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Need XC Ski Equipment? Try Pioneer Midwest On Line has established a partnership with Pioneer Midwest to be the on line retail cross country ski shop outlet for XC ski products for readers. XC skis, boots, clothing and services are just a click away to reach Pioneer Midwest in Osseo, Minnesota.  


Pioneer Midwest has high quality gear and services for XC skiers ranging from the first timer to the experienced racer. They guarantee the correct fit equipment to ensure you enjoy your time skiing. Here’s a link to the shop

Unique Songwriting Workshop at Devil’s Thumb

Devil’s Thumb Ranch will feature a songwriting workshop on Nov 18-21 with David Wilcox. The package will include 3 nights lodging, 7 meals, daily song writing sessions, evening jams, and a concert. The package starts at $1,200 for a single. For more info check

Winter Olympics in Beijing Six Months Away

Now that the Olympics in Tokyo are over, there are less than six months until the start of the Winter Olympics to be held in Beijing, China running February 4-20, 2022. 

Beijing is 13 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern time so events taking place in the evening in China will air live in the early mornings in the United States. 

The selection of Beijing as the Olympic host was controversial because of China’s climate and because of the country’s human-rights record including the treatment of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang and democracy advocates in Hong Kong. Some American legislators and media have gone as far as calling for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics. 

The climate issue is about the Beijing weather that features low precipitation and high temperatures which threaten the venues. Of course, snow can be machine-made but poor snow conditions can be a detriment to the competitions.    

One of the reasons for the excessive cost of hosting the Olympics is that a number of venues had to be created from scratch. About 50 miles from Beijing there are new facilities for Alpine skiing and bobsled/luge/skeleton and trial-run events have been cancelled due to the pandemic. Cross country skiing, Nordic combined, ski jumping, biathlon, and snowboarding events will take place in Zhangjiakou, a ski resort area some 120 miles from Beijing. 

For the first time, the Super Bowl will take place in the middle of the Winter Olympics and NBC owns the television rights to both events. There will be a pause in Olympic programming on Sunday, Feb. 13, to air the Super Bowl game, which annually is the most-watched television broadcast in the U.S.

Mt. Washington Auto Road Documentary Wins Emmy

United States.New Hampshire PBS recently received a Boston/New England Emmy® Award for outstanding historical/cultural program with MT. WASHINGTON AUTO ROAD TO THE SKY, which explores the more than 150-year history of the Mt. Washington Auto Road in New Hampshire. The Auto Road adjacent to Great Glen Trails has guided millions of visitors to the highest peak in New England by car, truck, foot, ski and bicycle.

 The production team filmed the Auto Road during all four seasons and finished the final edit at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The MT. WASHINGTON AUTO ROAD TO THE SKY program can be viewed online, anytime at

 The 44th annual New England Emmy® Award ceremony took place online on June 26th, 2021. MT. WASHINGTON AUTO ROAD TO THE SKY won for historical/cultural-long form content: Steve Giordani, Producer/Editor; Paul Lally, Writer; Adam Goodine, Videographer; Schuyler Scribner, Graphics; Ben Sparling, Managing Producer; Dawn DeAngelis, Executive Producer.

 The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) is the premier and most recognized non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of excellence in television. The EMMY® Award is a prestigious, peer-judged honor in television for outstanding creative achievement.

End of a Memorable Season


Full Moon guided ski or snowshoe tour at Carter’s XC Ski Area

New Hampshire PBS recently received a Boston/New England Emmy® Award for outstanding historical/cultural program with MT. WASHINGTON AUTO ROAD TO THE SKY, which explores the more than 150-year history of the Mt. Washington Auto Road in New Hampshire. The Auto Road adjacent to Great Glen Trails has guided millions of visitors to the highest peak in New England by car, truck, foot, ski and bicycle. 

The production team filmed the Auto Road during all four seasons and finished the final edit at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The MT. WASHINGTON AUTO ROAD TO THE SKY program can be viewed online, anytime at  

The 44th annual New England Emmy® Award ceremony took place online on June 26th, 2021. MT. WASHINGTON AUTO ROAD TO THE SKY won for historical/cultural-long form content: Steve Giordani, Producer/Editor; Paul Lally, Writer; Adam Goodine, Videographer; Schuyler Scribner, Graphics; Ben Sparling, Managing Producer; Dawn DeAngelis, Executive Producer. 

The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) is the premier and most recognized non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of excellence in television. The EMMY® Award is a prestigious, peer-judged honor in television for outstanding creative achievement. I doubt many of us will ever forget the winter of 2020-21 and how the pandemic impacted our lives.

Speaking as a XC skier, this winter offered many sunny days on well groomed trails. I got out 46 times to XC ski locally and in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. reached record heights of visitation and I also enjoyed so many calls and emails that gave me the opportunity to share information about XC skiing with others.

Most enjoyable was skiing with my wife and kids during the winter. Even though it was a mediocre snow year, it will be one that will never be forgotten. Hope to see you on the trails next winter!

Retirements at Two XC Ski Areas

The changing of the guard in cross country (XC) skiing became more prominent recently with the closure of Windblown Cross Country Skiing and Snowshoeing in New Ipswich, NH and Mountain Meadows at Base Camp in Killington, VT.

 Al Jenks has run Windblown for 48 years and he commented that his area was one of the last remaining “mom and pop cross country ski areas” due to changing climate and tough economics for running a XC ski area.” 

 Mike Miller who owns the Base Camp retail store in the shadow of the Killington Ski Area and ran Mountain Meadows for decades stated, “We had to turn the rentals over three times a day to make money.” Neither one of them will miss the dark early morning grooming of their trails or absorbing another rainy weekend in NewEngland. Jenks and Miller are of two of the first area operators who tried snowmaking on XC ski trails and they both abandoned it. They tried snowmaking in the old days before efficiency improvements, but I’ve heard them both talk about snowmaking as just too much work to justify the amount of return.

 The climate change issue is also a tough reality for XC ski areas. Jenks referenced having to install more and more culverts on his land to drain the water runoff to protect his trails from being destroyed. The low snow levels and shortened winter season in southern New Hampshire also cut into his operation.

 The XC ski area business is transforming with young people replacing the original operators and more sophisticated business models replacing the picnic tables inside warming hut barns, bowls of chili for a lunch menu, and bedsprings dragged behind a snowmobile grooming techniques.

What to Expect at XC Ski Areas This Winter

XC ski area staff are currently walking through their operations to prepare for a season with COVID mitigation efforts in place. When thinking of XC skiing, most people think of the trails and trees, but the XC ski area also has indoor aspects to the operation for ticketing, food and beverage service, warming areas, getting rentals, registering for lessons and using restrooms. This year the XC ski areas will have to help combat the spread of COVID (such as distancing, masking and sanitizing) similar to every other business or organization.

