Supertour Field Reports – what the teams used in their own words:
Skate Super Tour November 27-28, 2015
Conditions: Hard packed corduroy with sub zero Fahrenheit temperatures. Lows both nights exceeded -15 degrees F with low humidity. Sprint loop became a little sugary on the surface with many skiers on course, but maintained its firm base. Distance loop stayed hard packed on Sunday throughout the entire day. Temperature during the races was warming through the teens.
Toko Wax Used: Both days- Paraffin Toko HF Blue with X-Cold Powder. Topcoat: Old Toko Moly Block.
Many topcoats were tested both days and the Old Toko Moly block won. We were lucky to have a block left in our box from years ago. I don’t believe it is made any longer.
Colin Rodgers, Head Coach Sun Valley Gold Elite Team
Can’t say it enough but that the new Helix 2.0 sprays rock! Easy to apply, always a safe option and really was impressed with the slipperiness of the blue spray in extreme cold and the top end speed on the red spray in those intermediate temperatures!
West Yellowstone Friday Sprint:
In order to save time on race morning I ran a fair amount of paraffin and powder tests a few two days in a row before sprint day. I did not like the way powder was making the skis run compared to blocks and sprays so I devoted more test time to different paraffin and topcoat build ups as durability really won’t a concern. I tried a few combos ranging from really trying to harden the base of the ski (repeated coats of cold wax) to keeping the paraffin more neutral with a shell hardener over the HF layer. I really liked the later option, especially in slightly warmer temperatures than the single digits we were seeing before sunrise so I simply set up athletes with a colder trending option for the morning and a slightly warmer heat ski option for once there was some solar effect during rounds.
Testing topcoats on race morning I sent most everyone in the group out on Jetstream 2.0 Blue block with Helix 2.0 Blue spray. The sprint course was surprisingly variable, especially in the afternoon because of strong warming from the sun. I felt that the Blue Helix did a great job freeing the ski, especially so when climbing back into the stadium over the blue block alone. Running a quick structure test in the AM, I left cold skis as is, and did not hand structure the heat skis unless they were on a cold ski again for the rounds. During the heat of the day, Matt Boobar and I actually switched to Helix 2.0 red over Jet blue block for a period as it was running better in the sun and traffic and gave better finishing speed for the lanes. By the junior rounds, we had switched back to blue spray as the sun was going down and the temps with it.
West Yellowstone Saturday Distance:
I pretty much ran the same under layers for the distance race the next day, setting up early guy starters with a pretty cold paraffin option on a “green” ski and a slightly warmer paraffin option with less hardening powder for a “blue” ski . For the warmer skis, and the girls who started mid day I also ended up burning powder for some added durability. As the snow had seen more skiing and grooming since testing a few days before, I felt it was getting to be more competitive and less of a liability. A quick test of some different powders race morning confirmed this even early in the morning after temps had dipped down towards -20+ for several hours.
Testing topcoats race morning, I again chose to go with blue Jetstream 2.0 block and helix spray in the morning for the slipperiness when climbing and at a working speed. I found some other topcoats that were running better on downhills at high speed, but felt that with the cold, slow snow it was most important to free up the ski during the work sections of the course. Guy starters got a light broken hand structure with ultra fine linear over the tails. Ladies got slightly more hand structure as sun and traffic started to to move sections of the course away from the really really cold aggressive snow we saw early in the morning. By the time of the ladies race I felt the snow had warmed enough in places that jet blue would have been a bit cold in the sun, and red a bit warm in the shade. As an intermediate step before going straight red, I should have mixed the two blocks and experimented with mixing the helix sprays but without adequate testing I wasn’t willing to risk using the race and athletes as the test! Something to play around with during fast warming trends that often occur with
Western sun before the Sun Valley races here!
Patrick O’Brien, Head Coach SMS T2 Team
All Toko Gloves are now Touch Screen Capable!
Toko Glove All Stars: Dakota Blackhorse- von Jess
1. Who was your skiing role model when you were growing up and why?
Jens Arne Svartedal. I can into the competitive side of this sport later in life (about 18) and started following the World Cup. He was always the racer that stood out to me as one I wanted to ski and race like. For me, he was the champion I rooted for!
2. What skier inspires you currently and why?
All of the kids on the Bend Endurance Academy Comp team. I know that sounds odd, but for the vast majority of our kids (and kids in this country in general), the end of High School is the end of their competitive racing careers. So why do they show up, day after day, and put their heart and soul into training? Why do they go to bed early, prioritize homework so they can both train and rest? Because this sport can give so much back to those who are willing to give themselves to it. It’s truly admirable, the pursuit of personal excellence with nothing hinging on the end result. The journey IS the reward, in so many ways.
3. Favorite race course and why?
Oak Hill, Hanover NH – the 7.5k loop. It doesn’t get skied very often because of snow conditions, but aside from the nostalgia that course holds for me (being my home training venue in college), it is a truly remarkable course with a little bit of everything that defines ski racing in the east. Steep ups, hard corners, awkward rolling sections, and fast, technical, often icy downs. Every year I pray for snow because it’s as good as a home venue can get when the conditions are good.
4. Favorite workout and why?
30:30 (30 seconds on, 30 seconds off). First, you get to go fast. Very fast. Second… any workout where the “recovery” part is the hard part…? Bring it on. By breaking the “work” pieces into 30-second intervals there is always an opportunity for success because the focus is short and intense. The “recovery” is also short, but by keeping the intensity just slightly elevated, especially in the early phases of the session, I spend most of those 30-seconds just waiting for the watch to beep so I can go hard again.
5. Favorite place to train and why?
Virginia Meissner SnoPark, Bend OR. It’s my backyard training venue, so that helps, but it’s also a magical place to ski. With something like 50k of groomed trails (and more in the works), when the snow is good, it’s off the rails. The terrain is rarely too challenging to ever be un-enjoyable to ski on an easy day, but there are plenty of places to do real work when the time comes. A single trail can earn you over 400′ vertical of sustained climbing. Our local community ski club (Meissner Nordic) does a remarkable job with grooming and trail maintenance, and being a community organization we all get to pitch in to help out. It’s a good feeling!
6. Favorite movie line and why?
Varies with the year, but my favorite theme song is Highway to the Danger Zone by Kenny Loggins. Such a classic. And it’s how I feel most race days!
7. Favorite Toko glove model (and/or color) and why?
Profi – all day every day. My hands rarely get cold, even in the coldest weather, and that’s in part to the quality of the Profi gloves. But I don’t need to shed my gloves with the Profi’s either. They’re adaptability to so many different weather conditions makes them my go-to glove, every day. Literally. I like to train in the blue or the black gloves, but on race day – the white. Nothing says “pro” like a pair of white gloves!