JHSC Club and Community Nordic Update
Happenings of the JHSC Nordic Program, Trail Creek Nordic Center, and Local Nordic Community
Welcome to the January 25th edition of “What’s Going On!” Read on for the scoop…
Just a gentle reminder to always be courteous of our good Trail Creek neighbors, the Ryan Family, who maintain the access road. Your cooperation in being respectful of their access to their home will make the world a better place. The main points to remember are:
• Do not attempt to turn around in their driveway! Ever! At all! It is much slipperier than you could imagine and you will get stuck!
• Please access Trail Creek through the main JHSC entrance by the cabin and not the Ryan driveway.
• During races try to stay off the driveway/access road as much as possible so the Ryans can get in and out.
Thanks for your understanding! JHSC Nordic
Lollipoppers have quite a few brand-new skiers this year, with some even joining us for the very first time last week! As you can imagine, this has made for some very challenging coaching situations as we literally have kids who have never had skis on in the same group with kids who can already skate! The learning curve is starting to flatten out for the never-evers a little bit as they gain familiarity and confidence in their equipment.
In order to address the wide gap in experience levels, we do our skills instruction and games as a large group, with either/both Coach Libby and Coach Jeannie helping, then divide the kids by experience for our longer ski portion as suits their ability. Our goal is that all the kiddos are able to ski and improve at a rate appropriate to them. This may even mean we will advance a few of the kids to the Teewinot level before season end!
Last week we worked on slalom turns on a short hill, downhill speed control, and worked on herringbone and side-stepping up steeper hills. This week we are learning about ankle and knee flexions, weight shifting and sliding the skis (vs. stepping). We are also doing some single-ski exercises to develop balance, and are continuing to work both with and without poles. We also are learning to kick-turn, a handy technique for reversing in narrow situations on the trail - the kids are pretty proud of themselves when they are able to accomplish this turn as it requires balance and coordination.
With all the fresh snow, doing on-purpose face-plants and belly flops has been a favorite end-of-practice activity this week! (Click on image above for a demonstration of this skill)
Coach Kathy Neily
Lollipopper Head Coach
Teewinots have been taking advantage of all of this fresh powder! This past week of practice we focused on classic skiing and spent some time working on our striding with some no pole skiing, drills, and games. To change things up we have been distance skiing out towards Faceplant and even brought a shovel along to build a jump!
Next week we will be moving back to skate skiing and will be focusing on pole plant timing through fun games and adventure skis out at Trail Creek.
Teewinot Head Coach
The Junior Team has been enjoying a bunch of fresh snowfall following a great weekend of racing down at Soldier Hollow for the Super JNQ. This week we have put a wavy focus on weight transfer while skating and comfort riding a flat ski. We worked on these skills through varying no pole drills, Nordic X, and the one-ski downhill challenge. The Junior’s next races will include the Moose Chase and IMD Youth Championships, both held at Trail Creek; we will be focusing on race tactics so we can use home course advantage to its fullest. Thanks again for a great season so far, the trails have been incredible.
Junior Nordic Ski Team Head Coach
The Development team is completing its agility-focused block with vast improvement by all athletes. The coaches have been discussing the astonishing progress made by these athletes this season. The recent snows have kept us thinking as we come up with ways to do gliding drills in 5" of new powder! We will now begin to focus on technique and speed as we look forward to the Moose Chase in mid-February. Congratulations are due for Ellie Weeler and Neve Pruzan who competed in the JNQ races at Soldier Hollow last weekend. This trip was a great experience to see what big-time races are like, with 700 kids competing in the different age classes.
With our team meshing, and now capable of skiing together for 5 to 10 kilometers during practice, our options are many. Hill adventures, relay races, obstacle courses, and a fun time trial are in our near future. Parents who would like to see what the kids are up to are always invited to join us for all or part of practice anytime.
Development Team Head Coach
This past weekend the prep and comp team competed in the western regions Super Qualifier in Soldier Hollow, UT. Soldier Hollow, being the 2002 Olympic venue, hosted over 600 athletes from the Rocky Mountain, Far West, Pacific Northwest, High Plains and Intermountain regions in world class fashion with challenging courses. Having trained and raced at this venue previously, Jackson skiers felt an almost home field advantage with the big uphills, technical downhills and distance pacing.
