April Nordic Newsletter

JHSC Club and Community Nordic Update

Happenings of the JHSC Nordic Program, Trail Creek Nordic Center, and Local Nordic Community

Welcome to the April edition of “What’s Going On” for the 2020-2021 season!

Wow!  We’ve done it!  Together we've managed to pull off a record breaking season in the midst of a pandemic.  Thanks to the coaches, skiers, volunteers, and community members who all came together to create a successful Nordic Season.  2020-21 records include 184 JHSC athletes, 25 coaches, 8 race days at Trail Creek, 99 Betty Woolsey skiers, and 0 known Covid transmissions.  Thanks so much to all who helped make it happen!

Lollipopper Team

Lollipoppers finished the season strong, with nearly perfect attendance the last two weeks!  We managed to get some group photos taken along the top rails of the buck rail fence, destroyed a couple of piñatas, did some scavenger and treasure hunts, made it out to see Sam the Truck one final time for the season, and made real progress in all areas of cross country skiing.  We are always astounded by how quickly the kids learn by doing, so our focus was just to keep them moving, from hockey relays to ball-on-spoon to sending it down the hills--they are game for anything!

Our end-of-year awards are always difficult for us (coaches) to choose for this age group, as we try to keep the focus on fun, and not competition with one another.  That being said, we do like to offer some special recognitions.  Our Nordic Spirit award acknowledges that there is "something" that makes the recipients stand out--attitude, general coach-ability, kindness to others, social engagement, and willingness to learn.  This year that award went to Tucker Grohne, who attended both Monday and Wednesday, and Carter Gagnon.  Skiers of the Year were Liza Mayer and Knox Masselink, both of whom have really stepped up this year and progressed in their skate skiing, in addition to their classic technique!  The Most Improved award went to two of our never-evers, Clayton Markman and Cienna Dvorson.

Well done to all the kids!  We look forward to seeing all of our kindergartners returning next year as Lollipoppers, and we will miss the first graders who are moving on to Teewinots!  Coach Ann and Coach Kathy would also like to thank our group of outstanding day-coaches and volunteers who made the season possible: Grace, Abby, Rachel, Caroline and Angela!  We couldn't have done it without them--we needed a 'big village' this year!

Coach Kathy and the Gang

Kathy Neiley

Lollipopper Team Head Coach

Teewinot Team

Teewinot Team finished up the season with a very speedy leprechaun treasure hunt on St. Patrick’s Day.  It’s amazing how fast kids ski when there’s a pot of candy at the end of the rainbow!

Coaches observed tremendous skill development and personal growth among all our awesome Teewinot athletes.  From zooming down Gut Flop to lively games of snoccer (snow soccer) and adventures around Woolsey Woods and Sam the Truck, Teewinot skiers embody the magic of Nordic skiing.  By the end of our season, kids are skate and classic skiing with confidence, but they are also practicing good sportsmanship, supporting their teammates, and learning they can do hard things!

Gratitude abounds to our athletes, parents and fellow coaches for keeping the Nordic spirit alive this year.  It’s not one we will soon forget!

To our all Teewinot athletes--keep active and we’ll hope to see you again next winter at Trail Creek!

Libby Hall

Head Teewinot Coach

Devo Team

The Development Team had a fantastic March and an amazing year.  Masking, testing, protocols, quarantine, and social distancing were all words the Devo coaches used for the first, and hopefully last, time this year.  We look forward to focusing on balance and fundamental movements in the future. Despite the challenges, the kids dealt with the situation.  They wore their masks and had a blast.


Since the last Newsletter, the Development Team has been chiefly on skate skis.  One afternoon we skied down every named hill at Trail Creek.  Another day there was an obstacle course on Homesite.  Multiple laps on the Nordic X course rounded out most days as we enjoyed the sun.  We ended the season with a scavenger hunt to discover a hidden Nordic-related word (klister).  A large group of Devos challenged themselves at the Western Youth Championships.  The racers learned a bunch and had fun.

