JHSC Club and Community Nordic Update

JHSC Club and Community Nordic Update

Happenings of the JHSC Nordic Program, Trail Creek Nordic Center, and Local Nordic Community

Welcome to the January 31st edition of “What’s Going On!”  Read on for the scoop of the ongoing 2019-2020 season . . .

Lollipopper Team

Both Monday and Wednesday groups got to experience a multi-age relay race on their respective days that incorporated team members from every level, from our Comp skiers, Juniors and Devo's to the youngest members of the fam, the Teewinots and Lollipoppers. The races were a lot of fun for everyone, and we hope to keep those interactions between levels going!  "I really liked my teenager," (meaning the coach of their team) was something I heard repeated over and over! 

This week we will focus again on poles and pole technique used in 'classic' cross country skiing.  Again, please be sure your kiddo's hands fit through the pole straps - it's an awkward grip for them at this age, but it's a good habit to start getting them into.

With fresh snow, 'twill likely be a good time to try some intentional powder landings - the more comfortable the kids are with falling intentionally, the more balanced they will become while skiing downhill (not in defensive, I-don't-wanna-fall postures.)  Make sure those little legs and tummies are tucked into their base layers as they will get snowy! 

A big shout-out to the new skiers in the group this year - if your child is in that category, please understand that WE know it can be frustrating for them as they develop the skills and coordination their peers seem to already have, and assure them that it just takes patience and practice!  Equal props to our returning skiers for their kindness and sharing of their knowledge with their new friends. 

Coach Kathy Neily

Lollipopper Head Coach


Teewinot Team

The Teewinot season is off to a great start! We have had some great adventures out on the trails at Trail Creek, and although most of our practices have been focused on classic skiing, we have enjoyed a few days’ skate skiing and look forward to more in the future.

We had 3 athletes turn out for the Johnny Curtis Memorial race, and they crushed it! It’s always so fun to see our athletes experience what it’s like to put their skills to the test and race on their own. We hope to get more Teewinots on the starting line for the Carnival Race at Trail Creek on February 8th. Until then we will continue exploring new trails, honing in our skills, and having fun!

Sevi Hagen

Teewinot Head Coach


Devo Team

The Development team is enjoying mid-winter ski conditions this January, and Trail Creek is in great shape. Two weeks ago, we had joint practice sessions with all the Ski Club teams. Older kids mentored the younger ones, and the highlight each day was the relay race. Monday featured a one-kilometer sprint for the older kids and a shorter loop for the Teewinots and Lollipoppers. Wednesday, the race was a diminishing equipment relay, the contestants drop one piece of gear each lap and end up running.

This last week we were Classic adventure skiing off-trail at Trail Creek. Our focus this coming week will be on the upcoming Nordic Carnival on February 8. We will be skate skiing, working on speed, and previewing the course. Development team athletes can decide to ski the three-kilometer course or chose the five k loop. There will also be a Nordic-X contest in the afternoon. The week after the Carnival, we will be back on Classic skis and off-trail again, looking for adventures.

Rob, Will, Mark, Pipa

Rob Murphy

Development Team Head Coach


Junior Team

The Junior Nordic Team has been off to a great start in 2020 highlighted so far with some major successes and breakthroughs during the Johnny Curtis Memorial IMD JNQ. We had athletes winning their respective age classes, and first year Nordic skiers racing as if they had been training and practicing for multiple years.

This coming weekend we will be looking to carry that momentum to West Yellowstone IMD JNQ where the athletes will be racing a skate sprint and a classic mass start race. As we look ahead we have a busy February with the Nordic Carnival, the Soldier Hollow Super Qualifier, and the McCall IMD Youth Champs at the end of the month. We have held a few All JHSC practices that have been great opportunities of athletes from all age groups to work together in relay teams and to learn from one another.

In training we have been adjusting from building our endurance base and core strength to sharpening up to race fitness with high speed intervals, race tactics, and explosive double poling. Each and every athlete on the Junior Nordic team has made huge jumps in fitness and technique, and all of this hard work has truly shown to be paying off as we continue to turn heads at races.

Once again thank you Steve for all of the hard work keeping Trail Creek in beautiful condition no matter the weather.

-Calvin, Jesse, and George

Calvin Wight

Junior Nordic Team Head Coach


Comp/Prep Teams       

The Comp/Prep Teams have been very busy honing their race skills and chipping away at their individual Season Long Goals. With nearly 30 athletes ranging from 13-18 there is a wide variety of goals for each team member during the race season, but they come together daily to help one another push towards their individual achievements.

