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The 2019 2020 Cross Country, Nordic Ski thread & some tips for beginners

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Today was worse... not really, but in some ways.

The forecast called for rain to start early (9-10) and transition to snow shortly after (in an hr or two). But it didn’t rain till 11:45! Wished I had gone out in the morning and did a few dry laps. Would have had my days quoter done by the time the rain finally started.

So I waited for the rain to transition to snow, which it did by 1. Went out, the tracks were a big mess, both from yesterday’s warm temperature and the rain of this morning. Grooves in the middle of skating tracks etc.

So I had my “giraffe on roller skate” moments when my skis got caught in them grooves, repeatedly. I saved all but one of them, went down “splat”! No harm except my clothing got all wet from the wet snow.

That’s not counting the wet snow falling on me and immediately melted, which then turned into cold water streaming down from my head (too hot for hat).

So I was a soggy mess when I was done. But did I go in early as the skiing was so miserable? Noooo! I got into a rhythm of rocking side-to-side and charging around the flats, even rocketing up small hills (in reality, I was just getting up at a snails pace, but don’t matter, I got up without stopping. Not even huffing too badly)

Even a miserable day skating is still a lot of fun, almost as much fun as a good day classic. This skating business is turning out to be quite addictive! Embarassed
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@abc, your conditions that you choose to go out in do sound a bit on the grim side and not what I'd bother with so chapeau for persevering!

Are you using a GPS & Heart Rate monitor / Strava set-up just that is a really good way to see how you're progressing, as you can see your pace getting better and hopefully heart rate lower which would suggest better technique etc.

I did 16km (10 mls) today and did a PB on the time, but my HR was higher.

On various segments, I'm now squeezing into the top 50% for instance on a 5km slight uphill 2% gradient I'm 97th out of 204

Then on a slight descent 2.27 km -2% my technique downhill is a tad better as I'm 141 out of 349

I don't often fall but today did a beaut, trying to be very cool with my pole planting and placed pole on the inside of the ski and stacked it Laughing
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Quote:

@abc, your conditions that you choose to go out in do sound a bit on the grim side and not what I'd bother with so chapeau for persevering!

@Weathercam, I didn't purposely go out when condition was horrible. I just misjudged it (or misled by forecast).

But once I was out, and wet in short order, there's nothing to be gain by returning to the lodge right away. I was already wet anyway. So I thought I would do a quickie (30min loop?) and call it a day. But then I got into the swing of things, I was actually enjoying it. So banished the thought of quitting early. I did my "usual" 2 hr (with stop in the warming hut).

Quote:

Are you using a GPS & Heart Rate monitor / Strava set-up

I considered that, from reading your progress last season. I don't have a HR monitor but would certainly be willing to invest in one. I have a GPS from cycling so could use that.

The problem I see, is I'm not always doing the same loop. I get bored doing the same route back-to-back. Also, the condition changes from day to day, which at my current skill level, plays a big part in how well I do on a given day.

Quote:

I don't often fall but today did a beaut, trying to be very cool with my pole planting and placed pole on the inside of the ski and stacked it

I seemed to have that happen quite often (the pole inside of the ski part)! Embarassed Though so far I had managed to untangled myself quick enough without stacking it (yet).
ski holidays
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January 5th, 2020. Today is my last day of the Christmas-New Year holiday. Toofy Grin

The weather god decided to reward my yesterday's perseverance by providing the BEST SNOW of this holiday! With cooperation from the grooming crew that is. Very Happy

Overnight, it snowed. Just a couple inches. But with the icy wet snow from yesterday, it formed a dense cushion which the grooming crew flatten to perfection (different touring center too). No hint of a "center riser ridge" in the middle of the skating lane. Just perfectly flat edge-to-edge. Also, the temperature finally fallen to 20 degrees. All the moisture in the snow got rinsed out! Then, after the groomers got done early morning, thick fat snow flakes started to fly... a little "snow squall"! That left another inch of dry fluffy snow on top of the perfectly flat track surface! In alpine skiing, we call that "hero snow". Well, it made me feel like a bit of a hero too! Laughing

I finally realized how significant the snow condition makes or breaks my day. For once, I didn't have to compensate or adapt my strides around the imperfection of the snow. I can concentrate on my technique, and repeat exactly every stride. No wobbles, no giraffe on roller skates, I didn't even fall once!