The Jackson team led up to the Soldier Hollow Super Qualifier with focused, race-specific training. This included working on our top-end speed, transitions at race pace, tactics in groups (such as sprint heats) and more. At this point in the season the Prep and Comp team is truly honing race skills and race fitness. This paid off as our team showed strong results including many personal bests and top ten overalls in the largest fields seen in junior racing.
With the Super Q checked off, we are back at it with some recovery-based training this week at Trail Creek and enjoying the mid-winter conditions of the Tetons.
Head Comp and Prep Coach
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Seattle.
At what age did you start skiing?
I really started skiing in junior high on Snoqualmie Pass. ALPINE. I was inspired by my uncle, Bob Johnston, a first lieutenant, Bronze Heart, and Purple Heart in the 10th Mountain. He was a 3-way skier, all-American in college, won NCAAs as a Nordic coach, was a founding member of REI . . . He loved skiing and it grew in me.
Did you Nordic race in high school and college?
Nope. I didn't really start Nordic until I lived at White Grass Ranch and would ski to the village to work and Alpine. Started doing citizen races . . .
For your time at JHSC were you always in charge of the Nordic program?
(I was) Head High School Nordic Coach 28 years, JHSC Nordic Director 3 years, and Head Ski Club Coach one more year . . . That (high school) was really my niche. I loved team stuff over technical.
Teaching was also a part of your career; could you tell us a little more about that part of you?
Teaching was awesome. I worked with kids with learning disabilities. School could be hard for them so we became a team. I tried to make them feel welcomed and loved. If reading is hard for you even, if your IQ is 140, school may not be a fun place.
In the end I wore out 36 years a teacher
How often do you ski now?
I either Alpine or Nordic every other day. I think it’s important to ski the trails you groom. You quickly see where you did well and where you messed up.
Where are you living now?
Boise, ID. I wanted to move while I had energy to be part of a new community. I bought an old house, 1905 in an historic neighborhood.
Are you working now or just retired?
I work, but only do jobs I would do for free.
I work 2 days at Trader Joes. Hard to be on feet 8 hours but fun. (Note: He is also grooming trails at Bogus Basin).
Are you still biking?
Other than grooming job I never start my car. Awesome mountain biking two blocks away, 200 miles of trail. Restaurants, movies, the capital, Trader Joe's 8 blocks away. Bike heaven.
What is your favorite memory of skiing for JHSC or at Trail Creek?
It is a beautiful place. The kids. I feel so blessed. Plus I worked with such awesome coaches, HS and Club alike.
Where there any big challenges in the early days?
Track setting is super hard. People have no idea of the skill, the cold, what a stuck snow machine is like. Nordic is not basketball, it can be brutal. My motto: Anyone can be good when tracks and conditions great, but you see who is real when conditions suck.
Any other thoughts you would like to share with the Nordic community?
Just remember, you are sliding around the woods on pieces of plastic for a life that in the scheme of things is not that long. Look around, stop, smell the trees. Being fast is not as important as who you are as a person. Work hard but don't take yourself too serious.
Remember and honor those who skied here before, even if you have no idea who they were. I knew some of those no longer on earth and they were great people.
A saying at the Vasaloppet in Sweden: “We ski on the tracks of our fathers/mothers.”
A Brief History of Trail Creek Ranch (as taken from the Trail Creek Ranch website)
“Elizabeth ‘Betty’ Woolsey bought the first parcel of Trail Creek Ranch in 1942 after discovering the incredible powder skiing leading down to what is now the Ranch’s Main Lodge. She soon discovered that the summer activities were just as appealing. She quickly expanded the ranch property to the 270 acres it is today. Upon her death in 1997 she had the Ranch placed in a conservation easement with the Jackson Hole Land Trust to protect it from development of any kind.”
