February 2015 Newsletter

Sandpoint Nordic Club NEWSLETTER

Volume 1 Issue 5: Feb 1, 2015


on skiing! Here’s what’s happening:

Nordic Ski Clinics
2/6-2/8. Article below. http://www.schweitzer.com/events-activities/nordic-ski-clinics-2015/

Lake Cross Country Skiers Picnic
Saturday, 2/7, 12:30pm. Article below.

Spokane Langlauf
Sunday, 2/8. http://spokanelanglauf.org/
Article below.

Member Meeting
Tuesday, 2/10, 6:30, Idaho Pour Authority. Article below.

2/22. Article below. http://www.schweitzer.com/events-activities/explore-schweitzer-2015/


Skiing at University of Idaho Extension

     We may be closing the chapter at U of I
due to the warm temps day and overnight, but it’s been sweet skiing while it
lasted. Club volunteers have been grooming there for a month now and it’s been
a treat for our club members and the Sandpoint community, with estimates of
30-40 skiers on any given day, close to 70 when the Youth Ski League meets on
Wednesdays. Thanks to groomers – Jared France, Dave Reseska, Ross Longhini and
Conrad Young for not only keeping the trail groomed daily, but also for fixing
the deep post holes from the foot traffic. Grooming takes 2-3hrs daily so we
owe these gentlemen a huge thank you!!
Vicki Longhini


Schweitzer Nordic Ski Clinics

     If you want some instruction from a fresh
source, Schweitzer is offering skating clinics Feb. 6-8 with coach Kevin Van
Bueren from the Methow Valley. He’s a Level 3 certified PSIA Nordic ski
instructor, who provides everything from the fundamental basics to the
intricacies of the various poling techniques, V1, V2, V2A.

     Kevin’s prior students have raved about
his easy-to-follow drills that made them feel more comfortable and gave them
the tools and confidence to quickly improve their skiing. There is a full
complement of skate skiing lessons Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Feb 6-8.

     Contact Schweitzer’s Ski & Ride Center
at 255-3070, or check the following web link for more information: http://www.schweitzer.com/events-activities/nordic-ski-clinics-2015/.
– Debbie May


Priest Lake Cross Country Skiers Picnic

     6th Annual Cross Country Skiers Winter
Picnic sponsored by the Priest Lake Nordic Club. You and your friends are
invited to attend a ski-in (or snow shoe, walk-in, or snow machine) picnic.

     When: Saturday February 7th  12:30pm to 2:30 pm.

     Where: Reynolds Creek group shelter/ old
CCC camp located along the Hill’s Resort-Hanna Flats snowmobile trail, about
one-half mile south of Kalispell Bay Road. Access is also by cross-country
trails from Priest Lake Marina or Island View Lane, or along the snowmobile trail
by skiing south from Kalispell Bay Road, or west from Priest Lake Marina.

     What to bring: Your picnic lunch, beverage
& trash bags- this is a “Pack In- Pack Out” facility.

     What’s provided: Covered fireplace and
picnic tables, BBQ grill, and vault toilet. We will have a charcoal grill for
cooking and s’mores. The grill will be ready for cooking at 1:00pm.

     Why: Another great opportunity to enjoy
Priest Lake in the winter, meet other skiers and share experiences at Priest
Lake.  Come even if you can’t stay long !

     Please share this invitation with your
cross-country skiing friends and co-workers.

     Last year’s picnic was great!

Questions or for more info. Contact me at plk.catherose@yahoo.com

Catherine Rosenberg


Mt. Spokane Langlauf

     The 37th annual Langlauf cross country ski
race and tour is scheduled for February 8, 2015. The event follows a
traditional 10 km course around the Nordic ski trails at Mt. Spokane Sate Park,
This classic technique only event draws more skiers than any other ski
event in the Pacific Northwest. Participants range from highly competitive
racers to families touring with their kids. Skiers and volunteers have equal
opportunities at the numerous randomly drawn door prizes. A separate category
exists for people sporting wooden skis and woolly attire. The Langlauf is a
mass start where skiers “seed” themselves based on their expected
completion times. A computer chip timing system is implemented. The course
includes gradual climbs and rolling terrain, making a U turn on the Shadow
Mountain trail and finishing back at the main Nordic Lodge near the start area.
The 10 km loop has approximately 640′ of elevation gain. Food and refreshments are
available after the race. The Mount Spokane trails are impeccably maintained
and the grooming for this event is generally exquisite. Free kick waxing is
available thanks to Fitness Fanatics and Swix/Toko. A Sno-Park permit is
required and one day permits are available. On-line registration is also
available. – JF



Monthly Member Meeting

     At Idaho Pour Authority, 203 Cedar St., Sandpoint,
on Tuesday, 2/10, 6:30. 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!


