Friday, December 16, 2016

Vintage nordic ski racing videos

Here is a fascinating video of the 1958 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships, 15km men's race which was held in Lahti, Finland. It was the first championships to use electronic timekeeping where results were timed to the tenth of a second rather than the full second.

The race was won by  Veikko Hakulinen (FIN) in a time of 48:58.3.  Pretty fast considering the heavy looking wooden skis, and the outfits!

Not to be outdone, here is a video of the 10 km women's race in the same Championships, complete with fetching outfits, and interesting commentary.

The race was won by  Alevtina Kolchina (URS) in a time of 44:49.0.  

Even better, here we have some exciting footage from the 1936 Winter Olympics, men's 4 x 10 km relay.    These Olympics were held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany just a few years before the start of WW2.  Sixteen teams were entered.

The race was won by Finland in a time of  2:41:33, just 6 seconds ahead of the second place team from Norway.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

West Yellowstone Trip Report


In early December, a few underemployed DN members panicked at the lack of snow in Winnipeg and fled on a last minute decision.  We drove 16 hours overnight to West Yellowstone, Montana and the promise of the groomed Rendezvous ski trails.
An annual trail pass for the Rendezvous trails is $40, or $8 per day.  Cheap accommodation was easily obtained through Airbnb.  As early December is still the off season, West Yellowstone is basically a ghost town and weeknight rates are very reasonable.  We stayed at the Wyndham time-share condos which featured indoor pool, hot tubs, exercise room and a games room. These were very useful as we tried to hold ourselves back from over skiing so early in the season.  

An apres ski foosball game
An apres-ski hot tub session

                                                     An apres-ski change session

West Yellowstone is located at an elevation of 2032 m.  This altitude left us feeling winded and tired for much of the week.  The Rendezvous trails are also rarely flat, which also contributed to us flat-landers feeling fatigued.

Stig feeling the effects of the altitude

 The ski trails were initially soft, which made for slow and difficult skiing. On the third day, we awoke to temperatures of -35 C, but we bravely ventured out nevertheless and discovered newly groomed trails that were hard packed. With the sun shining, we had the best day of skiing yet.

Dressed for the cold and enjoying the sun
The last two days of skiing were near perfect.  Hard packed, freshly groomed and basically empty trails. It felt as though we had the whole town and ski trails to ourselves.

The West Yellowstone area has various other ski trails outside of town that we did not have time to expore. All of Yellowstone’s unplowed roads and trails are open to cross country skiing and snowshoeing during the winter. There is also the possibility of a long marathon ski to Old Faithful.  These possibilities will keep West Yellowstone on our radar in the winters to come.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Mamas on Tour + great technique video ...

Here is a great video -- not just for the interviews, but also there is some great video of ski technique (put the ski sections in slow-mo) -- great double-poling shots from the side and also steep-striding sections!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Instruction starts Thursday!!!

Hey club members, we have permission to use Windsor Park tomorrow for out first instructional session of the season.  WP offically opens on Saturday, but becuase they love us so much they are letting us in early :)

Be there by 7PM to meet the coaches and we'll be out on the trails by 7:30


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

"No snow" is not a valid excuse for not skiing

 Greetings fellow avid ski fiends
If you ever thought of taking a night off of DN ski practice due to poor snow conditions, the following article might help you reconsider. 

Monday, December 5, 2016

The DN Dress Code - For your comfort and enjoyment!

Winter is coming! With colder temperatures in the forecast by the end of the week, this timely blog entry should help you prepare the appropriate gear for skiing in Winnipeg winters. 

Cross-country skiing is a high intensity sport, and so you’ll build up a healthy amount of body heat and moisture when training. Some of this moisture is sweat, but most of it is condensation from the temperature difference between your body and the cold air. The faster speeds also result in significant wind-chill as well as an increased frostbite risk.  

Here’s a formula to follow when dressing for DN, remembering that each layer should be breathable.


Base Layer: This layer will keep you warm by drawing moisture away from the skin. Tight fitting long underwear or tights made of polypro or merino wool are best for keeping skin dry.  I like merino because it rarely smells bad; synthetics are the worst. Cotton has been called the “death fabric” as it gets very wet and cold, so don’t wear it anywhere when you are skiing.

Mid Layer(s): These insulating layers, using materials such as synthetic, merino, or polar fleece, are designed to keep you warm and wick that moisture even further away from your skin. Try multiple layers rather than one super thick layer, so you can easily remove what you don’t need while out on the trail. You can use layers of varying thicknesses to help you regulate temperature better.

Outer Layer:  You will want a windproof soft-shell and ski pants, which have windproof panels in front and are breathable in the back. We (mostly) ski facing forward down the track, and so create the windchill on the front of our body. A great option on some jackets is zipper venting under the arms. You can test windproofing by holding the fabric to your mouth and attempting to blow through the fabric… try not to do this in a ski shop while wearing heavy lipstick.


Steve’s tip: spend a couple minutes warming up each hand before going outside, to offset the body’s reaction to the cold of drawing blood away from the extremities.

Hands: Mittens are warmer than gloves, but gloves give you better pole control, and are great in warm weather. In choosing mitts for skiing, pick a mitt that is compact and fits into your pole strap well. Invest in a pair of extra thin polar fleece overmitts for those extra cold days.

Feet: Feet can be a challenge for many. In addition to choosing warm, comfortable ski boots, the best solution is to wear a merino wool sock and hold back from layering socks to the point where you barely have room to move your toes. There must be air space around your foot to allow blood circulation, and to trap heat. If you find your feet are chronically cold, you can try fitting Instant Toe Warmers into the boot, or invest in a pair of neoprene or insulated boot covers, sold by many ski shops.  You could also buy electric socks (yes they exist!)