Expect to go on-line to pre-puchase trail passes as this exemplifies how many ski areas will employ contactless operations. Trail passes would be distributed to XC skiers or snowshoers outdoors in front of the lodge or near the parking area. A few areas will install RFID card systems or use an app on your smart phone. There’ll be heated outdoor areas instead of warming huts or lounge facilities and there’ll be open firepits outside the lodge or at destination points along the trail networks.

Most areas will allow boot fitting indoors for their gear renters, but they will not welcome boot bags, changing outfits, or hanging out in the lodge. There should be more signage and better WiFi for patrons to figure out what is going on at the area. Perhaps some ski areas will develop more trailhead locations to combat congregation at the main area. Reports are that season passes are selling very well and the holders of these passes will likely be able to get to the site, change in their car, and head out to the trails. Expect staff to check trail passes outdoors.

If there is food service, it will be somewhat limited with control of the numbers of diners restricted to a percentage of normal capacity. Some areas will develop outdoor food service and grab-and-go food and beverage options.

Industry leaders have also expressed concern that XC ski area operators will be unprepared for the onslaught of customers this winter. Some states have tougher restrictions such as Vermont where ski areas must collect guest names with phone and emails for contact tracing. Additionally, guests going to Vermont must attest that before arriving in the state they are in compliance with the 14 day quarantine policy. Resorts are asked to offer lenient cancellation policies to discourage guests who are sick from traveling to Vermont.

All in all, it will be a season like no other at XC ski areas, but the key thing is that more people should be getting outdoors this winter and XC skiing or snowshoeing are great options to stay well.

USA Today 10Best XC Ski Resort Poll 2020

Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa in Tabernash, CO has won the USA Today 10Best XC Ski Resort Poll 2020 announced in mid-November. Other runner up ski resorts included Bear Valley Adventure in CA, the Adventure Center at Waterville Valley, NH, Jackson Ski Touring Foundation in NH, Nipika Resort in BC Canada, and Whitegrass Ski Touring in WV. Congratulations to all these ski areas and others named in the poll.

A Stamp for Cross Country Skiers!

The U.S. Postal Service is celebrating Great Outdoors Month by releasing a set of stamps depicting various outdoor activities.


The Forever stamps include images of cross country skiing, hiking, canoeing, biking, and building a sandcastle. The designs were hand-sketched and painted by Gregory Manchess. Art director Derry Noyes designed the stamps.

The USPS release stated, “Being outdoors reminds us to slow down and appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds us. It’s also good for us. Spending time in nature can provide many health benefits, which include lowering blood pressure, reducing stress and increasing energy levels. Overall, a connection to the great outdoors improves our well-being — physically and mentally.” We Agree!

Kikkan Randall Visits Great Glen Trails

Kikkan Randall at Great Glen

Kikkan Randall at Great Glen

Great Glen Trails in Gorham, NH hosted Kikkan Randall, who gave a presentation to a packed house on a snowy windy Sunday in January. Kikkan visits cross country ski areas to inspire people and share her story that began on skis before she could walk. Believe it or not, at five years old, she dreamed of winning a medal in the Olympics…and that dream came true in the last race of her career in the 2018 Pyeohgchang Winter Olympics.

 Kikkan Randall’s epic story included 16 years of training and racing to attain that Olympic medal. Her telling of the plan, the team, and the focus on optimism and resilience not only was her recipe for winning the gold medal but it helped her fight and beat breast cancer, too!

 Remembering that Olympic race teamed with Jessie Diggins, Kikkan shared the details with us – from the coaches’ selection to participate in that race and the support of her teammates, to nervously waiting until 7 PM that night to finally get on the snow for the race start. Kikkan reviewed the race legs uphill and downhill, and the handoffs (3 alternating laps for each skier) to Jessie.  She spoke about her world class competitors from Norway and Sweden. She revealed that her skis were getting rewaxed when she saw Jessie coming toward the handoff zone in the middle lap and the frantic efforts to get back on the course with her newly waxed skis…and after she recited the feelings and team camaraderie at the finish line, she showed the television call of the end of the race - and then Kikkan pulled the gold medal out of her pocket to show us. 

For me, it was just like 5 AM in my living room in front of the TV that morning of the race all over again (and probably many of the other folks sitting in the room, too) – the emotional joy seeing and realizing that for the first time ever the American women had won the gold medal in cross country skiing. The excitement and raw feelings…again, there at Great Glen in the room with Kikkan Randall holding the gold medal, I was verklempt (Yiddish for overcome with emotion). Thank you, Kikkan.

Story on winning the gold: Us Women Win Olympic Gold
Story in 2016 about winning the World Cup: Kikkan Randall.

Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa Wins 10Best Poll

Readers of USA Today once again named Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa as the #1 Cross-Country Ski Resort in the U.S. This year’s honor marks the second year in a row the Ranch has been chosen as the top Nordic resort in the country and follows on the heels of being named among the top ten resorts in the U.S. West and top five in Colorado by readers of Conde Nast Traveler.

 Located 75 miles west of Denver and 15 minutes north of Winter Park, Devil’s Thumb Ranch’s Nordic history began in the winter of 1975-76 with 35 km of designed XC ski trails. Today, the Ranch offers nearly 120 km of trails nestled in the pristine and private Ranch Creek valley at the base of the Continental Divide. Whether you enjoy skate, classic, skijoring, or snowshoeing, the Ranch’s trails are open to all ages and experience levels. The team of Nordic experts at Devil’s Thumb Ranch offer a wide variety of private or group lessons, clinics, and special events throughout the season.

Among other 10Best Poll XC ski areas this year and some of the favorites include Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Center in Truckee, CA, Breckenridge Nordic Center in CO and Great Glen Trails in Gorham, NH. Congratulations to all.

Team O’Neil Rally School Winter Driving Tips

Driving on snow and ice is probably the toughest challenge faced by motorists, and one for which conventional Driver's Education courses leave them woefully unprepared. Join us in taking an in-depth look at winter driving, covering the skills and attitude necessary to get through whatever Mother Nature sends our way this winter season. Thanks Team O’Neil.

AirFlare APP for Search & Rescue

AirFlare is an app for your phone that helps search teams find you in the event you need to be found – whether you are on or off grid. The AirFlare app is low cost, reliable, simple to use and accessible to everyone who likes to venture outside – from the casual weekend warrior to the most extreme adventurer regardless the outdoor activity of choice.

In the outdoors, mobile phones have become cameras, GPS devices, backup headlamps and the way to call for help if we’re in cell service. With AirFlare, now your mobile phone can be a powerful tool to help search teams find you on or off grid if you ever need to be found.

AirFlare transforms your mobile phone into a wilderness rescue beacon that provides search teams multiple ways to find you on and off grid. AirFlare adds no weight or bulk to your pack, works with limited or no cellular service, extends off-grid battery life to a week or longer and requires no user action to be searchable. Leveraging the cell phone already in your pocket, AirFlare is a low cost, easy to use, lifesaving tool you don’t need to remember to pack.