Explore Schweitzer

Schweitzer, Feb. 22, is a fun event/adventure where you have an allotted time
to travel the distance you choose. Stop at stations along the way and receive
raffle tickets—tickets good for a chance at some sweet prizes from Rossignol,
Toko, Hammer Nutrition etc. You choose the route you want to go in order to
collect tickets before time expires. Make it a sprint or an adventure. It’s
bound to be fun! http://www.schweitzer.com/events-activities/explore-schweitzer-2015/
– Debbie May


Learn to Ski Day

     Thank you to all the Club members, Club
supporters and Schweitzer staff members whose combined efforts made this
possible and made it a success! As the Schweitzer press release said:

10, 2015 saw a strong turn-out for Schweitzer Mountain Resort’s Winter Trail
Days. On that day, the Schweitzer offered free access to the entire Nordic
trail system for cross-country skiers, snowbikers, and snowshoe enthusiasts. In
conjunction with the resort’s promotion, the Sandpoint Nordic Club offered free
cross-country lessons and rentals as well.

     “One of the most exciting things about
this event is that most of the folks attending are first time cross-country
skiers,” said Vicki Longhini of the Sandpoint Nordic Club. “They are all so
excited to learn this great sport and are so appreciative of both Schweitzer
and the Sandpoint Nordic Club for creating this opportunity.”

     The club estimated 130 new skiers took
advantage of the free rentals, but that number could fail to include the dozens
just out enjoying the trails on their own, according to Rick Price of the
Sandpoint Nordic Club. “We had people showing up with their own gear and
rentals from the Alpine Shop and Outdoor Experience in town as well,” said

     “We were thrilled with the outcome of this
year’s event,” said Tom Chasse, CEO of Schweitzer Mountain Resort. “It’s great
to see people learning about other ways to enjoy Schweitzer during the winter.
Our 32-kilometer trail system is an important part of our resort operation and
we’re very happy to work with the Sandpoint Nordic Club to promote our trails
and the sport.”

     The Sandpoint Nordic Club’s mission is to
introduce the sport of cross-country skiing to more adults and children in the
community. “This event goes a long way in fulfilling that mission,” said
Longhini. “It’s truly an important event for us.”


Western Winter Roundup

     The Western Winter Roundup was full speed
ahead on Saturday morning, January 24th, attracting local Nordic skiers as well
as skiers from CdA and Spokane. Despite receiving moderate rain over night, the
trail held up well and the racers enjoyed a competitive ski race. The Sandpoint
Nordic Club began prepping the course at Western Pleasure Guest Ranch several
days earlier and laid out a 2.5K loop for classic and skate skiing in the north
Meadow Loop. Skiers skied either a 5K or a 10K. 
Over half of the participants were under 18yrs. Running concurrent with
the ski race was a snow shoe 5K  &
10K race that looped through the rolling, wooded trails of Western Pleasure.
Smiles were seen all around!!  Special
thanks to Western Pleasure for hosting, Ross Longhini for grooming the course
and Jennifer MacDonald for organizing the race. Other volunteers included Vicki
Longhini, Sue Dietz, Nancy Dooley, Susan Drumheller and Meredith Lynch. – Vicki Longhini

are pictures from the event at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1036871926329551.1073741859.623196311030450&type=1


Wednesday Ski Group

     The number of skiers participating in the
Wednesday group has increased each week. We had a total of 13 happy skiers on
January 21st.  8 classic skiers and 5
skaters enjoyed good snow, occasional sunshine, and lots of laughs. We were on
the snow for several hours however we did lose several skiers due to personal
time constraints. We expect an ever larger group each week as prior
participants are starting to bring their friends. Come join us, make some new
friends and have some fun. We meet at the clock tower at 9:10 on Wednesday
mornings. – Bill Tregoning


Join a Ski Group?

     The Club is offering a variety of
opportunities for you to get to know and ski with other members on a regular
basis. This follows the lead of and expands upon the successful Wednesday Ski
Group which, for several years has been organized and facilitated by Michele
and Bill Tregoning.

