Sunday, December 29, 2013

Training this week ...

We'll be training Monday night instead of Tuesday this week.   Interval training on the first fairway (turn left out of the clubhouse).  Warm-up starts at 6:30 PM, intervals at 6:50.

Any technique -- we split everyone into groups based on speed and technique.

Should be another great -25 degree night!

Our First Race!

Nothing like having 60 km/hr winds, heavy snowfall, and plummeting temperatures to set the stage for Downtown Nordic's first actual race this last Saturday.   Ruth and Esther were early leaders, but Murray Carter put in a late surge to take victory.

Thanks to Megan for timing.  Thanks to Yvette, Catherine, and two unknown skiers for cheering on the racers.  Thanks to Jacek for his cameo appearance (as you'll see in the video).  And thanks to Sue and Mia for for being our "Ski Patrol" by sweeping the course for any injured racers two hours after the completion of the race.

                              Official Finish Time    Handicap Time   Actual Time
Murray C                    25:52                            9:00                 16:52 
Steve S                        26:18                            7:45                 18:33
Sean C                        26:39                            9:00                 17:39
Brian H                       26:56                            7:45                  19:11
Esther M                     27:18                            2:00                  25:18
Jim M                          28:23                            3:00                  25:23
Ruth H                        28:30                             0:00                  28:29
Jason H                       32:54                             6:45                  26:09
Joanne S                      32:54                            2:00                  30:54

Slightly embellished video:

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Tour de Ski - Canadian Men take first and second

Talk about unexpected ... Canadians Alex Harvey and Devon Kershaw took first and second at the first event of the Tour de Ski in Germany today.  The Tour de Ski is a seven-stage ski race across 3 different countries.

Results here:

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Great finish at the 2011 World Championships in the 50 K skate race:

Heat Box Waxing Service

Club member Jeff McMillan is offering Heat Box wax service.  Generally with new skis (or recently stoneground skis) you need to glide wax your skis many times before all of the pours are filled in with wax.  The Heat Box speeds this process up as the skis "soak" in the wax over several hours.

Contact Jeff for more info at


Heat Box Waxing Service

Basic Saturation $30

Service includes: Brushing to open up the base (skis must be clean), Fibretex to cut micro hairs, scrape, brush and polish of the wax.
Basic Saturation involves 6 hours in the heat box with a very soft paraffin at a temperature of about 55 degree C. This ensures excellent saturation of the base. The skis will still need to be hardened to the appropriate level for the desired conditions.

Ultimate Saturation $45

The Ultimate Saturation Heat Box is the ultimate base treatment. It starts by applying a very soft paraffin heat box wax and letting it saturate in the hot box for a full twelve hours at below 50 degree C.  A finishing layer is then added of Swix LF-6 to harden the base. This same process has been used on the World Cup for years to get skis to run at their absolute optimum speed.
Other Waxing Services to choose from:

1. Standard Universal Hot Wax - The appropriate glide wax is melted onto the glide zones of the ski base, ironed onto the base, cooled, acrylic-scraped, and brushed and polished.
per pair

2. Low Fluo Hot Wax – Same as standard, but faster wax.
$20 per pair

3. New ski base prep  - New skis need a lot of work to get fast, this service will include, cleaning all debris out of skis (hot scrape),
Fibretex brushing to get cut all micro hairs out of the ski. + Ultimate Heat Box  $50 per pair

4. Cleaning by hot wax scrape to get all dirt out of base.  $5

Contact Jeff McMillan ( to set up an appointment.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

All I Want for Christmas is Two Fast Skis ...

The Club of the Year Trophy and it's fellow Downtown Nordic members wish you Happy Holidays and a Prosperous & Fast New Years

Monday, December 23, 2013

What it takes:

Liz Stephen (USST) hits the weight room hours after racing to third with the U.S. women’s team in Sunday’s World Cup 4 x 5 k relay in Lillehammer, Norway. (Photo: Billy Demong/Twitter)

skate technique

On Thursday, Dec. 26th, we'll do some skate technique work on the training grid.  We'll start at 2:00 with a warm-up and then do some drills starting at about 2:20.

Here's a great photo of uphill skating:  when going uphill the ski angle needs to widen out.  to deal with this for poling, you need to widen the pole base.  However, to maintain maximum power, you try to keep one pole vertical


The offset technique from the side:

Here's some beautiful cornering technique ... see how the lead skier has all of his weight on the outside ski as he step turns around the corner

Here's great technique on the flats ... pushing off and then shifting all of his weight onto the gliding ski:

technique training

This is what we want to look like ...