Congratulations to all our season award winners and the entire Development Team.  Choosing our most improved athlete was difficult, with almost every skier deserving mention.

Best Attendance: Anna Baxter and Bower Von Maur-Newcomb

Most improved: Callie Cavallaro and Enzo Callari

Nordic Spirit: Tirzah Ellis and Cash Halpin

These Devos showed determination, flexibility, and a strong desire to improve.  The teamwork and sportsmanship these young athletes display is inspiring.  The team not only made it through the weirdest year ever, but they also excelled.  Thank you, parents, coaches, athletes, sponsors, and especially Steve the Groomer, for everything you did to make this season happen.

Enjoy the (hopefully short) summer,

Rob, Pippa, Mark, Anna, Kim

Rob Murphy

Development Team Head Coach

Junior Team

The Junior Team has had such a fun season!  This awesome group of athletes has been every coach's dream!  It was a blast watching these young people progress in their skiing abilities, as well as build a positive, cohesive, and supportive community in which to train.  Each and every athlete can be proud of what was accomplished this season!  Here is a video/slideshow of pictures and video documenting the season.

George Cartwright

Junior Team Head Coach

Comp/Prep Teams       

The JHSC Prep/Comp Team had a fantastic end of the season.  Jackson Hole celebrated double Championships titles at State competitions in Casper.  A huge crew of JHSC athletes then went to Soldier Hollow for Western Region Junior Champs, the highest-level junior racing in the country this year.  Twenty-six JHSC athletes attended, which was an enormous turnout for our club.  At Westerns, JHSC athletes shone with 8 top 5 placings in the age group categories.  Aurora Stiles won the skate sprint title, Mason Wheeler was on the podium in the Classic 10k, and we saw a breakout performance by Lena Poduska with a strong 5th place in the Skate 5k.  Annabel Hagen, Natalie O'Brien, and Kate Brigham also earned top 5 placings. 

While most athletes were done after Soldier Hollow, a select group of dedicated Comp athletes went to Sun Valley for Spring Series, the last races of the year.  The mission was to pick up points, gain experience racing against strong competition, and cap the season off in style.  All those goals were accomplished with many strong results and a great time had by all.  Natalie O'Brien in particular had another strong race series with high placings in all three races that weekend.  A flawless sunny skate race day on Sunday capped off the season perfectly. 

This season has been long and hard for all the Prep/Comp athletes, and now they are ready to take some well-earned rest!  Between local, high school, and intermountain racing this winter those athletes who did all the races got up to 26 starts!  While the race volume may have been tough on the athletes this year, it provided a wealth of experience and training that will pay huge dividends in the years to come.  We now look forward to the off-season, and then to Bend Oregon where we will have an on-snow training camp in late May.   The Pole Pedal Paddle is taking place April 10 and will feature a 6k Nordic leg at Shooting Star, which is a super fun opportunity to race with your friends.  The 2021-22 season starts May 1st!

Will Wicherski

Head Coach and Nordic Program Director

Birds chirping in the trees and crunchy snow underfoot at Trail Creek are sure signs that we find ourselves at the end of another Nordic season.  While this season had many unprecedented challenges, we persevered and had a banner year.  Here are some numbers that help give a picture of how incredible this season has been:

184:    Athletes enrolled in JHSC Nordic this year--54 more than last season!

25:       JHSC Nordic coaches on staff

8:         Race days hosted at Trail Creek

0:         Known COVID transmissions at JHSC Nordic practice or events.

8:         Top 5 results at Western Championships, the highest level race of the year

24:       Races supported by JHSC coaches

8:         Recreational Masters clinics taught by JHSC coaches for JH Nordic

84:       Athletes who received free or subsidized Nordic equipment rentals through the JHSC lease program

99:       Participants in the 2020 Betty Woolsey Classic (A record!)

