Bob Frye of Cross Country Ski Headquarters to MI Ski Hall of Fame
Bob Frye, founder of Cross Country Ski Headquarters in Higgins Lake, has been inducted by the board of the Michigan Snowsports Industries Association to the Michigan Ski Hall of Fame. He enters the Hall of Fame as a "Snow Sports Builder", someone who has made major contributions in areas of organization, promotion, or development of the skiing industry in Michigan.
Says Frye, "We started with a simple mission, and that mission lives on today: get people outside and having fun on the snow. I would like to thank everyone who has supported us in that mission, and especially my wife, Lynne, for her tremendous support, and without whom none of this would have been possible."
Since starting Cross Country Ski Headquarters in 1974, Bob and Lynne, and later their daughter and son-in-law, Mariah and Stu Colie, have grown the business to achieve national recognition, not to mention a large statewide following. Named by Outside Magazine as a "Nordic Skiing Mecca", Cross Country Ski Headquarters has become one of the most distinguished cross country ski destinations in the country for its groomed trails, large retail selection and expertise, and warm, welcoming staff.
"Bob and his shop and ski area have attracted more people to the sport of Cross Country Skiing than any other entity in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. They have always been a beacon to those wanting to begin an adventure into snow sports and cross country skiing in particular." – Ernie Brumbaugh, President, Michigan Cup Race Committee
Cross Country Ski Headquarters is located in Higgins Lake, in the heart of Michigan. It is open from October 29th through March 31st, and also for its annual Labor Day Weekend Sale. Featuring a vast ski equipment and clothing selection, product expertise, groomed ski trails, a café and day lodge, ski rentals and lessons, Cross Country Ski Headquarters invites one and all to "Come ski with us!"
XCSkiResorts.com Announces Redesign
XCSkiResorts.com has hired Sprout For Business in Concord, NH to redesign and reformat the website, which was initiated for cross country skiers in 2003. The site will be moved to the Squarespace platform during the summer of 2016.
Sprout For Business is a marketing services company specializing in websites, email marketing, social media and more. RB Lohr of XCSkiResorts.com stated, "I have confidence in Sprout to upgrade the site so it is responsive and easier to find content about recreational and travel-oriented cross country skiing among other related topics. The features on the site such as the themed articles, Top 10 lists, Hot Topics and other information will continue to promote cross country skiing at unprecedented levels."
Lohr commented, "I've attended a number of seminars presented by the people at Sprout to learn about current aspects of marketing. After XCSkiResorts.com is updated, it will be much easier for me to post information on the site. For industry businesses, the site will remain one of the most timely and conceptually innovative venues to promote cross country skiing. Visitors to XCSkiResorts.com will continue to get a comprehensive resource for cross country ski news and tips."
Maine Ski Museum Exhibit to Open in Bethel
The collaborative exhibit of skiing in Maine opens in Bethel, Maine on June 24 and runs one year. The Ski Museum of Maine is teaming up with two other organizations to present this exhibit illustrating a large swath of skiing history in this state.
The exhibit is titled "The Mountains of Maine: Skiing in the Pine Tree State," and it has been open to the public for the past year at the New England Ski Museum in Franconia, New Hampshire. NESM has graciously loaned it to the Ski Museum of Maine, which will re-mount it in the Robinson House of the Bethel Historical Society.
NESM's display comprises about 60 photographs taken from its own collections and borrowed from others. It covers most of Maine skiing history, from the arrival of the first Swedish immigrants in Aroostook County in the late 1800s, and the narrative continues into the modern era.
The principal focus of the photo collection is the development of commercial and non-profit ski areas both large and small. Many of these ski hills, particularly the smallest ones, disappeared decades ago, but others, such as Sunday River, Mount Abram, Black Mountain of Maine and Shawnee Peak, remain important to the state's skiing lifestyle. The exhibit will be supplemented with artifacts and photos from the collections of the Ski Museum of Maine.
The Bethel Historical Society is currently marking its 50th anniversary, and Executive Director Randall Bennett notes that because skiing is such an important part of the region's social and economic landscape, it's very fitting that this exhibit will be on view in Bethel for 2016-2017.
The exhibit will open on June 24 and remain on display through the spring of 2017. Hours will be Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 1 to 4 p.m. during July and August. The Society's museums are closed November 1 through Thanksgiving. Nearby lodging at the Bethel Inn. Call 800-824-2910 or visit bethelhistorical.org for more information.
Quarry Road Awarded by the Mid-Maine Chamber
According to an article in the Portland Press Herald, the Quarry Road Recreation Area in Waterville, ME has been selected by the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce to receive the Community Service Project of the Year Award of 2015.
Groups involved with the development of the park collaborated in Waterville, Maine. They extended the XC ski trails, acquired and operated a snowmaking system, and built a welcome yurt.
The nonprofit group called Friends of Quarry Road and other groups are recognized for creating a year round hub of recreational activity and becoming a catalyst of the local economy, which has been a boon to the health and wellness of the community partnership between the Friends and Waterville.
The rec area has been ongoing since 1938 and it was expanded by Colby College to include snowmaking, night skiing, and a ski lift in the 1960-mid 1970s. When the operation ceased there were 100 acres that became vacant and now it has been expanded to 220 acres with 2.2 miles of snowshoe trails, 5.6 miles of groomed XC ski trails and a sledding hill. The new snowmaking equipment was installed in 2012 and events have been conducted at the site.
The Quarry Road Rec Area helps the entire town and business people appreciate the winter activity. It is becoming a resource for all seasons for hiking, walking, and running. There'll also be more focus on mountain biking, kayaking, and a summer race series.
There are plans at Quarry Road Rec Area for a parking lot and lighting with a 2014 grant and funds raised by local groups including the Friends, Inland Hospital and Maine General. XCSkiResorts.com joins the Mid-Maine Chamber in congratulating the Quarry Road Rec Area and all those that support it.
Tahoe Donner Announces Expansion
Tahoe Donner in Truckee, CA home of Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Area has announced a decision to purchase and preserve 640 acres in the Crabree Canyon adjacent to and south of Tahoe Donner's existing 7,000 acres. The property is a gateway between the Euer Valley and the Carpenter Valley and there is a permanent conservation easement on the land.
The easement will protect Tahoe Donner's borders from future development and create new recreational opportunities. About 16% of Tahoe Donner Cross Country Center's terrain will be reopened. The land, which was previously closed due to land use concerns was acquired for less than $800 per acre.
