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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...

On Pregnancy, Postpartum Recovery, and NCAA Ski Coaching: Eliška Albrigtsen (Part 2)

Part 1 of this story details Eliška’s experience coaching through pregnancy and the birth of her son. Keep reading to learn about the challenges she, like many women, experienced during the postpartum recovery process, and what it took to navigate year one of life on the road with baby Viggo. Expectation versus reality.  When preparing to interview Eliška Albrigtsen about her experience pairing NCAA coaching with new motherhood, I expected the challenges she faced during...

On Pregnancy, Postpartum Recovery, and NCAA Ski Coaching: Eliška Albrigtsen (Part 1)

While skimming through the extensive photo albums shared by Tobias Albrigtsen during the U.S. Cross Country Ski Championships in Soldier Hollow this past January, one head coach caught my attention. University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) head coach Eliška Albrigtsen (Tobias’ wife) had an extra member of the team in tow: her then 11-month-old son, Viggo.  As most ski coaches know all too well, the demands of the job are multifactorial, and can make it challenging...

Hannah Halvorsen Studies Eating Disorders in Cross-Country Skiing from the Coaches’ Perspective

At 24-years-old, Hannah Halvorsen recently announced that she is ending the pro-skier chapter of her life, but it’s not the only transition she has on deck. This past weekend, Halvorsen also graduated from Alaska Pacific University (APU) with degrees in cognitive psychology and business administration. As a senior capstone project, focused on the psychology side of her studies, Halvorsen chose to research a topic she has been invested in throughout her time as a student-athlete:...

MountainFLOW Fluoro Takeback Program: Giving skiers the option to safely dispose of fluoro waxes from anywhere

The ski community has known there’s a problem for awhile now. Fluorinated waxes, whose extreme hydrophobic properties make them ideal for fast skis, also are by that same property impossible to break down in the environment, allowing them to permeate through the soil into water supplies. The compounds are also known carcinogens, and frequent exposure to these compounds, particularly when heating and inhaling the fumes of waxes in which they are contained, is linked to...

Trends in Age and Ski Performance: A Second Look by Ella DeWolf and Andrew Siegel

This article was submitted by a reader. To pitch a story or article to FasterSkier, reach out to info@fasterskier.com. In 2010, FasterSkier published an article titled “Analysis: Performance and Age”, written by Joran Elias, or as he is otherwise known, “The Statistical Skier.”  The piece attempted to parse the relationship between age and performance by comparing the ages of some of the world’s top skiers to their FIS points in a given year.  Elias was...

Ten Exercises for Managing Hamstring Tendinopathy

Despite how it may appear, you are not picking a wedgie every five minutes. You are actually rubbing that sore spot right on your sit-bone (technically known as your ischial tuberosity) that has been plaguing you for weeks (or has it been months?) now. This pain is especially bad during and after sitting at work, and it gets even worse when you go for your evening classic ski, although you first noticed it during bounding...

SkiErg Training: Training Considerations and Technique

I hate rollerskiing. As much as I try to be a good Nordie, I just can’t get over my fear of hitting the pavement. Between a history of bike racing and the rollerski learning curve, I’ve already lost enough skin. I know it’s good for me and might make me faster on snow, but I’m too old to put up with my heart rate being affected more by fear-induced adrenaline than by quality training. My...