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I grew up playing soccer. Every practice was hard. “No pain, no gain,” and all of that. By tenth grade, I was burned out and quit.  I started rock climbing. Every day at the crag was about pushing your limits. This was before indoor gyms or any concept of training other than doing as many pull ups as possible. I plateaued, got frustrated, and quit.  Then I had a go at running. I read some...

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Woods brings wealth of collegiate Nordic team competition, coaching and leadership to SVSEF  SUN VALLEY, Idaho – June 19, 2022 – Effective August 1, 2022, Becky Woods will step into the role of Cross Country Program Director at Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation (SVSEF). Woods comes to SVSEF from Bates College in Lewiston, ME, where she served as the Head Men’s and Women’s Nordic Ski Coach alongside additional leadership roles from 1994 to 2022. “We are thrilled to welcome...

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U.S. Ski & Snowboard recently announced its U.S. Ski Team nominations for the 2022-23 season. Of the 22 athletes named to the team this season, six were not on the previous year’s roster, either newly named or renamed: Michael Earnhart, Walker Hall, Zak Ketterson, Will Koch, Finn O’Connell, and Sammy Smith. To help fans get to know these new(er) faces, FasterSkier is doing a series of interviews, providing insights into the factors that have contributed...

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U.S. Ski & Snowboard recently announced its U.S. Ski Team nominations for the 2022-23 season. Of the 22 athletes named to the team this season, six were not on the previous year’s roster, either newly named or renamed: Michael Earnhart, Walker Hall, Zak Ketterson, Will Koch, Finn O’Connell, and Sammy Smith. To help fans get to know these new(er) faces, FasterSkier is doing a series of interviews, providing insights into the factors that have contributed to development,...

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Elections at FIS Congresses are normally not the scene of political intrigues, particularly when there is only one candidate for President. Yet, in a surprise twist, a bloc of powerful ski nations walked out on FIS President Johan Eliasch’s uncontested election and voted out Dexter Paine, the U.S. Ski & Snowboard representative, as well as a FIS Vice President and Councilor. Prior to the vote for President on May 26th in Milan, Italy, Croatia’s representative...

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Since the opening of the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame in 1956 there have been 448 members inducted, only two of whom are female cross-country skiers. The Hall of Fame website states that, “the honored members voted into the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame represent the highest level of national achievement in America, featuring prominent athletes and snow sport builders whose accomplishments showcase American skiing and snowboarding.” The first woman cross-country...

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If you look at the lines that graph long-term athletic performance – VO2 max, anaerobic threshold, maximum heart rate, 10k running speed – it can be pretty demoralizing. Even before age 30, there’s a slow and steady cant downward, and then by the mid-40s, a descent into a valley that plunges toward the abyss’s void of emptiness.    Some of us choose to oppose these trendlines, wrestling with them like tentacles in a roiling sea of...

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In the spring of 2020, the Bridger Ski Foundation (BSF) launched a new professional racing team, led by Andy Newell, who spent nearly two decades on the U.S. Ski Team as a staple and leader of the American men’s program. Launching early in the pandemic, the BSF Pro Team had few opportunities to show their strength in the first race season, but they came on strong in 2021-22. During U.S. Nationals in Soldier Hollow in...

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U.S. Ski & Snowboard recently announced its U.S. Ski Team nominations for the 2022-23 season. Of the 22 athletes named to the team this season, six were not on the previous year’s roster, either newly named or renamed: Michael Earnhart, Walker Hall, Zak Ketterson, Will Koch, Finn O’Connell, and Sammy Smith. To help fans get to know these new(er) faces, FasterSkier is doing a series of interviews, providing insights into the factors that have contributed...

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Here are links to earlier installments in this five-part series. The first two parts (part one; part two) spoke to the perspectives of high level wax technicians and industry representatives, while part three focused on the Wisconsin Nordic Ski League. To read the beginning of this article on the wax protocols of Western clubs, part four, click here.  Leveling the Playing Field In regard to the question of whether the policy widens the gap in...