Nonmotorized trail use for summer and winter activities will be encouraged on the new parcel of land and there are plans to link Tahoe Donner and the Independence Lake Preserve via a new trail system.
The Forestry Department at Tahoe Donner is actively working to protect this terrain and minimize threats of wildfire. The land will be open to the public for the first time in more than a century. Tahoe Donner is a homeowner association with 6,500 properties, 25,000 members and 7,000 acres.
Cross Country Skier Magazine Sold
Cross Country Skier Magazine was sold to Height of Land Publications (HOL) to return to its roots in Vermont. HOL out of Jeffersonville, VT is currently the publisher of Alpinist and Backcountry Magazine. Former Cross Country Skier Magazine owner and editor (and old friend) Ron Bergin will stay on as an advertising sales rep and a writer for the magazine.
HOL CEO Adam Howard commented, "This feels really natural to us. Kind of like wearing Spandex." A goal was for the magazine to reach well beyond print and Howard said, "Cross country needs a little more cowbell…and Cross Country Skier is the logical choice to ring it."
With a reference to Spandex, it sounds like the magazine will continue its heavy content on cross country ski racing. For you television fans, we're not sure if Howard was referencing the famous Saturday Night Live "more cowbell" skit with Christopher Walken and Will Ferrell. One of the all time "Best of SNL" skits, Christopher Walken plays producer Bruce Dickinson, who keeps calling for more cowbell from Will Ferrell, the cowbell player in a seventies rock band playing Blue Oyster Cult's "Don't Fear the Reaper." Here's a link to the skit https://vimeo.com/55624839
Seniors Skiers – Golden Opportunity to be Mined
In a recent (Jan 2016) subscriber survey conducted by SeniorsSkiing.com to determine information about the website's subscribers, it was revealed that the average age of the respondents was 66 but they perceived themselves as 46 years old! The respondents were equally split between male and female.
The survey respondents were 91% alpine skiers with 48.5% of them expecting to ski 20 or more days and 20% expecting they'd ski 50 or more days! The secondary snow sports activity showed that 31% were into snowshoeing and 29% were also cross country skiers.
The seniors annually visit an average of 6 ski areas on day trips per season and they visit 2 resorts per season on weekend or vacation trips. Are ski area marketers reaching out to the senior market in their region? It is a great idea because 35% of the older skiers go with friends and 25% ski with their spouse while 18% bring their children or grandchildren. Only 15% indicated that they ski alone.
Some of the older skiers said they take lessons (29%) at the beginning of the season to adapt to their changing physical needs or to improve while 69% stated that they do not need to take lessons. Of the respondents, 73% were married.
With regard to planned purchases, 57% of the the respondents to the SeniorsSkiing.com survey said that they expected to purchase base layers (underwear) and about one-third would buy skis, 29% new goggles, and 25% boots, gloves, ski jackets, or ski pants. For more info, check www.SeniorsSkiing.com
Inn at Ellis River Special Packages
Upcoming SPECIALS at the Inn at Ellis River in Jackson, NH include the May Weekend Getaway and Spring Fling.
The May Weekend Getaway at the Inn at Ellis River and go see the Home Garden Flower Show in Fryeburg, Maine on May 13, 14 and 15. Get a 2 and 1 Night Lodging Packages at Inn at Ellis River. You will find countless exhibitors from garden centers displaying and selling perennials, annuals, trees, shrubs and so on, landscape designers, interior decorators, lawn equipment experts, alternative energy displays as well as home improvement exhibits. For the "Foodie" in you, there will be vendors showcasing wine from various regions around the world, including locally in Maine, craft beers from local breweries and cheeses from New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine.
Indulge your sweetheart with a "Spring Fling" with a new 2-night lodging package at the Inn at Ellis River. Rejuvenate with your special someone - enjoy romance and relaxation with a 2-night stay that includes a full breakfast each morning, afternoon refreshments plus, champagne (or wine), chocolate strawberries and a bud vase with fresh flowers as a memento of your stay! No better way to truly relax this Spring. Check out the special package offers at http://www.innatellisriver.com/packages
Yankee Magazine Poll of Best Winter Towns in New England
The Yankee Magazine selected a list of the Best Winter Towns in New England. They looked for places that even nonskiers would love as a getaway, too. They didn't discriminate against big or small locales, inland or coastal areas, and based the selection on the following essential categories:
*Towns had to be known as a winter sports getaway that offers many of the snowsport and winter recreational activities.
* Variety of lodging.
* Village charm.
* Cultural attractions such as a museum, a library, historic homes, a theater for plays and live music, or a place to see first-run films. * Guided winter tours and ease of finding winter gear rentals.
* Après-ski scene.
* Accessibility includes the ease of driving to the town and whether the place offers public transportation or a shuttle.
Here are the towns with associated pages on XCSkiResorts.com:
3. Jackson, New Hampshire - Jackson Ski Touring Center
4. Woodstock, Vermont - Woodstock Inn Resort
5. N. Conway, New Hampshire
6. Waitsfield, Vermont
7. Rangeley, Maine - Rangeley Lakes Outdoor Center
8. Camden, Maine
9. Middlebury, Vermont - Rikert Nordic Center
10. Ludlow, Vermont
Click here for the full Yankee Magazine article.
Lapland Lake in NY Tells It Like It Is
In a communique from Lapland Lake Vacation Center in Northville, NY there was a recap of the whacky weather hitting the east this winter. "Fortunately the inch of new snow received on Tuesday absorbed most of the rain. Add in a dusting of new snow this morning, some hard work on a few troublesome areas, return of cold temperatures, and advanced grooming equipment. The result is ski conditions you don't want to miss. Do not be misled by bare brown grass starting to turn green in your neighborhood." Lapland Lake has 44 km of their 50 km trail system open today - all 12 km of snowshoe trails and 32 km of 38 km groomed XC ski trails.
The surface is power tilled granular with fast glide. Today all trails are groomed and trackset and open for both classic and skate skiing with the exception of the three upper loops, and skiing directly on Woods Lake. The lake is frozen and offers great ice skating in spots but is not suitable for skiing. The forecast for the weekend is mostly sunny with a high of 31 on Saturday, partly sunny with a high of 44 on Sunday. Looks like a great winter weekend for XC Skiing!
"Some skier comments on Friday, Feb 26: "Thanks to all the snow shovelers for making the trails fantastic!"
"Your groomers are miracle-workers! The conditions were amazing considering what nature has given you to work with." See related story at Grooming Provides Better Trail Experiences.