     The Wednesday Ski Group continues to meet
at 9:10 AM Wednesday at the Schweitzer clock tower. Many skiers ride the 8:30
bus and get more acquainted with others in the group. It may be skate or
classic depending upon snow conditions. For more information contact Bill at btrego2811@msn.com

     The Saturday Ski Group meets at 8:40,
Saturday morning, at the Schweitzer clock tower. You can use the 8:00 bus and
get ahead of the downhillers. This is an informal group, there will be no
leader or organizer, just a chance to meet and ski with other Club members.

     If you can’t make those sessions or would
like more group skiing the Club will try to match you up with other members to
form groups that meet your needs. The idea is that skiers would be matched with
others of similar abilities and interests for regularly scheduled outings. If
needed the Club will try to provide an experienced skier to act as guide. If
you’re interested, send an email telling what you would like in a group to sandpointnordic@gmail.com – Bob Love


The 3LAs: NNN, SNS & NIS

     What the heck is up with all the 3 Letter
Acronyms, 3LAs, for Nordic binding systems? In fact, these 3LAs only cover
skating and classic cross-country skiing and leave out back-country,
telemarking and jumping. We will only discuss current binding systems for
cross-country skiing. Several years ago, Salomon came out with a new binding
system. Being so innovative, they called it the Salomon Nordic System. You may
have guessed that this is known as the SNS binding. You may also have guessed
that the binding system would have to be matched to the right boot. Yes,
Salomon also happens to make boots. For quite a few years, Salomon dominated
the Nordic ski boot market.  You may also
notice that Atomic uses the SNS system. That is because Salomon and Atomic are
both owned by Amer Sports. Rottefella came out with a ski binding systems in
1927. It doesn’t seems like that did much for most of the 20th century.
However, they have recently had success with their new system. Again, being a
standout innovator (at least in the naming department) they called it the New
Nordic Norm. Yes, you guessed right, NNN. So Rottefella doesn’t make boots. So
what did they do? They licensed their technology to many ski boot manufacturers.
Today, you will find ski boots that are compatible with NNN bindings from:
Alpina, Fischer, Madshus and Rossignol. At the point in time when NNN came out,
both the SNS bindings and the NNN bindings were attached to the skis using
screws and glue.  By the way, never use
screws that are too long. Ha. In 2005, Rossignol, Madshus and Rottefella
announced a truly innovative system to attach bindings to skis. They call it
the Nordic Integrated System – NIS. This is a plate bonded to the ski that you
can attach your binding to in the comforts of your living room. No screws. No
glue. No drilling holes into your $700 skis. Furthermore, you can adjust the
location of the binding on the ski, adjust the binding for different size boots
and remove the binding with ease. The NIS plate technology is tied to the NNN
binding/boot system, so only NNN bindings attach without screws and glue to
skis with an NIS plate. To further confuse the system, you can purchase NNN
bindings that are either NIS compatible or not. The NNN bindings that are not
compatible with NIS are simply glued & screwed to the ski just like an SNS

     So is one system better than the other? If
you put an NNN binding on a ski with an NIS plate, will you be a World Cup
skier? Unfortunately, that’s likely not the case. Ultimately, you’re best off
buying a boot that is really comfortable and then getting whatever binding
system matches the boot. Personally, I like NNN system on the NIS plate.
However, I don’t use them because I have had great luck with my Salomon boots
and they are only compatible with SNS bindings which in turn are not compatible
with NIS plates. – Ross Longhini


Adjust your body position for greater
efficiency and balance

     Have you ever been skiing along when a minor
terrain change has you flailing your arms and fighting for control? An
adjustment to your body position can likely be the cure to your problem by
increasing balance and reducing fatigue. The PSIA uses a pyramid of movements
which are all important to the sport. The base of this pyramid is body
position, without which everything else on the pyramid becomes less useful. You
can be incredibly fit but if you have poor body position over your skis you
will be working harder than necessary and skiing with less stability.

     If you think of a tennis player, he must be
able to quickly move left or right to return a serve. To do so, his weight must
be forward with slightly more weight on the balls of his feet. The appropriate
body position for more efficient skiing is similar, ankles and knees flexed
forward with your hips over the balls of your feet.

full length mirror is a great tool to view and adjust your stance. Start by
standing tall. Slowly make yourself shorter by flexing your ankles and knees
forward. Bring your hips  forward over
your feet. You may feel your heels start to lift as your hips move forward.
Stop just prior to your heels becoming unweighted. That is where you want to
be. If you stand sideways to a full length mirror you should see an imaginary
line from the shoulders to the balls of your feet running through the hips,
knees, and ankles. In this “stacked” position your body’s bone structure more
efficiently supports its own weight.

