JHSC Club and Community Nordic Update
Happenings of the JHSC Nordic Program, Trail Creek Nordic Center, and Local Nordic Community
Welcome to the February Edition of “What’s Going On” for the 2021-2022 season!
We have been hitting the trails in groups as soon as warm ups are finished, keeping kids spread out for safety, but still maximizing ski time in order to get a little further out on the trail system. We have been working on pole technique, pole placement during various techniques, and pole timing. Poles are not only used as balancing devices during the developmental stage, but are a way to help propel down the track. We are always looking for "effective", not necessarily "ideal", techniques. We continue to work on downhill stopping and turning, and stepping out of the track and back into it while on downhills, with the important goal of avoiding crashing into anyone else, so as to avoid the I-80 pile-ups.
Coach Kathy, Ann, Rody, Dennis, Amelia, Bill,
Teewinot Team Update - January 2022
With the arrival of January, we welcomed 41 Teewinot athletes - a new JHSC record. There are a few newcomers, but the vast majority of our Teewinot Team athletes have at least one (some two or three) years of JHSC Nordic programming under their belts. This year's team is strong - athletes are kind, quick, agile and F-U-N!
As FUN is truly the FoUNdation of our program, in the first 4 weeks of training practices have started with games, including Sharks & Minnows, Tractor Relays, Dodgeball, Diminishing Equipment Relays, Snoccer (ask the kids - ski snow/ski soccer), Fox & Squirrels, Chase the Rabbit, and Dead Bug Tag among others. Athletes gain agility, speed, and balance skills through these games and have a blast doing so.
Practices wouldn't be complete without an adventure to one of the many dynamic terrain features around Trail Creek. Hills, thrills, and sometimes spills are nearly always part of the adventure! So far we have cruised up and down Grunt, Gut Flop, and Faceplant, too. Something amazing happens when an athlete "sticks it" on Nordic skis on one of these big hills, and this is happening every day with this strong group of Nordies!
Our time at Trail Creek wouldn't be complete without sightings of fox, moose, elk and eagles. Kids are finding tracks, scat and sometimes carcasses in the forest. Team Teewinot is ready for Fun-February! The days are starting to feel a little longer already and the sunshine has been good to us. The Husky groomer has delivered excellent trail conditions for our program this year, and we're super excited to see what magic awaits with Nordic X later in the season.
Coaches Libby Hall, Lauri Harris, Lauren Hugo, Calvin Wight, Kirsys Campbell, Lizzie Johnson, Charlie Gorski and Phil Leeds.
The Ositos (3rd, 4th, & 5th) grade skiers in a partnership with Coombs Outdoors on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school) have had a fun filled start to their season full of games, goofs, and great sunsets! Transitioning this week from getting their skis under them at the Middle School groomers to Trail Creek, the kids are excited to explore new terrain, incorporate some hills, and keep experiencing the joys of Nordic skiing!
Thanks to the amazing help of Sahir Enriquez and Maggie Shipley from Coombs, Coach Connor Phillips, and our awesome interns Nayeli and Mariela this program is off to a fast and fun start!
Coach Miles Yazzolino
The Development Team had an adventurous January with multiple trips off the groomed trail. We explored much of Trail Creek and plowed through a lot of fresh powder at the beginning of the month. Lately, drier conditions have allowed the Devos to focus on technique as we have tuned up our skate and classic skiing. The team's strength shows when the entire team can ski to Suicide and the Black Hole area, with time to spare, during our practice sessions. The team looks forward to more adventures when we use our new skills to find the far reaches of our endurance.
February brings more fun and the biggest race of the year to Trail Creek, the Johnny Curtis Memorial Race, at which the Development Team should be well represented. This final JNQ race also serves as a Wyoming High School race. Divisions will be available for all ages, with a classic sprint on Friday and a skate race on Saturday. When we are not racing, the team will continue to explore off-trail, ski the ups and downs, have a scavenger hunt, and enjoy an obstacle course relay in the Skyview Stadium.
