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 2022-2023 season!
Everything is “full speed ahead” in the JHSC Nordic program and at Trail Creek Nordic Center! All seven of our teams, plus two elementary school winter sports programs, have been racing, jumping, cruising, gliding, kicking, and anything else that can be done on Nordic skis. The busiest days at Trail Creek are Monday and Wednesday, with slightly lighter loads on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. The weekly schedule is below.
Lollipoppers are into their biggest season ever, with 58 children participating among the three days that the program is offered! We follow a consistent skill development progression each season, with the goal of building confident, independent skiers. The early-season focus is on self-sufficiency with putting on equipment, understanding how to get up from a fall, and basic techniques like gliding, herringbone, sidestep, wedge, track agility, and kick turns.
Then it's off on the track for adventure skiing, putting those skills to use in real-time, in order to experience all that Trail Creek can offer with its varied terrain and beautiful scenery. While the primary focus in Lollipoppers is on classic technique, we will begin to introduce skate technique after a few more weeks of working on our double poling and herringbone - skills that readily transfer to skate skiing.
Head Lollipopper Coach
Team Teewinot started the 2023 season on January 2nd with a total of 45 athletes—a record-breaking enrollment! For the first time, we have a small group on Tuesdays and Thursdays, coached by Kirsys Campbell and Adam Meyer. Athletes spent the first two weeks focused on fundamentals and, by the third week, new and returning athletes were stepping up with great energy, skills, and attitude.
A typical Teewinot practice involves games including Diminishing Strides, Ski Ballet, Jump the Fence, Tractor Pull, Moving Bridges, Easter Egg Hunt, Turtle Tag, Squirrel & Nuts, and What Time is It Mr. Wolf? These games encourage the development of balance, speed and agility, teamwork and confidence. We then venture out on the trails to Grunt Hill, Faceplant, Woolsey Woods, Gut Flop, Sam the Truck and other Trail Creek landmarks, where kids observe the many animal signs in the woods and coaches can support athletes with specific technical skills.
There's always a loyal crew of intrepid jump launchers in the stadium at the start and end of every practice too!
On the race front, a handful of Teewinots tried their hand at the Teton Ridge Classic at Grand Targhee, and the Spud Chase at the Teton Reserve in Victor, in addition to the Betty Woolsey Classic in December. With the return of the Moose Chase this year, we're expecting a lot of excitement to try racing for the Teewinot crew.
The heart of the Teewinot Team has been shining bright with a new tradition: kudos. Gathering at the end of practice to reflect on our time together has been great to support team building. Athletes and coaches alike offer a compliment, encouragement, gratitude, or observation from practice. Kudos bring smiles to our faces and validate the special, shared experience of skiing at Trail Creek.
The Teewinot Team is getting stoked for some February fun with the Moose Chase, Scavenger Hunts, and longer explorations around Trail Creek.
Head Teewinot Coach
Wow! What a month! The Development Team has really started to shine in January, not just in their skiing, but also in their cohesion as a team. We started the new year with a hot cocoa celebration and took on big hills like Faceplant, Gutflop, and Suicide.
This month we have really been honing our skate and classic techniques, and the athletes are taking the charge in helping each other figure them out. Kershaw Findley gave a shout out to Taylor Handley for her “excellent help with V1,” and Addison Masselink wanted to give recognition to Mia Scharnhorst’s “growth as a skier over the season.” These are just some of the many kind words shared from the skiers about their teammates.
In addition to technique, we have been having a ton of fun with all the fresh snow. The Devos have been launching off jumps wherever and whenever possible and playing lots of games. It’s in these activities that we see the team continuously helping each other up, working hard, and checking in with each other. We look forward to cheering on the team in the Moose Chase and continuing to build this great group of skiers!
Coach Kaya Morelli
Junior Nordic Athletes have had a busy month. They competed in the Teton Ridge Classic at Targhee, where they had an outstanding showing, as well as the Super JNQ in Soldier Hollow. We also had athletes representing at the Spud Chase in Teton Valley, where we had a first and second place showing.
Junior Team members have continued to not only work hard on technique and conditioning but to bond as well, and build a great team atmosphere. Practices are following much of the same routine as last month, but with one fun addition of skiing up the Old Pass Road. Also, the Nordic X course is in, and Junior Nordic Athletes have enjoyed practicing their downhills, cornering, and jumps on the course.
We are looking forward to the upcoming JNQ races in Boise, ID, and Bozeman, MT, in the coming weeks. See you on the trails!
Junior Nordic Crew
Junior Nordic Team Head Coach
Whew! January was an amazing month for the Prep and Competition teams! We have sent athletes all over the country already this winter to some high-level ski races, and JHSC skiers have performed extremely well. January started with some extremely fast skiing in Houghton, Michigan, at US National Championships. We took a great group of skiers, hoping to qualify for international trips and gain experience racing at a high level. JHSC athletes came back with great performances and some fantastic insight into the next steps to take in Nordic racing.