you have this position dialed in at the mirror, commit the feel of it to memory
and take it with you to the snow.

position is the most important piece of the puzzle to more efficient Nordic

A good
body position helps improve a skiers balance and stability. It can also promote
longer glide and help lower your heart rate. Take it out and give it a try. – Bill Tregoning


Meeting Thomas Wassberg

     Thomas Wassberg is a cross-country ski
legend. He is to Sweden what Michael Jordan is to the United States, an icon.
Between 1980 and 1988 Wassberg won four Olympic gold medals plus an additional
four gold medals in the Nordic World Championships. He took gold in what was
one of the greatest cross-country ski races ever run, the 15 km event in the
1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics, the very same Olympics as “The Miracle on
Ice”.  The race was a 15 km classic
interval start. Finnish giant Juha Mieto had crossed the finish line with the
fastest time by a hefty margin. Wassberg had started behind Mieto and was
tearing up the hilly Mt. Van Hovenberg trails. Mieto stood watching the race
clock as his rival entered the stadium, it was going to be close! Wassberg
crossed the line 1/100 second ahead of Mieto. The equivalent of the length of
his nose, all this after skiing 9.6 MILES! Mieto could do nothing but drift silently
into the gray woods and weep. After that race the FIS Nordic Ski Federation
decided to time cross-country ski races to the nearest 1/10 second. Legend has
it that after the Olympics Wassberg and Mieto cut their gold and silver medals
in half, exchanged halves and welded them together.

     In 1998 my kids attended a PNSA dry land
ski camp at Nat Brown’s ranch in Princeton, BC. Nat was a national team wax
technician and had made numerous friends during his time on the World Cup
circuit. The 1998 camp had a special guest named Thomas Wassberg. When my wife
and I arrived on the final weekend to pick up the kids, the athletes were
resting. The first person we saw was Wassberg 
hauling and spitting large chunks of firewood. An avid outdoorsman,
Thomas had brought his twelve year old son Bjorn to the remote camp. I will
never forget watching an 8 mm film of the 1982 world championship 50 km in
Nat’s  rustic barn with the young PNSA
skiers, Wassberg, and his son Bjorn. Towards the end of the race the film was
focusing on Wassberg and Norwegian great Odvar Braa as they dueled for gold.
Suddenly Bjorn shouted out “Papa did you win, Papa did you win”? Bjorn had no
idea his father was an Olympic and world champion and yes Papa did win.
Wassberg is typical of most Nordic ski top level racers. They tend to be
hardworking, humble, and dedicated to their sport. They’re not in it for fame,
glory, or money. They simply love what they do and the lifestyle that goes with
it and sharing that love of the sport.

     Today Wassberg enjoys working as a
professional cross-country ski trail designer and assisting with World Cup
events. His favorite days are spending time with his family and working on his
private tree farm in Sweden. – JF


Nordic Skiing in Austria

     Typically we think of the nordic ski
disciplines as classic cross country and skate skiing, most usually on a
prepared/groomed track. Here I’ll broaden the classification by including ski
touring, sometimes called ski mountaineering or backcountry skiing. Ski touring
on gentler terrain might use classic nordic cross country gear, but as the
terrain steepens, the beefier Telemark or AT (randonee) gear, including
climbing skins, becomes prevalent – as well as avalanche transceivers, shovels,
etc. This activity requires neither ski lifts nor machine-prepared skiing
surfaces, although a ski lift may be used to get initial access to the

     The Scandinavian countries have a long
history of ski touring; so to include it as a type of nordic skiing is appropriate.
For example, it was a common mode of backcountry travel by the tough and heroic
Norwegian resistance fighters in WWII. In passing, let me recommend a book:
Skis Against the Atom by Knut Haukelid.

     Oops, I digress – I am to discuss
Austria’s nordic skiing. Austria is, of course, famous for its alpine skiing
with monster resorts such as that near Kitzbühel offering nearly 100 ski lifts.
Surprising to us is the concept that neither the ski resort nor the state owns
the land; the farmers do. In the warm months, the alps are grazing land, mostly
for dairy cattle. In preparation for winter, the cattle are paraded into their
barns in the valleys. And indeed it is a traffic-halting parade, with the
animals all decked out with flower wreaths and ornate bells. The farmers who
rent their land to the ski resorts then take down their fences and often
operate mountain inns through the winter, where one can get food, drink, and,
in some instances, lodging.