USA TODAY 10Best 2016 Selects Top Cross Country Ski Resorts
USA TODAY asked three Olympians (all current or former members of the U.S. Nordic Ski Team) to nominate their favorite cross country resorts in North America. For the past four weeks, USA TODAY 10Best readers have been voting for their faves, and the results are in! The top 10 winners in the category Best Cross Country Ski Resort are as follows:
1. Trapp Family Lodge - Stowe, Vt.
2. American Birkebeiner Trail - Hayward, Wis.
3. Tahoe Donner Cross Country - Truckee, Calif.
4. Devil's Thumb Ranch - Tabernash, Colo.
5. SilverStar Mountain Resort - Vernon, British Columbia
6. Lone Mountain Ranch - Big Sky, Mont.
7. Craftsbury Outdoor Center - Craftsbury Common, Vt.
8. Royal Gorge Cross Country Resort - Soda Springs, Calif.
9. Jackson Ski Touring Center - Jackson, N.H.
10. Mount Bachelor Nordic Center - Bend, Ore.
A panel of XC ski racers picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Sadie Bjornsen, Holly Brooks, and Sophie Caldwell were chosen based on their extensive cross country skiing experience.
Additional nominees in the category Best Cross Country Ski Resort included Bohart Ranch Cross Country Ski Center in Mont., Hatcher Pass, Kincaid Park, Methow Trails in Wash., Rendezvous Ski Trails in Mont., Soldier Hollow, Stowe Mountain Resort Cross Country Center, Summit Nordic Center, Sun Valley Nordic & Snowshoe Center in Idaho, and Whiteface Lake Placid Olympic Cross Country Trails in N.Y.
XCSkiResorts.com congratulates the cross country ski areas named in the USA TODAY 10BEST poll. Just click the area to see a full page of info on the resorts on the site.
White Grass Does it Again! Video Celebrates Cross Country Skiing
The joy of cross country skiing at White Grass Touring Center in Canaan, West Virginia. They are celebrating the Jonas snowstorm that dumped 19 inches with some great downhill runs and shots of the fun at White Grass. Click for vidoe https://vimeo.com/147547370
Bright Picture for Nordic Skiers on MLK Weekend
One of the important 3-day winter weekends is the Martin Luther King holiday and this year there were many good reports about business on MLK.
Royal Gorge in Tahoe, CA area has had 9 feet of snow this year. MLK weather was tough for drivers to get to the mountains but people were enthusiastic. Bear Valley Nordic in CA had a very strong MLK weekend and Sunday was their best day of the year. Thanksgiving and Christmas were great, too!
The Methow Trails in the eastern side of Washington's Cascade Mountains reported robust activity and that the MLK weekend broke records for skier visits.
At Breckenridge Nordic Center in CO they commented that MLK was the busiest weekend of the year and that they ran out of rental snowshoes by noon. With record guest numbers for snowshoeing and skiing, folks were able to get both sets of equipment for one low price so people were on all the trails and enjoying the destination huts. There were also free sledding hills and it was a true winter wonderland holiday ski weekend..
Enchanted Forest in NM has the best snow in years. Both days on the weekend were busier than normal. Outside of Flagstaff, AZ, the Flagstaff Nordic Center reported huge crowds on Saturday and Sunday after a Friday night storm brought six new inches of snow.
Lapland Lake in Northville, NY had a pretty good weekend with Sunday being the best day for traffic. Skiers were coming from the south where there has not been as much snow yet. "We don't have the base depth that we'd like at this time but it has been decent conditions."
NH's Dexter's Inn had their best weekend of the year with 5 km of open groomed trails with new snow. Skiers were mostly guests, folks from town, and from the Mt. Sunapee Resort. They're hoping to make up cancellations that happened during the Christmas week. Carter's Cross Country in Bethel, ME was inundated with skiers at the area. They were busy and had beautiful skiing with powder on the upper trails. They're looking forward to Valentine's Day and a special Wounded Warrier Weekend, which is planned for March.
Cross Country Ski Headquarters in Roscommon, MI reported 15-17 inches of snow in the woods and great trail conditions. Maplelag Resort in Callaway, MN had a good MLK crowd despite cold temperatures. It was sunny and the snow was excellent for the Northstar Ski Touring Club that has been going to Maplelag on this weekend for nearly 40 years.
So there's a snapshot of ski areas across the land on Martin Luther King's holiday looking forward to more snow and February school breaks. Sounds like we were free at last to enjoy the snow everywhere!
Ski For Heat - Fund Raising for Heating Fuel Assistance
Bromley Mountain, an alpine ski area in southern Vermont turned up the heat in support of Ski for Heat, a volunteer nonprofit committed to raise funds to provide heating fuel assistance to low income families and individuals in communities throughout Vermont. Fuel assistance is provided to those with demonstrated need, often in an emergency situation where they don't have enough money to keep themselves or their family warm. There are many thousands of Vermonters who depend on fuel assistance support in emergency situations. Since its inception in 2000, Ski for Heat has raised $250,000 for fuel assistance.
To receive more info check Ski for Heat's website, www.skiforheat.org Martha Robertson, Ski for Heat SkiForHeat@myfairpoint.net or call 802-779-2227.
What's more, Bromley's Wild Boar Tavern offered a plate of six super hot all natural boneless chicken tenders for $9.99. Each slathered in Chef Eileen Armet's homemade Bromley Bomb Sauce containing ghost peppers rated up to 500,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU). Finish the fiery plate in five minutes and the chicken is free, with Bromley donating $25 to Ski for Heat, and one free lift ticket to each winner with the iron constitution.
Wild Wings Ski & Yoga in Peru, VT also offered a special $5 all-day, all-trail pass to any XC skier or snowshoer, who made a donation to Ski for Heat on January 31. (Kids 12 and under will ski free.) The first 40 participants who had donations or pledges of $35 or more received a long-sleeve t-shirt.
Video and Webcams for Cross Country Skiers
Lake MetroParks in the Cleveland, Ohio area offers the Joy of Trail Grooming to Phil Phillips tune - probably could have been "Let Me Roll It." Click Lake Metro Parks Trail Grooming on You Tube.