Development Team Head Coach
Junior Nordic athletes have been hard at work at Trail Creek every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Athletes are looking stronger and stronger with each passing week, and their technique is improving across the board. We have every ability level, from first year skiers to seasoned racers. The team chemistry is strong and it is fun to see athletes supporting each other in a really positive way.
We have had some good jump sessions, games of snoccer, relays, time trials, and have raced with the big dogs at the Sun Valley Junior National Qualifier. Charlie Von Maur-Newcomb, Sita Yeomans, Ellie Wheeler, Callum Kuszak, Karsten Besonnette, and Ellery Preheim represented the Junior Team well in Sun Valley! We are looking forward to more fun in the snow and more hard training and racing.
George, Will, Johnny, and J.T.
George Cartwright, Junior Nordic Team Head Coach
Starting off 2022, our team has jumped into race season at full speed. After six of our athletes competed in US Nationals at Soldier Hollow, we traveled to our first Junior National Qualifier in Sun Valley. This race provided what is likely to be the most competitive field of skiers we will see all season, as it was a combination Intermountain qualifier, Rocky Mountain collegiate race, and Supertour stop on the national circuit. It was a great opportunity for our team to see, and compete in, a very high level of racing, and we posted some great results. Mason Wheeler placed 1st in the U18 15k Classic, and Lucas Wilmot placed 2nd in the U16 5k Classic and 3rd in the 5k Skate. It was an exciting weekend and fun to experience the return of mass start races after a year without them due to Covid.
Prep/Comp Team members also traveled to Casper and Laramie to race on the Wyoming high school circuit, with Kate Brigham, Bridger Stiles, and Will Johnson posting individual wins. Between races we have been enjoying the great conditions at Trail Creek and putting in high quality training and fun.
Looking ahead, the team is headed to West Yellowstone for the second Junior National Qualifier of the season. The racing begins Saturday with a skate sprint, followed by a classic distance race on Sunday. Our athletes are skiing well and are excited for competition!
Comp Team Coach
Many days at Trail Creek you will find some amazing tracks, especially those of lighter weight skiers doing amazing things. Quite likely these are some of the Junior Team, our 6th to 8th graders, getting a grand Nordic experience. Leading this astonishing age of skiers is this month’s featured coach, George Cartwright. Below is his bio from the JHSC website, with some follow up questions to share the story of this gifted and talented young man!
George grew up in Lander, Wyoming. He was fortunate enough to be exposed to the sport of skiing from a young age. As his love of the outdoors, hankering for competition, and outdoor-oriented friend group grew, he found his passion on the Nordic ski trails. Fortunate to grow up in a community that supported his endeavors, George found success in the sport beyond what he had ever imagined. George's college years took him to Michigan's Upper Peninsula where he competed for the NMU Wildcats under the tutelage of renowned ski coach Sten Fjeldheim.
Now back in his home state of Wyoming, George spends his days teaching Spanish at Jackson, Moran, and Kelly Elementary Schools. He is excited to share his love for the sport of Nordic skiing, and help athletes realize their potential both on and off the track.
Sport Specific Background, Experience, and Roles:
- 3x World Junior Team Qualifier (2009, 2010, 2011)
- 2x NCAA Championships Qualifier (2010/2013)
- 3x Central Region Skate Champion
- 3x Junior National Champion
- 2007 Dave Quinn Award recipient
- Team Soldier Hollow Devo Coach (2014/15)
- JHSC Junior Nordic Assistant Coach
- 2020/2021 Junior Nordic Head Coach
Education, Professional Degrees, and Certifications:
Northern Michigan University B.A. Spanish and Criminal Justice
- English minor
- Teaching English as a Foreign Language certifications.
- PSIA level 1 (Alpine certification)
Personal Philosophy or Statement:
Ski racing has provided me with many gifts over the years: friends, memories, grit, perspectives, therapy, solitude, pride, laughter, affirmation, courage, passion, happiness, creativity, self-awareness, education, networks, motivation, direction, and fulfillment, to name a few. It is my goal to perpetuate these gifts!
