Monday, December 29, 2014

Indoor Biathlon!

This gives some great detailed images of skate skiing technique.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

current conditions at Windsor park on the training grid

I have never noticed this abandoned machinery at WP before -- gave a bit of a 'Mad Max' feel to my lonely ski!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Windsor Park trails closed ...

Instead, we will have dryland training at Westview Park at 7PM on Monday.

Look who made it into the Free Press ...

Training basket: Kristin Madsen

Four years ago, the Downtown Nordic ski club started with six friends getting together to stay in shape and do something they love. Their passion for cross-country skiing, healthy living and socializing during the cold winter months has since blossomed into a program with 140 members.
"Through word of mouth and over the years it's grown so much because it's a need that we have," says Kristin Madsen, an instructor and one of the original six members, which include club founder and competitive skier Steve Scoles. "There's a lot of camaraderie, everyone is friends. It's awesome getting people out to ski -- everyone from experienced racers to people their first time on skis."
For Madsen, it doesn't get much better.....

For more on this story, follow the link:

Hey, feel free to make comments on the Free Press about this!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Soveriegn Lakes Open

Last week-end, Levi took home two first place finishes at the Soveriegn Lake Open.  Fellow Manitoban (but sadly non-Downtown Nordic) skier, Conor M also took home a first places finish.

Here they are on their respective podiums:


The 19 minute plank

If you were out at our dryland training this fall, I talked a lot about the importance of core strength and stability to cross-country skiing.  We worked on a basic, but very useful exercise -- the plank.  In February, we will see who enters the DN Plank Hall of Fame -- that is, who can do a proper 2.5 minute plank.

While a 2.5 minute plank will be very, very impressive, it doesn't quite break the record for a Downtown Nordic plank ...

Back sometime around 2008, I was driving out to an event with Kevin Miller when he mentioned that his wife was working on her core-strength with a club.  He casually mentioned that she could do a 2 minute plus plank with relative ease.

For some reason, that 2 minute plank comment stuck with me.  I'm not sure I had even attempted a plank at that time.  When I later timed myself for a plank, anything longer than about 30 seconds seemed extremely hard.  Over a period of time I added some planks to my regular strength workouts, but could rarely reach more than about 50 seconds.

The following year, in 2009, I set a goal of achieving a 2 minute plank.  I figured if I was more specific in my progressions, I could achieve a plank of this duration. So I started doing 30 second planks 3 times a week and then added 10 seconds to the plank each week.

Progressing gradually seemed to work well for a while.  By being consistent (3 times a week), the slight increase in the duration of the plank seemed more manageable.  I soon got up to over a minute.

However, I eventually stalled at about 90 seconds.  It was extremely hard to accomplish this and often I gave in before going the full 90 seconds.  Was this my plank limit??

By chance, I happened to do a couple of fitness classes one week and near the end of the class, they did some plank exercises including plank jumping jacks (being in a plank position for about a minute doing jumping jack movements with your legs).   They were a bit painful, but I pushed through.

The following week, I did a 90 second plank no problem!  The next time in the gym, I almost did a full two minutes!!   The modest variation of adding plank jumping jacks helped push me through the plateau I was hitting at 90 seconds.

I kept up the fitness classes and/or adding plank jumping jacks to my routine and also the regular increase in plank duration.

By late 2009, I accomplished a 3 minute plank!  For about a year and a half, Kevin's comment of doing a 2 minute+ plank had driven me to push myself.  Once I achieved the 3 minute milestone, I went back to somewhat shorter planks in my strength routine.

One thing that became apparent in late 2009, was how well I could manage my skate-ski technique going up steep or off-camber uphills.  I used to flail pretty badly when the going got tough, but now I could stabilize myself and control and coordinate my limbs much better.

As I was building for the next ski season in the fall of 2010, I wanted to see how long of a plank I could achieve.   I knew one way to force me to push myself was to challenge myself to a competition.