Learn to Ski Program Offers
There are a variety of learn-to-ski deals available for anyone who has ever had an interest in in learning to cross country ski. For example, during the month of January ski areas across the nation will encourage people who have never cross country skied before to embrace winter and try something new with the Winter Trails program. This program now in its 21st year promotes an introduction to snowshoeing or cross country skiing sometime during the month of January at nearly 100 participating cross country ski areas across the nation. For a list of participating ski areas check WinterTrails.org
Discover Michigan offers a learn to cross country ski package with trail pass, rental equipment, and a lesson for $20 during the month of January. Michigan's Cold is Cool Passport program provides 4th and 5th graders a coupon book to get up to 3 learn to cross country ski packages at a participating ski area anytime during the coming winter for $20. Check the GoMichigan website for an application. Participating ski areas include Boyne Mountain, Cross Country Ski Headquarters, Crystal Mountain, Shanty Creek, and others.
Six cross country ski areas in New Hampshire are offering special packages during January for first-time skiers. The cross country package includes a trail pass, first-time lesson, and rentals for $19, and is available at Bretton Woods Nordic Center, Granite Gorge XC, Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center, Gunstock XC, Jackson Ski Touring Center, and Windblown XC. The Snowsport Passport program offers one trail pass per ski area to 4th and 5th graders for $35 and part of that amount is donated to Make A Wish. Check SkiNh.com for details.
In Maine, the Winter Kids Passport is for 5th-7th graders for $25 and scholarships are available to those who are unable to afford the offer. Check WinterKids.org.
Vermont has the Fifth Grade Passport offer of a booklet for 5th graders with coupons that are good for XC ski area trail passes at each of the participating resorts. There is a need to be accompanied by an adult and there are some blackout dates. There is a $10 fee for registration. Vermont also has an app program to win prizes for skiers that visit many of the XC ski areas in Vermont called Check in to Win. For details, check SkiVermont.com.
Tahoe Donner's Alder Creek Adventure Center Grand Opening
After several years of planning, the Alder Creek Adventure Center will open its doors to the public for the first time on Nov. 26 with a grand opening party on Nov 27. The free event includes live music, appetizers, family entertainment and activities, and a no-host bar from 5 – 7 PM.
We are beyond excited to debut the building," said Sally Jones, Tahoe Donner's Cross Country Ski Area manager. "So much planning went into this project and it's wonderful to see it come to fruition. Skiers will be treated to luxury this winter season with much more space, new rental racking systems, expanded wax rooms and ski tuning services, upgraded locker rooms and more."
The new retail shop has one of the largest selections of Nordic attire and accessories available in the Truckee and Lake Tahoe region for both function and fashion, and will be open every day starting Nov. 26. Jackets, sweaters, pants, gloves, hats and more are available from leading brands.
Within the Alder Creek Adventure Center, visitors will enjoy spacious seating, large windows overlooking Hawks Peak, a grand fireplace and the Alder Creek Cafe, complete with a bar and televisions. "Our concept is simple," said Mike Peters, Tahoe Donner's food and beverage director. "We want to use only fresh, organic ingredients, resourced locally when possible, to bring healthy, delicious options to the plate." Items from the menu include fresh grab and go meals, house-made soups, salads, sandwiches and baked goods with beer and wine selections available as well. "Our bar will also be open until 7 PM on Thursday through Sunday for the winter season with a great selection of unique beer and wine choices while nibbling from our après tasting plates."
With comfortable dining offerings and new and improved cuisine, the Alder Creek Adventure Center will be a popular place to visit for cross country skiing and snowshoeing alike this winter season, but winter sports enthusiasts are not the only ones who will benefit from the building. The Alder Creek Adventure Center was designed to accommodate large parties, weddings, corporate meetings, banquets and more year round.
Throughout the design and construction at the facility, there were even opportunities to further protect the surrounding environment. "Energy efficiency and an environmentally conscious design were essential to us from the beginning of the design process," explained Forrest Huisman, Tahoe Donner's director of capital projects. "Extensive research and resources went into the building design to ensure we improved our environment and surroundings, while creating an architectural vision that contributes to our mountain community."
In the summer, the building will house Tahoe Donner's Equestrian Center and Bikeworks operations, while allowing access to the extensive trail system of Tahoe Donner and the remote beauty of Euer Valley.
The Alder Creek Adventure Center and Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Area are located at15275 Alder Creek Road, Truckee, CA 96161. Call 530-587-9484 or visit www.tahoedonner.com/cross-country for more information.
Changes to the Winter Trails Program
The 21st Annual Winter Trails event, presented by SnowSports Industries America (SIA), is changing its format this winter and dedicating the entire month of January to discovering snowshoeing and cross country skiing. The new month-long format, previously a one-day event, will allow host sites to customize Winter Trails offerings to their facility and regional happenings. Events will include special offers on trail passes, rentals and mini lessons (cross country ski lessons only) and will vary site to site from free to reduced package pricing. Individual event details may be found at WinterTrails.org.
By extending the event format to encompass an entire month allows each location to get more creative with their offerings and provide a more in-depth experience to the consumer and local community," said Reese Brown, SIA Nordic Director.
With over 100 locations around the country and an estimated 11,000 new enthusiasts trying cross country skiing and snowshoeing each year through Winter Trails, it's a perfect way to begin building a love of snow sports. The event offers children and adults an opportunity to try snowshoeing and/or cross country skiing at venues throughout North America. Winter Trails is easy to participate in, super fun and a great way for friends and family to gather and get outside and exercise.
Once people try it and have fun, it's simple to return back to the same location. Most event sites operate daily with rentals and instructors to make sure everyone learns proper technique and has a great time.
Current Winter Trails Day locations, hours and offerings are posted at WinterTrails.org and updated as locations/events are announced. Venues include alpine resorts, Nordic centers, state parks, National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service land. Details for each event appear on the Winter Trails website. Advanced registration is suggested, but many sites also offer on-site registration. Participants are encouraged to check the location listing for specific information as each site can differ slightly.
Cross Country Ski Headquarters Wins Awards & Recognition
Cross Country Ski Headquarters in Roscommon, MI was voted winner in two categories in the "Vote 4 the Best" contest of WDIV News in Detroit. The categories were "Winter Sports & Recreation: Cross Country Skiing" and "Winter Gear & Outdoor Apparel."
The ski area also was recognized as a Nordic Skiing Mecca in Outside Magazine in an article that included the comment that at Cross Country Ski Headquarters ski area and shop "It's almost a guarantee that beginners will walk away glowing with the joy of a newfound love."
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. Additionally, on Google you can find ski swaps in your area.
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 worn out or "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 (25-50% depending on 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, retailer, or club to ask if they know about upcoming ski swaps that will have XC ski gear. It is suggested that you call in advance to make sure that there will be XC ski or snowshoe equipment available at the swap.