This is what we don't want to look like ...

Any questions?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Something to help you get outside ...

Great video highlighting the performance of the US Women's team at a recent World Cup relay ...

Team USA - Lillehammer 4x5km 2013 from MarcelH on Vimeo.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Grand Beach race ... cancelled due to cold conditions

Sadly, the Grand Beach race this Sunday was cancelled.

... but we will be back with a Grand Beach race in the future some time!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

12 Days of Grand Beach

On Sunday, December 22nd, ski racing returns to Grand Beach.  The Grand Beach trails, when groomed well, are arguably the best ski trails in the southern half of the province.  The trails will be groomed very well for the race ...


Course maps:

online registration ... closes on Monday!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Grand Beach Classic

It's back ... December 22nd.  We haven't raced there in 5 years.

registration details coming soon (and there is an early registration closing date)

Nice classic technique

We are spending sometime working on classic technique right now in the club.  Here's a great photo of perfect striding.  It's actually on a fairly steep hill.

Here are a few things to note:

1) All of her weight is on the right side (her left).  To help with the weight shift, she has a bit of body lean to that side.  In the old days, it was taught as Tony Knows (Toe-Knee-Nose all lined up on one side).  Rather than move the lean to the side, the better way is to shift the hips over a little bit so the body is aligned over the foot.

2) Her hips are not pushed back, nor is her body piked in a way that pushes the hips back.  By doing this, she is both keeping her body weight over the foot and will also be able to apply significant power from her hip and hamstring muscles in pulling back that ski to propel herself up the hill.

3) She has just generated that significant power on the left side (her right), so that foot and ski have come off the ground.

4) To help maintain that correct body position, she is looking slightly ahead and not at her feet ... Look ahead and you will shred.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Live TV:

The day got off to a bad start when I found out I would not have my own personal trailer on the set, but other than that, things went well ...

Grand Unveiling of the DN Buff ...

I was wondering when pets would be brought into this ...

No animals were hurt in the making of this photo

Last Yellowstone update

I got a little behind on the blog ... here is the last update from DN's Elite team in Yellowstone:

We all seem to be feeling less sore as the week progresses but are feeling very fatigued from the training volume, and feeling the effects of training at an elevation of almost 7000 feet.
David continued with his clinic today while the rest of us hit the trails to get as much skiing in paradise before returning to the loops at Windsor Park. Ben, Stig, Gyula and Esther started with classic skiing in the AM. Ben was loving it, and we got over 23 km in before lunch. We watched the Supertour freestyle sprints. Very exciting to see such powerful skiers, and Ben was able to see those he would be competing against tomorrow in the 15 km distance event.
In the afternoon, we reluctantly pulled ourselves out of our beds, and returned to skate the trails. Esther and Gyula soon lagged behind Ben and Stig, who ended up skiing  50 km today.   They also hit 59.2 km/h on the telemark hill. Hoping to hit sixty tomorrow.
There was once again free beer, hot chocolate and s'mores at the end of the trails.  Great atmosphere, and so inspiring to be surrounded by such fit people. They make us feel like slobs as they get up and run in the morning before skiing. Average person here has 6% body fat.
Tonight we all plan to go listen to the keynote speaker, ex Olympian Dan Simoneau. 

Another ...

... great video from Julia Kern (West Yellowstone):

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Photo Contest Entry

Here's Julie's entry from last week-ends Grey Cup.

That is the same Golden Boy that posed for the symbol on our toques!

Latest Yellowstone update ...

Waking up to our third day of skiing and we all were in rough shape. Could barely dress ourselves, our hip flexors are especially a problem. Regardless of all the cross training we have done over the last few months, our bodies were not prepared for this. 

We all learned lots in our ski clinics. Ben admitted to almost "Liking" classic skiing. He liked the pendulum feeling of swinging the arms. Gyula made some huge breakthroughs in his skate technique and now loves skate skiing. 

The clinics were focused mostly on balance and body position yesterday. Today we focused on poling for the classic sessions and the V1 or offset and lots of long gliding drills for the skate clinics in the afternoon.  Also saw how driving the knee into the ski on an uphill helps propel you forward. Some of us were even video taped for some technique analysis. 

Meanwhile, Stig took an easy day and only skied 36 km. 

Best part was the free beer for us all around the campfire at the trail head at end of the day.
Beautiful conditions once again. Above zero and sunny all afternoon. Lots of very fit skinny skiers from around the world. Everyone is so friendly. Great vibe.

Yellowstone update ...

