-Sainte-Anne Cross Country Centre in Beaupre, Quebec. New England has the most snowmaking at XC ski resorts so a number of resorts opened including Trapp Family Lodge with 13 km of skiing, Craftsbury Outdoor Center, which reported 11 km of a mix of machine-made and natural snow and a lodge filled to capacity on Friday and Saturday, and Rikert Nordic Center, which reported a great weekend. And in West Virginia, Whitegrass Touring Center had 5 inches of snow farmed to open 5 km of groomed trails for skiing with "families and lots of kids" according to operator Chip Chase. For current XC ski area snow conditions around North America (where there are open ski areas) go to SnoCountry.com in New England or SnoCountry.com in the Rockies, or SnoCountry.com in Canada.

 

Enchanted Forest Receives Early Snow & Announces Special Events

 

Enchanted Forest XC Ski & Snowshoe Area in Red River, NM had early snow and it hosts the PSIA Classic and Skate Ski Clinic and Level 1 Exam on Dec 13-14 with the exam on Dec 15 (see article about Becoming a Certified Instructor). Call 575-754-6112 to register. Enchanted's Luminaria Tour on Christmas night Dec 25 at 6:30 PM is a 3 km loop for XC skiers and snowshoers on a New Mexican tradition with farolitos (sand filled bags with lit candles) along the trail. The Just Desserts Eat & Ski is the original set for Feb 22 at 12-2 PM with white chocolate raspberry cheesecake, 18 layer chocolate cinnamon torte, Tequila Lime Pie, and more scrumptious decadence. "It's not a race, just a gorge fest." And area operators Ellen and Geoff have scheduled the new Moonlight Ski/Snowshoe Dinner Tour to the yurt on Dec 17, Jan 16, Feb 14 for Valentine's Day and Mar 22.

 

Outdoor Recreation is BIG Business

 

Go on a trip to recreate lately? According to a ForbesLife article about Conservation Funding, the outdoor recreation industry (biking, skiing, hunting, hiking, camping, fishing, etc.) is worth $646 billion, is responsible for 6.1 million American jobs, and $39.9 billion in federal tax revenue. This industry is a larger part of the US economy than pharmaceuticals ($331 billion), motor vehicles and parts ($340 billion) and gasoline and other fuels ($354 billion). In Utah, the Office of Outdoor Recreation has been created to help Utah increase its involvement with outdoor activities and increase its rate of recreational tourism. The Outdoor Industry Association website has state-by-state info regarding outdoor recreation for spending, jobs, wages/salaries, and tax revenue within the respective states. The organization's objectives include encouraging federal agencies to coordinate their efforts, improve recreational access and funding, protect recreational destinations and provide funding to maintain them, and ensure fair and predictible trade and business environments.

 

Bear Valley Celebrates Opening and Winter

 

Bear Valley Cross Country & Adventure in Bear Valley, CA plans to open on Friday, Nov 29 with a selection of groomed trails including new trails for snowshoeing and fat biking. The tubing facility will be open but unless more snow arrives, it will be moved to Bear Valley Mountain.

 

Bear Valley has a size run of 4-inch tired fat bikes by Surly for rent by the hour. The Bear Valley Business Association's annual Winterfest Celebration activities include Wine Tasting in the Meadow, the Wilderness Alliance Back Country Film Festival, a bonfire, live music and multiple business open house celebrations.

 

Rikert Nordic Center Fires Up Snowmaking

 

Rikert Nordic Center in Ripton, VT started a month earlier this year on machine-made snow as it became one of the first XC ski areas to open its doors in the east this season. It is unusual to ski before Thanksgiving but the skiers are loving it. New at Rikert this year beside the early skiing is snow biking. The whole region is full of restaurants, inns, places to shop and things to do.

 

Trapp Family Lodge to Host Junior National XC Ski Championships

 

Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vt. will host the 2014 Junior National Cross Country Ski Championships on March 1-8. The trail crew at Trapp’s known as the first full service XC ski center in America (1968) has been hard at work with improvements in the stadium and terraced and leveled lanes on the trails leading to reshaped turns and berms. The start lane will accommodate the hectic nature of a mass start skate race and a new timing shack is in place for exciting photo finishes.