Flagstaff Nordic Center Sold
According to a story on azdailysun.com, the Flagstaff Nordic Center in Flagstaff, AZ has been sold to Babbitt Ranches, a family-owned business that manages 750,000 acres of private land and grazing leases to raise livestock, manage natural resources, and promote science. The Nordic Center's 11-year owners Wendell and Jennifer Johnson agreed to remain as managers of the Nordic Center and will help with plans to make the business less reliant on the snow season.
According to Wendell, the Nordic Center, which is about 15 miles north of Flagstaff at 8,000 feet on Forest Service land, became year-round three years ago, but the business mostly relied on the winter season and its cross country skiers, snowshoers, and snow bikers.
In owning the Nordic Center, Babbitt Ranches said it wants to expand the company's participation in outdoor recreation and promote their outdoor recreation ethic. "This is an exciting opportunity to connect more people -- especially youth -- with nature, expand on environmental education and outdoor adventures, promote healthy lifestyles, incorporate technology, reinforce how families are recreating today, and cultivate and nurture a land ethic as we are all part of the broader land community," said Babbitt Ranches President and General Manager Bill Cordasco in a press release.
Babbitt Ranches plans to organize more public events, expand the trail system, encourage family events such as weddings, and add more recreational opportunities at both the Nordic Center and on Babbitt land.
Announcement About Weston Ski Track
The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation announced it is taking over the ski operations at the Leo J. Martin Golf Course also known as the Weston Ski Track outside of Boston, MA. Last year, Leo J. Martin, under the management of the Weston Ski Track enjoyed another successful ski season, with some 42,000 paid skier visits. For the full story, click Weston Ski Track to be Operated by Government Agency.
The DCR has decided to manage and operate the ski operations beginning this year and plans to open in early December. It was stated that the DCR intends to improve and enhance the operation using the necessary resources - and it has acquired a new grooming machine and upgraded snowmaking equipment to back up that claim. All eyes will be on this XC ski area this winter.
The Inn at Ellis River Celebrates 30 Years
The Inn at Ellis River in Jackson, NH celebrates 30 years as a Bed & Breakfast! The Inn at Ellis River began as a personal residence for its original builder and his family in the late 1800's. With a long history of hospitality for friends and relatives since 1893 it is no surprise it eventually became a B&B in November of 1985 as the Ellis River House. The inn started as a 6 guest room house and expanded over time. Now known as the Inn at Ellis River, it has grown to 21 rooms and a rustic cottage.
The Inn at Ellis River is offering guests a special for the weekend of November 6 and 7, 2015 - stay 2 nights and 1 night is at a very special rate of $85 (the other night is at regular quiet season rate).
Canmore Nordic Centre to Open Trails First
Canmore Nordic Centre in Alberta, Canada plans to open about 1+ km of groomed trails at the centre on October 23 in 2015. The Frozen Thunder Trail is covered with machine-made snow that was stored over the summer. The early trail access is used for team and athlete training on Monday-Friday from 9 -12 and then open to the public from noon until 9 PM. The weekends will be open all day to any XC skiers who want to get in some early season skiing. Night skiing is available from 5-9 PM and is FREE.
According to Sue Taylor, Canmore Visitor Experience Supervisor, all of the Canmore Nordic Centre facilities will be in operation during the early season including the Day Lodge, Fresh Trax Café, wax rooms and gym. A special pass covering the period of October 23 – November 13 is available for $90 or the daily skiing trail fee is $15. Rentals and lessons are available via Trail Sports, the service provider at the centre. Access to the trails by regular Canmore Nordic Centre season pass holders begins on November 14 and does not include the early season trail fees.
For a story about snowmaking at XC ski areas see the most recent article entitled Snowmaking Becomes Imperative at XC Ski Areas.
New Articles in the Green Room
I don't know the psychographic research regarding cross country skiers' interest in sustainability, but the notion that cross country skiers are highly interested in it makes great sense. The XCSkiResorts.com "Green Room" reflects informative sustainable goings-on in the snow sports world.
Among the current Green Room features is a list of the most sustainable cross country ski resorts in North America from Stump Sprouts in western MA, which produces more electricity via solar panels than it consumes to Nipika Mountain Resort, which is off the grid in British Columbia.
Olympic XC ski competitors speak about what they've witnessed and voice their concerns in three different Green Room articles and green efforts at XC ski product companies are also featured. One story gives a snapshot of Burton Snowboards, which exemplifies a product company committed to social and sustainable responsibility.
Other articles featured in the Green Room look at a statewide upgrade of snowmaking efficiency and an electric car event up the Mt. Washington toll road. There's also an overview of the impact of climate change on the snowsports world, which when you think about it may very well be the canary in the coalmine of businesses that have much to lose because of global warming.
So click on the Green Room for some stories about snow sports people and businesses leading the way to a more sustainable world.
Walk More Often for Health & Fitness
The nation's doctor, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy recommends a brisk walk to stay fit and urges groups to work together and create communities that are more walkable and easier to go out for a regular daily walk.
Some of the real barriers to people walking outdoors more often include finding time in their busy daily schedule, busy city streets, crossing traffic lanes, neighborhood crime, concern about stranger danger, older people's concern of falling, and zoning laws (private or public property that is not open).
The U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has called for "safer people, safer streets initiatives" to help communities create safer walking and biking networks. Clearly, support and funding from transportation legislation that has been stalled in Congress would give walk and biking initiatives a boost of adrenaline.
What is a brisk walk? It has been said that walking is brisk enough when "you can talk but not sing." I don't know about you, but I really like to sing as I walk or go Nordic walking with poles, so I guess I'm not much of a brisk walker!
Viima the Reindeer Gets New Home at Lapland Lake
Viima the reindeer has a new home! He has moved to a new, easy to visit enclosure closer to the main lodge at Lapland Lake Vacation Center in Northville, NY. His new home features trees, grass, and a red barn. It is located near the Joki Latu trail where Viima takes daily walks, eats ferns, and loves to have visitors.
The Lapland Lake "Fabulous Fall" promotion begins September 7th and offers 20% off standard lodging rates. Discount valid 9/7- 11/30. Excludes
nights of 9/25-26, 10/2-3, 10/9-11, and 11/26-28. Discount already reflected in online booking rates. Book online or call at 518-863-4974 for more information.
2022 Winter Olympics Site Selected
In a report from USSA, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has selected Beijing, China, as the host city for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games. Beijing's vision for the Games seeks to incorporate winter sports into people's lives, with the ultimate goal of improving overall fitness and health.