After US National Championships, Prep/Comp athletes also competed at Wyoming High School races in Casper and Lander and helped Jackson Hole High School win both meets. These races provided some good experience for athletes in different race situations, in particular in Lander where we asked some JHSC athletes if they wanted to double-pole the classic race on skate skis. We had three athletes finish in the top five on skate skis double poling, and the experience of only double poling and navigating the herringbone technique zone was very valuable, as more and more classic races are being won on skate skis.
The team just returned from Soldier Hollow, where they competed in the Super Qualifier, one of the largest and most competitive Junior races in the country. We saw amazing performances across all age categories, especially in the Junior National U16 and U18 categories! JHSC was at the top of Intermountain Division for most of those races, and we were one of the strongest clubs overall, with only Vail getting more podiums. We saw very strong top finishes, but also many personal bests, and we have at least 10 athletes solidly in contention to qualify for Junior Nationals.
Looking ahead, we have two other Junior National Qualifiers in Boise and Bozeman coming up in February, which are the main focus for Prep/Comp athletes. We also have the Moose Chase and Wyoming State Championships right here at Trail Creek! February is going to be a packed month for racing and training here in Jackson Hole.
Head Coach and Nordic Program Director
January has been a banner month for JHSC Nordic and we are now in the full swing of winter! All of our programs are up and running including Lollipoppers, Teewinots, Devos, Ositos, Juniors, Prep/Comp, and Masters. JHSC coaches have also been helping out with Wilson and Colter Winter Sports programs through TCSD, as well as with the Camina Conmigo program that helps Latino adults get outside on skis in the winter. Things are really busy, and we are helping spread the Nordic fire across the valley!
One great piece of news is that U16 Lena Poduska has qualified for the U18 Nordic Nations Cup, which is a US Ski Team international trip in Finland! Lena is our first athlete to qualify for this trip in at least 10 years, and it is a huge deal for both her and the Club! She will be racing against athletes up to two years older than she is and earned her spot by being in the top six skiers in the country at US National Championships in Houghton earlier in January. I am a co-leader on this trip, so I will be coaching her in Finland and will keep everyone updated on what happens in Europe!
On a note closer to home, the skiing at Trail Creek has been amazing this year! We have been lucky to have a great snow year here with all trails solid and fully operational. We are so lucky to have such amazing skiing right here in our backyard, and Steve has been doing an amazing job grooming with the Husky this year.
The Moose Chase is coming back in a few weeks! There will be 20k, 10k, 5k, 3k, and free 0.5k options for every age and ability. This will be a skate race right here at Trail Creek, and we plan to make it a great community event. There will be food from FRX Cafe, lollipops for the younger athletes, and great competition for everyone! Make sure to circle February 11th on your calendar and stop by, even if you are not racing, to experience some great Nordic culture! All details and registration can be found at this link. See you there!
Head Coach and Nordic Program Director
Coaching Nordic skiing requires not only an incredible amount of energy and skill simply to keep up with the kids, but a whole host of other abilities to keep the group warm, working together, and learning how to be better skiers. One of our amazing coaches featured this month is Kirsys Campbell. Read on for her story of how one takes those talents and becomes a Nordic coach…
Where did you grow up and where did you ski growing up?
I grew up in Sun Valley where I skied for Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation. Before moving to Sun Valley when I was 11, I lived in Lander for a couple years where I would ski for fun with my dad on the golf course after school.
At what age did you start skiing?
I skied a little bit here and there when I was a kid, but I would say I learned how to ski a lot more when I was living in Lander around ages 10 and 11.
What is your history of Nordic skiing up to this point in your life?
As I mentioned, I grew up skiing here and there, started skiing a little bit more when I was in 4th and 5th grade living in Lander. Then I joined the ski team in 6th grade in Sun Valley. Following high school I skied and ran cross country for a little while at University of Alaska Fairbanks and started coaching.
Does your family ski?
Yes. We got a lot more into it when we moved to Sun Valley a little over 10 years ago.
Do you have any memorable races from your high school or college days?
I remember a lot of races, but especially high school races from Senior Nationals and Junior Nationals in Soldier Hollow, UT. That is my favorite place to race, along with Steamboat, CO where I also have memory of a great race I had there in college.
Where do you like to ski when you aren’t at Trail Creek?
My favorite places to ski are Sun Valley, Hatcher Pass, Alaska, and Fairbanks, Alaska's college campus trails.
Have you ever coached before working for JHSC?
Yes, I coached in Sun Valley for 2 years before working for JHSC.
What is your educational background?
I am currently finishing college online, and will earn my bachelor's degree in Business Marketing this July.
Do you have other work for the off season?
I juggle a lot of work, but my main work aside from coaching includes vacation nannying and photography.
How often do you ski now?
I usually get to ski every day, whether that's backcountry skiing, Nordic, or at the resort.
What age group are you coaching now?
Middle school (juniors) and Teewinots
What or who turned you onto skiing in your youth?
My ski coaches especially, along with my parents and friends that I made through skiing.
What is your favorite memory of skiing for JHSC or at Trail Creek?
Any day that the sun comes out at Trail Creek is my favorite day. But in all seriousness, I love the end of season days where we get to relax about training and have fun-kids doing ski jumps, bonfires, and adventure skis.
