December 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 November 25th and first edition of “What’s Going On” for the 2020-2021 season!

Devo Team

The Development Team had a great beginning to our season. Due to COVID, dryland moved to Trail Creek to lower pressure on the Middle School area.  With all of the Ranch to explore, we tromped through the woods, slipping and sliding as we went.  We played soccer games, ran through obstacle courses, and hiked around during the scavenger hunt.  Thankfully snow fell early this year, and we were able to start skiing in mid-November.

Adventure skiing is our bread and butter on the Development Team.  There is now enough snow for us to adventure off-trail and explore.  Thanksgiving week is devoted to fun and games on Classic skis.  The diminishing equipment relay is always one of the athletes’ favorite games.  After the holiday we will refresh our skate technique and enjoy a bit more speed and gliding.  For the most part, the Devos will alternate skate and classic weekly throughout the season.  Jumps, hills, relays, and more games are on the schedule for December.  Of course, we will find adventures on and off-trail as we explore the fields and woods of Trail Creek.

Rob Murphy

Development Team Head Coach

Junior Team

The Junior Team is off to a great start.  We have had a solid month of dryland training and have just transposed over to snow, thanks to the amazing grooming at Trail Creek!  In a time of uncertainty we are so fortunate to be a part of such a strong Nordic community that allows us to be outside pursuing our passions.

This season we aim to improve our technique and competitive mindset in a fun and positive environment.  We are continuing to emphasize the minimization of congregating in close proximity and wearing face coverings to minimize the spread.  As long as we follow these protocols we are optimistic that we will have a very productive and FUN winter season!

Charlotte, George, and Johnny

George Cartwright

Junior Nordic Team Head Coach

Comp/Prep Teams       

The Prep/Comp Teams are currently in the middle of our "Westbank Yellowstone" training camp!  Double sessions and big training days are on the agenda for this week, where we are amassing lots of on-snow time and trying to instill good technique for the upcoming winter.  So far we have had many extremely productive technique sessions, our first on-snow interval session in the fields, and lots of moose encounters out at Trail Creek.  We will wrap up this week with back-to-back time trials in lieu of cancelled races and see where we are ahead of the race season!

This time of year is all about reinforcing positive technique habits and overloading the body on skiing ahead of the race season taper.  After this week we will begin to sharpen and hopefully get in a racing groove (pandemic allowing) that will last through the end of winter.  The athletes are looking extremely strong and technically skilled ahead of the season  . . . stay tuned!

Will Wicherski

Head Coach and Nordic Program Director

Lollipoppers and Teewinots will be skiing beginning in January

Happy Winter! 

With recent snowfall and some expeditious grooming we are fully on snow out at Trail Creek!  Our Devo, Junior, and Prep/Comp teams are moving full steam ahead with on-snow training!  Overall the Nordic program is looking extremely healthy.  All programs are fully enrolled, from Lollipoppers to Prep-Comp.  This year we have over 170 athletes enrolled across all six teams, a new high-water mark for JHSC Nordic! 

While the COVID pandemic has posed some challenges such as race cancellations, mandatory mask-wearing/social distancing, and no team shuttles, we are extremely fortunate to be involved in an inherently distanced sport and have abundant early snowfall.  While we have had some setbacks, the vast majority of athletes and parents have been very good about being careful with public health precautions. 

We are doing our best to offer Nordic programming throughout the winter.  Stay tuned for updates and exciting news about the Nordic Program!

Will Wicherski

Head Coach and Nordic Program Director

For the first newsletter of the 20-21 season let’s turn the spotlight on our new Nordic Director, Will Wicherski.  Heading into his third season with JHSC, Will has agreed to take on the big job of being the director of our Nordic Program.  His long history with things Nordic, general joy in life, and great rapport with kids will surely result in a great season this year.  Will supplied the following bio:

Will Wicherski is a Nordic skier, geologist, and lover of the great outdoors.  He grew up in Boise, Idaho and quickly developed a passion for Nordic skiing that has taken him all over the country and around the world. 

His junior Nordic racing career included national championship podiums, representing the USA at Scandinavian Cup and Junior World Championships, and a post-graduate year at a ski gymnasium in Norway.  While receiving his bachelor's degree in Geosciences at Williams College he qualified for NCAA championships all four years as an Academic All-American. 

