March Nordic Newsletter

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 2023-2024 season!

It has been an amazing month in the Nordic skiing world!  JHSC skiers have done a fantastic job racing domestically and abroad, with many going to the upcoming national championships. Trail Creek Nordic Center has had a busy racing and practice schedule, and even the 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…

Whew!  February was a doozy for the JHSC Nordic program!  We had athletes competing all over the country and the world and right here at home.  We started out with some good times in McCall for the last  Junior National Qualifier of the season, where we saw tons of great performances from kids across the board.  The Skinny Skis Moose Chase was also a rousing success with over 160 participants.  I was especially excited by the large fields in the youth races, we had 60 participants in the youth 3k distance!  The future is bright!  

We are sending 12 JHSC athletes to Junior National Championships which will take place in Lake Placid, New York this upcoming week.  Athletes will depart Jackson this Thursday and will travel across the country to compete in the highest level of junior racing in the country!  We are especially stoked to be taking such a strong squad and we think that all of our athletes have good chances of attaining some results.  After Lake Placid, we will turn our focus to hosting our last races of the season: International Spring Series at Trail Creek from March 30-April 1!  We have athletes coming from Norway, Germany, BC, Alberta, and all over the USA to come race in Jackson Hole.  We are in need of volunteers for these three days and we would love to have community members watch the events take place. 

After International Spring Series our season is over! It will be time for everyone to take a well-deserved break from ski racing and reload for the next season!  By the time the next newsletter goes out our programs will be completed and we will be in full tear down mode!  Huge thank you to everyone who helped make the JHSC programming happen this season, we are already stoked for next year!

Will Wicherski

Nordic Program Director


The Lollipoppers have been having a great time at Trail Creek for the past month as they hone their ability to move quickly across the snow on Nordic skis.  There are around 60 Lollipoppers this year, and Coach Sam reports that the favorite haunts include Sam the truck, Grunt Hill, and the Aspen Bump Forest.  Favorite games include Captain oh Captain, Toilet Tag, and relay races.  They are mostly working on just classic skiing, although a few have been bringing skate skis and are picking it up nicely.

Coach Sam also submitted some great videos.  Click on the links to watch Lollipoppers in action.

Sam the Truck

Beaver Pond

East Field



Sam Johnson

Head Lollipopper Coach


Our mighty Teewinot Team athletes are venturing farther from the cabin as 2nd and 3rd grade athletes hit their Nordic stride, with groups exploring Homesite Hill, Armins and Mugs Meadow. From powder puppy days, with big fun, and sometimes big air, launching off jumps and landing in deep pillowy snow, to scavenger hunts and thrills on hills, it has been a FUN filled February.

We have enjoyed a ton of games that sneak in skills through play. What Time Is it, Mr. Wolf? is always a fan favorite, while the Bamboo Forest and obstacle course reinforce agility, balance and speed. Horse & Carriage, tandem skiing and the classic diminishing equipment relay race have established teamwork and camaraderie.

Valentine’s Day brought some fun surprises for the kids when they skied together to find valentines along the trail. Topping the February Fun List was Moose Chase where about 22 Teewinot athletes competed—their big smiles and effort were awesome to see!

Every year around this time Teewinot coaches witness kids putting their skill development, fitness and teamwork on display. It is so much fun exploring Trail Creek with these enthusiastic and fun-loving kids. As we round the corner to the last couple weeks of our season, we have some Teewinot traditions and surprises planned!

Libby Hall

Head M/W Teewinot Coach

In February the Teewinots have been enjoying new snow and braving strong, Wyoming winds. They had a blast celebrating Valentine’s Day by hunting for their valentines in the woods, playing with balloons, and eating popcorn treats. Many Teewinots and families participated in the Moose Chase and got to enjoy the Nordic community and a taste of the fun racing scene.

Kirsys Campbell

Head T/Th Teewinot Coach

Devo Team

We’ve had some incredible races from the Devo skiers that attended the IMD Youth Competition March 2nd and 3rd.  The Devo team will be trying out a biathlon course this week and we look forward to romping in the new snow!

Kaya Morelli

Development Team Head Coach


We had 6 Ositos in the Moose Chase this year! It was their first time Nordic racing and we are so so, so, proud of them. Every Osito skier has been making huge strides in their skiing skills and we only have a few more practices left for the season. We look forward to tandem skiing, relays, and an end of season awards celebration with their families.

