JHSC Club and Community Nordic Update
Happenings of the JHSC Nordic Program, Trail Creek Nordic Center, and Local Nordic Community
Welcome to the January 3rd edition of “What’s Going On!” Read on for the scoop of the ongoing 2019-2020 season . . .
Coach Kathy (pictured above) is anxiously waiting for the start of the season on January 6th. She and the rest of the Lollipopper coaches are all fired up to get our little ones (usually kindergarteners and first graders) up and skiing. It’s always fun to see their tracks on the trails!
Coach Kathy Neiley
Lollipopper Head Coach
The Teewinots are gearing up for their first practice on January 6th and, with all the new snow, we are sure to have a blast out at Trail Creek! We have many returning athletes this year, as well as some new additions to the team, with a total of 22 kids! The Teewinot coaching staff is looking forward to another great season of Nordic skiing!
Teewinot Head Coach
The Development (DEVO) Team has had a fantastic December! In a switch from some previous years, we were able to ski on snow the whole month. Low snow did limit our off-trail adventures for a while; however, with the new snow we can now go wherever our travels lead. We have concentrated on technique and fitness and will continue to work on our classic striding, double pole, V-1, and V-2 in the coming months.
Exploring, hills, jumps, and lots of games will round out our next month. Games focus on a skill on which we have concentrated that week. For example, one-ski soccer helps us understand the importance of maximizing glide, and two-ski no-pole sharks and minnows help us practice agility and sprinting (speed) while having fun.
In January we will begin to organize and prepare for the New Moose Chase team relay, a fun new event on February 8. Coach Pipa Blau now rounds out our staff and with 30 athletes we have quite a strong team.
Rob, Mark, Will, Pipa
Development Team Head Coach
Since our West Yellowstone trip the Junior Team has been busy working on technique and efficiency in skate and classic. We have been ecstatic with the conditions at Trail Creek so far this winter, with bountiful snow and prime grooming conditions. The Betty Woolsey Classic was the first real race of the season outside of time trials and our juniors all put in some outstanding efforts and performances of which they all should be very proud. The next few weeks we will be honing in on our race fitness for the first IMD JNQ of the year hosted at home at Trail Creek.
Junior Nordic Team Head Coach
The Comp/Prep Teams have enjoyed balancing winter time fun while completing their final solid block of training over the holiday break. We have been skiing all around the Valley, taking advantage of the variety of trails we have, including skiing in Grand Teton National Park, up Cache Creek, and at the Pines, and we will all be heading to Turpin Meadow Ranch for a fun day on Sunday. Wrapping up the break, we will begin to shift towards the full race season focus. The teams will be kicking off the race season with a bang at our home Junior National Qualifier on Jan 17-18.
Elijah Weenig just kicked off his race season with US Nationals in Houghton, MI. The first day of racing at Nationals happened Thursday, Jan 2 with a Freestyle Sprint. Elijah did a great job handling a large, strong field of Juniors and looks to have finished as the 6th U18 boy for the day. (Results are a tad tricky to follow on a Sprint day.) But that is a solid start to his Nationals racing adventure. The races continue with a 15km Freestyle on Jan 3, a 10km Classic on Jan 5, and Classic Spring on Jan 7. Event details can be found at the event page and results can be found at the results page.
Here's the 'Nordic Program Update'
With the recent series of snow storms hitting Trail Creek, a professional and stacked coaching staff, and pre-season home and regional races in the books, the JHSC Nordic program couldn't be in a better position to tackle an exciting and eventful January. The Lollipopper and Teewinot Teams will begin their season at Trail Creek on Monday the 6th, joining the Development, Junior, Prep and Comp teams on every Monday and Wednesday through the end of the season. If you're interested in observing controlled chaos of over 125 athletes and how the progression of the Nordic program functions, come out to Trail Creek on Monday and Wednesday afternoons.
With 125 athletes at one venue, there's work that goes on behind the scenes to be sure that every athlete is getting the most out of their experience. To be sure all the coaches are speaking the same language, understand lesson plans, the correct pedagogy for each phase of development, and the complete progression from Lollipoppers to the Comp team, the coaches held an annual on-snow technique clinic and discussion at Trail Creek. As the technical side of the sport continues to evolve and as we encounter new challenges and opportunities to share our passion for the sport, it's important that we take the time to communicate and discuss an effective and coherent teaching methodology every season. Thanks to all of the coaches for their attention to detail in their lesson plans, and for taking time out of their weekend to attend this clinic.