Beijing 2022 has offered a regional concept intended to develop a winter sports market for more than 300 million people in northern China. The Games vision also aims to accelerate the development of the Beijing-Zhangjiakou Sport, Culture and Tourism Belt, offering a new impetus for China's economic growth and sustainable development in Beijing and Hebei Province, where the snow sports competitions would take place.
Beijing has proposed a three-zone event venue plan that relies on six existing and six new competition venues. The three zones will be linked by high-speed rail. The venues for skiing and snowboarding are in an existing winter sports region, but have yet to be constructed. The Zhangjiakou Zone, approximately 160 kilometers (96 miles) from the Beijing Olympic Green, will house venues for Nordic combined, ski jumping, biathlon, cross country skiing, freestyle skiing and snowboarding. For a full story on an athlete's view of the site selection process click 2022 Winter Olympics.
Tahoe XC Launches Fund Raising Campaign to Stay Afloat
According to a story in the Tahoe Daily Tribune, the Tahoe Cross Country (XC) ski area in Tahoe City, CA has had four consecutive winters with low snow amounts and is asking for the community's help to open its doors next season without incurring debt. The Tahoe City-based ski area launched an $80,000 fundraising campaign and by the end of July it was reported that $52,518.30 in community donations have been raised.
"We are extraordinarily grateful for the support of our skiers, program participants and the public who are contributing to our ongoing fundraising campaign," stated a Tahoe Cross Country Ski Education Association July 8 newsletter.
In the winter of 2010-11, Tahoe XC was open for 150 days of operation and in contrast, this past winter, the ski area was officially open for only four days due to lack of snow" said Rafe Miller, a board member with the Tahoe Cross Country Ski Education Association.
To help cover fixed costs such as salaries, insurance and trail fees, the ski area has been dipping into reserve funds the past two years and the reserves are now "pretty much depleted," he said. Each of the 11 unpaid, volunteer board members has made a personal contribution of at least $1,000. Should $80,000 not be raised (the fundraising effort has no deadline), other potential revenue sources such as loans will be examined. "We are unsure what these (pass sales) will be as they have plummeted over the last few years," said Jim Robins, president of the Tahoe Cross Country Board of Directors. "We are unsure what these (pass sales) will be as they have plummeted over the last few years," Robins said. "We remain optimistic that our skiing public will also support us by buying an early season pass." In the best years, there have been as many as 150 days to ski and the ski trails were officially open only 4 days last winter!
The nonprofit Tahoe Cross Country Ski Education Association's mission is to promote the sport of cross-country skiing through educational activities for children and adults. The ski area is located within a Tahoe City neighborhood and affords skiers with local skiing on snowcat-groomed XC ski trails. The operation has regular ski and snowshoe programs and services. In 1999, the Tahoe XC board entered a concession agreement with the Tahoe City Public Utility District to operate the ski area and it has been providing local XC skiing ever since.
For more info click: tahoexc.org/support_tahoexc. Send a check made payable to TCCSEA to Tahoe Cross Country, PO Box 7260, Tahoe City, CA 96145. Donations are tax deductible.
New Mexico XC Ski Area for Sale
Enchanted Forest XC is for sale. It is located in Red River, New Mexico, 38 miles northeast of Taos and operates with a USDA Forest Service Special Use Permit on 600 acres with 30 km of XC ski trails, 18km of snowshoe trails, 2 overnight rental yurts, 1 warming yurt, base area day lodge and outbuildings. The ski area sale includes 150 sets of rentals skis, poles and boots, 36 pairs of snowshoes, 3 grooming snowmobiles, Ginzu groomer and rollers, snowcat (somewhat working), plow and shuttle vehicles, as well as website, Facebook page, and emailing lists. Price for serious inquiries. For more: email@example.com
National Parks Raise Entry Fees
Many of the National Parks in the US are raising entry fees to address the backlog of construction and maintenance projects, some of which are important to visitor experiences. Congressional cuts in park operating and capital budgets have impacted the parks with poor quality of paved roads, needed bridge repairs, and nearly 7,000 miles of hiking trail in need of maintenance. Ranger salaries will not be cut.
It was reported that there has been an equivalent of $370 million dollars in reductions to the total national park budget across the last five years in today's dollars. There is a $178 million reduction in national park operations.
Entry fees to the national parks have not increased since 2008. Some of the increases include the Grand Canyon: $25 per car for a week to $30; Yosemite: $20 to $30 for April-Oct and $25 for Nov-March; Arches in Utah: $25 for an annual pass to $50; Shenandoah in VA: $15 to $25 per vehicle. An annual pass to all the national parks is $80 and only $10 for those aged 62 or older. Entry to parks is free to active duty military personnel and people with disabilities.
There are 407 national parks including historic sites and monuments in the US and 128 of the parks have an entry fee. About 75 parks will increase the entry fees this year and others will apply higher prices next year. Motorcyclists will see the steepest entry increases and there will be other fee hikes such as camp site fees that will be higher, too.
Responsible Down Standards
For years, winter clothes have incorporated down feathers (from geese) for insulation and in 2013 information about the mistreatment of geese that are raised for this purpose was broadcast in the media. It sounds like there has been some mean stuff being done to geese to get the down feathers.
Get the low-down on responsible goose down harvesting and look for the "Responsible Down Standard Certified" logo in products that have down in them. For more info on this issue, see articles in Outdoor Gear Lag and SeniorsSkiing.com http://www.seniorsskiing.com/is-your-down-jacket-responsible/
LL Bean Named Among Top 100 Workplaces List
In a Fortune.com article, LL Bean, the retail catalog store based in Freeport, ME has been named to a list of the 100 best workplaces for employees. LL Bean has grown to 26 stores and 10 outlets with a total of 4,966 employees.
The company has many employee perks and benefits programs including free on-site health screenings, fitness classes, and on-site massages. There is tuition reimbursement, a pension plan, and paid work days to enjoy the outdoors. The article referenced cross country skiing and snowshoeing and there was mention of an employee ski trip to Rangeley Lakes in western Maine. Employees also receive 33-40% off of company-made items.
In the article, LL Bean revenue was quoted at $1.6 billion and a vice president of human resources commented that employees are given the chance to have (experience outdoor activities) what they want to impact the customers.
For an article about the history of LL Bean, click on the XCSkiResorts.com Personalities Page LL Bean's 100th Year.
