JHSC Club and Community Nordic Update
Happenings of the JHSC Nordic Program, Trail Creek Nordic Center, and Local Nordic Community
Welcome to the February 8th edition of “What’s Going On!” Read on for all the scoop…
Exciting news! There have been several mountain lion sightings in the Trail Creek neighborhood in recent days, while in general this is a lucky encounter, they are big animals with sharp claws and teeth and a little caution should be exercised in an encounter. The excerpt below is from Colorado Parks and Wildlife:
Do not approach a lion, especially one that is feeding or with kittens. Most mountain lions will try to avoid a confrontation. Give them a way to escape.
Stay calm when you come upon a lion. Talk calmly and firmly to it. Move slowly.
Stop or back away slowly, if you can do it safely. Running may stimulate a lion’s instinct to chase and attack. Face the lion and stand upright.
Do all you can to appear larger. Raise your arms. Open your jacket if you’re wearing one. If you have small children with you, protect them by picking them up so they won’t panic and run.
If the lion behaves aggressively, throw stones, branches or whatever you can get your hands on without crouching down or turning your back. Wave your arms slowly and speak firmly. What you want to do is convince the lion you are not prey and that you may in fact be a danger to the lion.
Fight back if a lion attacks you. Lions have been driven away by prey that fights back. People have fought back with rocks, sticks, caps or jackets, garden tools and their bare hands successfully. Remain standing or try to get back up!
Lollipops got an introduction to skate skiing last week. We worked on balancing on one ski first and did "scooter" activities with only one ski, then they carried baskets in front of themselves in a relay race - this helps them keep their arms in front without *thinking* about keeping their arms in front because they focus on the basket and putting objects in it.
While we are still mostly doing classic skiing, some of the kids are really ready to step up their game and take on skating more aggressively, while others are continuing to work on basic classic. It's all good - keeping them learning at their own rate is the focus of Lollipoppers - and in order to do that we have lots of coaches! Coach Ann will be back this week to help out after recuperating from her broken arm, and she will join Kathy, Libby, Jeanie and Heather - some days we will have 2, some days we will have 4 coaches, depending on their availability. "It takes a village!"
We also did some longer skiing, even going out to some of the big hills like Gut Flop last week. We had some pretty big crashes - but these kids are fierce!!
Coach Kathy Neily
Lollipopper Head Coach
Last week the Teewinots made some serious headway with their skate skiing!
We took advantage of the great tracks out on the east fields to work on our no pole skiing, balance, and weight transfer. The coaching staff was blown away by the progress made by all of the kids!
This week we hope to bring some of that same energy into our classic skiing. Monday’s practice was canceled due to poor road conditions, however, we plan to have a great practice this Wednesday with lots of no pole skiing and striding. Of course we will also be enjoying all the fresh powder out at Trail Creek!
Teewinot Head Coach
The Development team is making huge strides (get it!) in both skate and classic skiing. Fresh off an agility block and technique tune-up, we are ready to turn our focus towards speed as we prepare for the Moose Chase on February 16, although this group is always prepared to divert from the plan for fresh powder turns or a game of "big air big crash."
The upcoming weeks feature a downhill relay race and a short time trial to get ready to for the Moose Chase and the upcoming Intermountain Youth Championships the weekend of the 23rd. Somewhere beyond the snow and cold spring surely awaits, fast skis, Nordic-X, bb gun biathlon, and the infamous donut relay will be some of the sure signs of the warmer weather to come around Trail Creek.
Development Team Head Coach
The junior team has been busy the last few weeks in an intensity block of training where we have used Homesite for longer classic intervals and east field for double pole intervals. The past few days we practiced our “Nordic combined” with some good jumps and powder runs. One standout for the juniors is Abi Murphy, who won her age group in the boulder mountain tour 15k by 8 minutes! Her commitment to dialing in her skate technique has really started to show off as she puts all the strength and endurance training I to efficient skating. Some Juniors are headed off to Boise for the last IMD JNQ this weekend, while others are staying local to prepare for the Moose Chase next weekend.
Cheers and great work with all the new snow!
Junior Nordic Ski Team Head Coach
The past two weeks have been some strong weeks of training for the Prep and Comp team. With the looming last Junior National Qualifier in Boise this weekend we have been training for our best fitness and race tactics to come out. This included a full interval focused week ending with our home Wyoming High School races at Trail Creek this past weekend. Using these races as our last high school state championship qualifying races as well as one last honing of race skills: warm-ups, pacing, mass starts, hill climbing, top end finish speed and in race tactics... the team is race ready.