 

There’ll be a new viewing area above the finish line giving spectators an excellent vantage point and new snowshoe trails were cut for trailside viewing by snowshoe. “There are new climbs and widened paths for passing opportunities and improved flow of the course,” said Paul McNeil, Director of Sports at Trapp Family Lodge. The competition will attract 450 young athletes, their families, support teams and spectators. For more info see jn2014stowe.com

 

Telemark Lodge Saga Continues


In late November, the new owners of the Telemark Lodge in Cable, WI announced that they're turning the power off at the resort. "Renovating the heating and cooling system alone would cost $1 million and the lodge is in a state of disrepair that poses just too big of a mountain to climb, " said Rick Carpenter of the Mount Telemark Partners. James Bolen, executive director of the Cable Area Chamber of Commerce still holds out hope that an interested party will arrive. While the lodge wont't be available, the owners have agreed to lease the property for this years's American Birkebeiner Cross Country Ski Race.

 

According to a story that was updated in late-October on the Wisconsin Public Radio News the Telemark Lodge and Resort in Cable, WI was sold to a company now called Mount Telemark Partners, a Colorado company at a sheriff's foreclosure auction for $926,000. The new owners have stated that there are no plans for the resort to reopen in time for America's largest XC ski marathon, (the American Birkebeiner held in February). An earlier story in the Duluth News Tribune said the purchase was for 975 acres and that the new owners viewed it as a good land buy, but are not motivated to open the Telemark Lodge. Also, one of the new owners has reportedly skied the Birkebeiner once. According to a story in the Superior Telegram, the Telemark Lodge, an 1,100 acres property is a 41-year-old facility, which closed in March of 2012.

 

The new owners have told business leaders in the Cable area that they'll listen to proposals to reopen the resort, which has been the starting point for the Birkebeiner for many years, but they have no interest in running a resort. The newest info from Wisconsin Public Radio News also reported that the new owners have property in the Cable area and are part of the Johnson-Lewis family, which owns Johnson Wax products. One proposal could involve using the lodge as a training headquarters by the CXC, an international XC skiing organization. Olympic World Cup competitions have been held on the site in the past.

 

A program on the Travel Channel’s “Hotel Impossible” program visited the 150-room (some reports claim the resort has 215 rooms) lodge and cited potential but revealed that significant work is needed to bring it back to eminence. The mortgage holder says a buyer would have some upfront expenses the problems are not insurmountable. The region depends on the 10,000 participant Birkebeiner to bring in business every year and the Telemark Lodge would play a significant role in accommodating those racers.

 

Fat Bikes Now Welcome & Offered at More XC Ski Areas

Last year, the Methow Valley Sports Trails Association (MVSTA) in Winthrop, WA opened selected cross country ski trails to fat bikes in 4 different locations among the organization's 120 miles of groomed trails. Fat bikes are specially-made with ultra-wide tires that can be run at very low pressure to allow the bicycles to roll over packed snow-covered trails. Many XC skiers are also mountain bikers so fat bikes provide an opportunity to combine these interests during the winter months.

 

The Fat Bike pilot program gave people another way to play in Methow Valley's dry, sunny, cold, snowy climate. In the right conditions, the fat bike tire tracks stay on top of the snow with less impact than a pair of skis.

A trail pass is required for snow bikes on the trails.

 

Fat bike rentals are now available at Sun Mountain Lodge, WA; Bear Valley Cross Country & Adventure and Royal Gorge in CA; Rikert Nordic Center and Kingdom Trails in VT; Flagstaff Nordic Center in AZ; Cross Country Ski Headquarters in MI. We'll add more areas to the list as we hear about them. There are trail ethics involved with fat biking with regard to sharing the trails with other trail users and being a good trail citizen. If a rider has to get off the bike and push or carry it or the bike is leaving a rut on the trail deeper than an inch, then the snow is too soft and he or she must get off the trail. See full story at Resort Features.

 

Mont-Sainte-Anne Gets New Trail Groomer and Plans New Training Trail

 

Mont-Sainte-Anne Cross Country Centre acquired a new Prinoth Husky snow machine groomer to work and smooth the surface of the ski trails this winter. Energy efficient, faster and more flexible than competing models, the groomer will ensure impeccable trail maintenance.

