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

Lollipopper Team

Lollipoppers will begin their season in the New Year, with first sessions on Monday January 4 and Wednesday January 6.  There are 20 kids signed up for each day, so it will be pretty busy with lots of goings-on and rosy cheeks (which won't actually be visible because of the masks, but we know they will be under there!).  

Parents are asked to please submit the Covid release form online (link is on the JHSC webpage and in newsletters) in advance of first practices.  

Coach Libby is the equipment czar this year, and has been distributing equipment to those who are leasing from the club.  It's been a challenge to get enough skis this year due to general supply chain/shipping disruptions, as well as increases in our rosters as we welcomed many new families!

Drop-off and pick-up areas will be congested this year (as always, but this year even more so), so parents, please adhere to the guidelines (look for those in team newsletters) in an effort to make the transition/cabin areas safe.  Once the kiddos are on their skis and dispersed out on the track there will be plenty of room to move around freely, so again, thanks for working together on our mask and distancing policies!

Cheers to 2021!

Kathy Neiley

Lollipopper Team Head Coach

Teewinot Team

Teewinot Team is gearing up for their season start next week with practices on Monday, January 4th and Wednesday, January 6th from 3:45-5:15. We have an impressive crew of 35 athletes and 6 coaches this year! We are excited for lots of adventure skiing and games, all while adhering to our proven Covid protocols. 

Parents, please remind your athletes to bring an extra dry mask and pocket snacks!

Keep your eyes out for weekly updates and program news!

Libby Hall

Head Teewinot Coach

Devo Team

The Development Team had an exciting December.  The athletes learned to adjust to just about every kind of snow.  We had powder, crust, ice, and slush, but with the help of The Groomer, Steve Swan, the trails were always skiable.  Additionally, Steve has set several mini stadiums around Trail Creek that are used for drills and relays. These additional options allow us to spread out through the trails. We are skiing in small groups to maximize distancing, and wearing masks throughout practice. While these protocols limit our ability to play big games of ski soccer or sharks and minnows, we are still having fun with relays and adventure skiing.  The Trail Creek moose have been quite active and we see the large creatures on almost every ski.

December saw us refreshing our skate and classic technique while we performed drills that improved our balance and weight transfer skills.  Adventure skiing improves independent thinking skills and helps athletes get in touch with their bodies' capabilities and limitations.  The Betty Woolsey Classic proved that Nordic skiing is a lifelong family sport, and the skills we learn as Development Team athletes help us navigate all sorts of obstacles in life and sport.

In January, the Development Team will put their skills to the test.  We will travel further and faster, exploring the trails and off-trails of the National Forest.  Many years of brush clearing in the Trail Creek area have made for some excellent off-trail adventure skiing.  January will also bring a scavenger hunt, agility courses, relay races, and some sort of distanced soccer game.  Thank you, everyone, for your support as we work our way through this uncharted season.

Rob, Mark, Pippa, Kim, Anna

Rob Murphy

Development Team Head Coach

Junior Team

The Junior Nordic Team athletes have been hard at work. We have been incredibly fortunate to have been skiing since mid-November this season out at Trail Creek. Athletes have been meeting out at Trail Creek every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 3:30 p.m. They have been focusing on refining both their skate and classic techniques, improving cardiovascular fitness through relays, adventure skis, and games, and becoming more comfortable in the racing environment. Athletes come to practice with incredibly positive attitudes and have made tremendous progress so far this season. It has been awesome to witness and be a part of!

 On December 19th several of the Junior Team athletes competed in the first Wyoming High School ski race where they got to test themselves against each other, as well as some of the older kids from around the state. A handful of athletes also competed in the Betty Woolsey Classic on December 26th out at Trail Creek. Needless to say, the future looks bright here at the Junior Nordic level of the JHSC!

George Cartwright

Head Junior Coach

Comp/Prep Teams       

We're in the thick of it!  As of this time of writing the Prep/Comp Team has been on snow at Trail Creek for 7 weeks already!!  With the abundant natural snow and some fortuitous early season preparation work, the skiing at Trail Creek has been fantastic.  Race season is now fully upon us; the weekend of January 2nd and 3rd will mark our third consecutive weekend of racing for the Prep/Comp crew.  We saw strong performances in the first statewide Wyoming High School race hosted at Trail Creek, with JHSC athletes going 1-2-4 in both the men's and women's races.  One unique aspect of our team is our outstanding depth.  We have many athletes who can step up on any given day and give it their best. 

