Nordic March Newsletter

JHSC March Nordic Newsletter

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

Welcome to the March 1st edition of “What’s Going On!”  Read on for the scoop of the ongoing 2019-2020 season . . .

Lollipopper Team

The Lollipoppers have had a busy winter so far, learning to both classic and skate ski.  Six of our youngest Lolli's raced in the Nordic Carnival on February 8, facing the extremely blustery conditions with great aplomb and receiving a lollipop for their efforts.

All of the kids have made it out to Sam the Truck at least once, which is way ahead of last year's schedule!  We've even taken a few trips down the Nordic X track!  We have played some new games this year, with our favorite being Rocks and Trolls (a Nordic version of "Freeze Tag"). 

This last week we went on a Nature Scavenger Hunt, combining a lengthy adventure ski destination with 'found' natural objects like dried berries, bird nests, and moose poop! We take every opportunity to let the Trail Creek track be one of our instructors, and because of that terrain variety our kids are getting very comfortable with steep herringbone ascents and windy, steep descents.   

Coach Kathy Neily

Lollipopper Head Wrangler


Teewinot Team

It's hard to believe we only have a few weeks of practice left in the season!  We had so many racers come out for the first annual Nordic Carnival, and they all skied so well!  For most of our Teewinot athletes, it was their first time racing, and they crushed it!

The Teewinots have been improving on both their classic and skate techniques, and we will continue honing in on their skills as we ski farther out and to new locations at Trail Creek. The last couple of weeks will be filled with grand adventures out on the trails, games, obstacle courses, and the all-time favorite BB gun Biathlon!


Sevi, Haley, and Derek


Devo Team

The Development Team has had a fantastic last few weeks.  Agility courses, bombing downhills, and adventure skiing have made for a fun and exciting time.  The gains the athletes have made in strength, endurance, and technique have paid off in our ability to cruise off-trail through deep powder for an hour or more.  The coaches all agree that the improvement is team-wide.

The Development Team held their annual BB gun biathlon this week and, as usual, it was a big hit with the athletes.

With only two more weeks of practice left, the team will be out to maximize the fun level and get in some more exploring.  This coming week we will be classic adventure skiing, breaking trail in new places looking for excitement.  Other happenings include the infamous donut relay that will occur in an undisclosed location at an undisclosed time during the next two weeks.

Of course, the season will not be complete without the snow-machine aided Nordic-X competition the final week.  A big thanks to all the athletes for putting in their best efforts and to the parents who get them ready to succeed.

Devo Coaches, Rob, Will, Mark, Pipa


Rob Murphy

Development Team Head Coach


Junior Team

Since our last update the Juniors have been focused on racing and preparations for races, from the JHSC Nordic Carnival to the Soldier Hollow Super JNQ this past weekend.  We had some phenomenal results across U12 and U14 categories, with overall podiums and many top 10s in the IMD division.  We have also been having boatloads of fun during practice with adventure skis around the Black Canyon area, Nordic X, practicing our Nordic combined with jumps off of the berms and rollers of the Nordic X course, and a groomed "mega-jump" found at the bottom of a certain large hill in the National Forest part of our trail system.

We’re looking forward for the Juniors to have the second annual Western Club Championships back in Soldier Hollow March 13-15 that will be a great set of races to cap off the 2019/2020 Nordic Season.


Once again the Juniors would like to thank Steve for an awesome season of grooming; we couldn't do what we do without all of his hard work and ingenuity out there on the trails. Attached are some photos from the Juniors on the famed Hermod's Hill at Soldier Hollow during the classic mass start races.

-Calvin, Jesse, and George

Calvin Wight

Junior Nordic Team Head Coach


Comp/Prep Teams       

It has been an exciting few weeks for the Prep and Comp teams after finishing up our Junior National Qualifier season. All of the athletes have been working hard the last couple of weeks to prepare for the championship season. Junior Nationals are right around the corner, with 10 JHSC athletes, and 2 of our coaches, departing for Truckee, CA this coming Friday. Ben and Jesse will travel along with our 10 athletes (the most the club has EVER qualified for Junior Nationals) as part of the Intermountain Division. Congrats to the following athletes for claiming a spot on the IMD team:

U16 girls: Kate Brigham, Natalie O'Brien, Rosie Stiles

U16 boys: Mason Wheeler, Mac Wirth, Will Johnson

U18/20 boys: Elijah Weenig, Sam Johnson, Bridger Stiles, Des Concannon

While those athletes head to California, another group of JHSC athletes will head back to Soldier Hollow for Western Club Championships!