 

The Pierre-Harvey National Training Center [PHNTC] and Mont-Sainte-Anne, in partnership with the municipality of Saint-Ferréol-les-Neiges and private donors of the area, are planning construction of a new multi-purpose track for cross-country skiing athletes and the general public. This multi-purpose track will be part of the cross-country ski trail network of Mont-Sainte-Anne and along the Rang St-Julien in Saint-Ferréol-les-Neiges. It will be available from May to November, which is an important period for athlete’s training. With this 4.9 km [total loop] infrastructure of varied profile, athletes will have access to high quality facilities to hone their skills and push their physical preparation.

 

 

Carrie Underwood to Play Maria Von Trapp in The Sound of Music on NBC

Carrie Underwood, the winner of five Grammies and multiple other music awards, with sales of 15 million albums and 16 number-one singles, and of course a winner of the American Idol TV show is slated to star as Maria Von Trapp on NBC's live broadcast of the Rodgers & Hammerstein's "The Sound of Music" in the 2013 holiday season. The story of the Von Trapp family's escape from Austria during World War II is famous for songs such as Edelweiss, My Favorite Things, and Do Re Mi. And for cross country ski enthusiasts and fans of Stowe, Vermont, the Trapp Family Lodge is the family legacy and the Sound of Music come to life. The airing is slated for Thursday, December 5. See full article at SnoCountry.com.

"Road Scholar" Programs for Adult Learners

 

The Road Scholar program is a branded aspect of Elderhostel for adults to enjoy traveling and learning to find friends among people for whom learning is the journey of a lifetime. There are many programs and a wide variety of sujects available for winter outdoor adventures with comfortable and inexpensive lodging. See the full article on SnoCountry.com.

 

First Nordic Ski Area Opens

 

Sun Peaks Nordic Center in British Columbia, Canada hails as one of the first to open its XC ski trails in North America this season (Friday, Nov 8). Nordic Director Phil Youwe said, "We got 20 cm of natural snow (about 10 inches) and have groomed 30 km of trails for skate and classic skiing. It is $10 for a trail pass that can be found at the Village Day Lodge or Elevation Sports in the Village Centre. Sun Peaks is about 45 minutes north of Kamloops and 4 hours from Vancouver and 5.5 hours from Seattle.

 

Vermont Ski Museum Comprehensive Nordic Ski Exhibit Opens

 

A comprehensive Nordic ski exhibit opened at the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum on November 2 with a floor of extensive cross country (XC) skiing memorabilia on display. This is clearly the largest exhibit of its kind about XC skiing. While this sounds and is impressive, one would be hard pressed to find any meaningful exhibit about XC skiing in any of the other half dozen or more ski museums in the USA.

 

The “Kick and Glide: Vermont’s Nordic Skiing Legacy” exhibit at the museum displayed the many facets of XC skiing - the development of athletes and competition and of XC ski areas and recreational skiers; the evolution of technique, equipment, and disciplines; and the impact of Vermonters on the sport. The VT Ski and Snowboard Museum is in the 1818 Old Town Hall building in the heart of Stowe, VT.

 

Many of the Nordic ski industry's forefathers, who were involved in the history of the sport in Vermont, turned out at the grand opening of the exhibit. Vermont XC ski areas such as Trapp Family Lodge and Viking Nordic Center are purported to be among the first commercial XC ski areas developed in the USA. There is a strong contingent of XC ski area operators, who started XC ski businesses in Vermont and remained in the business for many years. They organized a group association, marketed the sport, and developed clubs and programs.

 

The grand opening ceremonies included a ribbon cutting and exhibit introductions about Vermont as an XC ski destination and a part of national and regional efforts to promote XC skiing. Equipment and clothing aspects of the industry were introduced and learning to ski was also a focus. Various films were shown including “I Won a Purple Ribbon” about kids XC skiing with Bill Koch, who was the first American to win an Olympic medal in XC skiing in 1976 and a World Cup crown in 1982.

 

Among the attendees at the event included Olympic participants from Vermont such as Martha Rockwell, Stan Dunklee, and Joe Pete Wilson. The Nordic ski exhibit was spearheaded by volunteers Rob Center (Northern Forest Canoe Trail) and Poppy Gall (ISIS for Women), who are Vermonters involved in the outdoor business for many years and they joined museum curator Meredith Scott in an exhaustive effort to find and contact pillars of the XC ski world linked to Vermont. This yearlong exhibit coincides with the 2014 Winter Olympics and some people in the industry are hoping that it becomes the initial development of a museum for cross country skiing in America.

