JHSC Club and Community Nordic Update
Happenings of the JHSC Nordic Program, Trail Creek Nordic Center, and Local Nordic Community
Welcome to the March Edition of “What’s Going On” for the 2022-2023 season!
It has been an amazing month for the Nordic skiing world here in Western Wyoming. Our JHSC skiers have done a fantastic job racing domestically and abroad, with many qualifying for the upcoming national championships, Trail Creek Nordic Center has had a busy racing and practice schedule, and even our master skiers have had to be on their toes, with lots of racing and training opportunities. Read on to find out all the details in this month’s newsletter…
Lollipoppers are right on track with their development, moving from cautious downhill techniques into "sending it" on the big hills like Face Plant. There have been some really cold days this month and the kids did well just keeping moving. Having a practice that began at zero degrees and ended up at -5, made thermoses of hot chocolate a vital part of the toolkit! The coaches were colder than the kids!
A huge wagon wheel packed out in the snow made for non-stop movement of "Fox and Geese." We introduced skate skiing, and many of the kids are using this technique, mixed in with classic technique. Grunt Hill is now accessible to all the kids, using a combination of side-step and herringbone, with fewer and fewer kids needing to do side step. This is a big milestone for our beginners and younger skiers.
We had a Valentine's Day hunt in the woods, finding cheery red mailboxes hanging on trees that contained a valentine for each of the kids, plus some sweet treats. It's a fun way to work together as a team as we move on to the next box. In the upcoming last few weeks we will be playing games, skiing farther out on the track than was ever thought possible just two short months ago, and doing some laps on Nordic X. We will have a leprechaun hunt (they are real!) and costumes will be the uniform of choice!
Head Lollipopper Coach
A record number of Teewinots have been busy at Trail Creek this month. Activities have included schussing through bamboo forests, obstacle courses to develop agility, balance, and speed while skate skiing, ski ballet, skiing under coach bridges and keeping bodies moving to stay warm on chilly days.
We had lots of participation in the Moose Chase this month, with kids putting in fantastic times. We are looking forward to lots more fantastic times in March as we keep on skiing until March 15th.
The Teewinot Crew
The Development Team enjoyed an action-packed February. Off-trail adventure skiing, games of snoccer (ski soccer), a team soccer relay, and a well-attended Skinny Skis Moose Chase filled our days. A real-life Moose Chase occurred during our scavenger hunt when the Devos and Teewinots were joined by five excited moose. The family of moose made all the kids scatter into the trees at Confusion Corner. Devos also completed a video technique review of both skate and classic that will wrap up our major technique work for the season. Every athlete has improved their skiing and endurance this season and the Development Team can now travel all over Trail Creek during an afternoon.
March looks to be non-stop fun. Our activities will include more off-trail adventuring, the world-famous Devo Donut Relay, Nordic-X races, and lots of games in the spring sun. In the coming weeks the teams will have a ski-up day, where athletes will join their next-year team to check out what the next level will be like. As an example, 5th grade Devos will try out the Junior Team practice. As we begin to wrap up the season, the Development Team coaches would like to thank the athletes and parents, whose dedication makes it all happen!
Development Team Head Coach
The Coombs Outdoors Ositos continue to make new discoveries at Trail Creek this winter, and with a record 35 Ositos in the program this year, more skiers than ever before are discovering the joy of Nordic skiing. Enjoy the images from some of our outings this year, and if you haven’t seen it, this link takes you to a great Tiktok video from our program last year. Keep on skiing Ositos!
Junior Nordic athletes have been hitting it hard this month! We went to Boise for a weekend of competition, had a strong showing at the Moose Chase, and just returned home from Bozeman for the final IMD qualifier races. We have had a lot of athletes making the trip to races this season, which has been a lot of fun. The confidence of the group in their abilities, routines, and performances is at an all-time high.
The Junior Team has been well-represented on the podium in the U14 and U12 age groups at all events in February. Matthew Finkel has consistently been 1st or 2nd in all IMD qualifying races. Olin Hugo has stood on the top step of the podium in every race he entered during the month. Charlie Von Maur Newcomb was back on the podium after battling illness earlier, and Anna Baxter got 2nd in the mass start skate race in Bozeman. Jackson Mayer and Callum Kuszak have proven to be two of the top U14 racers in the division, with podium finishes at the Boise IMD races. Tommy Johnson was on the podium in the Moose Chase with a 2nd place finish, and has not been far off the podium in the IMD races.