In preparation for all of these big races, Prep/Comp athletes have been doing a lot of training to make sure they are racing their fastest. This includes some tapering as well as short-n-speedy intervals to help the body "peak". These interval sessions are HARD, but the kids have worked so hard and know that the pain is worth the gain!

One last exciting update from Prep/Comp is that this weekend is Wyoming High School State Championships! Today (Friday) was the first day of the weekend's races and JHSC athletes absolutely crushed! For Friday results, click on the image below.

Although the season seems that is coming to an end soon, there is still a lot of skiing to be had and all of the coaches and athletes are looking forward to soaking up every day we have left!

Bria Riggs

Assistant Nordic Program Director & Coach

With a mixture of heavy snow and bluebird days as we're nearing the championship period and the peak of premier Nordic days of the season, the conditions, team environment, and stoke couldn't be more conducive for athletes to take full opportunity of JHSC Nordic programing.  Taking a holistic approach to athletic development in balancing our core values throughout the season has given coaches a framework to keep the athletes engaged and looking forward to the next step, whether looking to progress to the next team, looking to continue their skiing career after high school, or applying the skills they learn to life circumstances.

On the athletic performance front, the bar has been raised with a record of 10 JHSC Nordic athletes qualifying for Junior Nationals in Truckee California.  As we continue to lay the foundation to facilitate that high performance, the JHSC Try It Out Day was a success, with 14 kids showing interest in the Nordic program.  A big shout out goes to 22 Nordic for introducing cross country skiing to families that wouldn't otherwise have the knowledge or support to get kids on snow at such a young age.  We look forward to working with 22 Nordic as young student athletes look for more opportunities for skill development and competition in the Nordic world.

We're fortunate to have a very skilled and qualified coaching staff, from early childhood development experts and teachers like Coach Kathy Neily, Ann Mackley, Libby Hall and Sevi Hagen, to high performance coaches with elite level skiing experience like Jesse Knori, Will Wicherski, Calvin Wight, and George Cartwright.  Development Coach Rob Murphy, through his dedication, has been instrumental in program design that prepares athletes in their progression to training and racing on the Junior Team.  Without the organizational skills and experience from ex-program director and Prep/Comp Coach Ali Sehnert the program wouldn't be where it is today. Coach and Assistant Program Director Bria Riggs deserves a big shout-out after undergoing knee surgery and finding innovative ways to bring value to the program and athletes.  On the technical side, Jon Filardo is currently on duty as a head wax tech in Germany at World Juniors.  The experience and knowledge he continues to gain is invaluable as the equipment and wax side of the sport continues to evolve.  Of course this all wouldn't be possible if our hardworking and conscientious groomer, Steve Swan, wasn't at Trail Creek every day preparing the venue for the program!

If you come out to Trail Creek on Mondays or Wednesdays, one of the groups you might see blasting through the trails is the Devos.  One of the coaches they are lucky to have hot on their tails is Will Wicherski.  Will’s fascinating story follows below:

I grew up in Boise, ID skiing Nordic at Bogus most of the weeks and going to Brundage to Alpine ski in McCall on the weekends.  My mom made me start Nordic skiing when I was 10 years old after a vacation where I gained a lot of weight and had to buy husky clothes.  I went on to ski through high school and college, medaling multiple times at Junior Nationals, and representing the USA abroad at Scando Cup and Junior Worlds while not building dumb jumps to hit on my Nordic gear.

I took a gap year to attend a ski gymnasium in northern Norway where I trained and raced all over Norway, Sweden, and Finland.  I learned the language and ski culture of Norway, which imbued a deep sense of intensity and passion for the sport.  I then went to Williams College and skied at NCAA championships all four years. 

Over the years I have raced and trained around the world, from Alaska to Sweden to Massachusetts to Turkey and a lot of places in between.

After college I started work as an environmental consultant and just recently earned my master’s degree from CU Boulder in geography.  I work remotely as a fluvial geomorphologist on western water issues when not schussing with the Devo team or poking around in the backcountry. 

