Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Seiser Alm, Italy

A number of national ski teams are training in Seiser Alm, Italy right now as part of their final preparations for the Olympics.  Here's a great video from Andy Newell of the US. 

Someday, you will ski there ...

From Leukemia to Sochi: Fletcher Brothers Aim for Olympic Greatness

From Leukemia to Sochi: Fletcher Brothers Aim for Olympic Greatness

The ski jumps of Howelsen Hill are hard to miss as you drive down Lincoln Avenue in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Naturally derived from the hillside overlooking the small ski town, the jumps have served as a springboard for many athletes looking to make their way to the Winter Olympics.
For the town’s locals, the jumps are a source of entertainment, training, or amusement. For one child, they were life saving.

A Childhood in Question: Finding Relief in Skiing
Growing up, Bryan Fletcher had no idea of what his future would hold. Diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia just before turning three, the Steamboat Springs native was uncertain what life would be like while undergoing treatment for such a serious disease.


Despite the gravity of his situation, Bryan wanted to have the semblance of normal childhood. For the young child who had always “hit every bump and jump” on the side of a trail, that normalcy would take the form of a sport not so ordinary to the average American child: ski jumping.

“As a young kid I remember saying to my parents, ‘those are the biggest jumps in the world! I have to do at least once in my life. That would be so cool.’ Shortly thereafter my parents signed me up for a learn-to-jump program and from the first day I was hooked,” said Bryan in an interview. “I couldn’t get enough of it and every time I went off a jump I would just be running straight up to the next one.”

His start in the sport corresponded more-or-less with the start of his treatment.  From the age of four, would take week-long trips to Denver to receive his chemotherapy and then hurry back to Steamboat Springs to ensure he got in as many jumps as possible. While he listened carefully to do everything the Doctors asked of him, jumping was the one thing with which there was no compromise. It was the main source of happiness for Bryan, and his parents just couldn’t tell him to stop.
“For two hours a day while I was training with my friends I was a worry free, happy, normal kid and that was all that mattered in the end.” – Bryan Fletcher
Bryan would continue to fight his leukemia for seven years, going trough several year cycles of chemotherapy and remission. But the ordeal wouldn’t end there. In the middle of his treatment he survived a stroke that he was fortunate enough to escape relatively unharmed. Finally, after serval years of treatment he went into sustained remission.

Through those seven years, Bryan also was looking for new ways to challenge himself, and that’s where cross country skiing came in. Once involved, he learned of nordic combined, and the rest was history.
Once in remission, his career in nordic combined took off and he made the Junior World Championship team in 2003, 2005, and 2006. As a result from his rise in the nordic combined racing community, he was named to the U.S. Ski Team in 2004 and competed in this first World Championships in 2007 in Sapporo, Japan. He would continue his World Championship runs with appearances in 2011 and 2013
But Bryan’s career wasn’t the only one born out of his disease.

While he made his trips back and forth between Denver, Bryan’s brother, Taylor, watched with admiration as his older sibling balanced the challenges of chemotherapy and joy of ski jumping.
Taylor soon joined a learn-to-jump program himself, instantly fell in love with the sport.

story continues at :


The second Swix Ski Classic race -- the historic Marcialonga in Italy was held on the week-end.  The men's winner attacks from the pack just after the 3 hour point in the video.  The race finishes on a steep 3km uphill through a little town.

Thursday training

Thursday training this week will be classic double pole and one-step double pole on the oval where we did intervals on Tuesday night.  We will add in some work on cornering on classic skis.

Coach John will be heading things up as I rest up for a race at Nipika Lodge in B.C on Saturday.  It feels like race season is just starting!

I googled for a photo of double-pole technique and this picture from our own blog was not far from the top of the search results!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Canmore Racing - Yeah!