269:    Teton County elementary school students coached by JHSC Nordic in winter sports programs

140:    Days of groomed skiing at Trail Creek this year (11/12-3/31)

Statistics cannot begin to approximate the value of healthy outdoor activity, safe social interaction, and the fun of sliding around on skis for the physical and mental health of the community this year.  A big thank you to everybody who faithfully followed club COVID policies, which allowed us to continue practice uninterrupted. 

None of this would be possible without the help of the entire Jackson Hole Nordic community: athletes, parents, coaches, volunteers, donors, JHSC administrative staff, the Groomer, Trail Creek Ranch, the Seiffert Family, Trail Creek pass holders, the Forest Service, the JHHS Nordic program, and others.  THANK YOU ALL!  I feel lucky to be a part of such a positive and supportive Nordic ecosystem.  Get a few last tours in on your Nordic skis before storage waxing your skis, taking a rest, and refocusing for next year!  The 21/22 training season starts on May 1st!

Will Wicherski

Head Coach and Nordic Program Director

On February 26th and 27th Kate Brigham was the fastest girl on skis in the state of Wyoming when she won both the classic and skate races at the Wyoming Girls High School Nordic Championships.  This month we are lucky to be able to have Kate as our featured athlete:

Do you remember when you started skiing?

I started Nordic skiing in 8th grade mainly because my friend joined and I thought I'd be alright at it cause I had somewhat of an endurance background.

Do your mom and dad Nordic ski?

They had not previously Nordic skied but because of my interest in the sport, they've tried it out but they wouldn't call themselves Nordic skiers I don't think.

Assuming you can beat them, do you remember how old you were the first time you beat your mom or your dad in a race?

I think I've always been better than my parents at endurance type activities.

At what age did you start skiing with the Jackson Hole Ski Club program?

I started when I was just turning 14.

What grade are you in now?

I'm a junior at the Jackson Hole Community School.

What were your Nordic goals for the year and have you met them?

I really wanted to get the double at state and be competitive on the national level in my age division.  Unfortunately Junior Nationals was canceled, but I still had some good results at Western regionals.

What has been the high point of your year so far?

Western regionals were a high point because I thought I raced outside of what I expected.

FIS races are always a lot of fun and really humbling because you realize that you're not as good as you think and it makes you motivated to want to compete at a much higher level.

Although the competition isn't nearly as stacked, State was definitely a high point because both the boys and girls teams won and it was for the tenth year in a row for the girls so that was cool to be a part of.

You had an amazing weekend at the state championships in Casper where you were the fastest girl in the state; did anything like snow conditions or wax make those races work really well for you?

I think the course really suited me well.  There were a lot of hills which, I like to think, played to my advantage and the distances worked out well for me, too, with the classic being a 5k and the skate, a 10k.  The coaches, of course, are mostly to credit for my success in both races; especially the classic day I thought my skies had pretty perfect wax.

Have you received any awards from Intermountain Division Nordic this year or in previous years?


What are your college and career plans after high school?

I'm not sure what I want to do yet.  I'd love to continue athletics in my future and in college.  I think it'd be fun to maybe coach for a second after college or something but I don't know how thrilled my coaches would be to hear that.

Are you planning on participating in Nordic skiing or other athletics in college?

That's the goal for sure.  Sometimes I think about running in college but I always seem to circle back to the idea of Nordic skiing.

What is your favorite memory of skiing for JHSC or at Trail Creek?

Bend Oregon has been a huge highlight throughout my time skiing for JHSC.  I’d say the nights sitting in the hot tub with my team were some of the most memorable.

Nordic skiing is a lot of hard work; is there a particular reason or somebody that has influenced you that has led to all of your hard work?

I think the previous success of the team, specifically seeing girls like Anna and Annabel dominate on a national stage, has really shown that you don't have to be a part of a super fancy team with crazy training schedules; it's more about the time and work you decide to put in.

What has been the biggest challenge of your Nordic skiing experiences so far?

I’m notoriously bad at dealing with disappointing races and I've certainly had a few this year.  My old coach, Scott Lacy, used to say that you can dwell on your bad race for 10 minutes and then you have to focus on what's ahead, and I think I've tried to apply this throughout this season but haven't always been successful.