For the January 2nd and 3rd event we are taking an older crew to the FIS series in Soldier Hollow.  All the top racers in the West will be in attendance and it will be exciting to see how our crew stacks up!  From here on out we have races every weekend until the beginning of March, so stay tuned for some great performances from JHSC Nordic athletes.  With all the racing we have been focusing on speed and sharpening our fitness to perform.  We have been emphasizing all aspects of the pre-race routine including visualization, nutrition, warm-up training, and pacing to make sure we are the most prepared at the start line. 

Will Wicherski

Head Coach and Nordic Program Director

January Student Athlete Support Newsletter

While the COVID-19 pandemic is a somber period for many in the Jackson Hole area, we have been doing our best to continue to provide a healthy and safe outlet for local youth to exercise and socialize.  While we have recorded some positive cases in the program, we are yet to detect any transmission during practice or at club activities.  Prep/Comp, Juniors, and Devos have been going strong for over two months now and the younger age groups will start practice January 4th.

One program-wide highlight this past month was the Betty Woolsey Classic race.  We saw both club athletes and community members participate in races ranging from 10 kilometers to a half-kilometer for our littlest skiers.  Over 100 racers participated, which was a new record for this illustrious event!  It was inspiring for me to see grandparents racing along with their grandchildren, athletes from every one of our teams, and many club parents all participating alongside each other.  Nordic skiing is truly a lifelong sport and the community aspect of Nordic skiing is what makes it unique.  I hope we will see much more of this in the future!

Will Wicherski

Head Coach and Nordic Program Director

This month our featured coach, Luna Wasson, is also a JHSC alumni, and she is living proof that providing Nordic opportunities for our youth can yield great dividends.  Her positive attitude is simply contagious in her role as instructor and mentor to the youth involved in the JHSC Nordic program, and we would like to take this opportunity to share a little more her.

What follows is an excerpt of her biography from the jhskiclub.org website in blue, along with additional Q&A:

Luna grew up in Jackson, WY, where she learned an appreciation for spending time outdoors through a variety of activities. An alumna of the JHSC Nordic program, she began Nordic skiing in middle school and raced throughout high school for the ski club and high school programs. Her love for the sport brought her to Middlebury College in the state of Vermont, where she spent four years competing for their Division 1 cross country ski team and served as a women's team captain. While at Middlebury, she earned a bachelor's degree in geology.  She is also a Wilderness First Responder.

Does your family ski, and were they influential in getting you into Nordic skiing?  What was your motivation to begin skiing in middle school?

My family does a lot of Alpine and backcountry skiing, which is what I grew up doing with them.  I decided to give Nordic skiing a try in middle school because I had friends in the program, and up until then I hadn't spent much time on cross country skis.  Since I began Nordic, my family has gotten more into it, too, and it has been fun to share with them.

Do you have any memorable races from your high school or college days?

My favorite memories from high school racing are all about the camaraderie fueled by long bus rides across the state to race in typical Wyoming weather conditions- howling wind, blizzards, rapid temperature changes on classic race days, and everything in between- and learning to enjoy the process of training and racing.  This appreciation carried over into my college racing days, where my favorite memories are of Middlebury Carnival hosted at our home trails, getting to race in front of friends and family, and seeing it all come together.

Luna has coached with JHSC at the Development and Junior levels and is excited to be back in her hometown coaching for the 20/21 season.

Where do you like to ski when you aren’t at Trail Creek?

When I'm not at Trail Creek, my other favorite place to ski is in the park from the Taggart Lake trailhead, especially when crust cruising conditions are just right in the spring.

What do you do when you are not at Trail Creek? 

I am lucky to be solely focused on coaching this winter. As with most things these days, my off season plans are up in the air, but I am looking into pursuing geology related work in the future.

Do you have a rock collection or do any other cool nerdy geology stuff?

I do have a rock collection. Anyone that has gone hiking/rafting/skiing with me can confirm that I love looking at rocks.

What age group are you coaching now?

I am currently coaching the Prep/Comp Team, which ranges from 8th-12th grades and post-grad skiers as well.

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

It's difficult to pick just one highlight, but I think my favorite memory of being part of JHSC and training at Trail Creek is that it provided me the resources to learn to love working hard. Nordic skiing can be a very individual sport, and having great coaches and trails to ski on allowed me to learn to push myself and improve my skiing through self-motivation.

What is the biggest challenge of being a coach?

I think the biggest challenge of coaching is doing your best to meet each athlete where they're at- from a range in experience on skis to individual goals for a season; not everyone will have the same mindset at any given practice session.  I want to be able to provide the teaching and learning opportunities that this sport gave me, which have remained valuable to me across all aspects of my life.

Personal Philosophy or Statement:
As one of my former coaches and skiing legend Walt Berling puts it, “It is what you make it.” Regardless of your competitive goals, the sport of Nordic skiing builds skills that improve all aspects of your life, through training, racing, and beyond.
Any other thoughts you would like to share with the local Nordic community?