The philosophy of JHSC aligns with my outlook, that passion for all kinds of skiing, an overriding sense of fun, and a desire to be moving around the mountains are most important in shaping skiers.  A good ski season to me has equal and ample amounts of Nordic, Alpine, and backcountry ski days!

Thanks so much for sharing, Will, and thanks for what you’ve given to the Devos!


This month we are lucky to be able to feature two of our JHSC Nordic program athletes.  We’ll start off with Birch Komplarens.

Do you remember when you started skiing?

I started skiing in 6th grade with two of my good friends, and immediately found my place with the sport and the team.

Do your mom and dad Nordic ski?

They do, but usually just recreationally.

Assuming you can beat them, do you remember how old you were the first time you beat your mom or your dad in a race?

I actually think I’ve always been able to beat them!

At what age did you start skiing with the Jackson Hole Ski Club program?

Sixth grade, so I was 11 years old.

What grade are you in now?

I’m a senior at the Jackson Hole Community School.

What are your Nordic goals for this year?

At this point in the season, some goals I have are two solid performances at State to help the girls win again this year, and also just enjoying my last winter in Jackson with the team.

What has been the high point of your year so far?

Definitely the most recent race weekend in Soldier Hollow.  I was able to push myself really hard, felt great, and saw some of my best results against tough competition.

It sounds like you might be headed to Nationals? 

Unfortunately, I missed qualifying for Nationals this year by just a few points, but I am the first alternate for the U18/U20 JN team.  Though I didn’t qualify, I was in the mix with many of the girls going to JNs, and I’m still really proud of my season.

What are your college and career plans after high school?

At the moment, I’m not sure exactly what I’ll be doing next year, but I will be going to college soon.  There’s a chance I may take a gap year after graduating, but I’m still deciding.

Are you planning on participating in Nordic skiing or other athletics in college?

I hope to be on a Nordic ski team next year, wherever I end up.  I’m definitely not ready to be done competing,  I think that I still have a lot of improving to do in my skiing and racing, and I want to stay involved in the Nordic community.

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

I have so many good memories with the Club so it’s hard to pick just one, but I would have to say the camp we did a few years ago in Park City and Moab is definitely high up my list of favorites.  It was such a fun week of training, exploring, and spending time with the team.  But really every ski camp we go to and all the big adventure days are always such a great time.

What has been the biggest challenge of your Nordic skiing experiences so far?

Last year my ski season took a pretty big blow when I got really sick in the fall and was in the hospital and taking antibiotics throughout the winter.  It was a hard time for me because I wasn’t able to ski at the level I knew I could be at, but a year later I can say that overcoming it made me much stronger.

In a decade from now do you see yourself living in a place where you can Nordic ski?

Yes, I want to be involved in Nordic skiing and the Nordic community for as long as I can be; I’ve met some of the most amazing people through Nordic and have had the best experiences.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with the Nordic community?

I’m so grateful for everything this sport has given me and taught me over the past seven years.  From when I first started to now, I feel like I’ve grown up with the team, and I can’t wait to see JHSC continue to make a mark in IMD and on a national scale in the coming years.

Thanks so much for your contribution and being such a strong member of our club, Birch.  Surely your future will be nothing but bright with lots of awesome Nordic experiences along the way!  Best wishes for college and the future.


Mason Wheeler

Do you remember when you started skiing?

I think around second grade so when I was 7 or 8 maybe.

Do your Mom and Dad Nordic ski?

They didn’t before I started but after I got into it my parents started to kind of get into it as well.

Assuming you can beat them, do you remember how old you were the first time you beat your mom or your dad in a race?

Besides when I was very young, my parents have yet to beat me in a Nordic race.

At what age did you start skiing with the Jackson Hole Ski Club program?

Same age as I started skiing, around 7 or 8.

What grade are you in now?

 I’m a sophomore in high school.

What are your Nordic goals for this year?

I want to try and get a top ten at Junior Nationals.

What has been the high point of your year so far?

Probably my double 3rd place finishes at the Soho Super Qualifier.

It sounds like you are headed to Nationals; have you ever gone to the national championships before?

I went last year as well but didn’t perform as well as I had hoped.

What are your college and career plans for after high school?

Don’t really know.   I know I want to ski though.

Thanks so much for being a featured athlete, Mason.  Best of luck at Nationals!