Thanks so much, George, for being the featured coach this month. Your bio on the club website includes a serious skiing resume. Looking back to your high school days at Lander, you must have raced at Trail Creek while growing up. How do your memories of skiing here in high school compare to the reality of being an adult coach?
We would race at Trail Creek in high school a couple times a season. I always enjoyed coming to race in Jackson, not just because Trail Creek has amazing trails, but because of the prevalent ski culture here in Jackson. To be honest, the Trail Creek I experienced as an athlete, and the Trail Creek I currently experience as an adult coach, seem like two completely different places. When you go to a race venue and it's all set up for a race, with the stadium, racers all over the trails, and pre-race nerves, you often don't slow down to take in and appreciate where you are. The Trail Creek I experience as a coach has a much more tranquil and serene feel to it. Whether it's a race day, or another day at practice, the grooming is always great though.
Were your parents from Lander, too, or did they move there for opportunities or lifestyle?
My parents transplanted to Lander, which is another story. In short, Detroit hippie (father) is picked up hitchhiking by NOLS founder Paul Petzoldt, meets my mom out dancing at Spirits of the West (currently Abuelitos?), who was in Jackson visiting her parents, my grandparents, who retired to Jackson in the late '80s. They followed the night up with a backcountry ski up Glory and the rest is history. NOLS and teaching brought them to Lander.
Lander has had green in their uniforms for some time. Do you still have your uniform and was it green?
Landers uniforms used to be even greener than they are now. They were also one piece suits. We called them pickle suits. Unfortunately, I don't think I have a pickle suit anymore. Some of my friends definitely still have theirs though.
What is your most memorable race from high school?
My most memorable race from high school was undoubtedly the skate race at state my junior year in high school. Willie Neal and I were separated by 7 tenths of a second. Willie won. This was also the difference between the one point Lander needed to dethrone Jackson for the State title. Jackson had won state several consecutive years leading up to that year. It was a heartbreaker. (We got the job done my senior year though.)
How about college? Is there a race that is really memorable?
My most memorable race in college was the final skate race of my senior year. It was a 20K mass start at the NCAA Central Regional Championships. I took first, and it was a great way to end my college career.
Moving on to your present position as Head Coach for the Junior Team, do you have any special affiliation with this age group, or did fate bring you where you are now?
I don't have, or rather I didn't have, any special affiliation with this age group. It seems to be a good fit, though, given that my sense of humor seems to be on par with that of a 13-year-old. After some encouragement from Ben Morley, I assisted Calvin White for a season working with the Junior program. The following year I took over as head coach ('20/'21 season).
Juniors are 11-14 years old, an age that can be challenging. Do you have any sage insight for dealing with this age group?
I wish I had more. I think most importantly you have to have patience. Be flexible, but not too flexible. Don't take yourself, or them, too seriously. Throw in humor and sarcasm when possible. Show that you care. Seek out opportunities to connect and relate beyond the ski track. Try to be sensitive and understanding. Middle school years can be confusing times.
What are the season dates for the Juniors, how often do they practice each week, and what racing opportunities do they have each year?
Juniors practice 3x per week at Trail Creek during the winter. Apart from the local citizens’ races, Junior athletes can also compete at the IMD Junior National Qualifiers. There are three of them per season. At the end of the season they can go to the Western Regional Youth Festival, which is a weekend of racing for U12 and U14 athletes from around the west. This year it will be in McCall at the end of February.
Do you have any other words of wisdom for the Jackson Hole Nordic Community?
Keep having fun and enjoying the sport! Thanks for all the support with the JHSSC!
One of our younger racing skiers, who looks to have a very bright future ahead of him in the world of Nordic skiing, is Lucas Wilmot. Lucas placed 2nd in the U16 5k Classic and 3rd in the 5k Skate in the recent IMD Qualifier in Sun Valley. We are pleased to celebrate him as our featured athlete this month.
Do you remember when you started skiing?
I started Nordic skiing in 2012 when I was 6 years old.
Do your Mom and Dad Nordic ski?