The inch of fluffy snow on perfectly groomed track were sooo smooth and cushy. It felt “luxurious”! Like gliding on velvet!!!

The snow had so little resistance my skis glide forever! I was flying along so fast I decided I didn't need my poles some of the time. That's when it suddenly dawn on me what "V-1 alternate" means! Very Happy I gave it a try and it actually worked pretty well (well, except the part I HAD TO COUNT, or I lost track and end up poling every 3, or 4, or even 5 step!).

What a beautiful day! Very Happy And such a perfect way to end my ski holidays. I will have a hard time hiding my smile when I turn up in the office tomorrow. Laughing Laughing Laughing


Last edited by You need to Login to know who's really who. on Mon 6-01-20 19:03; edited 2 times in total
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I'm hoping to do an intro to XC skiing Sun 19th Jan, I'll likely be staying in La Tania. Does anyone have any recommended instructors/ski schools to ask in the area?

Also how long do you think we should book the lesson for? We are 52 and pretty fit.
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You'll need to Register first of course.
@kitenski, depends on whether you opt for Classic or Skating.

As you're pretty sportive opt for skating and do a couple of hours
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Weathercam wrote:
@kitenski, depends on whether you opt for Classic or Skating.

As you're pretty sportive opt for skating and do a couple of hours


cheers, will start emailing some ski schools, I assume the local ESF will have an instructor?

I read your comments further back about cycling gear, do you wear padded cycling tights?? that's all I have! All my cycling winter gear has built in padding!
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Don't know about La Tania but ESF Morzine have instructors but group lessons are usually only classic. Very sociable way to learn and good for your french.

Padded tights not ideal but could certainly make do with them.

Avoriaz today and trails all freshly groomed and snow in great condition. Sun shining and 6C. Trails run upto about 1800 m at col de joux verte so snow stays in good condition. Virtually nobody else around. Beer and crepe in the sunshine at the restaurant near top of Zore then cruise down the green ski piste back to the car.

Drove to Serrassaix on the avoriaz road but can also be accessed at the col and also car park at the top of the Super Morzine buubble. If you are staying in Morzine can access via the bubble and if brave take the Zore chair. Direct ski access from avoriaz via proclou piste.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Quote:

do you wear padded cycling tights??

The padding are not in the right place. But it doesn’t hurt either. So it’ll work.

Running tight would be even better.
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@abc, cheers we have running tights, wasn't sure if they'd be warm enough as not particularly thick??
ski holidays
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@kitenski, my thighs don’t need much insulation. I don’t feel cold on the chair even with a single layer shell pants.

So it depends on individual.

Still, you ARE out running, albeit with skis on your feet. Very Happy (No, you’re not out walking, not a leisurely stroll anyway) Toofy Grin
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@abc, I was out running in Leeds last night in shorts and a T shirt which was fine at about 9 degrees!! Although I did start off wearing gloves!
ski holidays
 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@kitenski, in that case, running tights for you then. Very Happy
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@kitenski, I just use non-padded Assos tights, just like running tights and never been cold in them.

4-5 degrees yesterday, lightweight T under long sleeve Spring / Autumn jersey and fine, but does depend if the sun is out with the radiant heat, soon as you go in the shade it does feel like 4-5 degrees.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
4-5 degree is really hot for xc skiing. My preferred temperature is -5. That's when the snow is the best too. Above zero, it's just a bit messy.

So all my clothing preferences are optimized for temperature range -5 to -10. (assuming sunny and dry) Colder or warmer, I just make do
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Another small "revelation of the day" on my last day out yesterday...