 

“We are fortunate to have the help of men and women associated with Nordic skiing in Vermont since the late 60’s to assemble the remarkable story of how the Green Mountain State’s contributions shaped the sport and culture”, commented Rob Center, Exhibit Chair. Bob Woodward, (long time outdoors guru journalist and more from Bend, OR), began looking for a home for his collection of XC ski gear. “Like so many who love the sport, for decades I couldn't bear to get rid of anything no matter how dated it was. Then a chance remark by ski writer Michael Brady led me to the Vermont Ski Museum. I am eternally grateful for the Museum accepting my donation, which I give in honor of all the Vermonter cross country ski greats and for all the wonderful times I've had skiing in the state.” XCSkiResorts.com expresses appreciation to all those who donated items and supported this exhibit and special thanks to apparel product supplier Helly Hansen Inc., which was instrumental in the exhibit coming to fruition.

 

Updated XC Ski Article Themes

 

Annually, XCSkiResorts.com updates themed articles to provide newer info and include XC ski areas spanning the continent associated with the themes. The newest articles include:

 

This Winter's Kids Programs has a sampling of XC ski and snowshoe programs for kids.

Girls' Getaways are the Rage looks at these popular women's trips offered by inns and XC ski areas.,

Eat Your Way to Fitness includes a snapshot of programs run by XC ski areas that include food. Attend one of these events for a great time.

Family Destinations has info about some of the most family-friendly XC ski areas to experience.

Cross Country Skiing Against Climate Change was formerly known as "green efforts" this group of XC ski areas employ exemplary sustainable business practices.

 

CCSAA Website Redesigned

 

Cross Country Ski Areas Association (CCSAA), the national trade association of cross country ski area operators has recently redesigned its website, which has duel purposes for XC skiers and the ski area members. The site redesign process is ongoing. The intention was to simplify and separate the site so that it is easier for skiers and ski area members to use it. The CCSAA mission is to promote the growth of the XC skiing population and improve the quality of XC ski area operations in North America. The association has about 180 ski area members of all different types (inns, parks, clubs, etc.) and it is dedicated to further and protect legitimate interests of XC ski area operators and provide establishment of reasonable standards for the protection of XC skiers. It is committed to promoting ski lessons and XC skiing on groomed trails at its member ski areas.

 

The site’s navigation is easier than before and it has more modern images of cross country skiing and has bigger more expressive photos and graphic messages. The CCSAA Board of Directors was instrumental providing input and encouraging the site to be more mobile-friendly.

 

The CCSAA website has search mechanisms for XC ski areas, events, and programs. There’s also a link to SnoCountry.com snow and ski area conditions reports. XC ski industry businesses are listed on the site including product brands (ski equipment, clothing, magazines and websites, etc.) and there is plenty of info available on the site from how to dress for XC skiing to terms and frequently asked questions.

 

Great Glen Celebrates 20th Anniversary with 50% Discount for 1st Time Season Pass Including FREE Kids

 

To kick off the season long 20th Anniversary celebration at Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center in Gorham, NH, first time season pass holders are being offered a 50% discount on a whole season's worth of healthy outdoor fun and activities. Even more significantly, kids (under 18) will ski free with a parent or guardian season pass holder all winter long, while helping to support the national "No Child Left Inside" program.

 

Special First Time Season's Pass rates are Adult $70; Junior (6-12yrs) $40; Teen (13-17yrs) $47.50; Senior (62+ yrs) $47.50. Great Glen Trails season pass holders also qualify for discounts on events and races, free use of demo equipment, free showers and 10% off all in-stock, non-sale items and are entitled to $5 tickets at Bretton Woods Nordic Center and Jackson Ski Touring through December 31st.        

 

Royal Gorge/Sugar Bowl Partners with Sun Valley

 

Royal Gorge Ski Resort (part of Sugar Bowl) in Soda Springs, CA has agreed to offer season passholders at Sun Valley Ski Resort and Nordic Center in Idaho to be eligible for free skiing. Passholders at both areas will be eligible for free skiing reciprocally and a two-night minimum stay in Sun Valley Resort Lodging is required for eligibility on the Sun Valley side of the offer in the "Sugar Bowl Sweet Deal." There is also new non-stop regional jet service from San Francisco SFO to Sun Valley SUN on United Airlines to begin December 12.