My mom and my dad go Nordic skiing as often as they can.
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 was able to beat my parents in a race when I was 11 years old.
At what age did you start skiing with the Jackson Hole Ski Club program?
I started skiing with the club when I was 6 years old.
What grade are you now?
I am in the 10th (sophomore year) grade at the Jackson Hole High School.
What were your Nordic goals for the year and have you met them?
My goals for this Nordic year are to keep pushing myself through the finish line and have nothing left at the end of every race. I hope to make it to Junior Nationals and compete against high-level skiers.
What has been the high point of your year so far?
The high point of my year so far has been the Junior National Qualifier in Sun Valley because I loved racing in a course that had flats, downhills, and big uphills. I loved being able to push myself in all aspects of Nordic skiing.
Congratulations on your great finish at the recent Junior National Qualifier in Sun Valley! Was there anything in particular that made that race really work for you?
My race in Sun Valley went very well because I feel the best when going up the hills and cranking it over the top of the hill. The trails at Trail Creek have provided the perfect training opportunities to succeed in races that include a large variety of hills.
While it is a ways away, do you have college and career plans for after high school?
In the future I hope to continue to Nordic ski for as long as I can. I hope to ski in college and see where my career takes me from there.
Are you planning on participating in Nordic skiing or other athletics beyond high school?
Hopefully, my future includes being a Nordic athlete as part of a team or as a hobby. I will continue to downhill ski as well.
What is your favorite memory of skiing for JHSC or at Trail Creek?
My favorite memory of being part of the JHSC is going on a team adventure day to the coast of Oregon to surf while at a ski camp near Mt. Bachelor.
Nordic skiing is a lot of hard work; is there a particular reason or somebody that has influenced you in all of your hard work?
Although Nordic takes tons of effort, I keep on pushing myself because of the rewarding feeling you get after finishing a hard workout or race.
What has been the biggest challenge of your Nordic skiing experience so far?
The most challenging Nordic experience has been looking back on hard races and being able to think positively about the improvements you can make to your racing.
In a decade from now do you see yourself living in a place where you can Nordic ski?
In a decade I hope to see myself living in a place that has the necessary snow to Nordic ski. I have always loved living in a place that has snow.
Any other thoughts you would like to share with the Nordic community?
I think the Nordic community is an awesome place to grow up and set yourself up for success in the future. It is also a very fun and inviting environment which allows you to get outside to go skiing almost every day!
Thanks so much Lucas! Best wishes for continued success!
Wow, what a month! Nordic racing has been progressing at a fast and furious pace. January started off with the 2022 LL Bean US Cross Country Ski Championships and Supertour at Soldier Hollow, UT. Coach Will took a good group of elite skiers to witness the spectacle and compete. Results are available here.
On January 7th and 8th there was a Wyoming High School race in Casper with many local skiers participating. Results for that are here.
January 8th was the Teton Ridge Classic at Grand Targhee Resort in Alta, WY. Results for that race are available here.
We sent a big group of skiers to the first Intermountain Division Junior National Qualifier in Sun Valley, Idaho on January 15th and 16th with some outstanding results, including some podium finishes that Coach Luna detailed in the Prep/Comp report. All the results from that race are available on the event website.
The weekend of January 21st and 22nd featured not only a two-day Wyoming High School race in Laramie, but also the Spud Chase in Victor, ID. Results from the high school race, where local skiers dominated, can be viewed here for the skate race and here for the classic race. Results from the Spud Chase are available here.
Finally, as the newsletter is being posted, the second Intermountain Division Junior National Qualifier is happening at West Yellowstone.
It has been feast or famine at Trail Creek. January began with seemingly never-ending snow and has morphed into a seemingly never-ending procession of sunshine and blue skies. Thankfully, snow was abundant enough for good coverage on our trails, and steady cool temps have done a great job of preserving both the quantity and quality of that snow. The amazing new Prinoth Husky has done a fabulous job of reconditioning that snow on a daily basis, and skiing remains quite nice.
