November 2015 Newsletter


Volume 2 Issue 2: Nov 1, 2015

Picture of the Month
Thanks to Jared France! What wax?
Submit your picture for the next edition by emailing it to
And here’s a hint: It should have some snow in it.

Set for Nordic season? JUST SAY NO TO EL NINO!
Here’s what’s happening:
    BREAKING NEWS! Starting NOW! It might snow this week. Keep an eye on the forecast.
    Junior Race Team Dryland Training Sunday, 11/1. Hey, that’s today! You can read this later. Check the calendar for details.
    Club Meeting Tuesday 11/10, 5:30pm. Winners of Schweitzer Nordic passes will be announced. See the calendar for location.
    Nordic SWAP Saturday, 11/14. Out with the old, in with the new. See the write up below.
    Winter Trails Day a.k.a Ski Free Saturday, 1/9. Details will be announced.

UofI Trail Maintenance
Ross is looking for some hearty souls to help get the trails ready for winter. Contact him at – Vicki Longhini
200 k Challenge
     The Sandpoint Nordic Club is sponsoring a 200 kilometer challenge this ski season. Skiers who ski a minimum of 200 kilometers for the ski season will be eligible to participate in a drawing for a pair of new skis (winner’s choice). Participants need to be members of the Sandpoint Nordic Club and keep track of their own kilometers skied. Maps of local ski areas with distances labeled are posted on the SNC website. Skiers can also track distances with their smart phones or GPS watches. If distances can’t be determined, 15 minutes/km can be substituted. Ski Challenge logs must be received by the Sandpoint Nordic Club by March 31, 2015 and mailed to: Sandpoint Nordic Club PO Box 233, Sandpoint, Id. 83864. Click here to download your ski log. – Jared France
Nordic SWAP
The Nordic club will not be holding our own ski swap this year, but we are teaming up with the SARS swap, scheduled for Nov 14th at the Fairgrounds, to help manage and guide XC ski equipment purchases.  Bring any equipment you want to sell the night before (Friday the 13th) and look for equipment to buy on Saturday morning.  If anyone is willing to help volunteer during the Swap, we can sure use your help!  The benefit of being a volunteer is getting into the swap free & early and scoping out the equipment deals!  The first two hours of the swap (doors open at 9am) are the busiest and that is where we can really use volunteers.  If you can help, email Vicki Longhini at by Nov 10th so your name can be added to the SARS volunteer list.
   – Vicki Longhini
Listen up parents! 
    The ski season is fast approaching, and ski gear is on sale.  Get out your laptop and get out your credit card.  Here are 3 reasons to buy your kids new cross country ski gear for this season:
Injury.  Get your kids cross country skiing as an alternative to winter sports like alpine skiing or snowboarding.  The statistics speak for themselves.  According the experts at .com, “One of the main problems in accurately assessing nordic ski injuries is the relative lack of data specifically relating to them”.  Hmmm, get it? 
    2. Good grades and good kids.  Go ahead, look it up.  Nordic athletes at almost every college or university with a program have the highest cumulative grade average when compared to other college level sports.  The discipline of training and competition prepares junior skiers for college and careers.   Endurance sports help keep kids on the right path.  It’s difficult to party, train, and be competitive at the same time.   Bend Coach Dan Simoneau recently said, “I’m proud of our program. We find success on multiple levels. We celebrate race results, grades and college acceptances. We would love great skiers, but first and foremost we create great people.” 
    3. Lifetime sport.  I don’t need to tell you it’s good for you and your kids.  My father is still skiing, and he’s 90 years old.  Look at the number of skiers over 50 years of age competing in the Birkie, the largest ski event in North America.  Kelly Kimball, an athlete who I remember as a college athlete over 30 years ago, just placed second overall out of over 450 athletes of all ages in the 50k classic division.      Still not completely convinced?  Here’s another reason: I’m selling 10 pairs of junior skis at a huge discount.  Call me – Ned Brandenberger
Miss Ski Manners Says (Or…a guide to making and keeping friends on the Nordic trails.)
    If you are skiing on a trail system that requires a pass, please purchase one! It is a small price to pay when you consider the cost of grooming and maintenance. Remember that if you don’t buy a pass, you have no right to complain.