Since college Will has coached for JHSC at the Devo, Junior, Prep/Comp levels, and worked as a fluvial geomorphologist [what in blazes is a fluvial geomorphologist, click on the link for a good description but if you love to watch flowing rivulets moving around gravel on your driveway, you are getting close!] after receiving his master's degree in Geography from the University of Colorado Boulder.  While not coaching he can be found backcountry skiing, biking, running, or checking out geology around the Tetons. 

Will is passionate about fostering a fun and inclusive team environment that encourages athletes to challenge themselves and embrace a Nordic lifestyle.  He is extremely excited to work with the community to support athlete aspirations and grow Nordic skiing in Jackson Hole! 

Fun Fact:  Will speaks fluent Norwegian!

A regular fixture for many years at Trail Creek has been one of our home grown skiers, Natalie O’Brien.  She’s been competing in races since she was very small and is currently one of the star members of the club team.  As our featured athlete this month, she agreed to share with us some of her experiences.  Here is a small part of her story:

Do you remember when you started skiing?

The first memory is when I was seven and I was in the Boulder Mountain Tour.  I remember sitting down in the snow and eating shot blocks.  I also remember finding a broken pole and I skied with it for the rest of the race.

Do your mom and dad Nordic ski?

Yes! Both of my parents ski.

What’s it like being the daughter of a Nordic store owner?

It is OK; however, my father doesn’t let me in unless I am working for him.

Can you beat your mom or your dad in a race?

Yes, but they both deny it. They protest this answer.

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

6 years old.

What grade are you in now?

11th grade.

What are your Nordic goals for this year?

My main goal this year is to qualify for the Western Region Junior Championships.

What has been the high point of your Nordic career so far?

The high point for me was getting eighth place at Junior Nationals.

What are your college and career plans for after high school?

I would like to ski in college but I don’t have any plans yet.

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

I really liked racing in the sprints at the Trail Creek Johnny Curtis Memorial/JNQ last year.

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

Yes!  I love skiing.

Thanks so much, Natalie!  Your Nordic future looks nothing but bright.  Best wishes for the rest of your time with us and as you move on in the future!

A record early start happened this year, with the Pisten Bully hitting the trails on November 15th—the earliest ever on record.  About 3 feet of snow fell right around that time, providing a grand blast into the winter Nordic season.

While COVID is still very much a fact of life, Nordic skiing is a fun and safe way to keep healthy during a pandemic.  The result has been lots of activity on the trails.  Just keep following safe protocols.  If you haven’t done so yet, remember to get your passes purchased!

All equipment is all up and running!  The Pisten Bully had suffered another final drive failure near the end of last season, but we are happy to report it was covered by warranty; the current final drives are from a different supplier and are hopefully more robust.  Thanks to our mechanic, Berg Briggs, for keeping it running.  Thanks also to Brian Sell from Parks and Rec for transporting the machine to and from Berg’s place each year.

The winter animals have moved in, with lots of critters potentially greeting you on your Nordic ski.  Moose numbers are climbing and a huge bull was recently spotted.  Old Number 20, a tagged cow moose, has a rambunctious bull calf in tow.  The elk herd of recent years has been around a couple of nights; lots of squirrels, a few deer, and a badger have also been observed.

The goal for the season is to provide a safe Nordic skiing environment for as many people as possible.  Thanks for your support; please help support us in our mission!

It’s safe to say that any and all events are tentative at this time.  Below is a clickable image showing a schedule of what might be happening.  The first event of the winter here at Trail Creek is the Betty Woolsey which is scheduled for December 26th.  COVID procedures will be in place.  To see the complete calendar with clickable links check out the Winter Nordic Calendar link.

Thanks so much to the skiers and sponsors who make this all possible with an extra special thanks to our season pass holders!  Dave Adams, Broughton Coburn, Curtis-Adams Family, Darin Family, June Darin, Everett Family, Hagen Family, Eric Huber, King Family, Kohlhardt Family, Nancy Leon, Amy Lorenz, Lovett Family, Ann Makley, Wyley Menolascino, O’Brien Family, Peck Family, Wayne Petsch, David Plunkett, Jim Roscoe, Schilling Family, Susan Segal, Parker Smith, Springer Family, Sullivan Family, Tozzi Family, Brian Van Hatten, Boden Welch, Wiswell Family, and Nico Yeomans.

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.