 

Royal Gorge Ski Resort announced that it will expand its offerings with new fat tire snowbiking trails and the return of the Sierra Snowkite Center, California’s first and only resort-based snowkiting school. Fat tire snowbiking will be offered on narrow, bike-specific snow trails, giving the riders of fat-tired, winter-specific bikes the feeling of riding singletrack trails through the snow. Snowbikes will be offered for rent at Royal Gorge’s Summit Station Lodge.

 

Kikkan Randall Sponsored by Kashi

 

 

It was announced that US Olympic hopeful XC sprint cross country skier Kikkan Randall will be officially sponsored by Kashi for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Kikkan Randall is the world cup cross country ski champion (click for Kikkan's story) . Kashi products (cereal, crackers, bars, etc.) are natural, minimally processed and free of highly refined sugar, artificial additives and preservatives. The Kashi brand is a subsidiary of the Kellogg Company. The Kashi intention is to spread the word that living a healthy, positive lifestyle begins with eating right, and the Kashi marketing director commented. "We're passionate about the power of positive eating and we really found a perfect partner in Kikkan."

 

Randall endorsed Kashi products, "They provide me with the right nutrients to give me energy for my workouts. I believe in living a healthy and active lifestyle and one of my goals is to inspire others to do the same, which involves eating positively so they can pursue the things they love." XCSkiResorts.com recognizes this sponsorship as a great thing for cross country skiing. Kikkan Randall is the first American cross country skier to garner such a bigtime sponsorship and she is a great hope to popularize cross country skiing to a higher level.

 

 

Shopping at Ski Swaps

 

Looking for inexpensive used XC skis, boots, snowshoes, and other gear? Ski swaps are a traditional outlet for finding products at a low price. It is suggested that you Google "tips for ski swaps" to find articles that review the pros and cons of shopping for gear at ski swaps. For XC skis and boots, the bindings on the skis are a key issue - they must match the boot type (NNN or Salomon and all of the specific versions). If you are considering waxless bases, check the pattern on the ski base to see that it is not too "old to hold." Of course, there are also the ski swap shopping techniques for finding that specific item and beating someone else to it. If you want to sell products at a swap be aware of the dates to drop gear off and price them low to move while remembering you will have to split the proceeds with the swap organizer. Many of the swaps include ski retailers, who offer a larger selection of gear and price products at much higher than the individuals price their gear to sell. Contact your local XC ski area or club to ask if they know about upcoming ski swaps that will have XC ski gear. For a list of ski swaps in the US, click SnoCountry.com and it is suggested that you call in advance to make sure that there will be XC ski or snowshoe equipment available at the swap.

 

Flood Update and Summer Projects in Colorado

 

With regard to the flooding in Colorado’s Front Range, it appears that ski resorts did not suffer damages. There has been no significant damage to I-70, which leads from the Denver to Summit and Eagle Counties, home of many Colorado ski areas. The roads to Eldora and Estes Park have sustained extensive damage and there was a rockslide on a route to Monarch and Crested Butte but that road has been re-opened. Colorado has called on Vermont for help with road issues as the VT roads required extensive repairs after Tropical Storm Irene and transportation officials, who spearheaded the response to Irene will help road crews in CO formulate a plan to rebuild roads and bridges.

 

XC ski areas reported projects during the summer including the new 9,200 square foot Oh, Be Joyful Log Lodge construction at Breckenridge Nordic Center, two new homologated race courses at Crested Butte Nordic, and Beaver Creek Nordic will provide services to Epic Pass holders. The Tennesse Pass Nordic Center & Cookhouse has added 4 sleep yurts for overnights.

 

What's New at Vermont Areas

 

Rikert Nordic Center in Middlebury, VT area has added a snow bike rental fleet and will allocate trails to the fat tire bikes. It also will fire up snowmaking guns for the largest machine-made snow coverage in the US. Trapp Family Lodge has constructed a new stadium and improved its homologated race course for scheduled competitions this season including the Ski Orienteering National Championships on March 14-16.

