Volume 2 Issue 1: Oct 1, 2015
Welcome to a new Nordic season. THINK SNOW! Here’s what’s happening:
Nordic Tap Night at Idaho Pour Authority! Wednesday, 10/7 from 4-8pm. Have one for the cause.
SNC Member Meeting Tuesday, 10/13, 5:30pm. Be there. Details to come.
Nordic SWAP Saturday, 11/14. Out with the old, in with the new. See write up below.
It’s that time of year again to start thinking about getting in, maintaining and enhancing your Nordic ski fitness. Check out these links to help you get in the mood:
If you own roller skis, get out and use them! The new pavement above the Roundabout on Schweitzer Mtn road is still smooth as silk. Dryland training, led by Vicki Longhini, will be starting on Monday evenings at 5:30 on October 5th. If you are interested in joining this class, you need to register by sending an email to email@example.com and state YES, you plan to attend. Participants should bring a mat and ski poles (about arm pit height) for ski walking and bounding. Locations will be posted on the calendar. – Vicki Longhini
October 7th from 4-8pm. This is our annual fundraiser for the club. Come support your Sandpoint Nordic Club, sample tasty beer from Firestone Walker Brewing and participate in a raffle for some great prizes. New and renewing members that join that night receive raffle bonus bucks!!! We’ll have Nordic shirts and headbands for sale – both make great Christmas stocking stuffers. – Vicki Longhini
This year your Nordic club will be managing the Nordic ski section of the SWAP hosted by SARS on November 14th. We’ll have a fitting station and club representatives present to help you find gear that fits you. Get your questions answered about waxing, gear fit and trail grooming. If you are interested in volunteering at this event, we’d love to have you and you’ll get first pick on the gear for sale! Send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org if you can volunteer. – Vicki Longhini
What do pine tar, sheep’s blood, boiled cheese, fox grease, ear wax, melted phonograph records, and salted herrings have in common? You guessed it! They were all once used to make skis glide faster. You may think that melting wax into your ski, scraping and brushing is tedious work, but try collecting enough ear wax to put on a pair of skis. We skiers of today have it relatively easy, but it didn’t start out that way. Laplander skiers in northern Scandinavia were using a mixture of pine tar and resin way back in 1670’s. Old wooden skis would absorb water and pine tar was known to repel it. The pine tar also created some irregularities in the surface of the ski base to aid in getting grip or “kick”. I’m sure the Sumi skiers weren’t real popular with their mates after stinking up the hut, but this was only the beginning of unpleasant odors. I remember my father using pine tar to treat the bases of wooden cross-country and jumping skis in the early 1960’s, but my mother made him do it in the garage.
In the 1850’s, California gold rush miners held organized downhill ski races. This led to the creation of such concoctions known as “Black Dope” and “Sierra Lightning” which were composed of mixtures of sperm oil, vegetable oil, pine pitch and who knows what. Skiers in the old days would try just about anything to out glide or out jump their competition. Sheep blood, cattle blood, cheese and herring were used. Quite often a piece of cheese would be sitting at the top of the in-run for jumpers to rub on their skis before cruising down the ramp. The first commercial wax called “Record” was introduced in Oslo in 1904, coincidentally phonograph records became popular after 1910. Olympian Thorleif Haug was known to “cook” the records that he didn’t like in his personal wax brew. A coach once scraped the wax of Haug’s skis after a race and years later gave it to one of his best skiers during a difficult wax day. It was reapplied, pine needles, dirt and all.
In 1913 Peter Ostbye of Norway patented a sticky, gooey substance which became known as klister. It was a mixture of paraffin, pine resin, venetian turpentine and shellac and provided both kick and glide on soft wet snow. Ostbye introduced his new invention at the famed Holmenkollen race in 1914. Many of his competitors doubted the prowess of such a strange substance until his resounding victory. Fortunately for Peter, his brother Sverre who was a better skier, became sick and couldn’t race. Peter went on to become quite wealthy from his ski wax which sold for 2 kroner (30 cents) per tube. Some early “wax technicians” tried to develop their own form of klisters using mixtures of bees wax, resin, bicycle inner tubes as well as other toxins and occasional blew up a kitchen.
Norway dominated the Winter Olympics in 1924 by having a separate support crew for their athletes including wax technicians. Bitter rivals Sweden and Finland couldn’t allow the Norwegians to dominate, so a serious focus on developing new wax recipes began.
Next- The Post WWII ski wax era – Jared France
The West Yellowstone Ski Festival
The West Yellowstone Ski Festival is absolutely the best way to kick-off your Nordic ski season. The festival is held in West Yellowstone Montana, November 24-28 and attending gives you access to great skiing, on snow demo equipment, racing, and if you’re curious you can even try biathlon. In addition, evening hours offer presentations on waxing, training tips and various other subjects. There is also a nightly “expo” where you can meet the reps from most equipment suppliers and check out the hot new gear for the coming season.
West Yellowstone is the home of the Rendezvous trail system. Base elevation is 6800 feet so early snow is the norm. The trail head is right in town, walking distance from most accommodations. The trail system boasts 35km of gently rolling terrain with a few heart pounding climbs. Grooming occurs nightly and skiing can be excellent with very little snow.
The drive from Sandpoint to West Yellowstone is 470 miles. Driving on dry roads takes about 71/2 hours, add several hours for severe weather.
The West Yellowstone Ski Festival is not just the kick-off to my ski season, but often the highlight. I’m surrounded by Nordic skiers from World Cup level and down, all with big smiles. I’ll see you there. – Bill Tregoning
Dear Ski Curmudgeon,
I was skiing on the U of I trails last winter when I encountered a person walking down the middle of the track with their dog. The dog even pooped in the trail. I didn’t know how I should have responded. Any suggestions? Too Nice
Next time “kill em”, with kindness that is. Gently explain what the track is there for and that skiing through dog poop is a real drag. If you encounter them a second time, remember ski poles can be used for more than pushing off. – SC
Dear Ski Curmudgeon,
I love cross-country skiing but I get bunions on my feet that really hurt. Is there some way I can get rid of them? Foot Sore
You can help those feet, but it’s going to take balls. Try rolling your feet on tennis balls to break down the boney mass. Better yet, get some skis boots that give your feet a little more room in the toe box. – SC
Dear Ski Curmudgeon,
Do you recommend running with poles for off season ski training? Getting Fit
You may be better off running with Norwegians or Swedes, unless of course, it’s Justina Kowalczyk. – SC
Dear Ski Curmudgeon,
It takes me weeks to get my body used to skate skiing once the snow flies. I have to constantly stop and catch my breath. Do you recommend roller skiing with slow wheels to get my body acclimated? Too Tired
Slow wheels? Give me a break. Get your LA off the couch during the off-season and you’ll be able to breathe on the hills during the ski season. – SC
The Sandpoint Nordic Club newsletter group is looking for sponsors to send the newsletter’s crack team of reporters to Norway. The goal is to interview Nordic ski legends and review ski trails. If interested in becoming a sponsor, contact the Ski Curmudgeon.
Send your question for the Ski Curmudgeon to email@example.com The views expressed by the Ski Curmudgeon are his own and hardly ever reflect the views of the SNC.
Previous editions are available on the Club website.
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