We hosted one of the biggest Junior ski races in the Intermountain West in mid-January with nearly 400 athletes enjoying all that Trail Creek has to offer. The weather was wild and kept everyone on their toes during the Classic Sprint races and the Mass Start Freestyle races. JHSC athletes certainly enjoyed their home courses with great results in nearly every age group. (Top tens are highlighted below.)

Classic Sprints - Friday - Jan 17

U18/20 Boys - 3rd - Elijah Weenig

U18/20 Boys - 7th - Sam Johnson

U18/20 Boys - 8th - Bridger Stiles

U16 Boys - 3rd - Mason Wheeler

U14 Boys - 2nd - Lucas Wilmot

U18/20 Girls - 8th - Birch Klomparens

U16 Girls - 3rd - Natalie O'Brien

U16 Girls - 5th - Kate Brigham

U16 Girls - 6th - Auora Stiles

U16 Girls - 10th - Sydney Wilmot

U 14 Girls - 5th - Taya McClennen

Mass Start Freestyle - Saturday - Jan. 18

10km - U18 Boys - 1st - Elijah Weenig

10km - U18 Boys - 4th - Des Concannon

10km - U18 Boys - 10th - Bridger Stiles

10km - U20 Boys - 5th - Sam Johnson

5km - U16 Boys - 3rd - Mason Wheeler

5km - U16 Boys - 6th - Mac Wirth

5km - U16 Boys - 7th - Will Johnson

3km - U14 Boys - 2nd - Lucas Wilmot

5km - U16 Girls - 3rd - Natalie O'Brien

5km - U16 Girls - 5th - Auora Stiles

5km - U16 Girls - 6th - Kate Brigham

3km - U14 Girls - 8th - Lena Poduska

3km - U14 Girls - 9th - Taya McClennen

3km - U14 Girls - 10th - Hailey Stines 


Ali Sehnert

Comp / Prep Coach

The first of the year is often times the most eventful month of the year for the Nordic program with all of our teams establishing a rhythm with their training and practice routines. On top or the program running at full capacity, we hosted the cross country segment of Wilson Winter Sports, hosted the first Intermountain and High Plains Junior National Qualifier with 400 athletes in attendance, sent Elijah Weenig to U.S. Nationals with coach Jon Filardo, and established the first ever program wide training session with a team relay and a diminishing equipment relay. To cap it off, U.S. Ski Team athlete, and 2 time Olympian Erik Bjornson joined the Prep/Comp team for an important time trial training session and offered invaluable words of wisdom about training and bouncing back after difficult times and failure.

At the Prep/Comp level, we're happy to report that after the first round of Junior National Qualifier points of have been calculated, JHSC has more athletes than any other Intermountain Club in the running. There are a handful of athletes that are on the 'bubble, and the coaches are confident that we can only build upon this success.

When looking at the Nordic "pipeline" we have more kids than ever actively involved in our Development, Teewinot and Lollipopper teams programing. A cohesive crew of Junior team athletes are chomping at the bit as they gradually progress onto what will eventually introduce year-round training with the Prep Team. As coaches we're aware and sensitive to the fact that it's essential to adhere to programming that allows each athlete to progress relative to their phase of development. Throughout the past 10 years, it's this focus that has been the cornerstone of program development and realizing the current success we're seeing.

To capitalize on the programs achievements, we're looking forward to the inaugural Nordic Carnival on February 8th. It's not only our goal for every athlete in the program to participate in this festive event, but to make the connection between our athletes and community master racers.

As we look to the next month, the Junior Prep and Comp team will be traveling to West Yellowstone for the second Junior National Qualifier followed by the final Qualifier at Soldier Hollow and the Development and Junior team will look to Intermountain Youth Champs in McCall ID. As a community outreach and recruiting effort we will be hosting the first ever "try it out day" on February 17th.

Stay tuned for more program news in the coming weeks and as the seasons events unfold.

Ben Morley

Head Coach and Nordic Program Director

Libby Hall

If you come out to Trail Creek on a Monday or Wednesday afternoon you might spot Libby Hall hot on the tail of a group of wee ones crushing the trails.  This edition Libby was kind enough to share her story with us.

Where did you grow up and where did you ski growing up?

I grew up skiing in southern Vermont at Bromley Mountain as the youngest of five children in a skiing family. I remember cruising through our sugar maple grove and around our field on a pair of tiny wooden Nordic skis which started a lifelong love of skiing, probably around age 4.

My first Bromley Mountain ski pass was 1975-76 and was followed by childhood years alpine skiing around Vermont, at Stratton, Mad River Glen, Sugarbush, Stowe and Middlebury Snow Bowl.

Do you have any Nordic racing experience?