In a decade from now do you see yourself living in a place where you can Nordic ski?

I hope that I will still want to ski.  I think it's a sport that can be continued for as long as you want so I assume that Nordic skiing will exist in some form in my life 10 years from now.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with the Nordic community?

Nordic skiing is a sport anyone can excel at.  The great thing about it is that the time and work you put in directly corresponds with your results and you have complete control over how you choose to manage your own success.  

It seems like Kate is well on her way to a very bright future, both on and off the snow.  Thanks so much for being our featured athlete this month and best wishes for your future!

March has seen lots of activity as we wrap up this slightly bizarre pandemic year Nordic season.  As the previous newsletter was being posted the Wyoming State Championships were in progress.  Our skiers had a great weekend, with both the boys' and girls' teams taking first place.

While the Junior National Championships were canceled, the Nordic regions all held their own finals, with ours (Intermountain Division) being in Soldier Hollow.  We also hosted the Western Youth Championships for the younger skiers at Trail Creek.  In addition, a pretty large group of our IMD skiers ventured off to Sun Valley for the FIS race to ski with some of the best skiers in the world.  To see the results and how our skiers have been making us proud across the region, click on any of the links below.

February 26-27, 2021          WY High School Championship   Casper Mountain, WY

March 6-7, 2021                   Western Youth Championships   Trail Creek, WY

March 10-13, 2021               Western Reg. Championships    Soldier Hollow, UT

March 19-21, 2021               Western Reg. FIS Races            Sun Valley, ID

It’s been a bit of a mixed bag in the wider world of master’s racing, where some races have happened and some have been canceled.  The West Yellowstone Rendezvous looks to have had a big crowd with 224 registrants.  The American Birkebeiner went forward in a hybrid format, with limited in-person/virtual participation.  The Birkebeiner in Norway was canceled.

After more or less average snowfall through most of the winter, March has turned dry, with two inches of snow being the biggest daily total through the month.  We’ve also had some warm days, but all in all, the base is holding up well and we look forward to skiing until the end of the month when our permit expires.

Thanks to all the community support in pulling off the Western Youth Championships, where hundreds of regional youth had a great time skiing around our race courses and especially the Nordic X course.  Coach George posted a great video of the Juniors skiing (mostly at Trail Creek) with even a drone shot of the Nordic X course you can see here.

The Pisten Bully is up and running and the pervasive problem with the final drives is believed to have been isolated.  Our great mechanic Berg Briggs finally got in touch with some Pisten Bully people in Scandinavia where a lot of Paanas like ours live and discovered that the last axle before the final drive needs to be adjusted so that it will provide more support as the machine ages, or some harmonic issues develop that cause extreme wear.  We have adjusted operations to prevent this situation until a permanent fix can be achieved, although we are hoping to trade to a new machine as mentioned in the Cat Campaign Report below.

Finally, as the snow has begun to melt, spring is definitely in the air at Trail Creek.  Robins are flitting about, some bluebirds have made an appearance, Canadian geese were honking around the fields, and the moose seem to be enjoying cruising over the top of the now firm snow.  An especially magical


encounter happened during a recent evening grooming when a resident fox went on about its foraging adventures, mostly indifferent to the Pisten Bully’s presence.  Click on the fox image to watch the video.

Keep on keeping safe and keep on skiing!

The JHSC teams have wrapped up training until May 1st.  The last major event of the season is a Covid safe version of the Pole, Pedal, Paddle on April 10th

Nordic skiing is an amazing sport that can be enjoyed by all ages and is an important pillar in a healthy lifestyle in this unique mountain community.  While it is possible to ski without groomed trails, the ability to groom those trails greatly expands the range of experiences available.  The current Pisten Bully has been chugging along for more than a decade and the time has come to replace it with a newer, more environmentally friendly machine.  In order to do that we need your help.  