 

Sun Valley Study Show XC Skiing Brings $34 Million Annually to the Region

 

The Sustain Blaine study of XC skiing in the Sun Valley, ID region showed that an analysis of economic impact in the 2012-13 winter included $16.3 million of direct and indirect economic impact in the region, and after the multiplier effect was applied, XC skiing in the region was found to add a total of $34.4 million. For example, Galena Lodge in nearby Ketchum, ID offers trails for XC skiing and snowshoeing, activity programs, rentals, lessons, overnight yurt lodging and a restaurant. People who visit the area spend on other non-ski related products and services and some of them purchase second homes or relocate to the area. There is also employment that is specifically related to XC skiing in the area. While it is uncertain that many communities understand that XC skiing can be an economic engine, the Sustain Blaine study should certainly get attention and increase interest in XC skiing in the Sun Valley business community. See full story at Cross Country News & Information.

 

New Hampshire Ski Areas Report on Summer Projects

 

SkiNH, the association of ski areas in the state sent news about summer projects at XC ski areas. Bretton Woods Nordic Center added a 3 km loop at the top of Mt. Stickney for XC skiers to have early and late season terrain at higher elevations. The trails are serviced by lifts at the alpine ski area or skiers can ski up to them. Windblown XC in New Ipswich added a snowmobile and a snow bucket while the trails improvements are underway. The rental equipment fleet has also been upgraded with new gear. Granite Gorge XC has added 2 km of new trails.

 

Jackson Ski Touring Center reported that it had acquired a new grooming vehicle and a low snow grooming implement. Trail improvements are also underway at Jackson as well as securing land use access through a program of deed easements. The Story Land Element Garden for younger kids is a terrain garden near the lodge, which will be expanded. The biggest news is the addition of chocolate covered (or plain) waffles available at the Ellis River Warming Cabin, which is 3 km from Jackson's main lodge and office. Other snacks and drinks will be available at the cabin, which is a short destination for skiers. The cabin is heated and has a table and seating for skiers and snowshoers to take a break. Kids can race around the 300 foot Anklebiter course to get timed and receive a gold chocolate coin reward. This "waffle stop" is believed to be the first XC ski area that will offer waffles similar to alpine areas' popular slopeside waffle service.

 

Pocket Guide to Cross Country Ski Training

 

The Subaru Factory Team Pocket Guide to Cross Country Ski Training is intended for part-time racers and weekend warriors, who work full time and want to maximize their training efforts. Scott Loomis, former team member wrote this comprehensive guide, which is available at SkiPost.com at http://skipost.com/training.htm. The guide has training schedule and other recommendations, self analysis, improving determinants of performance, and much more.

 

US Ski Team Women Prepare for Sochi Olympics

 

In an early August story on NPR's "All Things Considered" there was a report about the US Women's Ski Team training above Anchorage, Alaska on the Eagle Glacier. For the story, click http://www.npr.org/2013/08/01/207894104/glacier-helps-u-s-ski-team-drift-ahead-of-competition

 

Lapland Lake XC Ski & Vacation Resort Up for Sale

 

Lapland Lake XC Ski & Vacation Center in Northville, NY, has been put up for sale. The resort, in operation for 35 years by Olavi and Ann Hirvonen is on the market for $1.4 million.

 

The property is in New York’s Adirondack Mountains on 230 acres including a 50 km trail network and a private beach on Woods Lake, 10 rental cottages, main lodge with room for retail and rental equipment operations, snack bar and lounge area, and a separate restaurant. There are also 9 building lots available on the property, and 12 current homes that are on the property at this time.

 

Lapland Lake's trails include 38 km of classic cross country ski and skate lanes and 12 km of dedicated snowshoe trails. There are also 2.6 km of lighted trails for night skiing and a pond for ice skating and rental equipment for sledding, tubing, ice skating, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing.

 

In 2002 and 2003 Lapland Lake won the best cross country ski resort in the MidAtlantic region chosen in cross country skier poll that was conducted in those years. The resort is tucked away in the town of Benson situated 60 miles northwest of Albany in the 6-million acre Adirondack Forest Reserve.