Fast forward to Middlebury College where I really learned to appreciate Nordic. I entered a winter triathlon called "Bowl to Breadloaf" which entailed a Giant Slalom run at the Middlebury Snow Bowl, followed by a run to the Rikert Nordic Center (on the Breadloaf campus) and finished off with a 10K Nordic ski. I had not yet discovered skate skiing and after slogging around the course on poorly waxed classic skis & getting passed by most everyone, I set my sights on learning to skate ski.

In 1990, my junior year at Middlebury, my boyfriend Taylor moved to Jackson, and I became a (delightedly) regular visitor for my last years of college. Upon graduation in 1992, I moved full time to Jackson and bought my first pair of skate skis at Skinny Skis, learning to skate when the sport was just gaining popularity.  My enthusiasm for Nordic skiing grew, and I raced in the Moose Chase plus a few Sandbag races nearly every year from 1994 - early 2000’s.

Does your family ski?

Taylor and I have three children, BB (19), Elsie (15) and Whit (11) who have all been active in the JHSC Nordic Programs. We’ve had one or more kids in the program every year since 2006 - present, including Whit on the Devo Team and Elsie on the Comp Team this year.  

Our daughter Elsie, together with two other younger Nordic siblings, was part of the experimental/inaugural class of Lollipoppers in 2009, coached by Jeanie Clark. At the time our youngest, Whit, was not yet in school, but I distinctly remember thinking to myself that I’d like to coach the little Nordies when my own children got older.

What is your history with JHSC?

Sure enough in the winter of 2017/18 I joined the JHSC Nordic Staff as a Lollipopper coach. I believe that Nordic skiing is a magical mountain experience, and I’m honored to share my love of skiing, play and exploring/observing nature with our youngest athletes.  I am USSA Level 100 certified in Cross Country Coach and am also USSA Level 2 Alpine Official.

What do you do when you’re not coaching?

When I’m not coaching Lollipoppers, I enjoy knitting, foraging, cooking, Telemark skiing and Nordic skiing with my family and our dogs, Junie & Gambler.

Outside of my JHSC coaching & Alpine volunteer work, I run a small business, PIKA*MADE which specializes in handmade hats, neckies and headbands, quite a few of which are worn by Trail Creek skiers of all ages.

Thanks so much, Derek, for being part of what makes Trail Creek amazing and for letting us know a little more about your story last month.  Good luck keeping up with those Teewinots!

Thanks so much to you Libby for sharing with us and doing such an awesome job with some of the smallest members of our JHSC family!

Featured Sponsor Rob Murphy Painting

Rob, we know you have a passion for the Nordic world and Jackson Hole Ski and Snowboard Club. Could you describe what you do with JHSC and how long you have been doing that?

I am the head coach of the Development team. After beginning as a volunteer helper with the Lollipoppers, then Teewinots, I found my niche with the nine and ten-year-old Devo athletes whom I have coached for four years.

Please share with us about your personal skiing history, where and when you started, and some of the more notable events in which you have participated? 

I learned to ski in the East, beginning late at about nine. Moving to Jackson after college, I soon fell in love with Nordic skiing and racing. I taught Nordic at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort for many years in several different stints. I have raced in most of the more prominent regional races, including the Boulder Mountain Tour and the West Yellowstone Rendezvous. I have recently become intrigued by the fifty-five-kilometer Classic events and have competed in the Birkebeiner in Norway and the American version of the race in Wisconsin.

Nordic is a family affair for you, right? Could you share more about that?

Yes, both my children are in the Club. Ryan skis with me on the Development team and Abby is on the Junior team

What are the challenges and rewards of being a Nordic coach?

The rewards far outweigh the challenges. The kids bring a fantastic blend of desire to have fun, learn, and ski that is infectious. Nordic ski practice is always the best part of the day. Also, the team of coaches Ben Morley assembled is dedicated, talented, and professional. Coaching is as much about learning as it is about teaching. 

Tell us about Rob Murphy Painting. How long have you been in business? What kind of jobs do you do, and what does your business involve?

We have been painting homes since 1996, doing all sorts of interior and exterior painting jobs, from cabins to ten-million-dollar houses. We employ about a dozen local workers in the summer and fewer in the winter. The seasonal nature of the business is one of the reasons I can dedicate my time to coaching. 

Is there anything, business or personal that you are willing to share?

Sure, just a quick anecdote. When my daughter Abby was about four, we were returning from skiing at the Village when she asked, "Daddy, how come skiing is more fun than playing at home?" I could only reply, "I don't know, honey, it just is. And it always will be." 

Thanks so much for your sponsorship Rob and thanks too for all your hard work with the Devos!