Below is the moving testimonial of one of our former athletes, Annabel Hagen:

10+ years of my life have been spent romping around Trail Creek, through the woods, down Suicide on a Nordie powder day, and zooming through Armin’s Loop on a perfect Toko blue day.  These years at Trail Creek have provided me with so many opportunities that go beyond just skiing, including the opportunity to attend an incredible college (Harvard).

Racing in high school and racing in college back east have brought me to countless ski venues and I began to realize how nice Jackson kids have it . . . and we have it good.  A lot of venues have countless kilometers of trails, or beautiful scenery, or good grooming, but very few have all three.  Trail Creek is a place that has all three.  A high level venue allows for high level training and produces high level athletes.

The difference between feeling really good or just ok in an interval session can come down to how the trails feel and what the grooming was like that day.  Steve has been an integral part in making sure these trails are able to provide the highest quality of training possible, and without a working groomer he is unable to do his job and the athletes feel the effects.  I have benefited immensely from growing up skiing at Trail Creek, and making a contribution to getting a new grooming machine is the least I can do to say thank you for all the amazing years on these trails.

As of the end of March the Cat Campaign is over half way to its goal.  Please consider helping push this campaign to a successful completion to ensure quality Nordic grooming for years to come.  All the details on how you an help are on the 2021 Cat Campaign Page.  Thank you!

Thanks so much to the skiers and sponsors who make this all possible, with an extra special thanks to our season pass holders!  Ablondi/Wuersche Family, Dave Adams, Barret Family, Mark Baudenstiel,  Binning Family, Bosch Family, Brigham Family, Lori Cahn, Callaghan Family, John Clegg, Coburn/Thunder Family, Curtis/Adams Family, Arielle D’Arge, Darin Family, June Darin, Peggy Davenport, Dunbar/Wattenmaker Family, Everett Family, Gingery Family, Alex Gingery, Caroline Girling, Gordon/Mick Family, Lena Goss, Gross Family, Gute/Tong Family, Hagen Family, Ann Harvey, Henderson/Ratcliffe Family, Scott Horn, Eric Huber, Laurie Huff, Maggie Hunt, Karns Family, Kern Family, King Family, Koch/Nyrop Family, Kohlhardt Family, Nancy Lee, Leeds Family, Nancy Leon, Amy Lorenz, Lovett Family, Kristina MacLeod, Maria Mahood, Ann Makley, McGee Family, Hannah McKenzie Black, Wyley Menolascino, Moller Family, Moss Family, William Neal, Neterre Family, Newcomb/VonMaur Family, O’Brien Family, O’Malley/Jensen Family, Olsson Family, Peacock Family, Annika Peacock, Peck Family, Wayne Petsch, David Plunkett, Jim Roscoe, Catherine Rose, Nicholas Rusher, Schilling Family, Segal Family, Shriver Family, Sluszka Family, Parker Smith, Roger Smith, Springer Family, Sullivan Family, Avery Sullivan, Kaitlyn Sullivan, Thal Family, Charlie Thomas, Meaghan Tozzi, Brian Van Hatten, Polly Wakeman, Jocelyn Wasson, Olivia Weenig, Boden Welch, Chad Whaley, AJ Wheeler, Ben Williams, Steph Williams, Chris Wimberg, Wiswell Family, Wolff/Wild Family, Liam Wylie, Yeo Family, and Nico Yeomans.

Thanks to The Groomer’s Wife

Thanks to our amazing staff!

Pippa Blau, Charlotte Cadow, George Cartwright, Patrick Dominick, Alissa Ehrenkrantz, Jon Filardo, Anna Gibson, Charlie Gorski, Libby Hall, Lauri Harris, Lizzie Johnson, Haley Mahar, Ann Makley, Rob Murphy, Kathy Neiley, Mark Newcomb, Bill Oliphant, Johnny Springer, Steve Swan, Luna Wasson, Will Wicherski, Calvin Wight, Tyra Wynn, and Kim Young.

Thank you to the multitude of youth athletes, for whom this program is designed and would be impossible without their dedication and support!

A special thanks to Jackson Hole Nordic for being a strong supporter of our programs.