“Betty Woolsey was the Captain of the first women’s Olympic ski team in 1936. She was an incredible athlete and individual. She had great determination to share the simple pleasures of the outdoor and western life with her friends and family.”
“Your hosts, Muggs and Alex, have continued to share these things with their guests, and hope to help introduce you to the beauty and excitement of Jackson Hole. Muggs has been at Trail Creek Ranch for sixty-six years (wow!) and is one-of-a-kind. She remembers the ‘good old days’ and is happy to share her stories. Alex has been at Trail Creek for 26 years and she and her husband, Mike, are raising their family of four boys in this valley paradise.”
“Trail Creek Ranch has been a working guest ranch since 1946, entertaining guests from all over the world. In the early years, guests would come for a month at a time and enjoy their vacation at the Ranch and on extensive pack trips into the Teton Range, the Gros Ventre Range, and into Yellowstone.”
Our thanks to Trail Creek for hosting the JHSC Nordic program!
The last two weeks have been full of races involving the local Nordic community. Coach Scott (above) touched on the second of three Intermountain Division Qualifying races last weekend in Soldier Hollow, Utah. The results are available here; keep in mind that many of the racers that our skiers are competing against might be in divisions beyond our own Intermountain Division. This mega race also included most Wyoming High School teams.
The local Sandbag Series has also been running at full steam, with the Teton Ridge Classic at Targhee on the 12th and the Buffalo Stampede at the Teton Pines on the 19th. Results from the Teton Ridge Classic are available here and the overall Sandbag standings are below.
Trail Creek has been humming along at top speed with the busiest time of the year being upon us. For several days this month we had Lollipoppers, Teewinots, Juniors, Devos, Prep, and Comp teams, an additional few dozen Wilson Winter Sports skiers, and up to 50 local and visiting master skiers on our trails. The Pisten Bully has had plenty of tracks to cover each morning.
The weather continues to be very favorable for Nordic skiing, with steady cool temps and steady snowfall. The snow has gotten deep enough to cover the vast majority of obstacles, leading to wide and level trail conditions and really nice skiing.
There has been a plethora of winter wildlife, with about a dozen elk, a dozen-plus-a-few-more moose, and a handful of deer hanging around so far. A pine marten has been spotted; we have our usual coyotes and foxes; and there was even a mountain lion sighting by one of our skiers. A weasel was videotaped attempting to haul off some kind of ground squirrel much larger than himself; you can check it out in the video below.
Starting next weekend Trail Creek will enter the busy local race season with many days of racing over the next month and a half. Never to fear! Except for on the Moose Chase day, there is usually always plenty of room for everybody to have their own great Nordic ski.
The next Sandbag Series race is the Spud Chase on January 26th with ½, 2, 6, 12, and 24 km distances available; it looks to be a great day to head over the hill for an awesome community race.
February 2nd is another Sandbag series race, the Boulder Mountain Tour in Sun Valley, Idaho. This race is a great warm up for our upcoming Moose Chase with 15 and 34 km freestyle distances.
The next Wyoming High School Nordic meet is February 1st and 2nd at Trail Creek. Teams from around the state of Wyoming will be competing, not to mention most of our local high school and IMD racers. High School Coach Katie has sent in the schedule below for the race and if you are interested in volunteering, your help would be much appreciated; check it out at this help the high school race link.
Girls 7.5K U16/18/20 mass start at 1pm
Boys 7.5K U16/18/20 mass start at 2pm.
Boys 5K U16/18/20 individual 15sec interval starts at 10am
Girls 5K U16/18/20 individual 15sec interval starts at ~11am
As of publication time the Sandbag Final Championship is probably going to be moved to March 16th (a change of schedule from March 9th). The tentative location is Trail Creek, but parking will be at the end of the Old Pass Road, with the race to begin and registration in Mug’s Meadow. It should be an exciting change of venue; watch for updates in upcoming issues of the Nordic News.
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 email@example.com
More Community events at https://jhnordic.com/events/
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; 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; 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; Jocelyn Wasson; Chris Wimberg; Wiswell Family
A special thanks to Jackson Hole Nordic for being a strong supporter of our programs.