December 2014 Newsletter

Sandpoint Nordic Club NEWSLETTER

Volume 1 Issue 3: Dec 1, 2014


you’re ready to ski! Here’s what’s happening:

Member Meeting
Tuesday,12/9, 5:30-7:00, Laughing Dog Brewing in Ponderay.

     Annie Pokorny Clinic scheduled for Fri/Sat
Dec 19/20. See Vicki’s write up.

     Schweitzer Winter Trails Day 1/10. Aka. Learn
to Ski Day. We need volunteers to help run this thing. See Rick’s announcement.

Nordic Ski Clinics



Monthly Member Meeting

     At Laughing Dog Brewing, 1109 Fontaine
Dr., Ponderay, on Tuesday,12/9, 5:30-7:00. This is an open member meeting at
which President Vicki will report on Club doings and you will have a chance to
meet and converse with other Club members. See you there! – Bob Love


Annie Pokorny Visits Sandpoint

     Annie Pokorny is a 22 year old
professional skier who grew up through the Spokane Nordic program and is now
competing on an international level. Back in Spokane, Annie raced for the
Pacific Northwest Ski Association and Intermountain as a junior skier before
moving to Vermont to race for Middlebury College. She now races for SMS T2 in
Stratton Mountain, VT. Annie trains and races with a competitive group of US Ski
Team members and Olympians. Her racing accomplishments both domestically and
internationally continue to increase, achieving podiums at both national and
international championships.

     Annie will be visiting Sandpoint on Dec 19
& 20 and will be leading several ski sessions. Schedule is as follows:

     Friday, Dec 19, 10:30-noon – Women’s
Intermediate & Advanced Skate

     Friday, Dec 19, 3:30 – 5pm – Junior race
team skis with Annie

     Saturday, Dec 20 – Beginner skate

     Watch for more information on the website
to sign up and participate, no cost for SNC members. – Vicki Longhini


Learn to Ski Day

     Our biggest outreach day of the year is
coming up Saturday, January 10. SNC, with support from Schweitzer Mountain
Resort, will be putting on our annual Learn to Ski Day. There will be sessions
in the morning and the afternoon with free ski rentals and free group lessons
for beginner skiers. It all takes place on a trail that will be groomed at the
round-about just before you get to the resort. For club members, this is a great
day to show off why we love this sport. We have gotten a hundred new people
comfortable on skis each of the last several years. Club members who want to
help for all or part of the day should contact Rick Price at  If you have
friends that you have been wanting to get on skis, pay attention to our web
site or the Schweitzer web site.  Details
will be coming soon as to how to go about reserving gear and lesson space. – Rick Price


Volunteer Coaches for YSL

     The Youth Ski League “on-snow” training
starts in December! This year there are 32 kids enrolled in divisions of Nordic
Kids, Development Team or the Race Team. The Nordic Kids division is for kids
who are new to Nordic skiing and is a non-competitive, high fun factor group.
The Development team is a mix of kids who have some Nordic ski experience, want
to maintain their fitness through the winter and may be interested in racing
Nordic in the future. Our race team this year includes 6th – 9th graders who
will compete with fellow athletes from all over the Pacific NW region. We’ll be
training 2-4 days a week and often racing on weekends. All our coaches are
volunteers. We are always looking to add to our coaching staff. Please contact
the club email if you are interested in helping – – Vicki Longhini


Trail Survey

     Do you care about trails in Bonner
Co?  Ski trails, road bike trails,
hiking/walking trails, mountain bike trails……Wish there were more? Wish more of
them connected?  The city of Sandpoint’s
Trail Mix committee wants to hear from you. If you want a say in the type of
trails and where trails should be, take the online survey at
Vicki Longhini