     However, among local Austrians, ski
touring with AT gear is very popular in those areas not served by ski lifts.
Some of them marvel that people pay to ski. Farmers in the alps freely allow
hikers, bikers, and skiers on their land – quite unlike the private property
fixation we have here in the states. A group of Tiroleans, I came to know,
permanently rents a hut below the Gams Hag peak near Kitzbühel, in terrain
outside the ski area. In winter, access is via ski touring, perhaps a 3 hour
trip. They have ‘modernized’ the hut making it more comfortable and functional
e.g. an actual wood burning stove and extra beds. It still has the large
fireplace and huge cheese-making kettle. The renters use the latter as a hot
tub. There is also a good sized root cellar for storing wine and food. When I
first met these folks, they would access their hut year round as a party house.
More sedate now, they take their children there for short vacations – summer or

     Such huts are not unusual. Some years ago,
before roads and vehicles were the norm, the cattle would be taken up into the
mountains in spring by herders who would then live in the huts until fall, when
the huts would again lie vacant. Nowadays, the herders can get to the cattle on
a daily basis by automobile so the huts are no longer used as before. However,
the attached barns are still employed to provide refuge for the animals in foul
summer weather. Note that Austrian ski touring doesn’t require a hut. There are
plenty of trail heads which provide parking for accessing high alpine terrain.
There are also access points from ski lifts here and there.

     I’ve emphasized ski touring because its
popularity among the Austrians is high and well integrated into their mountain
culture. But what about classic cross country and skate skiing? Just the
Tirolean portion of Austria offers about 4000 (not 40, not 400) kilometers of
well maintained nordic trails! These may be community based or full-on nordic
style resorts. Keep in mind that Austria is roughly a third the size of Idaho,
but with five times the population.

     Although I’ve done some ski touring in the
Kitzbühel area, I’ve done no classic or skate skiing there. However, I’ve biked
all over that terrain in the warmer months with mostly gentle terrain in the
valleys. In the immediate vicinity of Kitzbühel, there are 120 km. of
maintained trails, with connectors to the Brixental and Pinzgau trail systems,
bringing the total up to 500 km. Most of this lies on valley floors (~2500′
altitude), but some as high as 4000′ altitude. The Kitzbühel trails are cost
free and one small 7 km system up valley slightly from Kitzbühel even has snow

     Finally, note that the elevations in the
Kitzbühel area are quite similar to here, but they seem to get more dependable
snow on the valley floors. The snow season also seems to arrive a bit later
than here. There are higher elevations west of Tirol as you travel toward
Switzerland e.g. in Austria’s Arlberg.
Richard Sevenich


advice? Ask the Ski Curmudgeon!


Ski Curmudgeon,

     I was cross-country skiing at Schweitzer
and saw a person riding up the ski trail on a snow bike with skate skis
attached to their back. What’s up with that? – Perplexed


     That person was “skiing with
insurance”. If the bike got thrashed by a skier or received a flat tire,
they could ski out. If their skis were stolen or they broke a ski, they could
ride out. Makes sense to me. – SC


Ski Curmudgeon,

     I saw multiple people get attacked by what
looked like a mad blue grouse on Cloud Walker. Should I be worried? – Alfred H.


     I don’t think so, another skier was
observed with the “fool hen” riding harmlessly on her back while she
was in a tuck. The bird is probably frustrated from a failed mating attempt or
has been recruited by Schweitzer to check trail passes. If you have a pass, you
should be fine…..– SC


Ski Curmudgeon,

     Nordic trails on forest roads often have
side hill sections in early season, before there is enough snow to groom them
flat. What is the best way to ski these sections for a V1 skier? For example,
if the trail slopes to my right, am I better off with V1 left or V1 right …
and why? – I. Lean


     I believe it is beneficial to a skier to
become efficient poling on both sides. It’s fine to have a strong side for
poling, but if you use the V-1 technique extensively, you can develop your
muscles more on one side. In the case of a sloped trail, I think poling on the
up-hill side is less of a strain against gravity. Gravity is our friend going
downhill, but the less you can fight it going up-hill, the better. Learning to
pole on both sides is also helpful in climbing around corners. The main thing
to remember is to try and maintain an equal push with both legs regardless of
the terrain or what poling technique you are using (V-1, V-2, V2A). It’s easy
to develop a habit of pulling yourself up a hill and relying more on your arms
and less on your legs. Unless you’re the Incredible Hulk, your legs have larger
muscles. – SC


     Send your question for the Ski Curmudgeon
to sandpointnordic@gmail.com 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 be sent to sandpointnordic@gmail.com
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