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 2021-2022 season!
We look forward to welcoming our largest group of Lollipoppers to date! There are 52 registered, so we have expanded to three days from the previous two. Some come twice a week, so each day will have between 20-21 kids.
We have a wonderful group of volunteers and assistant coaches this year. More of them will be introduced later as we get going, but a special welcome is extended to Rody Hagen, who will be helping on Tuesday, and Ann Makley, who will be returning for Monday and Wednesday! Coach Rody and Coach Kathy were classmates and teammates back in the 70's, and will likely tell more than one 'old story' during practice. With the new snow, we should have lots of fun on the freshly groomed tracks and out in the powder!
Teewinots are up and running as of January 3rd, with Monday and Wednesday practices after school. Libby, Lauri, Lizzie, Calvin and Charlie will be leading and chasing the energetic skiers all around Trail Creek as they learn young mastery of Nordic skiing techniques. In addition to technical skills, there is also a lot of fun going on in the form of games and play.
Check out the tracks on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and try to figure out what this dynamic group was up to the night before. No matter what, fun is a big part of the equation.
Libby Hall, Lauri Harris, & Lizzie Johnson
After a dry November and a bit of skiing on sparse snow at the Middle School track, the Development
Team finished up December at Trail Creek. Even though cover was thin, there was plenty of snow for us to remember our skate and classic techniques and have some fun playing sharks and minnows and other games. Over the holiday break the snow kept coming and we now have enough to try venturing off trail this week.
December wrapped up for the Devos with some strong performances at the annual Betty Woolsey race, and a day of speedy skate skiing. The team is looking strong, and January will bring out our full complement of coaches. Rob, Mark, Andy, Conner, Matt, and Claire will be leading the Development team as we explore Trail Creek and our own capabilities. The fun is just beginning and the Devo team is looking forward to adventure skiing, downhill gliding, and some big air.
Development Team Head Coach
Junior Nordic athletes are on snow! The long awaited arrival of winter is here. We are grateful to be out at Trail Creek and back into the winter groove. Athletes have shown a lot of promise in their first few weeks on snow. They have been working on technique in both skate and classic, exploring the trails, playing games, and competing in some early season events.
The first race opportunity of the season was the Targhee Tune-up. While the snow was low, the excitement was high. Cash Halpin and Charlie Von Maur-Newcomb put in solid efforts and landed on the podium in their respective events/age groups. On December 26th, the JHSSC hosted the Betty Woolsey Classic. Zach Baker, Henry Wilcox, Ryan Murphy, Dane Stanley, Charlie Von-Maur Newcomb, and Waylon Beck braved the elements and threw down some impressive times!
With the snow flyin' outside, we are looking forward to an awesome month of January! Thanks to all the parents for their flexibility during the uncertain weeks in December while we waited for snow . . . Trail Creek? Middle School? Skis? . . . Welcome snow!
Junior Nordic Team Head Coach
The theme of this year's transition from fall to winter has been patience and flexibility, which the Prep/Comp Team has embraced admirably. After a successful Thanksgiving training camp on snow, we returned to dryland training around the valley and sought out opportunities to get back on skis. With some running workouts around town, after school drives to Togwotee and Teton Canyon to get on snow, and, most importantly, positive attitudes, the team was able to put in a very solid block of training despite the lack of snow on our home trails.
We kicked off the competition season with the local Targhee Tune-Up, where racers faced competition from strong teams across the intermountain region. Even Coach Will put on a bib and demonstrated the benefits of efficient glide along the challenging Targhee course!
Amid unpredictable snow forecasts and canceled races the team has risen to the challenge of making the most of our resources. We traveled to West Yellowstone, MT in mid-December for the IMD Opener and had a great weekend of racing, posting impressive results that are indicative of the hard work that has been put in by our athletes.
We are thrilled to be back on snow at Trail Creek, and have been logging training hours over Christmas break and enjoying the quality grooming by Steve and the new Husky groomer! Many of our athletes, past and present, showed up for the Betty Woolsey Classic, braving the stormy weather to bring energy to this great annual tradition.