    If you are skiing with friends and skiing two or more abreast, please be aware of other skiers and move out of their way before they have to move over for you. If you are passing other skiers, a polite “on your left” is Miss Ski Manners approved.
    Remember to thank our groomers. They are out working very early on cold winter mornings long before we skiers get out of our warm, cozy beds. The work they do vastly improves our ski experience.
    If you like to ski with your canine friends, please take them only to trails where they are allowed. Remember, dog poo….ew.
    Downhill skiers in either classic tracks or narrow skate lanes should yield to uphill skiers.
(It is much more difficult to go up than down.)
    If you stop on the trail while skiing, make sure that approaching skiers can see you.
    Have fun while respecting others on the trails. And send your ski etiquette questions to – MS Manners
Ski Waxing- Post WWII (This is a continuation of an article in the October edition)
    Norway’s early success with wax technicians fueled a full blown cross country ski “arms race” (pun intended). Rivals Sweden and Finland couldn’t allow them to get a “leg up” on their own skiers and were afraid of “slipping behind” (OK I’ll stop), so they devoted their own resources to develop ski waxes. In 1946 Swedish company AB Astra introduced a new wax that was based on science and chemicals not pine tar and concoctions. This new wax was subsequently named Swix. The name Swix is a blend of the words ski and wax (I’ll bet you didn’t know that). After a very successful run in the 1948 Olympics, Swix began to get noticed and was eventually bought out by Norwegian investors. They couldn’t allow the Swedes to have the fastest skis.  Swix hired Olympic bronze medalist, Martin Matsbo who was able to produce a synthetic wax by blending paraffin with microcrystalline waxes. These waxes were predictable, stable, harder and flexible. He was able to develop a series of hard waxes and klisters that worked well in most snow conditions. Dyes were added to differentiate between the waxes with red colors used for warmer snow conditions and green and blue for colder snow. The colder the snow, the harder the wax and the more heat it takes to melt.
    While Swix was busy refining their products, other wax companies began to appear. In 1940, a company in Attsatten, Switzerland, launched a rub on ski wax called 1-3-5 with the brand name of Toko. At the same time, a North American military manufacturer produced a rub on ski wax for the 10th Mountain Division.  The discovery of synthetic waxes caused a wax revolution and wax companies sprang up all over Europe and North America. Norway had Holmenkol, Finland had Rex, other companies with labels such as Jack Rabbit, Fall Line, Poly-Fin, Faski, Ski Spree, Ski-Z, Speed Ski sprang up. If you recognize all of these names then you’ve probably been around longer than even the Ski Curmudgeon.
    In the 1950’s alpine skis started using polyethylene ski bases which proved to be much more hydrophobic than pine tarred wood. It still took Nordic ski manufacturers another 20 years to come to the same conclusion. By the mid 1970’s fiberglass construction and synthetic bases arrived on the scene and with them came a new method of waxing. Alpine glide waxes were used on the tips and tails with a stickier wax applied in the camber pocket for kick. Remember this was still before the skating technique was implemented by American Bill Koch. Another major breakthrough in ski waxing occurred in the mid 1980’s. American Terry Hertel and Swix chief chemist Leif Torgersen began experimenting with surfactants and fluorocarbons. Hertel blended a perfluorocarbon purchased from 3M with candle wax and created a hard block wax called Racing 739. In the meantime, Swix discovered a fluorocarbon powder that could be melted on to the ski base and introduced it in 1990 as Cera F. Fluoro additives are excellent at repelling dirt and water in many snow conditions, but with increased speed comes increased cost. Small 30 gram blocks or vials of powder can cost over $100.
    Despite rapidly changing technology and $1,000,000 wax vans, it’s still an imperfect science and that’s one of the things that make Nordic skiing so fascinating. Secrets that are discovered and used in the wax rooms are rarely shared between nations or even between youth ski teams. Even the Ski Curmudgeon doesn’t divulge why his skis glide so effortlessly down Cloud Walker.  – Jared France