What is the biggest challenge of being a coach?
This is a tricky question, but I would probably say patience. Or trying to inspire the kids in the group who don't have an intrinsic desire to be there/get better.
Do you have a “coaching philosophy?”
Work hard, play hard.
Thank you, Coach Kirsys!
January is pretty much as busy as it gets in the world of Nordic racing. As Coach Will detailed above, many of our IMD skiers participated in the Super Qualifier in Utah at Soldier Hollow January 20-21. Full detailed results for this race are available at the result web page. Also a select few of our IMD athletes traveled to Nordic Nationals in Houghton Michigan in early January. Full results for this race are available here.
High school racers have definitely had a busy month on their skis. Races included Casper on January 6-7, Lander on January 13-14, and Casper again on January 27-28. Results from these races are available on the High Plains Nordic site.
Citizen racers have also had plenty of opportunities, with the Teton Ridge Classic January 7, the Spud Chase January 21, and the Pinedale Stampede January 28. Not only did many of our master skiers participate in these races, there were also a lot of our youth skiers going really fast when they weren’t busy with other races.
Thanks to a big effort of our JHSC team, as well as the people from Prinoth, grooming has been full speed ahead through the month of January. As was mentioned in last month’s newsletter, our nearly new Prinoth Husky suffered a catastrophic engine failure. Thankfully, we were able to secure a loaner Husky from Prinoth, which allowed grooming to continue through the month of January.
We are also happy to report that our own Husky has returned to work, complete with a brand-new engine. It is happily plugging along our trails, laying miles of corduroy and classic tracks for skiers to enjoy.
Our biggest news is that the Skinny Skis Moose Chase is returning February 11th. This amazing and epic race is a great chance to enjoy what Trail Creek has to offer, all in the company of your great Nordic Friends. Be sure to put this on your calendar and get your registration in! All details are at the event website.
The snow continued to fall through the month of January, although at a slightly slower rate than in December. Our nearby snow reporting station Phillips Bench has gone from around 120% of normal at the beginning of the month to about 100% as January wraps up. Steady cool temps and weak mid-winter sun resulted in lots of good skiing through the month.
With record numbers of program participants and all programs on snow, it has definitely been very busy this month. If you want peace and solitude, you might want to especially avoid Monday and Wednesday afternoons. However, having lots of skiers enjoying what we have to offer is why we all do what we do, and is a really great thing.
Our beloved wildlife continue to amaze at Trail Creek. Moose numbers are down a bit from previous years, with elk numbers being at a record high. Predators recently in evidence include foxes, coyotes, and pine martens, all of which enjoy our resident squirrel population if given the chance. We’ve even had a pretty good flock of grouse hanging out lately. Best times for wildlife viewing are very early in the morning.
Nordic events continue full speed ahead in February. The Nordic Recreational Master’s program meets at Trail Creek on Thursdays throughout the month and beyond. Upcoming racing opportunities for masters include the Boulder Mountain Tour February 4th, our very own Moose Chase on February 11th, Alta Vista Skiathalon on February 18th, and the American Birkebeiner in Wisconsin February 23-26.
February is make or break for our IMD racers, with the second qualifier of the year at Bogus Basin February 4-5 and the third and final qualifier at Bozeman, MT February 18-19. Skiers with enough points after these events will be able to proceed to the Junior Nordic National Championships in Fairbanks, AK in March. Our younger IMD skiers also have one final big event with the IMD Youth Championships at Soldier Hollow in Utah.
Keep those skis waxed and keep on skiing! Click on this link 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!
David Adams, Alimanestianu Family, Bitzer Family, Brigham Family, Lachlan Brown, Lorie Cahn, Callaghan Family, Chereskin Family, Broughton Coburn, Curtis-Adams Family, Charles Curtis, Arielle D’Arge, Davis-Abrams Family, Jennifer Durning, Connor Field, Lori Fields, Gingery Family, Caroline Girling, Goelet Family, 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 Makely, Clara McGee, Kelly Milligan, Lars Moller, Moss Family, Mulholland 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, Streubel Family, Avery Sullivan, Kaitlyn Sullivan, Sarah Tallerico, Thal Family, Brian Van Hatten, Randal Wade, Wakeman Family, Jocelyn Wasson, Boden Welch, Marylee White, Henry Williams, Steph Williams, Chris Wimberg, Wiswell Family, Axel Wogoman, Wolf Family, and the Yeo Family.
Thanks to our amazing staff!
Kirsys Campbell, George Cartwright, Andy Cavallaro, Jon Filardo, Rody Hagen, Libby Hall, Lauri Harris, Lauren Hugo, Lizzie Johnson, Ann Makley, Amelia Mayer, Bill Mayer, Ben Morley, Rob Murphy, Kathy Neiley, Mark Newcomb, Dennis Oney, Connor Phillips, Johnny Springer, Luna Wasson, Will Wicherski, Calvin Wight, Matt Wiseman , and Tyra (JT) Wynn (plus any others that aren’t on the list).
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.