Looking ahead into 2022 we are excited to have seven Comp Team athletes traveling to Soldier Hollow for US Nationals, and for competition to resume on the High School and Intermountain circuits with races in Casper and Sun Valley. Racing season is here and we're fired up!
Comp Team Coach
Happy New Year from JHSC Nordic! The month of December was a rollercoaster. We went from not having any snow, and training in shorts, to absolutely drowning in powder in the course of about a week. Devos, Juniors, and Prep/Comp have all been training, while Teewinots, Lollipoppers, and Ositos started on January 3rd! Our Nordic Masters clinics have been going well, with strong attendance for every session. It has been great to get the Husky out on the trails, and it has already been put it to great use for the Betty Woolsey Classic. The JH News & Guide covered the Betty Woolsey Classic and the arrival of the Husky, with our very own Ali Sehnert featured on the front cover! The Husky and Steve the Groomer also made the cover of the Jackson Hole Daily in the New Year’s Eve edition. All in all we are in a good place going into the winter, with a packed slate of programming for the community!
I am currently in Soldier Hollow, UT at US National Championships, where we have six athletes competing. The level of racing is extremely high, but the athletes are battling it out and we are getting some good results! The skate sprint was yesterday and we have a skate mass start and a classic individual start on deck for the rest of the week. It has been inspiring seeing the level of American Nordic skiing right now; the fields are large and strong, which is good for our country. These races serve as selection for the Olympics, World Cup races, and Junior National Team development trips. I have been selected to co-lead the U18 Nordic Nations Cup (Scando Cup) trip to Steinkjer, Norway at the end of January. We will take the six fastest male and female U18s from around the country to compete against Scandinavian racers in the cradle of the sport. I am looking forward to it, and will make sure to update you in the next newsletter!
Head Coach and Nordic Program Director
When you think of a Nordic coach, perhaps what comes to mind is a 20-something who loves to ski but perhaps hasn’t found an ultimate direction in life just yet. While that profile does fit some of our JHSC coaches, we also have long-term, very accomplished community members who make time in their busy schedules to share their love of Nordic with the next generation. One such coach is Mark Newcomb. Mark’s coaching passion is fulfilled with his work with the Devos, which he manages to fit in with all of his other duties, including serving as Teton County Commissioner. Read on to discover Mark’s bio from the JHSC website in addition to answers about his duties as a coach.
Mark Newcomb grew up on Heck of a Hill just a couple of fence hops away from the Trail Creek Nordic Center. After studying geology and Alpine ski racing as an NCSA athlete at Carleton College, he traveled around China, Thailand, Nepal, and Pakistan for a year. During those travels he decided to pursue a career as a mountain climbing and ski guide, hoping it would afford him the opportunity to climb and explore some of the vast mountain ranges through which he traveled. He spent 20 years working as an outdoor professional for Exum Mountain Guides, Valdez Heli-ski Guides, Geographic Expeditions, and the American Avalanche Institute, during which time he taught and guided numerous youth groups. In 2006 he returned to the University of Wyoming and earned a master’s degree in Economics and Finance in 2010. He’s now a Teton County Commissioner and volunteer Nordic coach for the Jackson Hole Ski and Snowboard Club’s Nordic Program.
Sport Specific Background, Experience, and Roles:
Mark was an Alpine ski racer in his senior year at Jackson Hole High School, placing fifth at the state competition. He raced on the NCSA team for Carleton College. This is his second year as a JHSSC volunteer Nordic coach
Education, Professional Degrees, and Certifications:
BA Geology Carleton College; MS Economics and Finance University of Wyoming
Personal Philosophy or Statement:
Dream of the future. Focus on the moment.
A few additional questions for Mark:
You are a volunteer Devo coach. Why Devos?
Devos suits me because I’ve never had technical Nordic ski or race training. I’ve been around highly trained Nordic skiers, and they’ve given me a couple tips but, other than that, my experience is just from getting out to ski for fun. So my level of knowledge fits well with the Devo age group where we’re still focused on basic stance and techniques.
What grades are in the Devo program?