This week has been one to remember for sure. Beginning with a very rare canceled practice on Monday due to the epic weather we came out on Tuesday to the unprecedented beauty of deep winter. A few classic speeds later the Prep and Comp team enjoyed distance skiing Wednesday exploring the chest deep snow at Trail Creek, some awe-inspiring conditions and of course; powder exploration, then packing up for the trip to Boise. Thursday and Friday the team is traveling to Boise and previewing the race courses up at Bogus Basin. The results can be seen at summittiming.com.
Head Comp and Prep Coach
Annabel has been a fixture around Trail Creek for quite a few years and below she explains her plans for the future.
Do you remember when you started skiing?
My parents always tell me I started skiing around the time I started walking but I’m sure that’s a little exaggerated. If I had to put a number on it, I was probably four or five.
Do your Mom and Dad Nordic ski?
My dad was a competitive biathlon skier who participated in world cup races and was an alternate for the 1980 Olympics. My mom Nordic skis recreationally but she has always been the “Alpiner” in the family.
Assuming you can beat him, do you remember how old you were the first time you beat your dad in a race?
I don’t think I have ever been in a real race with my dad. We have skied together before and had a few friendly “I’ll beat you to that tree” moments, but nothing too serious. It’s always been a fun type of competition.
At what age did you start skiing with the Jackson Hole Ski Club program?
I believe I started skiing for the club when I was nine. I joined in on the Junior team.
What grade are you in now?
I’m currently a senior at the Jackson Hole High School.
How many times have you gone to the national championships?
I’ve been to three National Championships: Lake Placid, New York; Cable, Wisconsin; and Soldier Hollow, Utah.
Have you had any special awards from Intermountain Division Nordic?
Last year I was nominated for the David Quinn Award by the Intermountain Division. Every year, each division nominates an athlete that is presented at Junior Nationals and one athlete wins the award. I also won the “Outstanding Girl” award for the divisional titles.
What are your college and career plans for after high school?
I’ll be attending Harvard next fall with a focus in pre-med. But who knows how long that will last; I’ve heard organic chemistry is brutal.
Are you planning on participating in Nordic skiing or other athletics in college?
Yes! I’m planning on skiing for Harvard. I’m super excited to have an opportunity to race in the Carnivals and ski the east!
What is your favorite memory of skiing for JHSC or at Trail Creek?
I have too many to name. From diminishing relays to BB gun biathlon to wind sprints up Homesite. I always have fun at Trail Creek, even on the freezing cold!
What has been the biggest challenge of your Nordic skiing experiences so far?
My biggest challenge has definitely been this year. I got knee surgery over the summer and wasn’t able to get on skis until January. It’s been a hard transition getting back into it, but I’m just happy to be back on skis!
In a decade from now do you see yourself living in a place where you can Nordic ski?
I definitely think I will end up somewhere I can ski. I can’t imagine my life without a winter of skiing.
Any other thoughts you would like to share with the Nordic community?
The Nordic community is one of the most supportive groups of people I know and I am eternally grateful to be part of this crowd! Thank you to everyone for your endless support and keeping this community genuine!
Kathy (Conner) Neiley
This edition our featured alumni is also a featured coach as Kathy been using her talent to get our Lollipoppers up and skiing this year. Her coach report is above but read on for a little about her fascinating history at Trail Creek...
Have you lived in Jackson Hole all your life?
I lived in Star Valley in 1962, then St. Anthony, Rexburg and then to Jackson in 1972. I was actually born in 1960 at Mt. Hood in Oregon - my dad was a US Forest Ranger on Mt. Hood.
At what age did you start skiing?
Started at Kelly Canyon over in Idaho in about 1965...so I was 5....did a few runs on the old rope tow. Cable bindings and lace-up boots!
At what age and for how long did you start skiing with JHSC?
I began skiing my freshman year in high school, 1974, and skied all four years of high school, graduating in 1978.
How was skiing different when you were on the JHSC team in your youth?
Our coaches set tracks with an old Skidoo and they set just one set of classic tracks - sometimes two if it was a race. Skate skiing hadn't been invented yet. Junior Nationals were not yet divided by ages - so as a 13 year old I competed alongside 18 year olds. The whole Jackson Hole valley really got behind the team and raised money to send us to Nationals every year. We had wood skis - some of the fancy ones had graphite bases; fiberglass were just coming out. We used bamboo poles, then metal, and then finally carbon-fiber. We wore knickers and tall wool socks. Adidas came out with one of the first athletic-type ski boots - but we were still racing on 3-pin Rottefella bindings and Alfa leather boots my freshman year. One of our coaches, Jeff Crabtree, started Skinny Skis the year I started racing!