If you are in an area with cellular service, you can send an emergency message from the AirFlare app to 911 or to a friend (with the app) that will automatically include your GPS coordinates. The subscription for the AirFlare app is $4.99 annually and free for the first year for Search & Rescue teams.

For Search and Rescue teams, AirFlare provides multiple mechanisms to help locate someone who is lost via their mobile phone and can identify an individual’s GPS coordinates before a ground team even is deployed. The Beacon Detection and Location Capture features alert that a subject is in the vicinity and guides searchers to the exact location. And the app is free for SAR professionals. For more info, click

Road Scholar Winter Programs

The Road Scholar catalog is out for folks interested in educational adventures created by Elderhostel for adults. Garnet Hill Lodge in the NY Adirondacks has 5 night programs in Jan and Mar. Craftsbury Outdoor Center in VT has 4 or 5 night programs in Jan, Feb or Mar. There are also dates for winter programs in Yellowstone Country in Jan and Feb. For more info go to or call 877-426-8056.

Girl Scouts Introduce New Badges

Snowshoeing badge for Girl Scouts

Snowshoeing badge for Girl Scouts

Recently announced, the Girl Scouts of the USA have introduced 42 new badges for girls in grades K-12 and among the new offerings are Outdoor High Adventure badges for cross country skiing, snowshoeing, backpacking, rock climbing, and tree climbing. These new outdoor adventure badges are funded by The North Face. There are currently 1.8 million girls and 800,000 adults in the Girl Scouts, which as an organization began in 1912.

 There are new Cybersecurity badges on the inner workings of computer technology, cybersecurity and applying the concepts of safety and protection to the technology that are used every day. Activities range from decrypting and encrypting messages to learning proper protection methods for devices and exploring real-world hacking scenarios.

 Space Science badges on the universe, the properties of light and careers in space science are also new. They are funded by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate and led by the SETI Institute. The Think Like a Citizen Scientist, is a Girl Scout Leadership Journey where girls practice observation techniques, collect data and share findings with real-world scientists through an online network. There is also new programming for girls coding algorithms, positive memes, designing digital games and developing an app to promote healthy habits. The Girl Scouts continues its legacy of delivering opportunities for girls to explore their passions, develop skills, and build the courage, confidence, and character to dream and achieve.”

 There is a need for volunteer experts and mentors to support girls to discover their strengths and passions in these new areas and to help empower girls to make a difference in their communities and the world, and the more hands on deck who will encourage them and help them develop skills and confidence, the more successful they will be.

2026 Winter Olympics Location Selected

Milan, the capital of Italy’s Lombardy region, has been selected to host the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games proposed to be held Feb. 6-22, followed by the Paralympic Games March 6-15.

Most of the events are set for Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, a resort town 250 miles to the northeast. Valtellina, which is near the Swiss border 80 miles north of Milan, and Val di Fiemme in the Dolomites will also host events.

The Nordic ski races, ski jumping and long track speedskating will be contested in Val di Fiemme while most of the indoor sports — ice hockey, figure skating and short track speedskating — will be held in Milan. Cortina will host women’s alpine skiing as well as biathlon, curling and the sliding events — bobsled, luge and skeleton. Valtellina will host men’s alpine skiing as well as freestyle skiing and snowboarding.

Following the first Winter Games to take place in China, with the 2022 edition being held in Beijing, the Olympics return to one of the traditional homes for winter sport.

Italy is a regular stop on the world cup circuit for several winter sports, and the 2018 figure skating world championships were held in Milan. Only one new permanent venue will be built for the Games.

Three bids reached the final stage of the bidding process, with the IOC naming Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo, Stockholm-Åre and Calgary as candidate cities in October 2018. Calgary, which hosted the 1988 Winter Games, dropped its bid one month later after residents rejected the plan in a vote, leaving just the Swedish and Italian bids for the vote.

Both bids were developed under the guidelines of Olympic Agenda 2020 and The New Norm, which are efforts to reduce the cost and complexity of hosting the Games.

Beijing 2022 has offered a regional concept intended to develop a winter sports market for more than 300 million people in northern China.

Beijing has the Zhangjiakou Zone, approximately 160 kilometers (96 miles) from the Beijing Olympic Green, that will house venues for Nordic combined, ski jumping, biathlon, cross country skiing, freestyle skiing and snowboarding a three-zone event venue that relies on six existing and six new competition venues. The three zones will be linked by high-speed rail.

Update on Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall

Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins show their gold

Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins show their gold

Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins recently appeared on
NBC’s Third Hour TV show to give an update on their lives since winning the Olympic gold medal. You may remember, Randall, a five-time Olympian, joined Jessie Diggins to win the team sprint in PyeongChang, ending the U.S. Olympic cross-country skiing title drought. The victory propelled them into the national spotlight.

It marked the second U.S. Olympic cross country medal of any color and first in a women’s event. Bill Koch earned 30km silver at Innsbruck 1976. Randall, a 35-year-old mom, retired after the PyeongChang Games and then was diagnosed with breast cancer on Mother’s Day in May. Kikkan announced in the NBC interview that she had completed treatment and was now cancer-free.

Gold medalist Diggins conducted a significant campaign around the country to promote cross country skiing including a visit to Washington D.C. to speak out about climate change. She said, "We're your canaries in the coal mine. We see [climate change] happening all over the world, and it affects everyone at every level. I see man-made snow everywhere we go -- nobody can count on natural snow anymore. It's a sign we really need to do something. Climate change is taking away a very healthy, incredibly fun, family-oriented sport that I love."

Diggins announced her battle with an eating disorder and becoming a spokesperson for the Emily Program a national leader in eating disorder treatment. She had the problem as a teen and wanted people to know that it’s “ok to ask for help.”

Kikkan commented that when she was informed about her Stage 2 cancer, her athlete mind took over as she battled back. Jessie just finished the World Cup racing season and she stated, “I’m ready to keep rolling starting up another cycle for the next Olympics.”

The Glen House is Mt. Washington’s Newest Facility

The Glen House

The Glen House

Half a century since the last Glen House stood on this site, the family-owned Mount Washington Summit Road Company (MWSRC), which has owned and operated the Mt. Washington Auto Road since 1906, has opened the fifth iteration of the hotel since 1852 (four fires).

The 68-room hotel was built on the west side of Route 16 in Green's Grant on a site owned by the MWSRC and features a pool, meeting room, restaurant, and pub. Half of the rooms have balconies facing the Northern Presidential mountains and the Carter Moriah range. Aesthetically, the hotel was built in classic New England vernacular, with clapboards, painted trim and signature chimneys, similar to the previous four Glen Houses. The design of the guestrooms is reflective of the simplicity of Shaker design while the public spaces embrace both the history of the Mt. Washington Auto Road and local Native American roots.

In line with the environmental stewardship of the MWSRC, the Glen House is highly energy efficient and close to carbon neutral. A state-of-the-art geothermal system provides heating and cooling for the hotel, and two offsite energy-generating projects will soon harness hydro and solar power.