Wednesday Ski Group

     Are you tired of skiing by yourself?
Schweitzer Wednesday ski group started several years ago with a group of
friends getting together to ski for fun. The composition of the group changed
on a weekly basis as new friends of friends showed up to ski with the group and
others had other commitments that day. You can think of the group as a “no drop
bike ride” on skis. If you are looking to meet other likeminded skiers to enjoy
the  trails with, we meet at 9:10 AM
Wednesday at the clock tower. Many skiers ride the 8:30 bus and get more
acquainted with others in the group. We may skate or classic ski depending upon
snow conditions. We will be developing an E-mail list of skiers and will be
advising skiers early in the morning as to whether skate or classic may be the
choice for the days conditions.  If there
is enough interest we may break into several groups to accommodate skiers of different
abilities. This ski group is not a lesson or a training session however we may
throw in a drill or two during a ski session. If you are looking for more
friends to ski with we’ll see you at the clock tower on Wednesdays at 9:10.
Questions? Contact Bill at
– Bill Tregoning


Would you like to ski with other Club members?

     The Club is surveying to find out if there
is interest. The proposal is this: The Club would match skiers of similar
abilities and interests to start ski groups with regularly scheduled outings.
If needed the Club will try to provide an experienced skier to act as guide.
These would not be lessons but an opportunity to get into a regular routine,
build your skills and have some fun. If you’re interested, send an email
telling what you would like in a group to – Bob Love


The Pole Length Mystery

length seems to be another one of those Nordic mysteries. If you’ve asked 3
people for their opinions, you likely got 3 different answers. You may have
heard things like, “Your poles should be up to your armpits when standing
on one leg with medium lift heels while facing north.” Or maybe you heard,
“Your poles should be up to that little cleft between your upper lip and
the bottom of your nose, but only that long if you can V2 all the way to the
end of Cloudwalker in December.” Well the truth is, the theories about
pole length have changed a bit over the years. With skiing at the elite level relying
more and more on upper body strength, there has been interesting research on
the amount of propulsion archived thru poling action, especially for skate
skiing. Elite skate skiers now generate about 70% of their propulsion with
their poles!  How do they do that? It’s
rather simple physics. They simply apply more force to the poles over more
distance. I know, easier said than done. So what can we recreational skiers do?
Yes, we could train harder year round. We could also make sure we have the
right poles. Why? Because our ability to affect the distance thru which we
apply the force is somewhat a factor of having the right length pole. Imagine
if we had really short poles, say to your navel. Would you be able to pole
strongly? Conversely, if you had really long poles, maybe a foot taller than
you. Again, would they be useful? The current thinking is trending toward
longer poles for skating. Think “tip of your nose.” Classic skiing
has been around much longer than skating, so pole length theory seems to be
more stable. Think, “top of your shoulder.”  Frankly I think an easier way to determine
pole length is simply mathematical. For classic skiing, poles should be 81 –
84% of your height. For skating, your poles should be 89 – 92% of your height.
Generally speaking, if you have a strong upper body and great technique, then
use the upper end of the range. Newer skiers may prefer the lower end of the
range. One suggestion for buying poles is to get poles at the upper end of the
range and try them out. If they feel too long simply have then cut down. Good
luck if you buy them too short and want to have them cut longer. – Ross Longhini


Preparing Your Skis for Snow

     I like to put my skis to rest during the
summer months with a layer of Toko LF red or Swix LF 6 or 7. The wax is melted
onto the ski and left there. This layer of wax keeps your ski bases from drying
out and helps protect them. When the first tracks are set down, all I need to
do is scrape, brush, and ski. Those wax choices usually work well with early
season snow. If you put your skis in hibernation without a layer of wax, there
are a few steps you can take to get them ready. First of all, I would suggest
waxing the skis with a layer of very soft wax such as Toko yellow or Swix CH10.
Melt the wax on the ski and move the iron from tip to tail 2-3 passes, scrape
the ski while it is still warm with a sharp plastic scraper (don’t forget the
groove). This will help remove some of the dirt and grime buildup from the base
of the ski. Next, apply another layer of the same soft wax and let it cool in a
warm dry place. You want this layer to absorb into the base. Once the skis have
cooled, scrape and brush the skis. You want to remove all excess wax from the
structure pattern of the skis. The final step is to apply the wax for the day
(quite often Toko LF red or Swix LF 6 for me), cool, scrape, and brush. Now
you’re ready to hit the trails.