 

Sports Participation Stats for 2013 Released

 

For the first time since the 2008-09 season, the number of snowshoers 4,029,000 exceeded the number of cross country skiers 3,307,000 on the NSGA Sports Participation Study for 2013. These stats represent declines from the previous year as snowshoers were 4.1 million and xc skiers were 4.3 million (a million skier decrease). Remember that the snow did not arrive until after Christmas last winter and there were a number of meltdowns during the winter, too. The study also showed that were also declines in the number of alpine skiers and snowboarders. More stats from this study at 2013 Cross Country Skiing Participation article.

 

Noise Ordinance Exception Approved for Snowmaking in Mnpls Park

 

According to an article in the Star Tribune, the Hyland Lake Park Reserve in Bloomington, MN will install a 5 km cross country ski trail loop served by 15 portable snowmaking machines by the upcoming December at a cost of $5.75 million. There is already an alpine ski area at Hyland Park, which is located in the southern part of the Minneapolis area.

 

An exception to the city noise ordinance was approved unanimously by the city council setting snowmaking stipulations to 100 total hours per season on no more than 22 calendar days between 10 PM and 5 AM excluding major holidays. Currently, the Theodore Wirth Park is the only public xc ski trail network in the region (and one of the only public xc ski trails with snowmaking in the nation) that is served by snowmaking. See full article at SnoCountry.com.

 

Bolton Valley, VT Protects Coveted Land

 

It took two years of fundraising to purchase 1,114 high elevation acres in Bolton, VT, which includes land that hosts Nordic and backcountry ski trails at Bolton Valley Nordic Center. The Vermont Land Trust campaign raised $1,050,000 in 15 months and that was matched by $800,000 from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board. In mid June, the Land Trust transferred the deed for the 1,114 acres to the state to become part of the Mount Mansfield state forest.

The property, which was threatened by interested developers is the largest state land conservation acquisition in more than a decade and it includes a long section of the Bolton Valley Nordic Center to Trapp Family Lodge ski trail.

 

Top XC Ski Racers May be at Higher Risk to Heart Problems

 

In a story that has virally spread on the Internet on June 12, findings in a study published in the European Heart Journal stunningly revealed that cross country (xc) skiers, who completed the 90 km (56 mile) Swedish Vasaloppet marathon, may be at greater risk of developing heart arrhythmias with the rhythm of a heart beat. Those skiers, who completed the most races and had the fastest finishing times, had a higher chance of developing atrial fibrillation (abnormally fast heartbeat) or bradyarrhythmias (abnormally slow heartbeat).

 

The study did not find a direct causal link between xc skiing and heart problems but it suggests that there is a dose-response relationship: the more races skiers complete and the faster they go, the greater their risk. The research included 52,755 xc skiers who completed the marathon between 1989 to 1998 and were tracked through 2005. These skiers all pursued more physical activity during their leisure time than the general population and smoked less, had lower fat, higher fiber consumption, and better mental and physical health. The study showed that 1.74% (919) had some kind of heart rhythm problems.

 

There was a 29% increase of having atrial fibrillation for skiers who completed 5 or more races compared to those who just completed one; and those who had the fastest finishing times were 20% more likely to have the problem than those who were in the slowest group. The risk of bradyarrhythmia went up 110% in those who completed 5 or more races compared to first-timers.

 

It is expected that similar results would be seen in other endurance athletes but researchers emphasized that exercise can protect the heart from cardiovascular diseases. They did not find any increased incidence of the heart problems leading to sudden death and the Vasaloppet participants are less likely to die during the follow up period than the general population and that mortality decreases with increasing number of races.

 

The American Center for Disease Control recommends that adults get at least 2.5 hours of moderate intensity aerobic exercise each week or one hour and fifteen minutes of vigorous-intensity activity. Adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities at least twice weekly.

 

UVM Nordic Ski Team Aids Adirondack Rescue

In an article in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise it was reported that members of the University of Vermont women’s Nordic ski team joined with a local outfitter and forest rangers to conduct a backcountry rescue of a woman with a serious leg injury on Dix Mountain on March 30th in the Adirondack Mountains west of Route 73 in NY.

 

The woman was snowshoeing and had injured her ankle. Seven forest rangers responded with a state police helicopter and they parlayed with the UVM ski team, who were on an end-of-the-year outing with the owner of the Mountaineer gear shop in Keene Valley, NY.