Did you ski in college?
I skied for Middlebury. I was named to the US Junior Development team after I graduated high school in 1978, but I didn't want to just ski full-time so I went to college instead and didn't race juniors. Middlebury won Nationals (AIAW's) my freshman year - 1979. That was really, really fun, little old Middlebury beating all the big D1 schools like Utah, Dartmouth, Colorado, Alaska, and New Mexico. Nationals in Michigan were an absolute blast. We got cool medals - no rings back then! The following year the NCAA absorbed the AIAW - we were still really in the early Title IX years, and the NCAA hadn't quite accepted women athletes prior to that.
What are your most memorable races?
I was pretty excited when I made JN's my very first year racing in 1975, so I remember that moment over in Sun Valley pretty clearly. I got a top-ten finish my second year at JN's, which were held at Terry Peak in South Dakota. I was also on the winning mixed relay at JN's my senior year which were held at Trail Creek. And, of course, winning Nationals in college was a pretty big deal.
Have you ever coached before working for JHSC?
I've coached volleyball, track, soccer, racquet-ball, basketball, pony club....and lacrosse! I love coaching! I love most sports!
What is your educational background?
I went to Middlebury College in Vermont, where I majored in English and minored in education. I have done several graduate programs since, including the local Startup Intensive, an entrepreneurship program taught locally through CWC and sponsored by Silicon Couloir.
Does your family ski?
My brother and sisters were all members of the JHHS ski team, and my sister Mo and brother Chris also qualified for JN's. Mom and dad were both avid cross country skiers well in to their 70's.
How often do you ski now?
I live right across from Stilson, so I try to get to the Levee or the Stilson track every day if I can - or up in the Park...and occasionally I telemark at one of the ski areas. I bought alpine boots this year for the first time in 30 years..still haven't used them though.
What other employment do you have throughout the year?
I started a little company that provides jobs for women living in remote communities in Wyoming - it's called WyoWhy. I also am working at the coffee kiosk run by JHMR at Stilson in the morning from 6-10 this winter - I've really enjoyed re-connecting with people I haven't seen in years as they wait for the bus to go to JHMR, and it's been fun to meet all the hard-working mountain employees as they head to work.
What age group are you coaching now?
I have the Lollipopper group - ages 5-7. We try to keep it silly!
What or who turned you onto skiing in your youth?
My dad was fascinated by cross-country and got us our first skis from LLBean when I was in Junior High in 1972 - I still remember the pine tar on the bottoms, still remember that fantastic smell. My parents insisted I ski - I wasn't very enthusiastic about it until I started winning races. I literally cried every night after practice - I hated the whole thing. Thank God they made me stick it out.
What is your favorite memory of skiing for JHSC or at Trail Creek?
We had an ornery resident moose we named Clarence... we all got chased down the track by that old moose more than once. Winning the mixed relay here when we hosted Junior Nationals in 1978 was pretty fun, too, because we were neck-and-neck with the Colorado team the whole way, and we won by less than 1 second. Rody Hagan led it off (he actually won FIVE medals at that JN's btw) , I was 2nd, followed by Eric Barker (Barker-Ewing float trips) then Kelly Milligan and Pinedale's Lat Straley absolutely crushed the anchor leg. It's always fun when the locals can win in front of the home crowd.
What is the biggest challenge of being a coach?
Adapting to the very diverse amount of experience that kids of the same age have - the never-evers and the kids who have had skis on their feet since they could walk. Some of those little nuggets are pretty good already and SO fun to work with...but I also absolutely LOVE putting someone on skis for the first time! So I go back-and-forth, and try to keep them all having fun. We have lots of new skiers this year.
Any other thoughts you would like to share with the local Nordic community?
I'm a big believer in multi-sport athletes, and not specializing until college - and maybe not even then! Repetitive use injuries are really common, and multi-sport cross-training helps avoid that. I was varsity and all-state in three sports, and had opportunities to play all three sports in college. It made me a better athlete to play multiple sports. Lifetime friendships are what sports should be about - I climbed the Grand a couple years ago with two of my teammates from high school and college - still buddies after all this time.