The SnowCoach experience on Mt. Washington

The SnowCoach experience on Mt. Washington

The three-story hotel serves guests visiting the Auto Road and taking advantage of the winter and summer offerings of Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center, which offers hiking, kayaking, mountain biking and many outdoor programs in summer. Winter activities include XC skiing on 45 kilometers of classic and skate-groomed trails, snowshoeing, snow tubing, and winter tours to treeline on the Mt. Washington SnowCoach.

Not the Mama Takes to XC Skiing


I recently visited the Adventure Center at Waterville Valley in NH to experience about 15 inches of new snow on its northern trails and guided Martin Griff, the former president of NASJA (North American Snowsports Journalists Assoc.) on a jaunt. We ran into former US Nordic Ski Team champion Kris Freeman on the trails. Thanks to the folks at Waterville Valley for hosting us. Check out Martin’s “Not the Mama” story about the outing on BraveSkiMom.

News from Colorado

The Colorado Cross Country Ski Association again offers a Punch Pass with 12 trail passes at 8 ski areas including Breckenridge Nordic Center, Vail, Keystone, and others.

Vista Verde Ranch in CO has a new Backcountry A/T Ski Program clinic with Ben Simms, head of the Vista Verde Adventure Center.

Warren Miller Movie Has XC Skiing

The 2019 Warren Miller movie “The Face of Winter” will be making the rounds across the country to help thousands of people get psyched for the upcoming ski season and for one of the first times, cross country skiing will get a bit of the action in the movie. The late Warren Miller, who helped create and capture the magic of skiing. will be honored this fall with the 69th installment from Warren Miller Entertainment presented by Volkswagen, bringing new and veteran athletes together to pay tribute to the man who started it all.

After a record-breaking 2018 Winter Olympic team gold medal, the United States Cross-Country team hasn’t done much resting. Instead, athletes like Jessie Diggins, Sophie Caldwell, Simi Hamilton and other teammates have continued training hard in the beautiful New Zealand landscape. Go behind the scenes and learn about how this team is really like a family.  Click here for the Warren Miller Movie XC Action.

 Farm to Feet to Debut Nordic Ski Sock

New Farm to Feet sock for cross country skiers coming soon

New Farm to Feet sock for cross country skiers coming soon

Cross country skiers will get a new sock for Nordic skiing this coming fall from Farm to Feet, which is a company that engages in sustainable practices in its operations. See the full Green Room article about Farm to Feet.

I've been wearing Farm to Feet for a few years and have found them comfortable (not too tight, roomy in the toe) and durable. I've tried a pair of the "Portland" Nordic Ski Socks that were developed with a focus group of XC skiers from Portland, ME. I like the shorter Portland cut (many ski socks are too high over the calf) and I've found them soft and comfortable. Check them out when they arrive in the stores this fall.

New Book Celebrates US Women's XC Ski Team


Peggy Shinn has produced a book about the women on the US Cross Country Ski Team just in time for the  Olympics. See info about the book at The Making of the US Women's Cross Country Ski Team and join in congratulating these women who performed and reached the podium in South Korea!!!

Developing Golf Course Trails & Earn $500

 Cross country (XC) skiers hit a hole-in-one once their local golf course, which has been converted to an XC ski area, is covered in snow. Golf courses are ideal for XC skiing as they are often easier than other trail networks for skiers, and they provide easy access to people looking for a convenient winter excursion. And now, Nordic Group International (NGI) will pay $500 for a referral of a golf course that is interested in developing winter recreation such as tubing and cross country (XC) ski operations (and becomes a client of NGI). There are currently more than 170 golf courses in North America that have groomed XC ski trails.

Jonathan Wiesel of NGI wrote an article for Golf Course Management Magazine in 2009 and he is now putting his money where his mouth is – that is, he is looking to help golf courses in snow regions to develop winter operations. Why would a golf course facility want to add winter activities? The opportunity includes increased revenue, maintaining staff positions, providing community recreation, providing winter amenities for existing or prospective property owners, and so on.

Profitable winter operations could include XC skiing, tubing, sledding, snowshoeing, fat biking, sleigh rides, dog sledding, ice skating, food and beverage sales, lodging, and special events such as winter weddings and meetings. NGI has teamed up with the SE Group (an premier mountain/outdoor planning firm) to offer services such as feasibility studies, planning and design, snowmaking and lighting, tubing/snowplay layout, turf management strategies, construction oversight and marketing planning.

While such an operation makes sense in a region where it snows regularly during the winter, having a snowmaking operation would guarantee favorable snow conditions and regularly programming as well as extending the operating season at both ends to increase revenue from early and late season activity. Additionally, the inclusion of lighting the trails will attract skiers and tubers that are unable to visit during the daylight hours.

Such a winter operation would work well in an area that is a major population center but it also allows resort destinations to take advantage of the winter season. The capital investment for an operation would involve variables such as site topography, extent of existing infrastructure and facilities and the size and orientation of the market. With as little as 4-6 inches of snow, a winter operation could be launched.

The golf course winter operation is not a pipe dream. Successful winter trail facilities have been in existence across the continent for many years in places such as Woodstock Resort, VT, Sun Valley, ID, Bretton Woods, NH, Weston, MA, Garland Resort, MI, Calgary, AB, Bozeman, MT,  and in Breckenridge, Aspen and Steamboat in CO. For more info, contact the trails and land planning consultant at


Jessie Diggins Featured in the ESPN Mag Body Issue

Each year ESPN Magazine publishes its Body issue that features athletes posing naturally (naked) as athletic human bodies and this year one of the models is Jessie Diggins the Olympic gold medal cross country skier at the 2018 Winter Olympics. Click for link to STORY VIDEO.

There are 14 other athletes in the edition that dropped on June 25. Jessie and teammate Kikkan Randall won their Sprint Freestyle team race in Pyeongchang in February 2018 and they’ve been celebrated on TV and across the country ever since. After winning the gold medal, Jessie Diggins has definitely become one of the most mainstream American Nordic ski personalities of all time.

The ESPN Body Issue also features WNBA player Sue Bird and US Women’s Soccer Team Megan Rapinoe, Dallas Keuchel of the World Series champion Houston Astros, who also won the Cy Young Award last year, famous Hall of Fame golfer Greg Norman, LA Dodger right fielder Yasiel Puig, Breanna Stewart of the WNBA and University of Connecticut women’s basketball team, hall of fame football player Jerry Rice, Karl-Anthony Towns of the NBA, and Olympic ice skater Adam Rippon.

Since her last race in Craftsbury Outdoor Center, VT Jessie has appeared at 25 events for sponsors, schools, and other appearances and visited Washington DC lobbying about climate change as a Protect Our Winters ambassador. She was celebrated in her hometown of Afton, MN at Jessie Diggins Day with a couple of thousand neighbors, threw the first pitch at a Minnesota Twins baseball game, and has an ice cream flavor named after her in a local shop. And Jessie competed in this year’s international Nordic ski racing circuit.