I am enjoying being back in the Jackson Nordic community, and it is so cool to see how much all of the programs have grown since my time as a participant. With more people finding new ways to enjoy the outdoors, we have been seeing lots of new visitors at Trail Creek, too.  I feel fortunate to be part of this growing community and am excited to see people enjoying the sport across all levels.

Thanks so much for sharing with us, Luna!  The JHSC Nordic program is surely a better place with you around! 

As mentioned above, racing is happening, although in a way never before experienced.  The big changes this year is that spectators are generally not allowed and that masks, distancing, and all the other Covid procedures are in place. 

Even with all that, we’ve managed to pull off two successful races in December.  The High School race on December 19th featured lots of great local finishes with Bridger Stiles, Mason Wheeler, and Will Johnson finishing 1st, 2nd , and 4th in the boys’ division and Kate Brigham, Natalie O’Brien, and Hailey Stines finishing 1st, 2nd, and 4th in the girls’ division.  Full results can be viewed here.

The second race of the month was the long running Betty Woolsey Classic Race held on December 26th.  A record number of racers showed up this year, which was conducted with interval starts for the first time in its history.  Top finishers were Mariah Bredal (10K Female), Elijah Weenigh (10K Male), Aurora Stiles (5K Female), Mac Wirth (5K Male), Elizabeth Adamson (3K Female), Thomas Johnson (3K Male), Margaret Adamson (0.5K Female), and Henry Karns (0.5K Male).  Thanks to all the racers and volunteers that allowed us to continue this great tradition at Trail Creek!  Full results are available here.

December has been a very busy month at Trail Creek with record numbers of not only JHSC team members but also a huge number of citizen skiers enjoying all of our trails.  Thankfully the early snows allowed us to have our entire extensive trail network in regular grooming by early in the month, giving all those skiers plenty of room to spread out and exercise in a healthy way.

The wildlife count that is always a special part of skiing at Trail Creek has been bountiful with lots of moose, elk, and deer pumping up the ungulate count, a moderate amount of raptors and song birds including a huge flock of cedar waxwings, and a few of our special mustelids also bringing delight to the visitors to Trail Creek.  The mustelid category recorded a first this winter; weasels or ermine are a delightful presence numerous times, pine martins also regularly terrorize our squirrel population, but this year a badger was rummaging around the fields, digging giant holes in several locations. 

The Piston Bully has been functioning well this season, although as of press time there is a small issue, and it is getting some age on the clock.  The late afternoons have been especially busy when all the teams show up, but they are making every effort to spread out and make room for all.  In general the busiest times are Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays from 3-5 PM, so if you could plan your ski at another time that would be great.

Looking ahead we have races at Trail Creek January 8-9 and January 22-23 when much of the courses will be closed.  While JHSC will be helping out with area winter sports programs this winter, they will be staying closer to home and not utilizing Trail Creek so no need to be concerned about  this year.

Keep on keeping safe and keep on skiing!

In spite of a pandemic, things are off and running this winter in the local Nordic community.  Business as usual, it surely is not!  Covid is on the top of our minds in all that we do.  That being said, a busy, if somewhat limited, racing schedule is coming at us fast and furious as shown in the image below. 

January events feature IMD racing in Soldier Hollow, UT and Bozeman, MT.  While the JH Nordic Free Ski Day has been cancelled, the Teton Ridge Classic over the hill is going on in a Covid friendly format.  Masters’ clinics are happening at the Teton Pines, and Trail Creek is hosting two high school races this month as well.  Click on the following link to go directly to the calendar with clickable information about all the races. 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!  Ablondi/Wuersche Family, Dave Adams, Barret Family, Mark Baudenstiel,  Bosch Family, Brigham Family, Lori Cahn, Callagan 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, Hagen Family, Ann Harvey, Scott Horn, Eric Huber, Laurie Huff, Maggie, Hunt, Karns Family, King Family, Kohlhardt Family, Nancy Lee, Leeds Family, Nancy Leon, Amy Lorenz, Lovett Family, Kristina MacLeod, Ann Makley, Wyley Menolascino, Moller Family, Moss Family, William Neal, Neterre Family, Newcomb/VonMaur Family, O’Brien Family, O’Malley/Jensen Family, Peacock Family, Peck Family, Wayne Petsch, David Plunkett, Jim Roscoe, 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, Jocelyn Wasson, Olivia Weenig, Boden Welch, Chad Whaley, Ben Williams, Steph Williams, Chris Wimberg, Wiswell Family, Wolff Family, Liam Wylie, 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.