Devos are grades 4 and 5, or roughly ages 9, 10 and 11.
After a session of coaching Devos do you feel like you've had a good workout?
The ability and experience levels of the Devos span a wide range. That said, we still cover a lot of ground. Last winter we easily made the trip up Homesite and down Suicide more than once, doing drills and some fun relays, like the diminishing gear relay, along the way. That qualifies as a workout for me!
Does being involved in JHSC's Nordic program give you insight as a county commissioner?
As a commissioner I’m always on the lookout for programs that keep kids busy. I know when I was young, especially in high school, if I wasn’t busy I was prone to getting into trouble. Activities, whether speech and debate or something outdoors like Nordic, are vital for helping kids mature, develop social skills and grit. And many families have two working parents, so after school activities help them ensure their kids are engaged in an activity and under adult guidance until they get off work. My hope is that our town/county Parks and Recreation department, possibly with the assistance of the Ski Club, can set up a recreational Nordic program focused exclusively on fun that is less expensive than the club program. I think it would expand the overall number of kids who try Nordic and develop basic Nordic skills that they would use the rest of their lives.
Thanks so much, Mark, for going above and beyond. Keep up the great work!
One really fast skier you might have noticed whipping around Trail Creek is Sydney Wilmot. Sydney has graciously agreed to be our featured athlete this month, so read on to learn a little more about her participation in the JHSC Nordic program and her plans for the future.
Do you remember when you started skiing?
I started Nordic skiing with the Jackson Hole Ski Club program when I was around 7 years old, and I started as a Lollipopper.
Do your Mom and Dad Nordic ski?
Both of my parents are avid skiers, so they got my younger brother and me involved in Nordic when we were little.
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 think I first beat my dad in a race at the Moose Chase five years ago!
What grade are you in now?
I am a senior in high school.
What were your Nordic goals for the year and have you met them?
My goals were to keep myself healthier during summer training, and to work on my technique and keeping a steady pace in my races. I feel like I have met these goals!
What has been the high point of your year so far?
Being able to finally start training on snow!
Being a student and living through the pandemic must be challenging. Do you have any secrets that keep you going that you could share?
Be optimistic and stay active. I have learned how much exercise can help if your mental state is low or you just need something to take your mind off things.
Nordic skiing is naturally a pretty safe sport in a pandemic. What other athletic activities do you pursue throughout the year?
I downhill ski, and in the summer I like to go rafting and paddle boarding with my friends and family.
What are your college and career plans after high school?
I’m planning on attending college! I am not sure where yet, but I hope to go somewhere on the East Coast.
Are you planning on participating in Nordic skiing or other athletics in college?
I am not planning on skiing for a collegiate team, but I am planning on going somewhere where I can Nordic ski on a club team or try another sport, like crew.
What is your favorite memory of skiing for JHSC or at Trail Creek?
I remember skiing one day at Trail Creek, and it was snowing really hard, with huge snowflakes. I was skiing with my friends, and it was just a super fun ski in the snow!
Nordic skiing is a lot of hard work; is there a particular reason, or someone who has influenced you, that has led to all of your hard work?
The coaching staff and the team work hard to push everyone, and there is a lot of support that comes with those pushes as well.
What has been the biggest challenge of your Nordic skiing experiences so far?
My biggest challenge has been keeping a positive attitude when I don’t do very well in races, but I have gotten better at keeping a positive attitude, mainly with the help of my coaches and my friends.
In a decade from now do you see yourself living in a place where you can Nordic ski?
Absolutely! I want to live in a place where I can still be active in a sport that has been such a major part of my life growing up.
Any other thoughts you would like to share with the Nordic community?
I appreciate the coaching staff and JHSC so much, and all of their hard work. I also would like to thank Steve: THANK YOU for grooming the trails and writing the newsletter! I know everyone at the club appreciates all that you do every day.
Thanks so much Sydney! You are a stand-out athlete and your future is surely bright. Hopefully your time with JHSC will be a pillar of your life going forward.