 U.S. Biathletes Speak Out about Guns
The biathlon involves cross country skiing and target shooting and after the recent Valentine's Day mass murder with an assault weapon at a high school in Florida (the 273rd such event since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter massacre), World champion biathlete Lowell Bailey, who was recently competing in the Pyeongchang Olympics spoke about the succession of mass shootings in America. Quoted in a Washington Post article, Bailey said,  "I support an assault weapons ban. Our country needs to wake up and it needs to change. It's  a travesty America hasn't changed and continues to go down this path. It just wants to make me cry."

Susan Dunklee, a 3-time Olympian biathlete claimed that the connection to the biathlon use of guns saps her enthusiasm and creates internal conflict. "Every time something like that happens, it does make me sick to my stomach to think about. The great challenge of biathlon is regulating nerves and a heartbeat rattled by the extreme cardiovascular demands of XC skiing. Biathlon is precision shooting and we're working on emotional control...but there is still that association of it being a firearm and it really takes a lot of the joy I have out of pursuing a sport like this." 

Bailey commented that he has discussed the gun laws in the US with biathletes from other countries and "they are absolutely baffled about the political landscape of the US where we can continue to put assault weapons in the hands of anyone who wants to walk into a gun store and buy one."


  Trapp Family Lodge Celebrates 50 Years

Snowshoeing at the Trapp Family Lodge

Snowshoeing at the Trapp Family Lodge

The Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, VT celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2018. The family that inspired “The Sound of Music” hosted special events scheduled at the lodge in January on the trails and in the Bierhall to commemorate the occasion:

Congratulations to the Trapp Family Lodge for leading the way for 50 years!

From the left is Johannes von Trapp, Charlie Yerrick and Sam von Trapp putting up the new trail sign.

From the left is Johannes von Trapp, Charlie Yerrick and Sam von Trapp putting up the new trail sign.

On Jan 21 there was a low key, warm hearted tribute along the Trapp Family Lodge trails, where the Owl’s Howl Trail was renamed Yerrick’s Yodel as a dedication to Charlie Yerrick, who managed the resort’s outdoor center operation for 37 years. Attending the trailside ceremony and joining Charlie were members of the von Trapp family including Johannes and his children Sam and Christina, original resort manager Per Sorlie from Norway, some local Stowe folks, and ski industry representatives from product suppliers, the International Skiing History Association, and

For the Personalities story click Johannes von Trapp.


Byrncliff Resort’s 50th Anniversary

Byrncliff recognized as on of the best golf resorts in western NY

Byrncliff recognized as on of the best golf resorts in western NY

Byrncliff Golf Resort & Banquets, widely known for its golf course and the Route 20A celebrated its 50th anniversary. For the 50th anniversary, Byrncliff has changed its name from Byrncliff “Resort and Conference Center” to Byrncliff “Golf Resort and Banquets” to refocus towards its number one product: golf. 

Byrncliff was founded in 1967 in Varysburg, NY by Clifford Meidenbauer and a group of other investors who had a vision to create a country club in the beautiful rolling hills of Varysburg, Wyoming Country, just 35 minutes south of Buffalo.  Years later, the country club was expanded to a wider audience as a semi private golf resort, adding a club house, lodging, hotel, and banquets/conference centers. 

Today, Byrncliff features a picturesque 18-hole golf course par 72, a full service restaurant and bar, overnight lodging, a driving range, mini-golf, and a heated pool.  In the winter, Byrncliff is the closest place to Buffalo that offers cross country skiing with rentals and beautifully groomed tracks.  Many people snowmobile on the property and love it.

The golf course, itself, is reputable for being beautiful, quiet but also challenging thanks to its rolling hills.  It provides a great playground for golfers of all skill levels, groups, locals from Western New York as well as tourists from the Eastern US and Ontario, wanting to either golf, dine, or gather for any social occasions and experience the quiet beauty, and the warm hospitality. 

Byrncliff’s “All Inclusive Stay & Play” packages (unlimited golf + hotel + dinner & breakfast) offers a very competitive price, and it has a restaurant, famous for delivering delicious steaks, fish frys, chicken wings or all you can eat crab legs that many appreciate – you can take advantage of the bar but also of the wide windows to take in the views;  else you can dine on the patio and relax. Byrncliff also has many rooms to choose from for any social occasions, weddings, or business meetings.

Byrncliff works to support the community by employing up to 80 employees in the summer peak season.  It helps fundraise for a number of associations, such as the Mission league, holds the Cardboard Olympics to help fundraise for the Varysburg firefighters and Rescue squad.

  “After 50 years of growth, Byrncliff is poised to continue to expand. I want to extend my sincere thanks to our customers for all of their past and continued support” says owner Scott Meidenbauer.


Outdoor Recreation's Impact on the Economy

In a 2016 study from the Vermont Trails & Greenway Council conducted at 4 major Vermont trail networks there were 410,000 annual users who were responsible for $15 million in direct sales, $2 million in tax revenues, and $30 million in total economic activity in the state. A recent Outdoor Industry Association study cited $884 billion per year was spent nationally on outdoor gear and travel. Yeah, that's a big number!

In 2014, the Top 10 National Parks had 44 million visitors. The National Park Service generated $30 billion in economic activity and 275,000 jobs. Again, that is just the National Park Service, which is just a small part of the overall outdoors recreation business!


Caricature Created by Ski Cartoonist

RB Lohr of

RB Lohr of

Fellow snowsports journalist Mike Roth of the Albany Times Union blog and recently created a caricature of the editor, which captured the true essence. If you are interested in your own ski-related cartoon, contact Mike via


Garnet Hill Lodge, NY Changed Hands

According to a story on, the Garnet Hill Lodge in North River, NY changed hands recently. Jim and Frances Rucker have a vacation home in the area and they were regular visitors to the lodge and skied the trails. They plan to modernize the lodge but keep its rustic charm.

The 175-acre property and renovations will commence in the spring and take about two years. New visitors to the 25-room lodge will enjoy more modern décor and amenities including TVs in the rooms. The size of the bar area will be increased and include more of the amazing views. The ski lodge will also be renovated and they plan to increase the food offerings there.

There are no changes planned for the 55 km trail network but plans are being laid to also use the site for hikers, bikers, canoeists and kayakers and leaf peepers.


Bob Frye of Cross Country Ski Headquarters to MI Ski Hall of Fame

Bob Frye, founder of Cross Country Ski Headquarters in Higgins Lake, has been inducted by the board of the Michigan Snowsports Industries Association to the Michigan Ski Hall of Fame. He enters the Hall of Fame as a "Snow Sports Builder", someone who has made major contributions in areas of organization, promotion, or development of the skiing industry in Michigan.

Says Frye, "We started with a simple mission, and that mission lives on today: get people outside and having fun on the snow. I would like to thank everyone who has supported us in that mission, and especially my wife, Lynne, for her tremendous support, and without whom none of this would have been possible."