 

The woman’s leg was splinted and stabilized and a makeshift sled was created from ski poles, ski skins, a harness, and rope. The group worked together to get the woman to a landing zone clearing in the area and she was hoisted out of the wilderness on the helicopter. The UVM women’s team had recently taken 3rd place in the NCAA Championships held at Rikert Nordic Center in Middlebury College…but this might have been an unexpected highlight of the season.

 

Mountainsmith Integrity

My Mountainsmith lumbar pack had a zipper tear so I contacted the company to ask if I could send it back to be repaired. It was suggested that I send a snapshot of the problem and after seeing the problem, the company customer service promptly said that they’d send me a new pack at no charge. Within a week I received a new Mountainsmith lumbar pack accompanied by a letter from the warranty department apologizing for any inconvenience and including a coupon code for 25% discount off of my next Mountainsmith order that is available online at www.Mountainsmith.com. No extra charge for any warranty plan and no strings attached…count me impressed!

 

KARHU Announces Return to North America

Karhu, a sports brand from Finland founded in 1916, announced that the company is reintroducing Karhu to the North American winter sports market with its Nordic ski and boot collection available for the 2013-14 winter season. The brand had been unavailable in North America for a few years and the distributer will now begin importing the line of skate and classic skis and boots, which are designed, developed and tested in Lahti, Finland. Karhu exhibited at the recent retailer shows and demos and here in the words of xc ski testers (such as smooth, stable, responsive, and easy to ski) are multiple reviews http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T73Xbj8TMnw on Karhu skis at the demo recently held in Colorado at Devil's Thumb Ranch.

 

Cross Country Downhill Fun to Music

 

We received this video to music this morning http://vimeo.com/57040530 celebrating the snow and some great runs at White Grass in WV. That's Chip Chase and friends ripping it up on xc skis in the trees and yes, doing telly-copters (360 in the air and then landing it). Who says cross country skiing is boring or too much work? Spend 4 minutes with the video to learn the answer to the question, "Why do we love cross country skiing?"

 

Events Peer into the Soul of Cross Country Skiing

 

There were two events in late January where participants experienced what one might consider the soul of cross country skiing. The "NENSA Women’s Day" was the 12th year that the New England Nordic Ski Association has celebrated women xc skiing and this year it was held at Bretton Woods Nordic Center in NH. The "Get Out and Backcountry Festival" was organized by the Catamount Trail Association at Bolton Valley Nordic Center in VT.

 

The Women’s Day had about 200 female participants with 20 instructors leading group clinics for skiers from first timers to seasoned racers. There was also an equipment demo, waxing advice, a luncheon with a speaker in the Grand Ballroom at the Omni Mt. Washington Hotel, and a raffle with many prizes. Proceeds from the NENSA Women’s Day went to a local women’s support organization. Info and pics at NENSA Women's Day.

 

The CTA Backcountry Festival was held for the 5th year hosting about 75 participants including instructors (check 6-minute video at Backcountry Festival). The group was split into different levels of instructional classes for beginner to advanced skiers offering telemark lessons and skiing in the trees.  There were four retailers offering equipment demos and advice. The group moved indoors for lunchtime seminars about equipment and waxing. After lunch the group divided into tours out on the terrain above the Nordic center and then went back indoors for a slide show, party, and raffle. Info and pics at CTA Facebook.

Mountain Top

Mountain Top Named Most Pet Friendly Resort in Chittenden, VT was named among the most pet-friendly resorts on PawNation.com because it gives your pup a retreat at another level beyond just allowing dogs on the trails. There is a $25 per night fee associated with having your dog accompany you on a cabin vacation, but overnights at Mountain Top provides Fido with a dog bed, a bowl for food and water, and a welcome treat. Your dog is welcome to enjoy a horse-drawn sleigh ride with you and pet sitters are available if you want to leave your dog in the cabin while you treat yourself to dinner in the restaurant.

In most of these xc ski area dog offerings there is a trail fee for both the skier and the dog. Check the area’s policy because some allow dogs to run loose while others require a leash or harness. There are some resorts that require proof of rabies vaccination.

A full list of 70 xc ski areas that welcome dogs and the amount of dog-designated kilometers within their trail networks are at CCSAA Dog Trails List. Other resorts named as the most pet-friendly included the Lake Placid Lodge in NY, The Little Nell in Aspen, CO, and Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in Alberta.

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