December has been a busy month in the Nordic world. Even though the traditional Thanksgiving trip to West Yellowstone was canceled due to lack of snow, our racers got off to a good start with many skiing sessions on Togwotee pass.
The first race of the season was the Targhee Tune-up at Grand Targhee Resort on December 4th, with many of our skiers participating. Check out the race results page. JHSC racers were busy December 18th and 19th participating at the IMD Opener in hosted by Bozeman, MT. Results of that busy weekend are available here. High school skiers were also competing that weekend at Pahaska Teepee in a Wyoming State High School race; results are available here.
December 26th was the Betty Woolsey Classic Race at Trail Creek. A raging blizzard and lots of snow in the days leading up to the event allowed the new Husky to make its debut in grand style, laying down classic tracks just in time for the big race. Even with grooming just before race time, 10k racers were bunched up as they had to break through 4 inches of snow as they traversed the amazing terrain although this made for a great finish as they sprinted for the finish line. All results are available on the event page.
Finally, as this newsletter is being posted, Coach Will and a small crew are training at the LL Bean U.S. Cross Country Ski Championships and Supertour at Soldier Hollow from December 31st to January 7th; results and live streaming are available on the event website.
After a dry and warm start to the month, skiing officially began on Ginzu-groomed trails on December 17th. The drought finally broke with a Christmas present of several feet of snow, falling just before the 2021 Betty Woolsey Classic Race. The snowy holiday gift meant the new Prinoth Husky could be put to work for the race. Even though the pass was closed for a while on race day due to blizzard conditions, a great crowd showed for a fun day of Nordic camaraderie and casual racing. Thanks to all who braved the weather to help or ski!
The groomer reports that the new Husky is a huge hit! While there is still some trimming that needs to be done to accommodate the bigger machine, the bigger size means a single pass produces a trail wide enough for both skaters and classic skiers. It is truly nice to be moving forward with our new “clean green” silver machine, and the sophisticated cab is very comfortable as well!
Our critters are all pretty much into winter mode. As usual, many moose have been spotted, including one exceptionally large bull. There are a few calves, although the count appears down a bit. Time will tell. A few whitetail deer are tenaciously hanging out and, once again, a small band of elk are living on the fringes, mainly coming on the trails at night.
January will be a busy month with all human teams on snow. Monday and Wednesday afternoons are peak times. Shuttle buses are back this year and, while parking will still be challenging at those times, hopefully things will be a bit better than last year. We are currently grooming trails close to the end of the Old Pass Road this year so, if Mondays and Wednesdays are the times adults have to ski, the end of the Old Pass Road would be a great starting point.
And finally, there are no races until February. If you haven’t gotten those passes purchased yet, it’s not too late! Go to the Trail Creek Nordic Center page and get it done!
While January has plenty of opportunity for Nordic events, we are sad to report that one of the local favorites, the JH Nordic Free Ski Day scheduled for January 9th, had to be cancelled. Although certainly a tragedy, there are still plenty of other opportunities to “get your Nordic on”.
The 19th annual Teton Ridge Classic is on January 8th.
Women’s specific and Master’s clinics are ongoing through the month; for details go to the JH Nordic event page.
The first Junior National Qualifier is at Sun Valley January 15-16, and the second is January 29-30 at West Yellowstone. High school races continue, with races in Lander (January 7-8) and Laramie (January 21-22). Finally the Spud Chase is another great Idaho event, scheduled for January 22.
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, Davis-Abraham Family, Gingery Family, Bob TC Gordon, Gross Family, Ann Harvey, Hatcher Family, Doug Henderson, Cynthia Hogan, Johnson Family, Gordon Lange, Lee-Clegg Family, Nancy Leon, Lovett Family, MacWilliams Family, Jerome Mage, Ann Makley, Clara McGhee, Kelly Milligan, Lars Moller, Moss Family, Mullholland Family, O’Brien Family, Peck Family, Wayne Petsch, Chris Sebald, Sheafor Family, Springer Family, Carson Stanwood, Streubal Family, Brian Van Hatten, Randall Wade, Jocelyn Wasson, Boden Welch, 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.