Have you ever wanted to be somewhere else?
     This is hard to explain, mostly because I don’t understand it well myself, but there are some odd things going on with our Foreign Correspondent. I’ve discussed the matter with the Ski Curmudgeon and, in spite of his ability to answer any question, he is as baffled as I am. Just last month FC asked to be sent to Norway to keep us posted on events in the coming season which starts pretty soon. A good idea. We asked a local pilot if something could be arranged but had no luck. So we solicited funding by putting a donation cup on the bar and it turns out some folks would pay to get FC out of town. We bought a ticket,
first class. The next thing we hear FC is not in Norway but the Yukon. Now, it’s entirely possible that the Yukon is not just a place but also a state of mind. That thought has helped me understand and you may find in useful as the story unfolds.
    FC has reported from the Yukon before but the dispatches contained nothing we could print.  We did hear a rumor of an ”accident” at the local brewery. But, when they drained the vat, they found nothing. Shortly after that FC was back here. While we all know FC enjoys a beer amongst good company, it’s not a drinking  problem. It’s more like FC is an unusual drinker. When the newsletter group meets, FC is usually there but a late arrival. It’s not like FC is avoiding paying for the beer. It’s more that FC is looking for
the comradery and we are given a chance to get warmed up before FC walks in and buys the next round.
    Those earlier dispatches consisted primarily of links to material produced by others and relating to Yukon events and activities. As you would expect, the Yukon summer is much shorter than here. And yet the Yukoners seem to spend much of it pining for the recently departed and soon to return winter. They go so far as to save snow to be brought out during the warm spell to create a temporary Nordic ski trail for the purpose of holding races and consuming certain agents in aid of relaxation and the perception of improved performance. Don’t miss the blog describing this event or the You Tube videos. I’ve found three of these, 2012, 2013 and a CBC news report. I don’t know what happened in 2014 and 2015 and have asked FC to find out on the next visit.
    But summer is over soon enough and it’s time for the next season, hunting. Some Yukoners go after this in a big way. Winter is long and they must eat and big game is big. Here is one hope that FC has actually produced material for us. There is a picture of a worthy hunter/skier and a moose, deceased, and someone must have taken that picture. Could it have been FC? We can only guess. But we know with certainty that the worthy hunter/skier would have appreciated FC’s aid in packing that meat out. If FC were actually there. (Now, I’m told this is a sensitive matter and not for the faint of heart or stick walkers. I have decided not to include that picture here even though we have had it reviewed and approved for publication by two vegans. If you can tolerate hunting or are open minded enough to understand differing views on a topic and you would like to see the picture, click here. Sorry, you were warned.)
    Next there is early season skiing. While the grooming report FC sent said little about the ski trail other than that it was only early October and the trail was groomed, it went to great lengths explaining how to get to the trail. First a long drive on a road requiring four wheel drive, followed by a long hike and then an ATV trail. Maybe I got confused but the picture in my mind is of Yukoners carrying their ATVs on the hiking piece and then the ATVs carrying them on the ATV leg. There was no clarification and the report was only posted for a short time as there was soon more snow and the trail became easier to access.
    You will probably see FC around town but I would suggest you not mention the Yukon any more than you would wake a sleepwalker. The simultaneous presence of two contradictory realities could be very dangerous. Instead offer comradery and suggest you buy the first round. Who knows, maybe you’ll go to the Yukon, too.
    There is a Nordic ski club in Whitehorse, YT. The ski season runs from October into May with 85 kilometers of groomed trails with 5K lighted, three huts with wood stoves and a Ski Chalet with a wax room, washrooms, a kitchen, a lounge, Wi-Fi, changing room, showers and saunas. For more information regarding Nordic skiing in the Yukon visit the Whitehorse Cross Country Ski Club website.
– The Newsletter Editor
Dear Newsletter Editor,
    Don’t get too comfortable with your smug analysis of the situation. The FC may actually pick up the pen. Possibly, the threat of such action (that’s right: action) might be used at some point for certain purposes. You see, the FC cannot be pushed into producing articles and purchasing beer. The climate and mood must be just right.
    The lack of snow over the last season has had a devastating effect on the FC, forced by global warming and lack of snow cover to head north in search of inspiration.  The recent posts vaguely related to skiing are attempts by the FC to overcome writers block, and should not be construed as actual articles. The Yukon has yet to produce more than a trace amount of snow, and the FC has returned to Sandpoint, to wait for snow in West Yellowstone and to contemplate the next move. 
    Norway is not within the newsletter budget, and skiing is really the only proven elixir. However, copious amounts of beer and talk of skiing will help.  Roller skiing will only plummet the FC further into depression.
    Please do not wait to start a tab because the FC will unfortunately not make the next meeting. However, please forward any edits to the FC’s article for review.
Thank you,
The Foreign Correspondent
Need advice? Ask the Ski Curmudgeon!
Dear Ski Curmudgeon,
    I noticed my club fees went up this year. I’m not sure I can afford them, what’s up with that? Frugal
Dear Frugal,
    Your club fees cover many worthwhile ski related items such as: group ski outings and clinics, the 200 km Challenge, Free Ski Day, the popular SNC newsletter delivered to your in-box, and most of all grooming the conveniently located ski trails at the U of I property on North Boyer. Dust the cobwebs off your wallet and buck up. Besides, Bob paid his fees this year and he’s even tighter than you are. SC
Dear Ski Curmudgeon,
    It’s me again. What if there’s no snow in town this year, do I get a rebate on my fees? Frugal (again)
Dear Frugal,
    Really? GO AWAY! SC
Dear Ski Curmudgeon,
   Why do some Nordic skiers wear lycra? Do you? Fashion Conscious
Dear Fashion,
    Nordic skiers tend to be some of the fittest people on the planet. They wear lycra to show off their backsides of course. Think of it as a compression sock from the waist down. Besides it makes them feel like they are going fast. By the way, no I don’t, you really wouldn’t want to see my backside. 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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