Since the last newsletter, our members have had two big events.  First off, on February 8th we held the first annual JHSC Nordic Carnival at Trail Creek.  Even though we experienced some of the wildest weather Trail Creek has to offer, with raging winds and snow, nearly 100 athletes and lots of spectators turned out for some awesome Nordic fun.  We had race distances ranging from ½ to 10 kilometers, plus the incredible Nordic X competition, which is always a favorite.

Thanks to all who turned out and competed.  Race results are available here.

Since then the teams headed off to Soldier Hollow in Utah for the third and final IMD Qualifier.  Coach Ben contributed the following:

“What an amazing weekend February 15th and 16th in Solider Hollow for JHSC Nordic!  Everyone deserves a pat on the back for excelling in their skiing throughout the entire year and showing up with passion and focus.  Team support and sportsmanship has peaked in ways we haven't seen.  A big congratulations to Sam J, Elijah, Des, Bridger, Mason, Mac, Will, Natalie, Kate, and Aurora for qualifying for Junior Nationals, and to Birch for securing the 1st alternate spot.”

There is a great article in the Jackson Hole News and Guide about the results from the final qualifier of the season that you can check out here.  Way to go team!



It seems like we’re over the hump at Trail Creek this winter.  With the Betty Woolsey Classic Race, the Sandbag Competition, the Junior National Qualifier, and the Nordic Carnival all under our belt, the big events are wrapped up for the year.  But there are still three weeks of busy practice days for all of the youth program participants, so things continue to glide along in a busy fashion.

There have been a few issues with the Pisten Bully but, as of today, it is plugging along faithfully.  What was thought to be a turbo charger control issue ended up being a leaking coolant sensor that was dripping onto a computer.  Replacing the sensor and cleaning some wires fixed that problem. There was a leaking final drive, which powers the tracks, but thankfully a replacement was found in Reno, NV, which was installed and is running nicely.  There are still some mysterious contaminants being detected in the final drive oil, but the situation is being monitored meticulously in hopes of preventing any other issues.

Snowfall has been coming just about as needed this winter.  Obstacles are buried deeply, and even most canted trails have been leveled.  As of 2/20/20 the closest reporting Snotel Station at Phillips Bench was reporting 101% of normal snow.  Mostly moderate temperatures with no major thaws have resulted in really nice skiing, except for a few stormy days along the way.  To see the “Snowy Cabin Edition” grooming report with annual images of the famous snowy cabin going back to 2012, click here.

Moose and elk continue to enjoy residing on our Nordic trails, with the elk mostly retiring to their day beds early in the morning and the moose hanging around a little more throughout the day.  The moose count is around a dozen; there are around 18 elk coming through most days.  Coyotes and foxes are out nightly.  Pine martin tracks have been spotted a few times.  The squirrels have been pretty dormant lately in the heart of winter.

The JHSC youth will still be full speed ahead at Trail Creek until March 14th.  From that point on the weather will be monitored, with a potential last day of skiing on March 31st.


One of the biggies, the American Birkebeiner, was on February 22nd.  No word yet, but we usually have a good crowd of locals.

This weekend is the Wyoming High School Nordic Championships hosted by Cody and held at the Pahaska Teepee Resort.

February 29th and March 1st are the dates of the IMD Youth Championships in McCall, Idaho.  This is a great chance for our younger skiers to learn about high level racing, have a great time, and finish the season in style.

March 7th is the legendary West Yellowstone, Montana Rendezvous.  Racers have the opportunity to compete in 2 to 50 kilometer races.  This race is the season finale for citizen racers in our region.

March 8-14 a large group of JHSC skiers will be off to Donner Pass for the Junior National Finals.  This will be an awesome event.  Check out the website as there will be lots of live time things happening if you can’t make the journey.

March 14th and 15th is the Western Club Championships, the last Intermountain Division event of the season, and one last chance for our skiers to compete on snow.

Finally, there’s plenty of time for you to get your tickets to Norway and compete in the granddaddy of them all, the Birkebeinerrennet.  This classic event has been happening since 1932, with the race starting at Rena and ending at Lillehammer, a distance of 54 km. If you are thinking of going, make sure the registration is still open, as the limit for number of participants has been set at 16,000.


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, Andy Hall, 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.