Since starting Cross Country Ski Headquarters in 1974, Bob and Lynne, and later their daughter and son-in-law, Mariah and Stu Colie, have grown the business to achieve national recognition, not to mention a large statewide following. Named by Outside Magazine as a "Nordic Skiing Mecca", Cross Country Ski Headquarters has become one of the most distinguished cross country ski destinations in the country for its groomed trails, large retail selection and expertise, and warm, welcoming staff.

"Bob and his shop and ski area have attracted more people to the sport of Cross Country Skiing than any other entity in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. They have always been a beacon to those wanting to begin an adventure into snow sports and cross country skiing in particular." – Ernie Brumbaugh, President, Michigan Cup Race Committee.

Cross Country Ski Headquarters is located in Higgins Lake, in the heart of Michigan. It is open from October 29th through March 31st, and also for its annual Labor Day Weekend Sale. Featuring a vast ski equipment and clothing selection, product expertise, groomed ski trails, a café and day lodge, ski rentals and lessons, Cross Country Ski Headquarters invites one and all to "Come ski with us!"


Tahoe Donner Expansion

Tahoe Donner in Truckee, CA home of Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Area has announced a decision to purchase and preserve 640 acres in the Crabree Canyon adjacent to and south of Tahoe Donner's existing 7,000 acres. The property is a gateway between the Euer Valley and the Carpenter Valley and there is a permanent conservation easement on the land.

The easement will protect Tahoe Donner's borders from future development and create new recreational opportunities. About 16% of Tahoe Donner Cross Country Center's terrain will be reopened. The land, which was previously closed due to land use concerns was acquired for less than $800 per acre.

Nonmotorized trail use for summer and winter activities will be encouraged on the new parcel of land and there are plans to link Tahoe Donner and the Independence Lake Preserve via a new trail system.

The Forestry Department at Tahoe Donner is actively working to protect this terrain and minimize threats of wildfire. The land will be open to the public for the first time in more than a century. Tahoe Donner is a homeowner association with 6,500 properties, 25,000 members and 7,000 acres.


Seniors Skiers – Golden Opportunity to be Mined

In a recent subscriber survey conducted by to determine information about the website's subscribers, it was revealed that the average age of the respondents was 66 but they perceived themselves as 46 years old! The respondents were equally split between male and female.

The survey respondents were 91% alpine skiers with 48.5% of them expecting to ski 20 or more days and 20% expecting they'd ski 50 or more days! The secondary snow sports activity showed that 31% were into snowshoeing and 29% were also cross country skiers.

The seniors annually visit an average of 6 ski areas on day trips per season and they visit 2 resorts per season on weekend or vacation trips. Are ski area marketers reaching out to the senior market in their region? It is a great idea because 35% of the older skiers go with friends and 25% ski with their spouse while 18% bring their children or grandchildren. Only 15% indicated that they ski alone.

Some of the older skiers said they take lessons (29%) at the beginning of the season to adapt to their changing physical needs or to improve while 69% stated that they do not need to take lessons. Of the respondents, 73% were married.

With regard to planned purchases, 57% of the respondents to the survey said that they expected to purchase base layers (underwear) and about one-third would buy skis, 29% new goggles, and 25% boots, gloves, ski jackets, or ski pants. For more info, check


Yankee Magazine Poll of Best Winter Towns in New England

The Yankee Magazine selected a list of the Best Winter Towns in New England. They looked for places that even nonskiers would love as a getaway, too. They didn't discriminate against big or small locales, inland or coastal areas, and based the selection on the following essential categories:

*Towns had to be known as a winter sports getaway that offers many of the snowsport and winter recreational activities.

* Scenery.

* Variety of lodging.

* Village charm.

* Cultural attractions such as a museum, a library, historic homes, a theater for plays and live music, or a place to see first-run films. * Guided winter tours and ease of finding winter gear rentals.

* Après-ski scene.

* Accessibility includes the ease of driving to the town and whether the place offers public transportation or a shuttle.

Here are the towns with associated pages on

1. Stowe, Vermont - Trapp Family Lodge

2. Bethel, Maine - Carter's Cross Country, Bethel Inn

3. Jackson, New Hampshire - Jackson Ski Touring Center

4. Woodstock, Vermont - Woodstock Inn Resort

5. N. Conway, New Hampshire

6. Waitsfield, Vermont

7. Rangeley, Maine - Rangeley Lakes Outdoor Center

8. Camden, Maine

9. Middlebury, Vermont - Rikert Nordic Center

10. Ludlow, Vermont

Click here for the full Yankee Magazine article.


White Grass Does it Again! Video Celebrates Cross Country Skiing

The joy of cross country skiing at White Grass Touring Center in Canaan, West Virginia. They are celebrating the Jonas snowstorm that dumped 19 inches with some great downhill runs and shots of the fun at White Grass. Click for video


Learn to Ski Program Offers

There are a variety of learn-to-ski deals available for anyone who has ever had an interest in in learning to cross country ski.

Discover Michigan offers a learn to cross country ski package with trail pass, rental equipment, and a lesson for $20 during the month of January. Michigan's Cold is Cool Passport program provides 4th and 5th graders a coupon book to get up to 3 learn to cross country ski packages at a participating ski area anytime during the coming winter for $20. Check the GoMichigan website for an application. Participating ski areas include Boyne Mountain, Cross Country Ski Headquarters, Crystal Mountain, Shanty Creek, and others.

Six cross country ski areas in New Hampshire are offering special packages during January for first-time skiers. The cross country package includes a trail pass, first-time lesson, and rentals for $19, and is available at Bretton Woods Nordic Center, Granite Gorge XC, Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center, Gunstock XC, Jackson Ski Touring Center, and Windblown XC. The Snowsport Passport program offers one trail pass per ski area to 4th and 5th graders for $35 and part of that amount is donated to Make A Wish. Check for details.

In Maine, the Winter Kids Passport is for 5th-7th graders for $25 and scholarships are available to those who are unable to afford the offer. Check

Vermont has the Fifth Grade Passport offer of a booklet for 5th graders with coupons that are good for XC ski area trail passes at each of the participating resorts. There is a need to be accompanied by an adult and there are some blackout dates. There is a $10 fee for registration. Vermont also has an app program to win prizes for skiers that visit many of the XC ski areas in Vermont called Check in to Win. For details, check


Cross Country Ski Headquarters Wins Awards & Recognition

Cross Country Ski Headquarters in Roscommon, MI was voted winner in two categories in the "Vote 4 the Best" contest of WDIV News in Detroit. The categories were "Winter Sports & Recreation: Cross Country Skiing" and "Winter Gear & Outdoor Apparel."

The ski area also was recognized as a Nordic Skiing Mecca in Outside Magazine in an article that included the comment that at Cross Country Ski Headquarters ski area and shop "It's almost a guarantee that beginners will walk away glowing with the joy of a newfound love."