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In speaking with representatives from each of the leagues featured in this series, a few main points rose to the foreground in this discussion: the level of competition matters, how the policy came about matters, and how a program can enhance athlete support holistically by relieving wax-related expenses – measured both in time and dollars – matters.  Before jumping into discussions for club level programs across the West, here are the links to view the...

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U.S. Ski & Snowboard recently announced its U.S. Ski Team nominations for the 2022-23 season. Of the 22 athletes named to the team this season, six were not on the previous year’s roster, either newly named or renamed: Michael Earnhart, Walker Hall, Zak Ketterson, Will Koch, Finn O’Connell, and Sammy Smith. To help fans get to know these new(er) faces, FasterSkier is doing a series of interviews, providing insights into the factors that have contributed to development,...

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In case you missed it, here’s part 1 and part 2 of this series, in which industry representatives and expert ski technicians discuss ski performance theory and what impact a single-wax policy may have on competitive skiing.  What goes on inside the wax cabins and trucks at high-level competitions from the SuperTour to the World Cup seems, in equal parts, expertise, artistry, and alchemy. And, for those looking to understand to which conditions their pair...

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U.S. Ski & Snowboard recently announced its U.S. Ski Team nominations for the 2022-23 season. Of the 22 athletes named to the team this season, six were not on the previous year’s roster, either newly named or renamed: Michael Earnhart, Walker Hall, Zak Ketterson, Will Koch, Finn O’Connell, and Sammy Smith. To help fans get to know these new(er) faces, FasterSkier is doing a series of interviews, providing insights into the factors that have contributed...

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After eight years at the helm of the Stratton Mountain School (SMS) T2 team, head coach Pat O’Brien is in the process of taking a few steps back, passing the reins to Perry Thomas, who has spent the last five years as the assistant coach at the University of Vermont. Perhaps highlighting this transition and the sharing of responsibilities the two are in the process of navigating, FasterSkier connected with Thomas in mid-May while he...

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Click here to read part 1 of this story. In most states, youth skiing is divided between club and high school programming, where club programs support skiers looking to race competitively on a regional, national, or international level, perhaps with goals of NCAA skiing and beyond. High school ski programming is typically more participation focused, and comes with a much lower price tag for families, consequently with a much smaller program budget. It’s less about...

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In November 2021, the Wisconsin Nordic Ski League (WNSL), which oversees both high school and club level youth programming state-wide, accepted a sponsorship proposal from Swix and Salomon, which would provide the league with $10,000 in funding per year for three years. The proposal also included stipulation that a standardized wax protocol using Swix waxes would be adopted by the league at all affiliated races, including the state championship.  In practice, this would look like...

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FasterSkier recently shared a press release on behalf of the US Nordic Olympic Women (US NOW) announcing Julia Kern as the 2022 recipient of the fourth annual Gold Rush Award. The release included comments from 2021 winner Jessie Diggins on the qualities that she, along with the other past winners, recognized made Kern deserving of this year’s award, but it became clear that there was a gap in FasterSkier’s coverage on the history of US...

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Adam Martin’s skiing has always tended to be best described in conjunctions rather than disjunctions. He could do this and he would do that. Or, that’s always how his mentors looked at it. My most distinct memory of Martin is from a CXC (Central Cross Country Skiing) camp about a decade ago when Sten Fjeldheim, then Martin’s coach at Northern Michigan University (NMU), gathered a group of us J2s (U16) around in the lobby of...

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Believe it or not, it is mid-May. For those following a traditional cross-country calendar, this means the start of a new training year, building toward the 2022/2023 competition season. And, for many of the top American athletes, this means it’s time to make an annual pilgrimage to Bend, Oregon for the on-snow camp of the season at the Mt. Bachelor Nordic Center. The weather gods were kind to the camp attendees, with nearly a foot...