We all met up at the Holiday Inn at 830 am for the ski clinics. We started by
watching some excellent classic skiers and analyzed their technique.
Then, we practiced balance drills including the familiar standing on one leg
while swinging the opposite leg. Supposedly the pros spend an hour a day doing
this drill. :)

They broke us up into groups of about five or six students based on ability
and we hit the trails.

The morning instruction was all classic. We spent most of the morning skiing
without poles working on getting our hips forward, and being happy in the
"falling forward" position.  Skied for almost three hours in the morning.

Lunch found us all sleeping soundly. We were so tired

We broke up into new groups for the afternoon skate clinics based on our
skating abilities. Again, we did lots of skating without poles before heading
for the trails and skiing until we had nothing left.

Planning to go to the ski wax clinics tonight if we can stay awake past seven pm.

Yesterday, did not get to see Old Faithful yesterday as planned. Apparently,
we are the only people on the planet unaware that the road to the geyser is
closed in the winter. We could ski the thirty miles to see it, but
conditions are poor.  Might end up doing just that if we get more snow
later this week. 


Monday, November 25, 2013

Season plans

OK, we have some snow to work with.  Assuming the snow sticks around and keeps building up (not always a good assumption even for Winnipeg), our plan is ...

This week, we start training every Tuesday and Thursday at 6:30 at Windsor Park Nordic Centre.  Note that the Nordic Centre is not yet open to the public.  We have received special dispensation from the ski association to train there (involved lots of begging).  Once the Nordic Centre is open to the public, you will need to buy a trail pass.

For training, we'll start off doing lots of work on technique -- generally alternating sessions between skate and classic.  By mid-December, the Tuesday workouts will become interval-training sessions.  And in January, the Thursday sessions will become distance-training.

Now is the time to develop good habits for your technique!

Photo taken at Windsor Park Nordic Centre this morning

Registration closing ...

A reminder that club registration closes this Sunday (Dec. 1) at midnight.  (Although we will continue to take registration from potential members in the Boissevain / Turtle Mountain region ... seriously!)

Downtown Nordic at Yellowstone

Elite members of Downtown Nordic are in Yellowstone right now getting in some altitude training as they prepare for the Sochi Olympics.

This is a photo from a local museum:

This is the tweet they sent out to their over 100,000 followers on twitter today:

DN well represented with seven skiers. Eight km group classic ski this am.
Having lunch then meeting up at 1pm for eight km skate. We all skied together. 
Wanted so much to keep skiing. Beautiful conditions. Also plan to go
visit Old Faithful after the ski this afternoon.
Trying to not overdo it on day one. 

Here are is a video they are submitting for the toque contest ...


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Tim takes silver medal at world rafting championships!

Breaking news:  Team Canada (including our beloved president-in-exile Tim) took a silver medal at the world rafting championships today ... as a certain cyclocross announcer likes to say:


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

More trail conditions

From the DN Blog intelligence network ...

Birds Hill Park
"Chickadee was skier-tracked and a bit wobbly, but surprisingly good coverage- no grass anywhere.  The only rough patch we hit was a few rocks on the downhill by the tower, but it was easy to ski around them.

The other trails had lots of snow, but were not as skied in (although there were lots of skiers out, so they will be soon)

Group use road had people skating on it, and coverage was good.  I didn't ski it, but it looked pretty soft and thick."

Windsor Park Nordic Center
"The entire course has been rolled -- i have not skied it but i've seen people out there, rock skis for sure!! watch for a few trucks going in tomorrow to lay electrical for the new lights!"

Turtle Mountain/Lake Adams
"not good yet ... not enough snow for a base"

Report any trail conditions in the comments section ...

Photo Contest!

Ok, we're looking for photos of you wearing your Downtown Nordic toque in unusual places. (or, if you are in an unusual place, but have forgotten your toque, a sign with Downtown Nordic on it will perhaps suffice).

Best photos will win a prize of some sort.  You do not need to be a club member to win.


On Sunday, I skied at Wildwood golf course.  A nice little loop around the golf course is now skied in ... however, you will be crossing a few gravel paths (use your rock skis)

Breaking trail with the ole Kahru boards

On Monday night, I skied at Assiniboine Park.  Good job by those who had previously skied in a short skate loop by the Lyric theater.  There is also a nice little toboggan hill to practice your climbing skillz (although you need to cross a asphalt path at the bottom of the hill!).

I also did a big loop on the road around the park.  It hadn't been cleared yet, so was just nicely packed down snow from cars. 