Saving the Favorite Skis
Many of us skiers have a favorite pair of skis…outdated or worn out, but still our favorite. My old pet skis are a pair of Trak Escape with Omnitrak no wax bases. These Trak skis are no longer available and they have a sandwich construction with some layers of wood and include perfect shovel stiffness providing great turnability. I use a pair of NNN-BC manual bindings on them (sort of like my friend who demanded roll-up windows for the new Jeep he ordered).
The story of these skis is many years long and I now mostly use them for downhill off track skiing when steel edges are unnecessary. I
ski up snowshoe boulevards (packed 1.5 foot wide treads on trails covered in deep snow that are packed by snowshoers) and ski down in powder on some of my favorite runs around the area. In the old days, I called this type of ski outing "up and downing." These days I often figure out ways to get a ride to the high point to avoid the uphill….honey, can you drive up to the top of Goodfellow Road?
I was sad to see upon return from one of these joyous downhill forays that a 4 X 2 inch section of base under the foot broke off leaving a ski that did not want to glide. I worried that this pair of skis would no longer be in my quiver so I tried to repair it by melting P-Tex into the base. Actually, I melted layers of P-Tex, let them cool after each layer, and scraped the area so that it matched the rest of the base. But I found that the repaired section just cracked and partially broke out while skiing, so I took the ski to get some ideas from Omer & Bob's, a local ski shop in Lebanon, NH.
The mechanic searched the thrift shops in the area to find a similar base pattern (Omnitrak) and he succeeded, but the ski he found was a different width. He cleaned the base area section where the gap existed on my ski and cut a base section from the thrift shop ski base to try and match my base pattern. While it does not perfectly match, it did fit very well and he glued it in with epoxy (see photo of the repaired ski base).
I tested the ski on my favorite run, skiing up the boulevard and turning telemark style coming back down. I'm glad to report that the ski repair passed muster and I want to pass along my gratitude to Omer & Bob's mechanic for his handy work. There are indeed more runs to take on these skis.
LL Bean to Greatly Expand
According to an AP story, LL Bean of Freeport, ME will open four new stores this year to be added to its existing 26 stores and a handful of outlets located from the east coast to Minnesota and Colorado. By 2020, LL Bean plans to have at least 100 stores.
Currently, the company has 5,300 year round employees doing $1.6 billion of sales in the last fiscal year. The sudden popularity of Bean's "Maine Hunting Shoe" has seen demand and sales surge with more than 450,000 pairs produced in the past year. Bean's shoemaking employment is 500 workers. It hearkens to former trends for boots such as Moon Boots, Desert Boots, and Timberland boots.
Reefer Madness in Colorado?
The National Ski Club Newsletter reported about Colorado's marijuana business quoting a state-produced analysis saying that 90% of recreational sales in mountain resort communities are to out-of-state visitors. There are 18 tour operators running "marijuana bus tours" to Colorado and probably some family visitors have traveled elsewhere due to the law, which allows marijuana sales but not smoking in public places.
The ski town breakdown:
Aspen has 5 cannabis shops. Nearby Snowmass Village has instituted a moratorium on pot shops until 2017. Breckenridge voters disallowed pot shops downtown, but there are 5 shops in Breck.
Crested Butte has 2 medical marijuana outlets and 2 recreational shops.
Durango has 3 pot shops.
Steamboat Springs has 3 shops, but has banned them from old town Steamboat and at the base of the ski area.
Telluride has issued 4 marijuana licenses compared to 3 liquor stores in town.
Vail voted to ban pot shops until the summer of 2015, but Eagle-Vail has 3 pot shops.
The Hills Have Been Alive for 50 Years
The Sound of Music movie premiered on March 2, 1965 and the 50th anniversary tribute of it is currently all over the media including the medley of songs performed by Lady Gaga at the Academy Awards show and more than a million and a half downloads of it on YouTube.
One of the most popular movies of all time, The Sound of Music was originally created as a Broadway stage musical with Rodgers and Hammerstein songs. The connection to cross country skiing is that the Von Trapp family, which is featured in the movie and stage show started the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, VT and it became one of the first cross country ski resorts in 1968. Today the lodge is one of the most successful resorts in the business. For a full page about the resort click Trapp Family Lodge and for a full story about the youngest of the Von Trapps, who moved to America in the 1940s, click Johannes Von Trapp.
A new touring stage production of the Sound of Music is currently being planned and is scheduled to open in LA in September 2015.
US Nordic Ski Team - Fun and Funk with Lip Sync Dance Video
The American men's and women's Nordic Ski team produced a 4-minute video lip-syncing and dancing in the snow, moonwalking in ski boots and lip-synching to "Uptown Funk" by Mark Ronson. Within a couple of days of airing, the video had been viewed more than 250,000 times on the team's Facebook page. Some of the lip-synching is pretty good, but the mob dancing is not exactly Thriller quality. They clearly had a great time practicing and editing. Check out the US Ski Team's story and the video at: Uptown-Funk-Music-Video
Resort Reviews on HighOnAdventure.com for Royal Gorge and Woodstock Inn
For an in-depth HighOnAdventure.com article on Royal Gorge Ski Resort in Soda Springs, CA by Larry Turner click: http://www.highonadventure.com/Hoa01dec/Royalgorge/royalgorge.htm
For an in-depth HighOnAdventure.com article on Woodstock Inn & Resort in Woodstock, VT by Roger Lohr click: http://www.highonadventure.com/hoa15jan/roger/woodstock.htm
Skate Uphill Tips; Avalanche Awareness for Snowshoers; Hydration/Stretching
Are you like many skiers who blame the struggle to climb hills on a lack of fitness? Of course, fitness does play a role in your ability to climb hills without fatiguing. However, your TECHNIQUE usually plays a MUCH greater role. Fortunately, you only need to focus on 4 principles to become a hill climbing beast despite your fitness level. For a video of tips click "The 4 Elements of Uphill Skate Skiing."
Click this SnowshoeMag.com article about Avalanche Awareness for Snowshoers.
Click this SeniorsSkiing.com article about Hydrating and Stretching.
Skiing to Institute "SafeSport" to Combat Abuse
The U.S. Olympic Committee has latched on to the SafeSport program and Tiger Shaw, president and CEO of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, sent out a personal email encouraging all to "actively promote SafeSport principles."
The SafeSport program aims to recognize a variety of types of misconduct in sport, build a strategy to help ensure athlete well-being, and be prepared to take action to stop misconduct before it becomes a problem. The program will confront child sexual abuse, bullying, hazing and harassment, and other types of emotional, physical or sexual misconduct.