     In preparing my classic skis I follow the
same steps for the glide portions of the skis (tips and tails). For the kick
zone, I take a piece 100 grit sandpaper and with medium strokes, sand the base
to rough it up a little. You can wrap the sandpaper around a cork. This helps
the kick wax adhere to the base. I like to iron in a binder such as Toko green
for my first layer. Apply several layers of the kick wax of the day and your
skis are good to go. The tips and tails of waxless fish scale skis can be
prepared with glide wax as suggested above, but keep the glide wax out of the
fish scale area. Rub on liquid waxes are also available to help them glide more
freely. – JF


Thank You

     Why didn’t I think of this before? Those
are two words sure to make the Ski Curmudgeon skip to the next article. SC is
back in the tracks. Keep the questions coming! Also he was bragging up his new
career in literature to a reporter in Spokane and that guy thought he would
give it a try, too. Needless to say SC is miffed but the guy did a good job and
I thought you might enjoy his effort. Of course he will never be an SC.
A. Friend


Can One Learn to Skate Ski on Schweitzer’s

     Schweitzer’s nordic trails are hilly and
very challenging. There are evidently nordic trail systems elsewhere that are
flatter, making it easier for learning to skate ski. In our vicinity, there are
such easier options, but they are at much lower elevation where snowfall can be
sparse. Learning to skate ski in our area will eventually require braving
Schweitzer’s nordic terrain. On the plus side, Schweitzer’s nordic trail
grooming for skating has become superb. This short article, describes my
personal journey in learning to skate ski, a journey that continues.

     I first started to grunt my way up and
down Schweitzer’s nordic trails in the 2005 – 2006 season, as I turned 65 years
of age. My Norwegian born wife, Eli, had taken up skate skiing earlier and was
enjoying it, so why not me? She and I illustrate the two extremes for new skate
skiers. She took to it immediately (unfair genetic advantage), while I
struggled. Someone claimed, “It’s a lot like ice skating.” As a hockey player in
my youth, I soon established that claim as a falsehood. Maybe it resembles
speed skating, but not hockey.

     My early strategy was to carry my skis up
the cat track to Cloudwalker, thereby avoiding the climb up from the Valley of
Death. I did this before the lift served, alpine slopes opened, to escape
encountering the downhill skiers and their scorn. I would adroitly avoid the
occasional early morning Schweitzer grooming machines and snowmobiles by
screaming and throwing myself over the cat track edge. Once on Cloudwalker I
would don my gear and huff and puff my way to the Wolf Ridge loop (stopping to
catch my breath here and there) and then return via the same route. I would
even stay on my skis to snowplow down the sometimes icy and rough cat track until
I reached the locker room, where I would wring out my sweat soaked clothing and
join Eli who would be patiently waiting – and attempting to disguise her
laughter. Nobody would sit by sweaty me on the bus back to the Red Barn. One
bus driver always insisted that I ride in the under-bus equipment storage bin.

     This went on for some years. I could
eventually go further between rest stops on my skis. And I now even started in
the Valley of Death, no longer walking up the cat track to Cloudwalker. But
this was due to improving physical condition, not advances in my skating
technique. Then in the fall of 2013, I went to a fund raiser at Pour Authority
for the Sandpoint Nordic Club (SNC) and won a free skate ski lesson – or maybe
Eli won it and forced it on me. Actually, I just went there to drink beer.

     Somehow SNC recognized that I would need
at least two instructors. I was assigned to Ross and Vicki Longhini as their
one and only eager student. They took turns – one would give me pointers while
the other would retreat to cry. Despite their near despair, I learned stuff AND
eventually incorporated it into my skate ski technique. Encouraged by tangible
improvement, I signed up for another lesson via a Schweitzer program. Some
skate ski whisperer guru guy came over from the Methow to share his expertise.
He was one of those aliens from POGSS (Planet Of Gifted Skate Skiers) who could
stand at the bottom of a hill and command his skis to transport him, smoothly
and swiftly, to the top. Nevertheless, he was able to bring his instruction
down to a beginner’s level and instill improvement.