Skiing the park road on the the ole Fischer boards

Worked on my uphill (and downhill) technique on the toboggan hill

Friday, November 15, 2013

Life is good

Here's an awesome video from a young skier in the US - Julia Kern - on her summer training this year.  Feel free to turn up the sound ...

classifieds - skis and boots for sale

Salomon S-Lab classic skis, 196cm soft  , cold grind (120-143 lb skier)
 w/o bindings (mounted once) . $225
1 Pair of used Salomon S-Lab Pro skate ski boots, size 45 1/3 (US size 11)
 These boots retail for $400 new, asking price $200
Contact: Laughingmagpie (at) 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Skiing has begun

Hello all! Hope you are enjoying the Winnipeg weather and that you are all praying for snow, doing your snow dance, or whatever will get the white stuff falling from the big blue dome. I had the privilege this last weekend to be skiing at frozen thunder!!! It was an awesome time to be on snow in plus 10 weather surrounded by the US national ski team and many members of the Canadian ski team. I was down there for a training camp with the Alberta Ski Team and working with coaches from the Alberta World Cup Academy (ex Olympians). Here are a few shots for that time there. Cheers Coach Tim

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Thinking about skiing ...

The'ye already skiing at the glacier in  Austria:

And at Rabbit Ears Pass near Steamboat Springs, Colorado:

And in Canmore:

Basic Training

Several club members have been asking about basic training plans to get ready for ski season.  Before jumping into more detail, there are a couple of important principles that training should follow if you want good results:

1) Consistency
   Most people jump into a training plan, but then "fall off the wagon" after a short while.  You need to find a program that works for you so that you can keep it up regularly each week.  And by regularly, I mean at least twice a week.  For example, if you want to be a better skier, you should be skiing at least twice per week.  Any less than this, skiing is just too much of a shock to your body and you end up hurting rather than helping yourself.

   One way to keep up consistent training is to have a fun group of people to train with (for example, Downtown Nordic!).  In fact, this idea was part of the genesis of DN -- a few of us wanted a group of people that could push each other to get out training regularly. 

2) Progression
   For people that don't have problems with consistent training, they often have problems with progressive training.  Progressive training means gradually (and I repeat, gradually) increasing duration, intensity, terrain difficulty, of some mix of the three.  If you do the same set of workouts for longer than about 6 weeks, you will start to plateau and make no new improvement.  However, with a gradually progressive training plan, you can improve dramatically. 

   One example of progressive training was when I wanted to improve the length of time I could hold a plank.  I was stuggling at 40 seconds and had heard people talking about doing planks for 2 minutes.  I set a goal to continually add 10 seconds to my plank effort each week.  Eventually, no word of a lie and I have video proof if you want it, I got up to doing a 19 minute plank.  Thank you.

The other side of progression is doing too much too soon.  I have seen many an
"athlete" go on a long ski during first snow of the season and then not being able to ski the rest of the year because of some injury.  On my first ski on snow, I usually go for about 20 minutes max and then see how my body reacts. 

With those two principles in mind, here's a basic training plan to get you ready for skiing:

Week 1
Mon - run 20 minutes, Tues - strength (no weights), Thursday, DN ski-walking, Friday - strength (no weights), Saturday - run 20 minutes and ski-walk any hills

Week 2
Mon - run 25 minutes, Tues - strength (no weights), Thursday, DN ski-walking, Friday - strength (no weights), Saturday - run 30 minutes and ski-walk any hills

Week 3
Mon - run 30 minutes, Tues - strength (light weights), Thursday, DN ski-walking, Friday - strength (light weights), Saturday - run 40 minutes and ski-walk any hills

Week 4
Mon - run 35 minutes, Tues - strength (light weights), Thursday, DN ski-walking, Friday - strength (light weights), Saturday run 50 minutes and ski-walk any hills

Week 5
Mon - run 40 minutes, Tues - strength (medium-light weights), Thursday, DN ski-walking, Friday - strength (medium-light weights), Saturday run 60 minutes and ski-walk any hills

Here is a list of good strength and balance exercises.  Do not do these if you have any injuries or back problems (get those resolved before doing any strength work).

One very important thing to note is that skiing sets itself apart form other endurance sports in the importance of very good balance.  You need to be able to relaxfully (is that a word?) balance on one leg to be able to ski efficiently and powerfully.

For the first week, do only a handful of reps without any weight and then see how your body reacts to them the next day.  Remember -- gradual progression!! 

Strength & Balance exercises:

-  one-legged squat
 - push-ups
 - lat pull downs (instead of bench pull)
 - plank (instead of the rollout)
 - Russian twist

  - one-legged deadlift

 - touch touchs on: mat, bosu ball, or balance pillow

Until next time, keep fit and have fun!