Equally as important is the rate of improvement amongst the Junior Team as a whole. Congratulations to all Junior Nordic Team athletes who have represented the JHSC at races so far this season, and special recognition to teammates who have chosen not to race, but have contributed to the team dynamic through hard work, fun, positivity, and encouraging attitudes that help move this team forward!
On February 25th and 26th Junior Nordic athletes competed at the Intermountain Youth Championships for our final major event. We look forward to continuing to race hard, and having fun! With ongoing focus and confidence, we will leave the championships with more outstanding performances.
Junior Nordic Crew
Junior Nordic Team Head Coach
Whew! February has been an outstanding month for the JHSC Nordic teams!! We went to many races, hosted many races, competed across all fronts in multiple states and countries, and have had some amazing performances. Our main focus is always the Junior National Qualifiers, and this year we are proud that 11 Jackson Hole athletes have qualified to the team--one of our largest groups ever, and the second highest for clubs in the Intermountain Division! It was the hard-earned result of months of work and hundreds of hours of training from all of our athletes. This is not just a performance by individual athletes, but a result of every single member of the team showing up to practice and having a great attitude throughout the year and supporting themselves and their teammates. CONGRATS to all of the qualified athletes: Abigail Murphy, Lena Poduska, Colton Petsch, Ryan Thompson, Nate Streubel, Sam Hutchinson, Aurora Stiles, Peter Warner, Lucas Wilmot, Mason Wheeler, and Sam Sinclair!!
This month also saw JHSC athletes compete in Wyoming High School State Championships on our home trails at Trail Creek! We saw some great performances, including Sam Sinclair becoming State Champion in the 5k classic and the runner-up in the 10k skate. Abby Murphy earned second place in both the classic and skate races, and Aurora Stiles was 4th both days as well. We had great team performances, especially from the boys in the skate race, where we saw them pack 5 into the top 10 with huge performances from Colton Petsch, Sam Hutchinson, Alyosha Billimoria, and Hayden Poduska! This huge team performance earned them the Wyoming State title, while the women were runners-up. Congratulations to all who raced!
I am continually amazed by all of the athletes' dedication and hard work throughout the year. Next we travel to Fairbanks, Alaska where athletes will compete against the best of the best from all over the country. We depart March 9th and will compete in three races in a week. After that, the season is over and we all get a chance to rest and relax before Bend Camp in May!
Head Coach and Nordic Program Director
The month of February brought some amazing performances, community building, and fun for athletes at every level of the Club. We kicked off the month in Boise at a JNQ, and then we brought back the Moose Chase to Trail Creek! A ton of athletes took part, and parents and grandparents also enjoyed themselves on the trails. Over 75 JHSC athletes competed, and for many it was their first race ever. Junior head coach George Cartwright won the men's race and alum Jesse Knori won the women's field.
After that, Comp Team athlete Lena Poduska and I traveled to Jyvaskyla, Finland where Lena competed in the Nordic Nations Cup, an international event with many of the best U18 athletes in the world. Lena skied fantastically well and came away with some great experience, and skied to 11th place in the 5k skate race! Seeing the energy and experiencing the deep ski culture in Finland was inspiring and definitely got me fired up to coach! Seeing the U.S. boys win the team relay and hearing the Star Spangled Banner play in Finland was something I will never forget.
While we were in Finland, the rest of the Prep/Comp and Junior teams raced in Bozeman at the last JNQ of the season! JHSC brought a huge crew of athletes aged 6-18 and had over 40 skiers compete! We had athletes on the podium in every age class from U12 to U20, which showcases the depth and future of the program! We were so happy to see so many participants and to see everybody fired up for some ski racing! Having 11 athletes qualify for Junior Nationals shows that we are one of the best clubs in Intermountain and the country right now!
The month finished off with the Prep/Comp Team earning the boys' state title and the girls runner-up position for high school. The Junior Team traveled the same weekend to Soldier Hollow to compete in Intermountain Youth Championships, which is the premier U14 race in the country. They came home with tons of hardware and great performances, including podiums from Callie Cavallaro, Mitch Cavallaro, Charlie von Maur Newcomb, Matthew Finkel, Olin Hugo, and others! Even more important, however, they also won the Sportsmanship Award, which is given to the team that displays the best sportsmanship of all the attendees at IYCs. This really showcases our club values, especially in February, the month of Sportsmanship!