Perhaps if you were living under a rock you would have missed last weekend’s big race at Trail Creek where around 200 of Wyoming’s finest high school Nordic skiers gathered to prove their mettle. Friday’s skate race was a nearly perfect bluebird day and Saturday, while cloudy, still provided some good conditions for classic racing. Elijah Weenig was the top male Jackson finisher on both days, winning Friday’s skate race, while in the female races Andie Cornish was the top Jackson skater and Kate Brigham was the fastest Jackson classic skier. All results are available here.
Our own Abi Murphy is on the left
The local Nordic community busy racing season hasn’t paused a moment in the past two weeks. January 26th was the Spud Chase over the hill in Idaho where a good crowd was reported. Top male and female finishers were Sam Krieg of Pocatello, ID and our very own Robin McGee of Jackson, WY. Full results are available here. February 2nd was the massive Boulder Mountain Tour in Sun Valley, ID. Over 600 racers competed including many of our local skiers. Of special note Coach Rob Murphy and his daughter, Abi, each were top finishers in their respective categories, way to go Murphy’s! The January 28th Sandbag Standings are below:
Around 4 feet of snow has fallen at Trail Creek since last weekend’s high school race. Needless to say, it got ahead of us for a few days but as this week is wrapping up we are once again getting things whipped into shape. Looking through the 8-14 day forecast we see continued snow with seasonally cool temperatures which is a really good thing in the Nordic world (as long as the amounts stay a bit below 4 feet).
Skiing the "pow" on Gutflop!
A million thanks to all the volunteers who pitched in hosting our recent high school race. It truly takes a community to make this happen and anyone who was there knows that a good thing happened. Also thanks to the understanding of the greater Nordic community if their personal Nordic outing was inconvenienced by racing or race prep. We also need your support to make everything work.
The recent snow has pushed the moose onto the trails a bit more as the calves especially are having a hard time moving through the deep snow. While they are pretty docile this time of year, probably the best strategy in an encounter is to reroute and find another skiing avenue. The elk and deer have not been spotted in a couple of days; this snow could be really hard on them so hopefully they have moved on to greener, or at least less white pastures.
The Jackson Hole Ski & Snowboard Club is proud to present the 27th Annual Skinny Skis Moose Chase Nordic Ski Race on February 16th at Trail Creek Nordic Center in Wilson, WY. This premiere Nordic race includes a 30k, a 15k, 5k, 3k, and a free 1/2k. Competitors can skate or classic ski the course. The Moose Chase is the first event of the JHSC's Triple Crown Series. Register early for best pricing!
Even sooner than the Moose Chase is the 9th Annual Alta Vista Freestyle Nordic Race on February 9th on TVTAP’s (Teton Valley Trails and Pathway) Alta Nordic Trail. Registration is available at their website.
In the youth team department this upcoming weekend is about as busy as it gets! Jackson Hole Ski and Snowboard Nordic high school and younger racers will be heading to Bogus Basin for the third and final Junior National Qualifier February 9th and 10th. Information for this JNQ is available here. High school racers won’t be luffing either, with another Wyoming High School Nordic Invitational in Casper on February 8th and 9th. Racing racing everywhere!
Looking far ahead, note that the Sandbag Final Championship is being moved from March 9th to March 16th. While the venue will still be at Trail Creek, due to a conflict with a collegiate race, the race will start from Mug’s Meadow. Racers should park at the end of the Old Pass Road and ski in on the Forest Service Road, which will be groomed. Currently the course will probably be two 5 km laps, which should be a total hoot, being a never before skied venue. Hope to see you there!
A hopefully somewhat accurate tabulation of all the multitude of events for IMD, High School, and the community are below. If you would like to add an event, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks so much to the members and sponsors who make this all possible!
Adams Family; Keith Austin; Eric Balog; Matthew Brazell; Brigham Family; Kristi Brown; Derek Collins; Broughton Coburn; Janet Conway Heslin; Culver Family; Curtis-Adams Family; DesLauriers Family; The Everett Family; Goelet Family; Gordon-Mick Family; Eliot Goss; Ann Harvey; Hall Family; Scott Horn; Jen Kandolin; King Family; Klomparens Family; Kohlhardt Family; Nancy Lee; Mark Lovett; Rob Mahoney; Ann Makley; Kelly McCloskey; McGee Family; Lars Moller; Neal Family; O'Brien Family; William Oliphant; Wayne Petsch; Michael Price; Pruzan Family; Monroe Rosenthal; Susan Segal; Sheafor Family; Roger Smith; Springer Family; Stanley Family; Stiles Family; Thal Family; Jocelyn Wasson; Chris Wimberg; Wiswell Family
A special thanks to Jackson Hole Nordic for being a strong supporter of our programs.