The Inn at Ellis River Celebrates 30 Years

The Inn at Ellis River in Jackson, NH celebrates 30 years as a Bed & Breakfast! The Inn at Ellis River began as a personal residence for its original builder and his family in the late 1800's. With a long history of hospitality for friends and relatives since 1893 it is no surprise it eventually became a B&B in November of 1985 as the Ellis River House. The inn started as a 6 guest room house and expanded over time. Now known as the Inn at Ellis River, it has grown to 21 rooms and a rustic cottage.


New Articles in the Green Room

I don't know the psychographic research regarding cross country skiers' interest in sustainability, but the notion that cross country skiers are highly interested in it makes great sense. The "Green Room" reflects informative sustainable goings-on in the snow sports world.

Among the current Green Room features is a list of the most sustainable cross country ski resorts in North America from Craftsbury Outdoor Center, which produces electricity via solar panels to Nipika Mountain Resort, which is off the grid in British Columbia.

Olympic XC ski competitors speak about what they've witnessed and voice their concerns in three different Green Room articles and green efforts at XC ski product companies are also featured. One story gives a snapshot of Burton Snowboards, which exemplifies a product company committed to social and sustainable responsibility.

Other articles featured in the Green Room look at a statewide upgrade of snowmaking efficiency and an electric car event up the Mt. Washington toll road. There's also an overview of the impact of climate change on the snowsports world, which when you think about it may very well be the canary in the coalmine of businesses that have much to lose because of global warming.

So click on the Green Room for some stories about snow sports people and businesses leading the way to a more sustainable world.


Walk More Often for Health & Fitness

The nation's doctor, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy recommends a brisk walk to stay fit and urges groups to work together and create communities that are more walkable and easier to go out for a regular daily walk.

Some of the real barriers to people walking outdoors more often include finding time in their busy daily schedule, busy city streets, crossing traffic lanes, neighborhood crime, concern about stranger danger, older people's concern of falling, and zoning laws (private or public property that is not open).

The U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has called for "safer people, safer streets initiatives" to help communities create safer walking and biking networks. Clearly, support and funding from transportation legislation that has been stalled in Congress would give walk and biking initiatives a boost of adrenaline.

What is a brisk walk? It has been said that walking is brisk enough when "you can talk but not sing." I don't know about you, but I really like to sing as I walk or go Nordic walking with poles, so I guess I'm not much of a brisk walker!


Responsible Down Standards

For years, winter clothes have incorporated down feathers (from geese) for insulation and in 2013 information about the mistreatment of geese that are raised for this purpose was broadcast in the media. It sounds like there has been some mean stuff being done to geese to get the down feathers.

Get the low-down on responsible goose down harvesting and look for the "Responsible Down Standard Certified" logo in products that have down in them. For more info on this issue, see articles in Outdoor Gear Lag and


LL Bean Named Among Top 100 Workplaces List

In a article, LL Bean, the retail catalog store based in Freeport, ME has been named to a list of the 100 best workplaces for employees. LL Bean has grown to 26 stores and 10 outlets with a total of 4,966 employees.

The company has many employee perks and benefits programs including free on-site health screenings, fitness classes, and on-site massages. There is tuition reimbursement, a pension plan, and paid work days to enjoy the outdoors. The article referenced cross country skiing and snowshoeing and there was mention of an employee ski trip to Rangeley Lakes in western Maine. Employees also receive 33-40% off of company-made items.

In the article, LL Bean revenue was quoted at $1.6 billion and a vice president of human resources commented that employees are given the chance to have (experience outdoor activities) what they want to impact the customers.


Resort Reviews on for Woodstock Inn

For an in-depth article on Woodstock Inn & Resort in Woodstock, VT by Roger Lohr click:


Research Shows that Hiking Makes You Happier

In a recent article, it was reported that British and American scientists have published new research showing that nature walks help us combat stress while boosting mental well-being.

Researchers from the University of Michigan and Edge Hill University in England evaluated 1,991 participants in England's Walking for Health program, which hosts nearly 3,000 walks per week for more than 70,000 regular participants. They found that the nature walks were associated with significantly less depression in addition to mitigating the negative effects of stressful life events and perceived stress. The findings were published in the September issue of "Ecopsychology."

Sara Warber, associate professor of family medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School and senior author of the study, said that the large sample was a defining factor. "We observed behaviors of a large group, in which some chose to walk and some chose not to, instead of us telling them what to do," she said. "After 13 weeks, those who walked at least once a week experienced positive emotions and less stress."

According to Warber, it is recommended that walking outside in nature at least three times a week to experience benefits. Short, frequent jaunts are more beneficial than long, occasional walks. While stress isn't ever going to go away, it is important to have a way to cope with it, and walking in nature is a great coping mechanism with benefits that are more than just physical.


New XC Skiing Instructional Model Under Consideration

There's been recent discussion between PSIA (Professional Ski Instructors and USSA (United States Ski and Snowboard Association) regarding the Cross Country (XC) Skiing Technical Model of instruction.

The six elements of the PSIA XC skiing instructional model represent the "what" of XC skiing. These elements include skills, stance, movements, timing, power, and continuous forward motion. The skills for push off, weight transfer, and glide are the fundamental aspects of what XC skiers do to create "continuous forward motion."

Common terms used to clarify each of the PSIA skills include:

Push off - wax set, edging, and weight transfer;

Weight transfer - moving from ski to ski;

Glide - pole recovery, arm return, and foot return.

The USSA performance triangle represents the "how" of XC skiing performing the skills by blending the:

Fundamental athletic stance - flexed ankles and knees, rounded back and shoulders, core over base of support;

Fundamental movements - rotary, flexion and extension, and speed;

Timing - to coordinate the movements while applying Power (force and speed) to create "continuous forward motion."

Will this make teaching XC skiing or learning to XC ski any easier? Who knows, but it makes sense to continue to refine instructional models if it helps more people to attain a higher level of enjoyment more quickly.


Double Dating Strengthens Relationships

The USA Weekend Magazine recently had a blurb about double dating and its effect on sparking romance and passion in a relationship. The research cited that getting acquainted with a new couple spurs passionate feelings about your own partner. Beyond bowling or going to a movie, the double date must include conversation and opening up because it conveys understanding and validates feelings of passionate love (toward your partner). The studies show that novelty and new experiences reinvigorates long term romantic relationships. Sharing time with the other couple increases a positive mood and adds passion to your existing relationship.

What does this have to do with skiing? Well, when you are on a XC ski outing you often stop along the trails and that gives you plenty of time to chat with another couple. Alpine skiers get time on the chair lift rides where the quad chairlifts (4 skiers sit on the lift) fit the bill perfectly. Of course, during a ski outing there is often a break for lunch when meaningful conversation can take place between couples, too. Go on more double dates!