This is a serious issue to all sports, and skiing has been aggressive in implementing measures to safeguard young athletes, having mandated criminal background checks for all coaches and officials. Ski team alumna Nina Kemppel was the driving force of the USOC SafeSport task force responsible for creating the National Center for SafeSport which – when launched in 2015 – will investigate and adjudicate claims of abuse in any and all Olympic sports.
Kemppel's working group determined sexual abuse is a critical issue within our society and therefore within sport. "Current statistics show that one in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused before the age of 18. … It is generally agreed many of these incidents are not reported or documented."
Because coach and athlete often develop personal relationships, substantial barriers to reporting incidents exist; and because these relationships are in a physical environment, the opportunity for abuse is large.
Nina Kemppel is a former American cross country skier, who competed from 1992 to 2003 and at four Winter Olympics.
Bohart Ranch in Bozeman MT Sold to Local Biathlon Club
According to a story in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, the Bridger Biathlon Club in Bozeman, MT announced agreements to buy the Crosscut Ranch and the Bohart Ranch Cross Country Ski Center in Bridger Canyon to create a 500-acre Nordic ski venue. The organization signed a 3-year lease and purchase agreement with Jackson Financial Group, which acquired the 259-acre Crosscut Ranch at auction last March.
The club formed in Bozeman last fall plans to raise $10 million by November 2017 to complete the purchase of the properties and make some upgrades. A new biathlon range has been installed at Bohart Ranch and about 30 km of Nordic ski trails are planned.
The Crosscut Ranch was operated as a Nordic ski facility from 1982 to 1987. Jean MacInnes owner of the operation at Bohart Ranch said she is pleased to be handing over Bohart's legacy to the Bridger Biathlon Club and that she is confident the club will carry on Bohart's dedication to accessible and affordable cross country skiing in the community. Bohart will donate grooming efforts on the Crosscut Ranch this winter. A spokesman for the club stated that the deal will result in a world class training facility for biathlon commenting that the facility located in Bozeman, which is a ski town in a hook-and-bullet state, is a natural fit.
Passport Programs Introduce Skiing to Students
The ski industry has learned from research that a great age for kids to start skiing is in grades 4-6 in school. So there are 11 states across the USA that put together programs to encourage 4th-6th graders. Most of these programs are alpine ski-oriented (for the full list click Learn to Ski Kids 4 Free programs) and there are three states that offer cross country skiing in their school program offers. They are:
New Hampshire – SkiNH has the Snowsports Passport program, which offers 4th and 5th graders free trail passes for 1 time at each of the association's Nordic ski areas and there are other discount offers on lessons and equipment. The processing fee for the program is $35. For details click www.SkiNH.com. A percentage of sales of the Snowsports Passport is donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of New Hampshire.
Michigan – The Michigan Snowsports Industries Association has the Cold is Cool Passport program, which offers 4th and 5th graders free trail passes. For details click Michigan Snowsports. There is a $15 fee for the program and an adult who pays for skiing must accompany the kids. An application must be completed and there are discount offers for products at ski shops while some of the ski areas offer special rates for rental equipment and lessons.
Maine – WinterKids offers 5th, 6th and 7th graders free and reduced rates, which vary at the different participating ski areas. The program extends to snowshoeing, ice skating, and dogsledding. For details click WinterKids. Participating ski areas include Carter's, Fort Kent Outdoor Center, Nordic Heritage Sports Center, Pineland Farms.
Research Shows that Hiking Makes You Happier
In a recent Outside.com article, it was reported that British and American scientists have published new research showing that nature walks help us combat stress while boosting mental well-being.
Researchers from the University of Michigan and Edge Hill University in England evaluated 1,991 participants in England's Walking for Health program, which hosts nearly 3,000 walks per week for more than 70,000 regular participants. They found that the nature walks were associated with significantly less depression in addition to mitigating the negative effects of stressful life events and perceived stress. The findings were published in the September issue of "Ecopsychology."
Sara Warber, associate professor of family medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School and senior author of the study, said that the large sample was a defining factor. "We observed behaviors of a large group, in which some chose to walk and some chose not to, instead of us telling them what to do," she said. "After 13 weeks, those who walked at least once a week experienced positive emotions and less stress."
According to Warber, it is recommended that walking outside in nature at least three times a week to experience benefits. Short, frequent jaunts are more beneficial than long, occasional walks. While stress isn't ever going to go away, it is important to have a way to cope with it, and walking in nature is a great coping mechanism with benefits that are more than just physical.
Plans to Reopen The Balsams in Northern NH
A recent North Country Chamber of Commerce presentation described the 1st phase of a $100 million investment in the reopening of The Balsams in northern NH by 2016 to become a world class resort with golf, alpine and XC skiing, ATV riding, and weddings. The Balsams hotel closed a few years ago after changing ownership a couple of times and it had become a tired grand old hotel outside of Colebrook, NH. Les Otten formerly of Sunday River Ski Resort and the American Skiing Company, is one of the investors in the project. After a debt crisis caused the American Skiing Company to succumb, Otten invested in the Boston Red Sox and then some other businesses in Maine, where he lives.
New XC Skiing Instructional Model Under Consideration
There's been recent discussion between PSIA (Professional Ski Instructors and USSA (United States Ski and Snowboard Association) regarding the Cross Country (XC) Skiing Technical Model of instruction.
The six elements of the PSIA XC skiing instructional model represent the "what" of XC skiing. These elements include skills, stance, movements, timing, power, and continuous forward motion. The skills for push off, weight transfer, and glide are the fundamental aspects of what XC skiers do to create "continuous forward motion."
Common terms used to clarify each of the PSIA skills include:
Push off - wax set, edging, and weight transfer;
Weight transfer - moving from ski to ski;
Glide - pole recovery, arm return, and foot return.
The USSA performance triangle represents the "how" of XC skiing performing the skills by blending the:
Fundamental athletic stance - flexed ankles and knees, rounded back and shoulders, core over base of support;
Fundamental movements - rotary, flexion and extension, and speed;
Timing - to coordinate the movements while applying Power (force and speed) to create "continuous forward motion."
Will this make teaching XC skiing or learning to XC ski any easier? Who knows, but it makes sense to continue to refine instructional models if it helps more people to attain a higher level of enjoyment more quickly.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Telemark Lodge Saga Continues
Last year, 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 won'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.
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.
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?"
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 $30 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.