Kaya Morelli

Head Ositos Coach

Junior Team

Junior Nordic athletes have been hard at work, putting in dedicated effort at Trail Creek, and we are excited to share some highlights! Our Juniors have been focused on honing their skills with an emphasis on speed and technique during recent training sessions, and had a fantastic showing at the Moose Chase! Their dedication and perseverance on the course were evident, and we are exceedingly pleased with their achievements.

A handful of Juniors took their skills to the next level by competing at the Bozeman JN tune-up races. Their participation showcased not only their athleticism, but also their enthusiasm for the sport. In addition to the serious training, we have had a blast incorporating some ice skating sessions into our routine. It has been a delightful way for the athletes to enjoy the winter weather and add a bit of variety to their training regimen.

Looking ahead, the eagerly anticipated Youth Championships are coming up March 1st through 3rd in Sun Valley, Idaho. Our athletes are gearing up for this exciting event, and we are confident that their hard work will shine through during the championships.

Thank you for your ongoing support and encouragement. If you have any questions or if there is anything specific you would like to know, feel free to reach out. Let's continue to cheer on our Junior Nordic Team as they gear up for the Youth Championships!

Coach George finishing the Moose Chase

George Cartwright

Junior Nordic Team Head Coach

Comp/Prep Teams       

Competition season is here! Over the last month, the Prep/Comp team has participated in several energizing race events. In mid-February, the team traveled to McCall, ID, for the 3rd and final Junior National Qualifier of the season. JHSC athletes had standout performances, with many podiums and personal bests. Check out results from the weekend HERE. This marked the final opportunity to score points towards qualification for Junior Nationals, and JHSC emerged with 11 athletes qualifying.  Congratulations to the entire team for an impressive season of JNQ's, and for all the hard work and focus that everyone has put in over the year.

Alyosha Billimoria

The following athletes will be representing the Intermountain Division team at nationals: Lena Poduska, Abby Murphy, Kaya Kandolin, Aurora Stiles, Jack Mayer, Karsten Bessonette, Sam Sinclair, Sam Hutchinson, Lucas Wilmot, Colton Petsch, and Nate Streubel. JHSC Alum and current Middlebury Panther, Mason Wheeler, will also be skiing for IMD at JN's. Mason earned qualification through his ranking on the eastern collegiate ski circuit. We are excited for these athletes and proud of their efforts!

Following McCall, the Prep/Comp Team enjoyed a weekend at home, and got to participate in the local Moose Chase race. Athletes raced in the 5k, 10k, and 20k events. February 23rd-25th, the team packed up and headed to Bozeman, MT, for a three day race series that overlapped with the NCAA regional championships for all of the western universities. These races were a fun opportunity to practice more racing, sharpen our top speed, and witness the high level of skiing within the college teams. Our athletes did a classic sprint, a skate individual start distance race, and finished off the weekend with a competitive mixed (male and female) classic relay.

Nate Streubel, Sam Hutchinson, Sam Sinclair, and Lena Poduska

We will be off to Lake Placid, NY, for Junior Nationals March 7-17. Athletes not attending JNs will be sharpening up for Western Club Championships, taking place March 15-17 in Soldier Hollow, UT. It is Championship Season, and the time to focus on speed, shorter intervals, and high quality recovery in between. These championship racing opportunities provide great motivation to continue training into early spring and, above all, are celebrations of the hard work and dedication that our athletes have put into their sport over the months and years.

We have been enjoying the great skiing at Trail Creek, practicing our agility and speed on the Nordic X course, and keeping momentum rolling and energy high into the final weeks of the season. Stay tuned!

On a personal note, I want to thank this team of athletes and our coaches for their support over the last month. I have had to miss several weeks of training with the team in order to support my dad while he has been sick, and the thoughtfulness and support from these athletes is incredible. Please check out the photo of the team below, sending well wishes to my family while I couldn't be there. These student athletes are great skiers, but also great people, and I am so fortunate to know all of you.

Luna Wasson

Head Comp/Prep Coach

Nordic Masters

The recreational Masters group skied at Trail Creek during the February sessions. Both the classic and skate skiers worked on hill techniques to help make the transition from Teton Pines to Trail Creek. Herringbone, diagonal stride, V1 and V2 techniques were all used to tackle the hills. Each session also included a distance ski as we enjoyed the great terrain in the fields and woods.