Our club is crushing it on all fronts and it is all due to hard work from athletes, parents, coaches, volunteers, and staff who make it all happen.
Head Coach and Nordic Program Director
It is March and winter seems to just keep going. If this is the way you feel, perhaps the best solution would be to relish the “wonder of winter.” And what better way to do that than to travel to Fairbanks Alaska and check out the 2023 Junior National Cross Country Ski Championships along the way!
There is still plenty of time to get tickets. A recent check on Google flights found fares beginning substantially under $1,000 for a one week trip. If you are really adventuresome, you could opt for the 46 hour 2,638 mile drive from Jackson to Fairbanks.
Once you get there be sure to check out the Birch Hills facility where the racing will be happening. If that is too busy, there are several other Nordic ski options in Fairbanks including Pearl Creek Trails and the University of Alaska Fairbanks ski trails.
If after experiencing some mind-blowing skiing all day, if you are in the mood for other activities, Fairbanks doesn’t disappoint. Check out the University of Alaska Large Animal Research facility and see a musk ox.
View the Alaska pipeline or check out the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center.
How about a visit to the Museum of the North?
You could even check out the Tanana Lake’s Winter Festival on March 16th. The race website has posted a great web page showing lots of other activities in the Fairbanks area in March.
Fairbanks also has lots of wonderful dining opportunities and plenty of lodging options. To fully embrace the winter thing, go camping with the Alaska Homestead Adventures. If you are lucky you might get to see some fantastic northern lights.
Finally, by race week, the day-length in Fairbanks is nearly identical to here in Jackson with almost 12 hours from sun-up to sun-down each day. Temperatures are nearly perfect for Nordic skiing as well, with average highs in the upper 20’s and average lows in the mid-teens.
If your soul needs adventure, pack your Nordic skis, pack your winter gear, even pack your sunscreen, and head to Fairbanks for a grand week of Nordic racing and Alaska adventures!
February has been a huge month in the world of Nordic racing, with races from local to world stages having been completed.
Closest to home, on February 11th we had a great Moose Chase Race at Trail Creek after a 4-year hiatus. Over 160 racers came together on a great course for a fun day of racing. JHSC Coach George Cartwright won the 20K men’s division and former JHSC coach and athlete Jessi Knori won the women’s 20K race. Full results can be viewed on this page.
Intermountain Division racing also had a chock-full month, with Junior Qualifier #2 at Bogus Basin, ID on February 4-5 and Junior Qualifier #3 at Bozeman, MT on February 18-19, which wrapped up the IMD Nordic season. The full season results have now been tabulated and are available at this link on the IMD Nordic website. Lena Poduska’s FIS World cup skiing results from Finland are available here and are mentioned elsewhere in this newsletter.
Congratulations to the Intermountain Division team members who are heading to Junior Nordic Nationals in Fairbanks in March! JHSC skiers include: in the female U18-20 division Aurora Stiles; in the male U18-20 division Lucas Wilmot, Mason Wheeler, Peter Warner, and Samuel Sinclair; in the female U16 division Lena Poduska, who prequalified due to her top 20 standing worldwide, and Abigail Murphy; in the male U16 division Nate Streubel, Sam Hutchinson, Ryan Thompson, and Colton Petsch. If you add those up, that makes 11 skiers qualifying for the great trip to Fairbanks to compete in the Junior National Competition!
Finally Junior IMD skiers had a great weekend at Soldier Hollow, UT for the IMD Youth Ski Championships February 24-25. Results are available here.
Wyoming High School racing has also had a busy month, with meets in Cody on February 10-11 and Wyoming High School State Championships at home at Trail Creek on February 24-25. Results from the Cody meet are available on this Wyoprep website and results from the State Championship competition are available on this High Plains Nordic website. Overall for 2023, the Jackson girls' team placed second and the boys' team won first place. This concludes the high school Nordic season for 2022-2023.
Not to be left behind, master skiers have had lots of opportunities this month with the Boulder Mountain Tour February 2, the Moose Chase February 11th, Alta Vista Skiathlon February 18, and the American Birkebeiner February 23-26.