Biathlon Proliferates at XC Ski Areas

Biathlon is now on target at many XC ski areas across the country. The sport of biathlon combines cross country (XC) skiing and target shooting. The roots of biathlon are traced to Scandinavia in the mid 1700's, and currently in Europe it is the most popular winter sport attracting 700 million annual television viewers. XC ski areas in the US are now offering programs with real 22 caliber biathlon rifles, laser rifles, and even paintball markers (guns). Some of the XC ski areas that conduct biathlon programs include Tahoe Donner Cross Country in Truckee, CA, Rendezvous Ski Trails in West Yellowstone and CrossCut Ranch in Bozeman both in MT, Craftsbury Outdoor Center in VT, and the Nordic Heritage Center in ME. See the full article on the Resort Features Page.


Outdoor Recreation is BIG Business

Go on a trip to recreate lately? According to a ForbesLife article about Conservation Funding, the outdoor recreation industry (biking, skiing, hunting, hiking, camping, fishing, etc.) is worth $646 billion, is responsible for 6.1 million American jobs, and $39.9 billion in federal tax revenue. This industry is a larger part of the US economy than pharmaceuticals ($331 billion), motor vehicles and parts ($340 billion) and gasoline and other fuels ($354 billion). In Utah, the Office of Outdoor Recreation has been created to help Utah increase its involvement with outdoor activities and increase its rate of recreational tourism. The Outdoor Industry Association website has state-by-state info regarding outdoor recreation for spending, jobs, wages/salaries, and tax revenue within the respective states. The organization's objectives include encouraging federal agencies to coordinate their efforts, improve recreational access and funding, protect recreational destinations and provide funding to maintain them, and ensure fair and predictible trade and business environments.


Fat Bikes Now Welcome & Offered at More XC Ski Areas

Last year, the Methow Trails  in Winthrop, WA opened selected cross country ski trails to fat bikes in 4 different locations among the organization's 120 miles of groomed trails. Fat bikes are specially-made with ultra-wide tires that can be run at very low pressure to allow the bicycles to roll over packed snow-covered trails. Many XC skiers are also mountain bikers so fat bikes provide an opportunity to combine these interests during the winter months.

The Fat Bike pilot program gave people another way to play in Methow Valley's dry, sunny, cold, snowy climate. In the right conditions, the fat bike tire tracks stay on top of the snow with less impact than a pair of skis.

A trail pass is required for snow bikes on the trails.

Fat bike rentals are now available at Sun Mountain Lodge, WA; Bear Valley Cross Country & Adventure and Royal Gorge in CA; Rikert Nordic Center, Woodstock Nordic Center and Kingdom Trails in VT; Arizona Nordic Village in AZ; Cross Country Ski Headquarters in MI. We'll add more areas to the list as we hear about them. There are trail ethics involved with fat biking with regard to sharing the trails with other trail users and being a good trail citizen. If a rider has to get off the bike and push or carry it or the bike is leaving a rut on the trail deeper than an inch, then the snow is too soft and he or she must get off the trail. See full story at Resort Features.


Top XC Ski Racers May be at Higher Risk to Heart Problems

In a story that has virally spread on the Internet on June 12, findings in a study published in the European Heart Journal stunningly revealed that cross country (xc) skiers, who completed the 90 km (56 mile) Swedish Vasaloppet marathon, may be at greater risk of developing heart arrhythmias with the rhythm of a heart beat. Those skiers, who completed the most races and had the fastest finishing times, had a higher chance of developing atrial fibrillation (abnormally fast heartbeat) or bradyarrhythmias (abnormally slow heartbeat).

The study did not find a direct causal link between xc skiing and heart problems but it suggests that there is a dose-response relationship: the more races skiers complete and the faster they go, the greater their risk. The research included 52,755 xc skiers who completed the marathon between 1989 to 1998 and were tracked through 2005. These skiers all pursued more physical activity during their leisure time than the general population and smoked less, had lower fat, higher fiber consumption, and better mental and physical health. The study showed that 1.74% (919) had some kind of heart rhythm problems.

There was a 29% increase of having atrial fibrillation for skiers who completed 5 or more races compared to those who just completed one; and those who had the fastest finishing times were 20% more likely to have the problem than those who were in the slowest group. The risk of bradyarrhythmia went up 110% in those who completed 5 or more races compared to first-timers.

It is expected that similar results would be seen in other endurance athletes but researchers emphasized that exercise can protect the heart from cardiovascular diseases. They did not find any increased incidence of the heart problems leading to sudden death and the Vasaloppet participants are less likely to die during the follow up period than the general population and that mortality decreases with increasing number of races.

The American Center for Disease Control recommends that adults get at least 2.5 hours of moderate intensity aerobic exercise each week or one hour and fifteen minutes of vigorous-intensity activity. Adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities at least twice weekly.


UVM Nordic Ski Team Aids Adirondack Rescue

In an article in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise it was reported that members of the University of Vermont women’s Nordic ski team joined with a local outfitter and forest rangers to conduct a backcountry rescue of a woman with a serious leg injury on Dix Mountain on March 30th in the Adirondack Mountains west of Route 73 in NY.

The woman was snowshoeing and had injured her ankle. Seven forest rangers responded with a state police helicopter and they parlayed with the UVM ski team, who were on an end-of-the-year outing with the owner of the Mountaineer gear shop in Keene Valley, NY.

The woman’s leg was splinted and stabilized and a makeshift sled was created from ski poles, ski skins, a harness, and rope. The group worked together to get the woman to a landing zone clearing in the area and she was hoisted out of the wilderness on the helicopter. The UVM women’s team had recently taken 3rd place in the NCAA Championships held at Rikert Nordic Center in Middlebury College…but this might have been an unexpected highlight of the season.


Cross Country Downhill Fun to Music

We received this video to music this morning celebrating the snow and some great runs at White Grass in WV. That's Chip Chase and friends ripping it up on xc skis in the trees and yes, doing telly-copters (360 in the air and then landing it). Who says cross country skiing is boring or too much work? Spend 4 minutes with the video to learn the answer to the question, "Why do we love cross country skiing?"


Mountain Top Resort Named Most Pet Friendly

Mountain Top Inn & Resort in Chittenden, VT was named among the most pet-friendly resorts on because it gives your pup a retreat at another level beyond just allowing dogs on the trails. There is a $30 per night fee associated with having your dog accompany you on a cabin vacation, but overnights at Mountain Top provides Fido with a dog bed, a bowl for food and water, and a welcome treat. Your dog is welcome to enjoy a horse-drawn sleigh ride with you and pet sitters are available if you want to leave your dog in the cabin while you treat yourself to dinner in the restaurant.

In most of these xc ski area dog offerings there is a trail fee for both the skier and the dog. Check the area’s policy because some allow dogs to run loose while others require a leash or harness. There are some resorts that require proof of rabies vaccination.

A full list of 70 xc ski areas that welcome dogs and the amount of dog-designated kilometers within their trail networks are at CCSAA Dog Trails List. Other resorts named as the most pet-friendly included the Lake Placid Lodge in NY, The Little Nell in Aspen, CO, and Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in Alberta.

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