Head: Toque, balaclava and buff combos are great. I’m a huge fan of long merino wool buffs that can be folded in all sorts of combos. Cover exposed skin on very cold skis – it takes no time to wind up with frostbite. Check your friends’ faces, they may not be aware of what’s happening to them.


For ski clinic nights, be prepared to be standing around more than you would on a normal exercise or workout ski. Add an extra insulating layer (or two!) and protect your extremities. 

On interval nights, be prepared to be skiing like a maniac, way faster than you would on a recreational or low-intensity training ski. Remove an insulation layer, but wear that soft-shell breathable jacket to protect you from windchill. You will also want a good balaclava, toque or DN buff combo that covers skin and will keep that cold air out of your lungs. 

Ski comfy!
Coach Katrina

This may be an outfit to try for spring skiing ...

Monday, November 28, 2016

Warning to Avid Skiers

Greetings DNer's,

I've been asked to make a few posts by Coach Steve leading up to the season.

For those of you that haven't met me yet, I'm excited to be one of the Athletic Beginner ski coaches again this year, so I'll have you doing some goofy (but productive!) classic drills on the snow as soon as we can get a track out there.

For my first post, I wanted to feature this cautionary tale from CBC Radio about what can happen if you get too involved with the cross-country skiing community.

Is cross-country skiing Canada's most morally corrupt sport?

Thanks to Geoff Gibson for sharing this gem.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

SnowSisters ski race

Information for this year's SnowSisters Ski Race can be found here:

Also, you can check out the video from last year!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Tentative Adult Schedule

Hey everyone,
Here is our tentative schedule for the year.  There may be a bit of fine-tuning, but this is generally what we have planned for our adult programs.

If you want to register for the adult programs, go here: DN Zone4 registration

Registration closes December 4th!

Also, dryland training continues at Westview Park on the north side on Thurdays at 7PM

Click on each calendar to enlarge it

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Quite the graphic of double pole technique:

Found it here:

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Found this video in Norwegian -- these are drills to improve your running:

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Ski Tour Canada - the full recap

Well the daily blogging didn't quite work out, but here is the full recap of what went down in Canmore.

The first day I was there was a training day for the athletes.  I spent the day watching athletes (noting how none of them quite had the technique of our very own Jacek), texting people to brag about how awesome this was, and then spent a few hours at the local business supplies store trying to make ... The Northug:

The first day of racing was the classic sprint and Floyd joined me and The Northug.

Wax techs testing out the skis:

Jessie Diggins getting ready:

Jessie is actually a dual citizen of Canada and the US.  Her parents were both Canadian (and actually lived in Winnipeg for a short while).  As the day wore on, I was referring to her as "Canada's own Jessie Diggins ..."
Floyd, a fellow from Long Island, and myself got a "Jessie, Jessie, ..." chant going in the finals.  This was what Jessie recently wrote on her blog:

"And in Canmore, it was such a rush of adrenaline when the entire sprint hill started chanting my name during the final. That was, at the risk of sounding totally cheesy, a magical moment for me. "

Once again, Downtown Nordic dominating the world one chant at a time.

Sundby leading out his heat double-poling the first climb - not bad:

Northug decided to ease up in the sprint.  Here he is pausing on the hill to turn around and watch the finish of his own race. ... or perhaps he just wanted to get a closer look at The Northug

Here's the Northug trying to get an autograph:

The crystal globe presentation for the sprint world cup was done right after the race.

One thing that I noticed is the winner of the crystal globe gets this special carrying case for it ...

Evening awards ceremony in downtown Canmore

They did the presentation of the crystal globe again -- there the special case!

Start of the skiathlon on Wedneday

Tim and Jeff sprinting for the time bonus

Jeff takes it!

Jeff now driving to the line ...

Completely collapses at the finish ...

 Jeff wearing the bib he got from Devon Keshaw (Jeff had this neat trick where he was telling people that "I told my son/daugheter that I would (put significant demand of star athlete here)".  It worked brilliantly.

I wanted to try the same trick so I told Sundby that I told my nephew that I would get a video for him of  Sndby singing Bon Jovi's "You give love a bad name" at the top of his lungs.  For some reason this trick did not work for me.

Jeff also got to spend one day helping out the National Team Coaching staff ... (yes he really did)

Alex Harvey going to the start of the Individual Skate race

Northug collapsed at the finish -- he sat there for a good 4 or 5 minutes.

Now this is the picture Jeff took of Sergei Ustigov (the overall tour leader at this point) just before the picture he missed taking of me high-fiving Sergei.  Thanks Jeff.

Heidi Weng warming up with her wax tech

And here's The Northug driving the bus

Magnificat at the point were he drops Harvey on the climb out of the stadium

Start of the skiathlon -- looks like your average Downtown Nordic Interval practice!

Johaug making the pass that would give her the overall title at the Ski Tour

More crystal globes at the prize ceremony

... and more special carrying cases!

Here I'm trying to find an optimal angle to get on TV

And there we go:

Jeff making the dash to get a picture with Johaug

 Yes, cutting in front of 50 kids waiting to get their autograph with Johaug does payoff ...

 Me and The Northug:

Sundby getting a picture with Tim

As the event drew to a close, The Northug was passed on to some rather lively Swedish fans ...


And finally, here is Justyna K asking where her idol Jacek is

Thanks Canmore for an amazing week -- see you soon!