February was the busiest month of the year at Trail Creek with the trails being devoured by the full complement of JHSC youth programs (Lollipoppers, Teewinots, Devos, Juniors, Prep, and Comp skiers), the Coombs Foundation Ositos, JHSC Masters, and local elementary school winter sport programs. Throw in a Moose Chase and Wyoming High School State Championships and you have what has been an amazing month. Many thanks to all who have a part in making all these amazing things happen!
The snow has continued to fall steadily through the month, maintaining a slightly above average accumulation rate. Our nearby snow reporting station at Phillips Bench has gone from around 100% of normal at the beginning of the month to about 106% as February wrapped up. Steady cool temps and weak mid-winter sun resulted in lots of good skiing throughout the month. The extended forecast heading into March also calls for continued cool conditions and lots of snow, so skiing should remain good for some time.
Moose and elk sightings have been numerous, with them even participating on race days. A resident flock of grouse continues to make appearances, as well as nightly fox and coyote tracks. Weasel tracks have also been observed on numerous occasions, although no images of these curious winter visitors have been reported.
Looking ahead into March, JHSC skiing will continue, with most of the JHSC youth programs wrapping up either on March 15th or 17th. The Prep/Comp skiers will possibly be on snow through the end of the month. Grooming is scheduled to continue to March 31st depending on snow, which now looks likely unless a huge heat wave comes our way at the end of the month. Be sure to get out and enjoy great skiing this month!
The Skinny Skis WYDAHO Nordic Race Series wraps up the season at Trail Creek at 10 AM on February 11th with 2.5k, 5k, and 10k “surprise” race courses. This will be the culmination of the ski race series, which has included the Targhee Tune Up, Betty Woolsey Classic, Teton Ridge Classic, Spud Chase, Pinedale Stampede, Moose Chase, and Alta Vista Skiathlon. Whether you have participated in any, all, or none, it should be a fun day, so be sure to mark your calendar for this one.
If you truly are a glutton for punishment, head to the Drift Races which take place in the Upper Green River Valley March 10-12. Distances of 13, 28, and 100 miles are open for people wanting to propel themselves with their own power on snow over distances ranging up to the ridiculous.
On March 9th a great group of JHSC skiers will be headed off to Fairbanks for the USSA Cross Country Ski Junior National Championships March 13-16, 2023. This should be a fantastic race in a lovely place at a beautiful time of the year.
Finally, there is still time to register for, and get tickets to, Norway for the granddaddy of all the ultra-Nordic races, the Birkebeinerrennet March 18, 2023. This bucket list event allows you to ski around 50-60 kilometers through some amazing Scandinavian terrain among skiers from all over the world. An amazing thing to do for those so inclined!
Keep those skis waxed and keep on skiing! Click on this link 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!
Abraham-Davis Family, David Adams Family, Chris Baker, Bitzer Family, Brigham Family, Beth Burrough,j Broughton Coburn Curtis-Adams Family, Cutler Family, Lori Fields, Alex Gingery, Alex Gingery Family, Bob Gordon, Parker Gotham, Gross Family, Cynthia Hogan, Maggie Hunt, Maddie Krasula, Lee-Clegg Family, Nancy Leon, Lovett Family, MacWilliams Family, Gigi Mahood, Maria Mahood, Ann Makley, O'Brien Family, William Oliphant, Teya Paciulli, Kristy Rans, Kerri Ratcliff, Reimer Family, Roll Family, Sheafor Family, Roger Smith, Springer Family, Carson Stanwood, Thal Family, Brian Van Hatten, Wakeman Family, Charlotte Walker, Ellie Wheeler, White & Wilson Family, Chris Wimberg, Pete Wiswell, Yeo Family, and Sita Jo Yeomans.
Thanks to our amazing staff!
Kirsys Campbell, George Cartwright, Andy Cavallaro, Jon Filardo, Rody Hagen, Libby Hall, Lauri Harris, Lauren Hugo, Lizzie Johnson, Ann Makley, Amelia Mayer, Bill Mayer, Ben Morley, Rob Murphy, Kathy Neiley, Mark Newcomb, Dennis Oney, Connor Phillips, Johnny Springer, Luna Wasson, Will Wicherski, Calvin Wight, Matt Wiseman , and Tyra (JT) Wynn (plus any others that aren’t on the list).
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.