Every JHSC Nordic program is up and running at full speed. Lollipoppers, Teewinots, Ositos, Devos, Juniors, and the Prep/Comp teams, not to mention some Masters Clinics, have fortunately all been able to search out their own spaces on the maze of trails at Trail Creek. There has also been a steady flow of recreational skiers. That is why we are here! Lots of skis on snow make us happy.
The moose herd is similar in number to recent years, although the head count seems to be skewed more to bulls, with the calf count down a bit this year. After sundown each evening our resident elk herd rises from wooded day beds to traverse the trails looking for tasty tidbits. You might be lucky enough to spot one on an early morning ski, but most days the only evidence of their presence is the multitude of tracks that the Husky thankfully brushes away.
We are diligently gearing up for our big race of the year, the third and final Intermountain Division Junior National Qualifier at Trail Creek February 11th and 12th. This is not only a IMD race but also a Wyoming High School race, with hundreds of racers giving their all on our amazing trails. All racing will take place in the fields, so it will be a great chance to see our youth racing. Come check it out!
As this newsletter is being posted (the last weekend of January), our skiers are competing in the second Intermountain Nordic Division Qualifier Race at West Yellowstone, Montana. The Johnny Curtis Memorial Race, which is the third and final qualifier, will be here at Trail Creek in conjunction with a Wyoming High School race February 11th and 12th. If you are interested in volunteering for our home race, many positions are available. Click on the race webpage to sign up.
Wyoming High School racers will also be competing in Casper February 4th and 5th and in Pinedale for the Wyoming High School Championships February 25th and 26th.
Master races include the Boulder Mountain Tour in Ketchum, Idaho February 5th and the American Birkebeiner in Hayward, Wisconsin February 23-27. Finally, the Nordic Masters Clinics continue through the month on Thursdays.
In short, there is no lack of opportunities to ski or spectate in the busy month ahead, so keep those skis waxed and keep on skiing! Click on the image below to go to the full calendar, complete with clickable links.
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, Alimanestianu Family, Bitzer Family, Brigham Family, Lachlan Brown, Lorie Cahn, Callaghan Family, Chereskin Family, Broughton Coburn, Curtis-Adams Family, Arielle D’Arge, June Darin, Davis-Abraham Family, Jennifer Durning, Conner Field, Lori Fields, Gingery Family, Caroline Girling, Roman Goralski, Bob TC Gordon, Gross Family, Ann Harvey, Hatcher Family, Doug Henderson, Cynthia Hogan, Alexander Hong, Lucas Hong, Maggie Hunt, Jackson Hole High School, Johnson Family, Klomparens Family, Koch/Nyrop Family, Kohlhardt Family, Gordon Lange, Lee-Clegg Family, Nancy Leon, Lovett Family, Mason Lynch, Ellison Mackay, MacLeod Family, MacWilliams Family, Jerome Mage, Maria Mahood, Ann Makley, Clara McGhee, Kelly Milligan, Lars Moller, Moss Family, Mullholland Family, O’Brien Family, Olsson Family, Peck Family, Wayne Petsch, Pruzan Family, Kristy Rans, Chris Sebald, Sehnert Family, Sheafor Family, Springer Family, Carson Stanwood, Jensey Stitt, Streubal Family, Avery Sullivan, Kaitlyn, Sullivan, Sarah Tallerico, Thal Family, Brian Van Hatten, Randall Wade, Jocelyn Wasson, Boden Welch, Marylee White, Henry Williams, Chris Wimberg, Wiswell Family, Axel Wogoman, Wolf Family, and the Yeo Family.
Thanks to our amazing staff!
Will Wicherski, Jon Filardo, Luna Wasson, Ben Morley, George Cartwright, Johnny Springer, Tyra (JT) Wynn, Rob Murphy, Andy Cavallaro, Connor Phillips, Matt Wiseman, Mark Newcomb, Libby Hall, Lizzie Johnson, Lauri Harris, Kirsys Campbell, Kathy Neiley, Ann Makley, and Rody Hagen.
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.