The last few sessions focused on coordinating the positions and movements we learned during the season. As we reach the end of the 23-24 ski season, thanks are due to the masters coaches: Scott Horn, Sam Johnson, Kirsys Campbell, and Matt Weisman. Thanks also go out to Teton Pines and Trail Creek Nordic centers. And of course, thanks to Nancy Leon and the JHNordic alliance for making this all happen. There is still a lot of great Nordic skiing left this season, including crust skiing in GTNP, so hopefully everyone will get to work on the skills we learned this year.

See you next year.

Rob Murphy

Head Masters Coach

Sam Johnson, Head Lollipopper Coach

Sam center with black hat

While he can regularly be found chasing Lollipoppers around Trail Creek, Coach Sam Johnson has become quite the fixture in the JHSC Nordic world.  While he talks about his primary responsibility in his interview below, he has many other roles for our club including helping with Prep/Comp and Master skiers to name a few.  Thanks for being featured in this month’s newsletter Sam!

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

I grew up in Jackson, Wyoming skiing at Trail Creek!

At what age did you start skiing?

I started Alpine skiing at 3 years old and then started Nordic skiing around 7 years old.

What is your history of Nordic skiing up to this point in your life?

I started Nordic skiing on the Teewinot Team and stuck with it all through high school! I had lots of podium finishes at JNQ and Wyoming High School was invited to ski at Junior Nationals twice, once in Anchorage, Alaska and once in Truckee, California (although that one got canceled halfway through because Covid started.)

Does your family ski?

Yes my family skis

Sam in high school racing for JHSC

Do you have any memorable races from your high school or college days?

My senior year I won the skate sprint in West Yellowstone!  That was awesome!

Where do you like to ski when you are not at Trail Creek?

I do lots of backcountry skiing in the Park and on the Pass.

Have you ever coached before working for JHSC?

I have done a little bit of volunteer mountain bike coaching.

Do you have other work for the off season?

I am the owner of Hiki Sauna, a new portable sauna tent company based here in Jackson.  That is my full time year round job!

How often do you ski now?

Pretty much every day!

What age group are you coaching now?

Lollipops are kindergarten and first grade!

What or who turned you onto skiing in your youth?

My mom and dad.

What is your favorite memory of skiing for JHSC or at Trail Creek?

I loved Nordic X when I was a kid, especially the days when they got out the snowmobile and towed all the kids back up the hill on a super long rope.

What is the biggest challenge of being a coach?

It is hard when it is reallllyyyyy cold…. Kids aren’t built for that. We get lots of criers on those days.

Do you have a “coaching philosophy?”

Mine is pretty simple. My goal is to help kids learn to love skiing—not necessarily to be good at it, but to love it. This year I've had lots of kids who have never skied before. They had a hard time at first. Helping them to love skiing has been my number one goal.

Thanks so much Sam, have a great time chasing those Lollipoppers around for the rest of the season!

February has been a huge month in the world of Nordic racing, with races from the local to the world stage having been completed.

Closest to home, on February 17th was a great Skinny Skis Moose Chase Race at Trail Creek, with well over 100 racers coming together on a great course for a fun day of racing.  With local racers from around age 3 to 70+, it was truly a fantastic day of Nordic camaraderie.  Full results can be viewed on this page.

Intermountain Division racing had a chock full month of skiing with Junior Qualifier #3 February 9th-11th at McCall, ID, followed by the IMD Junior Nationals Tune-Up February 23rd-25th in Bozeman, MT.  The full season results have now been tabulated and are available at this link on the IMD Nordic website.  Lena Poduska and Lucas Wilmot also tested their skills in the international scene, putting in some fine times racing in Europe.

With the season wrapping up, the Intermountain Division team members that are heading to Junior Nordic Nationals in Lake Placid, NY coming up in March have been set.  JHSC skiers on the team include Lena Poduska, Abby Murphy, Kaya Kandolin, Aurora Stiles, Jack Mayer, Karsten Bessonette, Sam Sinclair, Sam Hutchinson, Lucas Wilmot, Colton Petsch, and Nate Streubel. JHSC Alum and current Middlebury Panther, Mason Wheeler, will also be skiing for IMD at JNs.  Mason earned qualification through his ranking on the eastern collegiate ski circuit. If you add those up and no one has been missed, that makes for 11 skiers qualifying for the great trip to Lake Placid to compete in the Junior National Competition.