     So here I am about to turn 74, yet facing
the 2014 – 2015 season with anticipation and enthusiasm. My passion for alpine
skiing has dimmed, so this new fascination is timely. I have a long way to go
in technique, naively hoping to improve more rapidly than I age. Perhaps, not
everyone needs lessons, but they definitely helped me. I wished I had taken
competent instruction earlier and hope I didn’t forget everything I learned
last year. – Richard Sevenich


Western Pleasure Guest Ranch

     It’s first thing in the morning, you have
your skis on, the air is cold and the snow crunchy. You are a few feet from
your car and at the beginning of a long loop trail leading to more trails, all
freshly groomed for classic and skate. It is clear, still and so quiet you can
hear past the far end of the huge meadow. Quit dawdling. You’re here for a

     This place is a real pleasure. The setting
is beautiful on the lower slopes of the Cabinet Mountains with miles of trails
in the two meadows. There are some ups and downs, some shorter and some longer,
to make it interesting. It’s the perfect place for a casual outing or to
practice your classic or skate skills.

     Plus the WPGR owners are working hard to
reopen a version of the Big Hill trail. It was closed last year due to logging
and was greatly missed. In the past it had offered terrain comparable to all
but the most challenging at Schweitzer. Watch for more information on this and
a revised trail map.

     And there’s more: This is a dude ranch
with all the amenities you could ask for. It’s the off season for trail rides
but how about a sleigh ride? Or stop by the impressive log lodge for
refreshment and to warm up or cool down depending on how your workout went. If
you’ve made arrangements, there could even be a luncheon waiting for you and
your friends. For details and to make those arrangements, give them a call.

     To learn more, get a snow report or make
reservations call WPGR at (208) 263-9066. They are also on the web:
and Facebook:
Information including driving instructions, trail maps and equipment rental is
also available on the SNC website:

     Happy Trails to You! – Bob Love


Need advice? Ask the Ski Curmudgeon!


Ski Curmudgeon,

     I was skiing at Schweitzer and saw some
people skiing in those weird tracks on the side of the ski trails. I always
thought they were for helping me go downhill on my skate skis. They said it was
called “classic skiing” and told me about the equipment for it. Since
retro is cool again, I want to try this “classic skiing”, but can’t
decide if I should get waxless or waxable skis. What would you recommend?
Trendy Skater


     The saying goes those two grooves you saw
in the snow are designed for people to pour their money into, so the obvious
answer is you need both! You will also need a plethora of kick waxes and a
cork. Waxable classic skis tend to be much faster in most snow conditions.
Waxless skis are for the days you want to throw your kick waxes in the snow bank.


Ski Curmudgeon,

     I recently started dating a very
experienced XC skier. I want to impress him and show him I can keep up. I’m a
distance runner and have excellent endurance, but no technique on skis yet. How
can I improve my technique? Fit and Fumbling


     Patience “Grasshopper”, if you
have fitness, your balance and technique will improve the more time you spend
on your skis. Tell him to yo-yo ski or better yet take a lesson or two (maybe
from your boyfriend’s parents). That way if he ditches you on the trails,
you’ll always have them on your side. SC


Ski Curmudgeon,

     I found these weird tubes of sticky goo in
my girlfriend’s freezer, she calls them “klister”. Aside from making
an awful mess, what is the stuff used for???


     Your girlfriend is an extremely wise
person. That sticky goo, also known as klister is an alien substance that
literally has a mind of its own. It won’t stay in its tube, it laughs at
plastic baggies. The only way to control it during the warm summer months is to
lock it in the freezer. If left unchecked, it will ruin your entire wax box.
The only reason skiers tolerate it is because it gives them “magical
skis” in certain icy or slushy snow conditions. It should come with a
warning label because when applying it to your skis, it will end up in your
hair, inside your gloves and other places I won’t mention. Look for a future
article on applying klister kick wax in the SNC newsletter. SC


     Send your question for the Ski Curmudgeon to The views expressed by the Ski Curmudgeon are his own
and hardly ever reflect the views of the SNC.


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newsletter may also be sent to


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