We rely heavily on the wider JHSC staff and board to keep our program running effectively and efficiently. Any support to JHSC will assist in the growth of the Nordic program, but there are also a several ways you can directly support the Nordic Program—through financial contributions, volunteering, and spreading the word of our ever growing Nordic culture in the valley. If you're using the trails at Trial Creek please purchase a pass; if you're looking to fulfill your volunteer credits don't forget about the Johnny Curtis Memorial Junior National Qualifier coming up on January 17th and 18th. We also have JHSC Nordic supporter sweatshirts and hats available for purchase at the Trail Creek Cabin. If you have kids in the program we encourage a low pressure, fun and easy approach to their involvement. As we prepare for the upcoming JHSC Nordic Carnival, it's our hope that every kid in the program is inclined to participate at their own will.
Happy New Year!
Head Coach and Nordic Program Director
On Mondays and Wednesdays when coach Kathy is trying to keep track of her Lollipoppers as they cruise around Trail Creek, one of the assistants you might encounter helping with these wee ones is Ann. Many thanks, Ann, for agreeing to be our featured coach for this newsletter.
Where did you grow up and where did you ski growing up?
I grew up in St Mary’s, Ohio surrounded by cornfields.
My father, mother and I started downhill skiing when I was 10 years old. We skied at Mad River “Mountain” in Bellefontaine, Ohio approximately 3 times a year. 600 feet of vertical! My father wanted to learn to ski and my mother and I jumped in when it looked like he was having fun!
What is your history of Nordic skiing up to this point in your life?
When my husband and I moved west 30 years ago we came to ski. We back country skied and Nordic skied as much as possible in the 13 years we lived in Utah and the 18 years that we have lived in Jackson.
Do you have any memorable races from your high school or college days?
Unfortunately I did not have the opportunity to ski race in high school or college. I would have loved that! Maybe in my next life?
Where do you like to ski when you aren’t at Trail Creek?
I love to ski at Trail Creek. It is a very special place any time of the day. I have great memories with Wilson winter sport students and now the Lollipops! When I am not at Trail Creek, I love to Nordic ski in the park. I also enjoy skiing in West Yellowstone and Sun Valley. Back country skiing off the pass and in the park are favorites as well.
Have you ever coached before working for JHSC?
I coached high school girls soccer for four years while teaching in Utah. I also taught beginner skiers at Sundance Nordic center.
Do you have other work for the off season?
I was a public school teacher for 35+ years. I received my bachelor’s degree in special education from Miami of Ohio, master’s degree in environmental science from Antioch New England, and K-6 endorsement from Prescott University.
In the off season I volunteer for Grand Teton National Park in the education department. I visit classrooms and provide programming for pre K-5th grade classrooms in our valley and in Teton County, Idaho.
How often do you ski now?
I try to ski every day! I can never get enough.
What age group are you coaching now?
I coach the Lollipops, 5-6 year-olds along with Coach Kathy and Coach Libby.
Do you have a “coaching philosophy?”
My coaching philosophy is to have fun skiing with the Lollipops. At a young age it is important to learn some skills, but also to learn to love the sport.
Any other thoughts you would like to share with the local Nordic community?
As a Nordic community we are very lucky to have Trail Creek to hone our Nordic skills and enjoy our sport. The Jackson Hole Nordic club has always impressed me. The coaches love being with the athletes and the athletes 5-18 years of age are always skiing with smiles on their faces.
Thanks so much Ann! We wish you lots of energy to keep up with the Lollipoppers!
Since the last update the racing season has gotten up and running at full speed.
December 14th and 15th was the Sun Valley Super Tour, basically a warm up to the Super Qualifiers coming up later in the season. JHSC skiers from U14’s (under 14 years old) on up made the journey to Ketchum, ID to ski on their great trails. Results from the event are available here.
Many of the high school skiers, as well as some of the IMD skiers, made the long journey to Happy Jack Nordic Area for the December 21st and 22nd high school race hosted by Laramie. Results of the race can be viewed in this article from the Laramie Boomerang. Actual results for Boys JV, Girls JV, Boys Varsity and Girls Varsity can be viewed in these links.
