Good Morning All!
So we have a little snow on the ground, cold temps so the guns are running, and skiing should be coming up by this weekend for pretty much anyone wanting to travel a few miles!
Vlad says he thinks 1.5 km will be open at Mt Itasca this coming weekend. Some are headed for West Yellowstone where they started grooming a week ago.
Looks like Ely is skiing on natural snow, and maybe by this weekend other grassy areas will be skiable. If the conditions are poor, the best advice I can give you is to just put on rock skis and work on double poling. Do not try to skate on poor snow or grooming the first few times out. It will only build up frustration and bad habits. You can maybe get by classical striding a bit.
When you get on good snow, well groomed, the last thing you want to do is to try to get up to race speed. What you do want to work on is transferring that good technique you learned on roller skis to snow skis. Don’t start the season out by building up bad habits!! So spend the first hours on snow going through all the steps of good technique: back pole angles at plant with forward elbows, leg compression, good timing, smooth pushes with complete weight shifts, bent ankles/knees with hips over the skis—-classical or skate.
For this week the goal for most should be a lot of hours—going slowly!! Especially those headed for West next week—remember that is high altitude [6700’] and a small amount of exertion will give you high lactates. So a lot of slow, top level technique for the first days. In fact those going to West should take this week a bit easier—this is your recovery week! Next week ski as much as you can!!
In West there will be a biathlon race on Wed next week. You should do that—but need to register online–
For those just skiing this coming weekend and the weekend after Thanksgiving, you can take it easy during the weekdays next week, and enjoy your Turkey on Thanksgiving! But definitely get on snow as soon as you can! Then for everyone, ramp up the volume and intensity of training the first week of Month 9!!
Be sure to check over your good ski equipment, get your winter baskets on your poles, be sure your skis still fit [with all the weight on one flat foot—there should be a pocket at least 14”-16” long on a skate ski. Your poles should come to your upper lip..or slightly shorter. Be sure you have straps you can easily get in and out of..clip ins or ‘biathlon straps’ work the best. Be sure your gloves allow you to handle magazines and allow a good smooth careful trigger squeeze, but also keep your hands warm. Use an overmitten for the first lap if you need to. As you layer up, be sure you increase the size of the outer layers enough so you don’t curtail your movements like a stuffed sausage!
For those with new skis—scrape them down, look at the grind. If it is really deep and obvious..you might want to get them ground immediately to a fine or at most a universal grind. In any case new or after grinding, start waxing them with a soft wax 6-8 times..to work the wax in deeply..then move to a medium [blue] wax for a few more to harden up the bases. All the early wax should be CH—no fluoros. Also a thought if the weather turns cold or out west where it is really dry—Start Green is the best cold weather wax. LF is fine. The first time you go that cold with the wax, you need to wax several times to harden up the bases. Then for travel or post race wax—stay hard—do not put on red or pink or whatever…you will just soften the bases back up again. Use a blue CH for a travel wax instead.
For everyone, spend a lot of time now working on range procedure and combos to get your biathlon skills up to par! Accuracy and range procedure training can take place under all conditions..get used to the cold air and wind—learn to dress so you can stay warm but still function and shoot!
So Enjoy the Journey!
Bill Meyer, Coach