So - I challenged a female co-worker at the time to to plank competition 4 months hence in late 2010.  I figured I had an advantage as I knew I could accomplish a long plank with a combination of consistency, gradual progression, and some variation over time to keep my body from plateauing.

Well, over those 4 months, I managed to work up to an 11 minute plank!!  That was about 5 days before the competition date.  Wow -- I knew I had this competition in the bag.  I was sure 11 minutes would blow away my competition.

On the day of the competition, I felt great and was thinking of my "victory" speech.

Well, I didn't win.  And I even went well past 11 minutes.  I did 19 minutes before collapsing in absolute agony.  My competitor dropped to the floor shortly after me and that was all that was needed to win.

There are a couple morals to this story:

The first moral is that with consistent, gradual progression, and with some reasonable variation thrown in, your body can accomplish amazing things.  Things that you never thought possible

The second moral is that even though I pushed my body to accomplish amazing things, I still finished last.

(If you want some proof of the 19 minute plank, check out the FULL video below)

The world's most boring sport from Steve Scoles on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 11, 2014


“Skating, just like classic skiing, is fundamentally all about balance and coordination,” he added. “So doing a lot of no-pole skiing and working on gliding as long as you can on one ski fully committed with all of your body weight are good exercises for everyone, whether you are at the World Cup level or just getting into skiing.”

Pal Golberg - Norwegian World Cup skier

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Club Info

Here is how the next month of DN training/instruction will work:

There will be three groups to choose from.  Each group will have its own coaches. 

You will need to decide which group you fit into:

Group 1 - Athletic Beginner - coaches Kristen, Sue, and Katrina

Group 2 - Awesome Sport/Intermediate - coaches John and Jim

Group 3 - Happy Competitive/Advanced - coach Steve

Over the next month, we will have three sessions for each of classic technique and skate technique.

Monday, Dec. 8th - classic
Thursday Dec. 11th - skate
Monday, Dec 15th - classic
Thursday, Dec 18th - skate
Monday, Dec. 22nd - classic
Monday, Dec. 29th - skate

On Monday, Dec 8th - we will be meeting first in the clubhouse at WP right at 7PM.  Also, you may be in different groups for each technique.  If you start in one group and want to move to a different group after the first session that won't be a problem.

All other sessions will be starting promptly at 7PM out on the snow in the designated area.

Also we'll be doing name tags, so you'll want to be early!

If you can't make it Monday, plan to be out early on one of the other days.

See you soon!

Monday, December 1, 2014


There have been a few issues with our registration link, so we have extended registration until Tuesday (Dec. 2nd) at midnight.  Don't delay!

Best to go directly to the zone4 website and search for "downtown"

Also, no scheduled club training this week.  The plan right now is to start next week on Mondays and Thursdays at Windsor Park -- stay tunde.


Monday, November 24, 2014

The DN Buff Travels the World - Episode 23

 DN Buff made it's way through the Northwest Passage on board the CCGS Amundsen.  Picture taken on board the deck around Pond Inlet (Baffin Island).  Mud on face from the box core sample (seen in other photo) - which is from the bottom of the Arctic Ocean floor or more specifically Eclipse Sound.  Also included is a photo of the rosette deployment area with scenery of sampling site in the background taken in the early evening.  

DN Buff also made it to Bloody Falls located south of Kugluktuk, NU on the Coppermine River.  Photo is of me with a teacher from Whitehorse and several boys from Kugluktuk High School on a 'what can we see from the top of that hill' adventure walk near the falls.  

It was an awesome adventure....

Movie of the Week

Trails Across the Steppe (Trailer) from Anni Seitz on Vimeo.
Maybe we can have a night where we watch this movie!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Plank Program

One thing I'm going to emphasize for improving your skiing this year is to have very good core strength and stability.

Here is a simple program that will significantly increase your core strength and stability.  Ask a professional to show you proper form.