Levi raced three races in Canmore and took home three podium finishes.  Downtown Nordic super-fan Mia traveled to Canmore to watch Downtown Nordic in action and got some photos.  Here's one:

Putting the hammer down in the sprints

Here are some more photos:

2nd place in classic!
Tim, learn how to wear a DN toque!

Heat Box!

In case you missed club member Jeff is providing Heat Box and other waxing services.  Here are the details:

Professional Ski Waxing Services
Jeff McMillan 204.284.4839

Ski waxing services can be for a basic wax, an extensive heat box wax,
or anything in between. Phone or email to book an appointment.
All services include:
• Brushing to open up the base (skis must be clean)
• Fibretex to cut micro hairs
• scrape, brush, and polish of the wax

NEW! Heat Box Waxing Services

Basic Saturation $30
Basic Saturation involves 6 hours in the heat box with a very soft paraffin at a
temperature of ~55°C. Such a temperature 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°C. A finishing layer of Swix LF-6 is then added to harden the base.
This same process has been used at the World Cup for years to get skis to run at their
absolute optimum speed.

Additional Waxing Services:
1. Cleaning $5 A hot wax scrape to get all dirt out of the base.
2. Standard Universal Hot Wax $15 The appropriate glide wax is melted
onto the glide zones of the ski base, ironed onto the base, cooled, acrylic-scraped,
brushed and polished.
3. Low Fluo Hot Wax $20 Same as standard, but a faster wax.
4. New ski base prep $50 New skis need a lot of work to get you skiing fast.
This service includes cleaning all debris out of skis (hot scrape), Fibretex-brushing to cut
all micro hairs out of the skis + Ultimate Heat Box.

More Advanced Skate Technique

Beautiful photo of incredible skate technique.  Skiers 3 (Harvey) and & (Legkov) show two different stages of two-skate technique

Swix Ski Classics #1

The first of the big European Classic races was held Sunday.  The event was originally scheduled for the Czech Republic, but lack of snow forced them to move the "elite" race to Switzerland.

The full video below.  One nice double-pole section is just after 1:24:10 (for about two and a half minutes).  The lead skier had just broken away from the large pack and is hammering away with some very nice double pole technique.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Advanced Skating Technique

Martin Johnsrud Sundby recently won the Tour de Ski and we featured a lot of his skating technique in a video a few days ago.  After his victory, Martin thanked his technique coach Audun Svartdal.  Martin used to be mostly a classic specialist, but has worked extensively on his skate technique the last three years and the video shows he's now one of the best in the world at skating.

In an interview with Svartdal, one line translated into ....
 >> It's about motor skills, strength and to get the right muscle groups at the right time and in the right way , says Svartdal <<

Another line didn't translate so well ...
 >> And after the World Cup in Holmenkollen has he really decided to do what is necessary to develop technique in sunken rock styles <<

sunken rock styles???

Anyways, I found a video where Svartdal was teaching some young skiers one-skate technique:

Most of the video is just of the young skiers, but check 2:17 and 2:45 where he shows the side and front angles on advanced one-skate technique.  If you are looking to really jazz up your one-skate, these are really good drills you can do at home.

Watch how high the hips go in the 2:17 section.  And then in the 2:45 section, see how the force is initially directed straight down.  This is also more or less how double pole technique should look.

This is advanced technique and requires a good level of technique and fitness to make happen ... but it's still useful for anyone trying to get a better understanding of skate technique ... or sunken rock styles :)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Canmore Racing

Levi, Tim, and Lisle from Kenora in Canmore for the NorAm races and Olympic Qualifiers.

Tim is our club's best hope to qualify for the Olympics.  Go Tim!

Skating Technique

Some nice skating highlights from the Tour de Ski:

And so it ends ... and begins

Goodbye Polar Vortex,  Hello Beautiful!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Thursday Night - waxing

On Thursday from 7 to 8 PM in the Windsor park sunroom, we will be presenting on grip waxing.

Prior to the waxing session, some people are heading out for a ski from 6PM to 7PM.