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Eating Your Vegetables: Performance Diets

Diet is an important aspect of performance in all sports, while Nutrition is a field plagued with poor—or even false—information. The crossroads of the two is where many athletes find themselves, especially since questionable information (in the field of nutrition) is often presented as “research,” but is just as likely to be marketing-speak masquerading as facts. There’s a lot of money in the supplement industry; an industry that is is loosely regulated, at best. Sports...

Strong Skiers—Skiing and Resistance Training

Cross country ski trails—and the grooming strategies that prepare those trails for race events—have changed dramatically in recent seasons, especially since artificial snow became commonplace at Nordic venues. Commensurately, skiing speeds have increased, and so has the reliance on upper body power for propulsion. This has been most visible in classic skiing where technique zones are put in place down to the junior level to ensure that striding remains part of the sport. These changes...

Beginner’s Guide: The Season of Roller-Skiing

For decades, my summers were filled with roller skiing. First as a junior, then as a collegiate racer, followed by nearly 15 years as a coach: summers meant endless hours logged on New England roads on roller-skis. In recent years, I’ve shied away from the unique click and clack of pole tips on asphalt in favor of running, cycling, swimming and paddling. But this summer—with cooler autumn days approaching—I find my body longing for some...

Injuries are Inevitable

Injuries are inevitable . . . As a physical therapist, I am often preaching prevention through maintenance exercises and training strategies; however, despite very well intended plans, injuries can still happen. Some of these will be short term, quite manageable, and maybe just a product of bad luck. Other injuries are longer lasting, will likely require some medical management, and are certain to impact training, whether from an acute trauma or from symptoms that have...

Training When There’s Nothing to Train For

Most conversations regarding training for endurance sports center on competition: the training schedule is built around the races. But what if you don’t compete? What if you’re out there on the ski trails, bike trails, and hiking trails without a race number? What if your objective is not to podium but to simply enjoy the opportunity to push your body? Is there still a reason to “train” when there isn’t a competition to train for?...

Smoke in the Sky—Air Quality Guidelines for Training

Author’s disclaimer: I am not a chemist nor atmospheric scientist, but as a physical therapist who tries to think of the body holistically (and as an endurance athlete living and training in a region prone to bad air quality), I have done my best to research this topic. For greater detail, please consult a true expert in the field. The air we breathe is precious. Whether simply sustaining life functions or powering the aerobic metabolism...

Fast Wax Creates American-Made Fluoro-Free Future

Editor’s note: FasterSkier is fortunate to have the sponsorship support of Fast Wax; therefore, we are proud to highlight the innovative spirit that Fast Wax brings to the cross-country skiing marketplace. This article is less an endorsement of one company’s products than it is a recognition of the hard work undertaken by so many companies in the the ski industry. Dan Meyer likes to innovate. So naturally, as he became more interested in Nordic skiing,...

Family-Run Ski Wax Companies:  A Smaller Approach

All in the family People often lament the demise of small artisanal crafted goods. The dominance of huge retailers and manufacturers is often viewed as something between a sign of the approaching apocalypse, and proof of various conspiracy theories. In many industries, when you think of the absolute pinnacle of quality and performance, smaller companies often come to mind: Ferrari for cars, Shinola for personal goods, and, (showing my personal bias) Jenny’s for ice cream....

New Year, Same You: Nutrition Resolutions that Last

This article was possible through the generous support of The Memory Clinic, in Bennington, VT.  Since, 1987, clinicians at The Memory Clinic have been providing diagnosis and treatment of memory loss and are excited to work with FasterSkier to support physical and mental health through exercise, rest and nutrition. Are you prepping your list of resolutions for the New Year? Do you, like many people, incorporate a weight loss goal? According to Business Wire, the...

Join the National Coaches’ Ed. Symposium

Dear Cross Country Community, The staff from the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Cross Country Team will host a 2022 Cross Country National Coaches’ Symposium this next week on October 28th and 29th. Please click on the previous link to register. The Symposium will take place via Zoom to keep costs low and facilitate greater participation by our community. Here is a link to the Presentation Schedule and Presenter Bios. The Symposium will count towards 8 Continuing Education Credits for...

U18 NTG Camp Wraps up in Whistler B.C.

After an untold number of bear sightings and many hours of quality training, the U18 National Training Group (NTG) camp wrapped up in Whistler, B.C. the third week of June. The first of the National Nordic Foundations (NNF) Summer Series, the goals of the camp were twofold: the first was to give these athletes a chance to meet and train together, particularly since the annual U18 Nordic Nations Cup trip was canceled in January due...

How to Go Easy (and Why): An Introduction to the Polarized Training Model

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...

Personal Essay: An Uphill Battle by Tim Donahue

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...

The Pros & Cons of League-wide Wax Protocols: Western Clubs Consider the Evolution and Impact (Part 2)

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...

The Pros & Cons of League-wide Wax Protocols: Western Clubs Consider the Evolution and Impact (Part 1)

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...

The Pros & Cons of League-wide Wax Protocols: the Wisconsin Nordic Ski League

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...

What makes a fast ski? A discussion on league-wide wax protocols and ski performance theory with Andy Gerlach, Zach Caldwell, and Knut Nystad (Part 2)

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...

What makes a fast ski? A discussion on league-wide wax protocols and ski performance theory with Andy Gerlach, Zach Caldwell, and Knut Nystad (Part 1)

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...

Reaping Mountain Biking Benefits for Cross-Country Ski Training with Jessica Yeaton

Cross-country skiers are notorious for training high volumes during the off season in order to be in peak racing form in the winter. There is a common mantra used by coaches to help motivate athletes to train hard even though the racing season is months away: “skiers are made in the summer”.  From my experience working with different coaches, the large bulk of the summer’s volume is intended to be on roller skis or foot...

Spring skiing: Mt. Bachelor Nordic Center hosts annual U.S. Ski Team camp

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...