Do this two or three times per week. Start with some light planks and aerobic activity as a warmup.

first 4 weeks:
front plank - 3 times x 30 seconds.  week 1 - do 30 seconds and add 10 seconds each week;
side plank (each side): 3 x 15 seconds; add 5 seconds each week.  Focus on perfect from

second 4 weeks:
add 3 x 10 pushups - with perfectly flat body (add 2 pushups per week).  add 3 x 10 bird dogs; add 2 per week.

next 6 weeks:
add 3 x 10 jumping jack planks; add 3 x 10 russian twists; add 2 per week.

Focus on perfect stable form. 

At the end of 10 weeks,you should be up to a 2:30 plank!  In February, anyone who can demonstrate a proper 2:30 minute plank, will be inducted into the DN plank hall of fame!

A normal day in Downtown Nordic training

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Thursday - Oct 23rd - Practice Cancelled

In lieu of practice on Thursday night, come out and watch the Canadian Cyclocross Championships on Saturday and Sunday at the Forks.  More info here:

Friday, October 3, 2014

Classic ski drill

This is one of the drills we'll be doing at our dryland practices starting next Thursday.  You can start practicing it now!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Striding Technique

Here's a great video of classic striding technique.  It was put together by the US National team to use for there athletes.  Watch the slow-motion portions and observe the very subtle and slight foot drive with the leading foot just before they grip the snow.

DN registration and information

Registration for DN - 2014.  It closes on Dec. 1st!

The link:

The details:

Some potential for time changes ... we will keep you posted

Pre-season (until good snow)
 - Thursdays at Westview park (garbage dump hill) at 6:30PM starting October 9th - dryland fitness and technique

Early Season (first good snow  to late December / early January)
 - Mondays and Thursdays at 7PM at Windsor Park - technique instruction and drills
 - start our Jackrabbits program - led by Steve Wintoniw  (contact him at stevenwintoniw at
Mid to Late Season (early January to late February)
 - Monday interval training sessions at 7PM (usually with a technique component depending on how cold it is)
 - approximately bi-weekly weekend out-of-town skis - led by Katrina Froese
 - no Thursday training for this portion of the season

 - fees - $65 per person / $100 per family - a special DN gift is included in this price
 - we want to develop more coaches this season! -- any DN member can have their coaching training fees covered (CANSI, jackrabbits, etc.)

For the adult programs, you should be in very good shape and plan to ski regularly through the season.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Photo Explosion from Last Season

Fall training with the Club of the Year Trophy

First snow of the year - November 10th

Julie celebrating at the Grey Cup with a slightly out-of-shape Golden Boy

Some December roller-skiing on Seymour Mountain in Vancouver

Meanwhile, Levi was at Silver Star

And DN skiers at Yellowstone

The DN Buffs - so many uses!

It was a very cold winter
Provincial Championships at Kenora

Levi competing at Nationals in Cornerbrook, Newfoundland
The German Post Office has added DN gear to their uniforms!

Ken at Silver Star

Neil competing at Giants Ridge

I'm not quite sure who is the most awkward in this photo: Kristen or the guy trying to give her a hug.

Wise words from Coach Tim at Nationals

Some more wise words from Tim to Levi

DNers in South America

Downtown Nordic goes Big (Ben)

Julie at the Norwegian Birkie

Lorne Midford and a couple of other guys at the Norwegian Birkie

Patrice, Julie, JeanAnne, and someone else at the Norwegian Birkie

Another beautiful day this past winter

Waxboy Tim working his magic at Nationals

Jacek receiving the award for winning his age group at the Wed Night Race Series
Some late night crust skiing at Birds Hill Pak

Skiing on the Birds Hill Park glacier

Kristen always wants to be in the spotlight

the sun setting on a late season ski

Last ski of the year - April 26th! ...

And this is what I was wearing

Freddie and Esther share the skier of the year award

Katrina also was awarded skier of the year - I have no idea how to get this picture upright

some final partying for the Club of the Year trophy

the partying went into the night

the Trophy was very popular at the bar

Never before photographed in the wild - Sue snowplowing on a downhill

Levi had trouble depositing this into an ATM