The big news in the JHSC world as of late has been the 2019 Betty Woolsey 10K Classic Race which was held on December 28th. A cool, clear day presented ideal conditions for the venerable classic race, with a great crowd of participants ranging in age from 3 to 82. Racers competed in ½, 3, 5, and 10 K races and, while everyone who competed was truly a winner, our very own JHSC athlete, Birch Klomparens, won the 10 K women’s division and Cirque Gammelin won the 10 K men’s division. Adding to the excitement, part of a deer carcass even managed to make its way onto the course sometime during the night.
All of the results are available here.
Finally, as mentioned above in the Comp/Prep report by Coach Ali, our very own Elijah Weenig is, as of press day, racing in the Nordic Nationals in Houghton, MI. Links for more information are in Ali’s report above.
The Big Thanksgiving Storm got us off to a great Pisten Bully start; the Big Christmas Storm brought us universal classic tracks; and the Big New Year’s Day Storm moved our trails into full winter mode with all major trails open and even most of the monsters lurking under the snow well covered. We have been truly blessed so far with good amounts of the magical white stuff that is so important to what we do.
Up to this point the Prep, Comp, Junior, and Devo Teams have been keeping the weekday afternoons busy, while we have had a nice level of citizen skiers throughout the days. Looking ahead to next week we will be joined by the delightful presence of the Lollipoppers and Teewinots, so if your desire is to witness a Nordic spectacle, check out Monday or Wednesday afternoons.
So far this winter our equipment has been running flawlessly and the wildlife sightings have been the usual amazing variety. There have been rodents cruising the trails, weasels cruising the trails with rodents in their mouths, pine martin tracks, foxes and coyotes out nightly looking for rodents or whatever else they can find, white tail and mule deer, elk, and moose along with a good flock of chickadees hanging around the feeder at the cabin.
There was a confirmed deer kill between Olympic and Mug’s Meadow, and the carcass had been dragged onto the trail by a coyote. We were able to track back to the kill zone, but it was not possible to determine what animal had actually made the kill.
Trail Creek is hosting a Sand Bag Race Saturday January 4th at 10:30 AM. The race is a 10K freestyle event with a moderately challenging flow. If you are looking for a fun day with some great people, make sure you head out to Trail Creek this Saturday. The course can be viewed here.
On Sunday January 5th one of the great Nordic events of the year is on tap at Turpin Meadow Ranch in the form of the JH Nordic Alliance’s 4th Annual Free Ski, Fat Bike, & Snowshoe Day. Take the beautiful drive up to Turpin Meadows or catch the free shuttle (information in the event link) and check out some demo skis or a fat bike and have a great time with the hundreds of participants expected.
If another road trip sounds like a good idea, make the short trip to Pinedale for the next Wyoming High School Nordic Meet January 10th and 11th.
On January 17th and 18th Trail Creek will be hosting one of the major events of the year, the Intermountain Division Junior National Qualifier, aka the Johnny Curtis Memorial Race. There will be 100s of regional racers and it is sure to be a great spectator event. Check out the link above for all the information.
Click on the image below to go to the full calendar spreadsheet, complete with links to most races. Feel free to send correction or any events that need to be added to email@example.com .
Thanks so much to the members and sponsors who make this all possible!
David Adams, Keith Austin, Brigham Family, Heather Budge, Curtis/Adams Family, Arielle D’Arge, Mike Evans, Goodrich Family, Roman Goralski, Gordon/Mick Family, Charlotte Gross, Rachael Harrower, Ann Harvey, King Family, Thomas Kohlhardt, Lee/Clegg Family, Leeds Family, Lovett Family, Kristina MacLeod, Maria Mahood, Ann Makley, Clara McGee, Finley Miller, Annika Peacock, Chris Peck, Wayne Petsch, Pruzan Family, Schilling Family, Parker Smith, Springer Family, Stanley Family, Thal Family, Thomas/White Family, Brian VanHatten, Jocelyn Wasson, Olivia Weenig, Bode Welch, Chris Wimberg, and the Wiswell Family.
A special thanks to Jackson Hole Nordic for being a strong supporter of our programs.