New Flights into Jackson Hole
New jet non-stop service to Jackson Hole, WY will be offered from 13 cities for the 2014-15 season. A $30.6 million expansion project at the state's busiest airport in Jackson that will triple capacity is expected to be complete in October. The region has incredible backcountry skiing, a great town, and one of the best lift-served alpine ski resorts.
United Airlines will have new flights from Washington Dulles and increased service from Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago. United flights from Newark and Denver will continue, and Delta service from Los Angeles Seattle, Salt Lake City, and Minneapolis will remain the same as last winter. Delta flights from Atlanta will be slightly adjusted and American Airlines will continue to fly in from Dallas Fort Worth. Accommodations at the Lodge at Jackson Fork Ranch.
Tahoe Donner Breaks Ground on New Center Facility
With recent agency approvals, Tahoe Donner Association had a groundbreaking ceremony in early June in Truckee, CA and began construction for the new Cross Country Ski Center. Staff and supporters celebrated the long-awaited opportunity for overdue improvements at the new Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Center and parking lot, which are designed to improve operational and energy efficiencies, while implementing necessary protections to natural resources.
Service will be enhanced for the summer and winter operations, school teams, young children and educational programs, rental equipment operation, food and beverage service, and a public locker room.
The Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Center in the Euer Valley offers more than 100 kilometers of trails groomed daily for diagonal striding, skating, and snowshoeing on scenic trails, challenging peaks, and gentle rolling hills. During the summer season the Cross Country Ski Center building accommodates an equestrian center, Bikeworks, and Day Camp activities.
During the construction of the new Cross Country Ski Center this summer, Bikeworks will be temporarily located at the Tahoe Donner Downhill Ski Area. Equestrian operations have been deferred during construction and will resume June 2015, conditions permitting. Complete access to cross country ski trails will be available, weather permitting, along with limited XC ski facilities operations in 2014-2015, even if within temporary structures as necessary.
Tahoe Donner is one of America's largest homeowner's associations, with nearly 6,500 properties and 25,000 members enjoying over 7,000 acres in the Sierra Nevada.
Midwest Sled Dog Sympoisum
The Nature's Kennel is hosting the Midwest Sled Dog Symposium in Curtis, MI on Sept 26-29 with presentations about mushing including keynote speaker Jeff King 4 time Iditarod winner, workshops for sled dog enthusiasts, and mini sessions for educators and students. Click for symposium and registration info.
North Cascades Basecamp for Sale in Washington
The North Cascades Basecamp is a lodging facility (European guest house/lodge style) in Mazama, WA in the Methow Valley that has catered to cross country skiers for the 30 years and is now for sale. For the listing click Methow Blue Sky.
New Hampshire Skier Visits for Last Winter
http://www.methowbluesky.com/255-lost-river-rd-98833-mazama-wa-648591-for-sale-mls.html Ski NH, the association of ski areas in the state reported the skier visits for last winter. At alpine ski areas there were 2,272,826 skier visits, which is a decrease of .2% compared to the previous year and 3.5% above the 10-year average.
The cross country skier visits at the 17 SkiNH member XC ski areas were 147,259. This represents a 2.9% decline from the previous year and 10.4% above the 10-year average.
XCSkiResorts.com commends SkiNH for tallying the cross country skiing statistics (particularly the 10-year average to put the stats in perspective) and for marketing the sport, too. We wish more states did it too.
In short, January weather was problematic in NH as it featured both meltdowns and cold temperatures, which impacted the 2013-14 winter stats. Half of the December holiday and most of February were stellar and that carried the winter for XC ski areas.
Keep in mind, the skier visits only tally statistics at the 17 commercial XC ski areas and do not keep track of the total number of cross country ski outings, which is estimated to be about 4-5 times the number of paid skier visits. The total number of outings would include skiing in parks, on ungroomed trails, on golf courses, and so on.
Summer Mountain Recreation in New Hampshire
If you are looking for outdoor things to do this summer, here's a bucket list of New Hampshire summer mountain recreation:
Zip Lines Rides, Canopy Tours and Aerial Adventure Courses - Bretton Woods, Cranmore Mtn Resort, Gunstock Mtn Resort, Loon Mtn, Mt Sunapee
Mountain Segway Tours - Cranmore, Gunstock, Mt Sunapee
Trampolines - Cranmore, Gunstock, Loon
Air Bag Jumps – Gunstock, Mt Sunapee
Summer Tubing - Cranmore
Franconia Notch Tour – Loon takes bicyclists to the top of the bike path for a downhill and scenic ride back to the car.
Mountain Coaster – Cranmore drive-controlled speed goes as fast as 25 mph.
Guided Rock Climbing - Bretton Woods for a 4-hour guided adventure (previous climbing experience not required).
Giant Swing - Cranmore
Disc Golf - Bretton Woods, Mt Sunapee
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.