As the last newsletter was posted the Johnny Curtis Memorial Qualifier was in progress.  A giant THANK YOU goes out to the army of volunteers that allowed us to host nearly 400 racers in this amazing event.  Not only was the race an IMD qualifier, it was a Wyoming High School race and a High Plains Nordic qualifier, quite a feat.

As Coach Ben detailed above, we have a good group with the chance to make it to junior nationals this year, full results are available here.

In the citizen race scene the Peaked Sport’s 17th Annual Spud chase was held over the hill at Teton Springs with a good crowd on a beautiful day.  Dave Bergart (former JHSC coach) of Victor was the top male finisher and Anna Lisette Davis (another former JHSC employee) being the top female finisher in the 16 K race.  All the results can be viewed here.

While the first half of the month was a never ending dump-fest when it came to snow amounts, things have moderated a bit in the latter half of the month.  We have continued to have regular rounds of several inches which have done a great job of keeping the trails fresh.  Temperatures have also been very moderate in the “Nordic friendly zone” of freezing to not too cold.  This and the fact that we have plenty of snow to cover the obstacles has meant that skiing has been very nice.

Pulling off the Johnny Curtis was a huge project, but many thanks to all those volunteers who made the big event happen.  We would also like to thank any of our recreational skiers who were inconvenienced by the busy racing schedule for being understanding and skiing around the race venue.

Our moose numbers are about normal this winter with near a dozen being spotted at various times.  Once again this winter we have a small elk herd that is hanging about at night.  While they are quite skittish during the daylight hours, they have been doing more damage to the trails than the moose this winter, although it is not that big of a deal, and they are kind of fun to have around.

We have had a few issues with the Pisten Bully this winter.  The first issue that we thought had to do with the turbo charger turned out to be a leaking sensor on the antifreeze reservoir that was sending erroneous messages and dripping onto a controlling computer.  We have that patched waiting for a simple part to fully repair it.

The heater fan has been on the blink as well, while not a life or death issue, the groomer has had a couple of cold nights of grooming. 

Finally one of the final drives that power the right track has shucked out.  This seems to be a bit of a weak point in this machine as we have had problems in the past.  Luckily a replacement was available in Reno and we hope to have it up and running at 100% next week.  Pictures and a more detailed description can be found in the January 29th Grooming Report.

As this newsletter is being posted a very busy weekend is going on.  The IMD racers are off to West Yellowstone for the 2nd of 3 Junior National Qualifiers on February 1st and 2nd, you can follow along at their website.  The high school racers are competing in the next Wyoming High School race at Casper Mountain, and citizen racers will be gathering in Sun Valley for the Boulder Mountain Tour, one of the biggest races in the region.

Looking ahead another week we hope to see lots of people from the community in attendance at JHSC Nordic Carnival at Trail Creek.  Race distances from ½ K to 10 K will be available as well as a run down the NORDIC X course.  Check out the event page here and a course map is available here.  If all goes according to plan, a food truck will even be serving up some awesome food, be sure not to miss this fun day!

Finally in two weeks on February 14th and 15th the final Junior National Qualifier will be in Soldier Hollow, Utah.  Hopefully we’ll have lots of our skier off to nationals at Donner Summit in California!

Click on the image below to go to the full calendar spreadsheet, complete with links to most races.  Feel free to send corrections or any events that need to be added to jhnordic@gmail.com .

Thanks so much to the members and sponsors who make this all possible!

David Adams, Keith Austin, Brigham Family, Heather Budge, Brot Coburn, Janet Conway, Curtis/Adams Family, Arielle D’Arge, Mike Evans, Goodrich Family, Roman Goralski, Gordon/Mick Family, Charlotte Gross, Rachael Harrower, Ann Harvey, Huntington/Finlay Family, King Family, Thomas Kohlhardt, Lee/Clegg Family, Leeds Family, Lovett Family, Kristina MacLeod, Maria Mahood, Ann Makley, Clara McGee, Finley Miller, O’Brien Family, Annika Peacock, Chris Peck, Wayne Petsch, Pruzan Family, Ratcliff/Henderson Family, Schilling Family, Parker Smith, Springer Family, Stanley Family, Thal Family, Thomas/White Family, Brian Van Hatten, Jocelyn Wasson, Olivia Weenig, Bode Welch, Chris Wimberg, the Wiswell Family, and Patrick Wright.

Thanks to our amazing staff!

Pippa Blau, George Cartwright, Derek Collins, Jon Filardo, Sevi Hagen, Libby Hall, Lauri Harris, Jesse Knori, Haley Mahar, Ann Makley, Ben Morley, Rob Murphy, Kathy Neiley, Mark Newcomb, Bria Riggs, Ali Sehnert, Steve Swan, Will Wicherski, and Calvin Wight.

Thank you to the 131 and counting 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.