Wyoming High School racing had a busy month, with a meet in Lander on February 9-10 before wrapping up the 2023-24 season with State Championships at Casper Mountain on February 23rd-24th.  Results of both meets are available on this High Plains Nordic website

Finally, master skiers have had lots of opportunities this month with the Boulder Mountain Tour February 3rd, the previously mentioned Moose Chase February 17th, Alta Vista Skiathlon February 24th, and the American Birkebeiner February 19th-23rd.

February was the busiest month of the year at Trail Creek, with the trails being devoured by a 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 you have what has been an amazing month.  Thanks to all who have a part in making all these amazing things happen!

Moving into the month we were wondering if it would be a full season or not; however, the snow has continued to fall steadily through the month, shifting from a record low reading earlier in the season to nearly normal, with lots more in the forecast.  Our nearby snow reporting station, Phillips Bench, was sitting just below average 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 calls for continued cool conditions and lots of snow so skiing, should remain good for some time.

Moose and elk sightings have been numerous this month, with fewer moose than average and record numbers of elk making their dainty tracks on the trails.  Foxes, coyotes, and pine marten tracks have been spotted, and Coach Sam got a very cute video of the Lollipoppers running into a fox.  Click on this link to check it out.

Looking ahead into March, JHSC skiing will continue, with most of the JHSC youth programs wrapping up sometime the week of March 11th and Prep/Comp skiers possibly on Trail Creek snow until the end of the month.  The season finishes with the International Spring Series FIS race Saturday, March 30, Easter Sunday, March 31st, and Monday, April 1st.  General grooming is scheduled to continue to March 31st depending on snow, which now looks likely unless a huge heat wave comes our way.  Be sure to get out and enjoy our great skiing this month!

The Skinny Skis WYDAHO           Nordic Race Series finishes its season on March 9th at Trail Creek.  The event begins at 10 AM with ½, 2.5, 5, and 10 K race courses.  This will be the culmination of the ski race series that 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, be sure to mark your calendar for this one. It should be a fun day.   

If you truly are a glutton for punishment, head to the Upper Green River Valley March 8th-10th for the Drift Races.  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 unfathomable.

On March 7th a great group of JHSC skiers will depart to Lake Placid, NY for the USSA XC Junior Nationals 2024 Lake Placid March 11-16, 2024.  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 16, 2024.  This bucket list event allows you to ski around 50-60 kilometers through some amazing Scandinavian terrain amongst skiers from all over the world.  What an amazing thing to do for those so inclined!

For all the participants of the JHSC Nordic program this year, the celebratory banquet will be held March 21st, details will be coming.

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! 

The Bitzer Family, Peggy Boggs, the Boltax Gallop Family, Patricia Campbell, the Curtis Family, the Randol Family, Kate Falk, Kylie Fletcher, Bob Gordon, Parker Gotham, Elissa Gramling, the Gross Family, Eric  Huber, the Springer Family, Lindsay Kissel, Jennifer Kohlhardt, Maddie Krasula, Nancy Leon, the Lovett Family, the MacWilliams Family, Ann Makley, Jackson Moss, William Oliphant, the Olsson Family, Sean O’Malley, Teya Paciulli, the Peacock Family, Wayne Petsch, Kristy Rans, the Thal Family, the Wattenmaker Family, Astoria Weenig, the Wheeler Family, the White Family, and Pete Wiswell.

Thanks to our amazing staff!

Charlotte Cadow, Kirsys Campbell, George Cartwright, Zoe Curran, Jon Filardo, Annabel Hagen, Sevi Hagen, Libby Hall, Elsie Hall, Scott Horn, Lillian Horne, Griffin Hurlbut, Lizzie Johnson, Sam Johnson, Axel Klomparens, Leah Lange, Nancy Leon, Amelia Mayer, Bill Mayer, Trisha Mayers, Adam Meyer, Kaya Morelli, Ben Morley, Rob Murphy, Brent Peacock, Dori Sinclair, Chloe Stines, Megan Tattersall, Stephanie Thomas, Luna Wasson, Will Wicherski, Stephanie Williams, Sydney Wilmot, Matt Wiseman, and Tyra (JT) Wynn. (plus any others that aren’t on the list).

Thank you for the dedication and support of a multitude of youth athletes, for whom this program is designed and without whom it would be impossible!

A special thanks to Jackson Hole Nordic for being a strong supporter of our programs.