Mt. Everest Accident & Aftermath
The April 18, 2014 accident on Mt. Everest at the Khumbu Icefall area occurred somewhere between the 17,600 and 19,500 foot elevation where 25 men were hit by massive falling ice. The area has been unstable due to the warmer Earth. There were 16 Sherpa deaths reported in the accident. The result is that the Nepalese Sherpas, who are responsible for the equipment portage for the treks to the summit are on strike unless the government meets 13 demands including an increase in insurance coverage and taking better care of sherpas disabled on previous expeditions.
According to various stories including the ExpeditionNews.com, there have been 6,200 climbers that have reached the summit of Everest, now at a cost of $50,000-90,000 each. The Sherpas, who lead and prepare the way and carry the load (oxygen, food, supplies) for the International climbers receive $2-8,000 per season for their precarious labor. The historical cost of these summit attempts includes 250 lives. Here's a blog story in the New Yorker by Jon Krakauer, author of the famous book about Everest "Into Thin Air": New Yorker.com - Everest
Here's a video about the Sherpas called "Last Minutes On Everest"
XC Ski Equipment Sales Report
The 2013-14 snowsports sales data from SIA RetailTrak is in for last season showing $3.6 billion in snowsports product sales, which is up 4% in units and 7% in dollars. Inventories are cleaner so things are looking good for 2014-15 in the business. There were record sales for apparel and accessories related to the cold weather. Equipment sales were the highest since 2010-11, which was one of the snowiest years across most of North America in memory. Internet sales continue to surge rising from $808 million last year to $867 million this year (7% increase). This good news looks even better when considering the draught in California, which negatively impacted snowboarding statistics and other snowsports meccas such as the Tahoe region and Mammoth Mountain.
Nordic ski equipment sales were up 15% in units and 14% in dollars to $41 million. The women's Nordic equipment category boomed to $6 million, which was a 32% increase in units and a 28% increase in dollars.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 518-251-2444.
Saga of Man Dying of Natural Causes While XC Skiing, A Dog, & A Helicopter Crash
On the first weekend in May, a Golden Retriever named Buddy stood guard over the body of his master, an 81-year old man, who died while cross country skiing at Lizard Head Pass near Telluride, CO. The dog guarded the body while keeping coyotes at bay until searchers arrived. A helicopter involved with the search crashed at 10,000 foot elevation but both the pilot and sheriff's deputy survived. The man named Robert Blake of Corrales, NM died from natural causes while skiing. He was reported missing and the search ensued. Blake and Buddy were constant companions according to a friend. By Sunday, Buddy was back at home probably grieving for his old friend.
Vasa Pathway Group Debates Fat Biking in MI
A story on Interlochen Public Radio about a meeting regarding fat biking on the Vasa Pathway cross country ski trail in MI was attended by almost 200 people, who filled a room at the Grand Traverse County Civic Center. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) had already received 750 emails from both sides on the topic.
The meeting tone was friendly and cooperative throughout. Concerns were shared about the safety of sharing the trail between bikers and skiers, but DNR officials say there have been no accident reports. Some skiers had started an online petition to ban the bikes, citing safety and damage to the trail as concerns but DNR officials said neither skiing or biking damages the Vasa. More than half of the 25 or so people who spoke suggested bikes not be used on the existing ski trails.
Officials are weighing how—and if—the bikes should share the trails with skiers. The DNR across the state is watching this decision, but they won't take a one-size fits all approach
The divided crowd seemed to unite when an unlikely duo spoke. Skier Mark Esper, who is president of North American Vasa race stood to speak alongside Glen Ruczynski, a past president of Northern Michigan Mountain Bike Association. They said that people are ready to build a new trail for fat tires and fast. It was agreed that volunteer bikers and volunteer skiers were willing to go out and start doing what's necessary to make this happen in time for next year. Maybe an entire system won't be built in one year, but a good start on a system can get started.
The informal group of fat-tire bikers, skiers and TART trail representatives was so persuasive, the DNR decided to let them form a committee to help them take the next steps.
Vermont Summer Announcements
The Mountain Top Inn & Resort lodge will undergo exterior improvements that will be more of a rustic look, construct 4 new cottages, a new tubing hill, and acquire a Pisten Bully for trail grooming.
Smuggler's Notch Resort has new kid camp programs for mountain biking and disc golf. Also new offerings include soap making, green tea skin care with a local herbalist, and stand up paddleboard yoga.
Jay Peak opens the Stateside Amphitheater, a 1,500 person outdoor music venue w/ seated or lawn options and a beer garden. 2-Day Festival on July 25 featuring the Dark Star Orchestra and 8 other acts.
Stratton Mountain has a Kids Culinary Class on Aug 4-7 to make Italian favorites from scratch with info for kitchen safety, sanitation, and nutrition for cooking fun.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 $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.