I had been falling a lot more than I had thought reasonable. A few were high speed crashes in descend, which I can't blame to my less than perfect skating technique (as I wasn't skating, just descending).

I've skied for decades, alpine, a bit of telemark, and a good deal of skinny classic cross country skis. I rarely fall on descend. But this latest string of crashes when I wasn't skating was a bit puzzling. The puzzle was unsolved for days, until yesterday. In perfectly nice & smooth snow, one of my ski started to go slightly ahead of me... I reacted instinctively as I had on my classic xc skis, by pushing down with my full body weight on the other ski. Only my ski didn't slow down...

I managed to "catch up" to my runaway skis with a combination of quick few "shuffle" steps plus pole stabs, and brought the runaway back underneath me. Then came the revelation:

With classic skis, when one ski started to run away, all I had to do was to unweight the runaway ski. That automatically puts my full body weight on the other ski, which immediately drives the wax pocket (or fishscales) into full contact to the snow. Instant grip! That ski isn't going to go anywhere fast! Basically, I've been using the grippy waxed/scaled ski bottom as a drag brake when needed. (also I had long ago developed a unconscious tiny body movement to take into account the slowing down of the ski when I weight on it)

But the skating skis had no wax pocket, no fishscales. The bottom of the skating skis were smooth, optimized for glide! So weighting the ski to make full contact to the snow isn't going to provide any grip. "Splat"!!! Embarassed

I had to unlearn the automatic reaction to weight the ski and hoping it would slow down. Instead, I need to do either a quick skate kick, or a pole push, to "chase down" my runaway skis and bring it back under control. And use edges for speed control on descend as it was meant for.

I think I may, just may, be able to go out without my impact protection shorts the next time out. Toofy Grin
ski holidays
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Well I've booked a 3 hour beginner lesson with ESF in Le Praz! Is there not lots of standing around at the start would you expect? Thinking maybe cold at the start but then warm up quickly!!
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@kitenski, skating or classic ?

Re clothing etc - just take a light backpack and you can leave it where you're doing your drills, or just take your layer off and leave it etc but the side, I see this all the time when people are learning.

And gloves, just use winter cycling gloves etc, not your thick downhill ski gloves/mitts etc
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@Weathercam, ESF didn't say and I didn't ask, I'll email them back. from reading I should be asking for skating right??

You reckon I'll be ok starting in running tights? I think I'll take a tracksuit I can zip off for the start!!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@kitenski, whilst Classic is great and don't be disappointed if they don't offer skating I think you'll enjoy the challenge of skating more.
If it's sunny running tights will be fine, it's next week you're out ?
As there's no change in the weather for next ten days or so
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You'll need to Register first of course.
@Weathercam, cheers, out on the 17th, touring 18th, XC 19th, fly home that evening!

I was planning on just chatting to the instructor on the morning, I'll maybe email the office and say we'd like to try skating... unless that is too much for the "first time"??
snow conditions
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@kitenski, let us know how you get on... I wanted to try skating over the Christmas break but ended up doing a couple of newbie touring excursions instead which I loved. Might do a midweek trip and learn skating in the morning and work from home in the PM.
ski holidays
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Ozboy, you'd love it being a cyclist who likes a bit of hard work Laughing

On a par/tougher than touring, as you can see!

https://www.strava.com/activities/2984422738

@kitenski, and go for skating, you're strong enough too
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@Weathercam, your activity on Strava looks good and a great quick fitness fix. Definitely something I want to try and become competent - as beats using the bike trainer in winter!
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@Weathercam, do you "ski" the down on that strava activity or still "skate"?
ski holidays
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@kitenski, just like you see on Eurosport Laughing

Descend in the tuck when it's faster to ski straight and then skate when the gradient is not so much.

Just back from walking the dogs near the XC trails and must have been forty odd local high school kids out, probably because many lifts closed due to high winds.

Became apparent that those of a not so sportive persuasion were doing Classic, and the gung ho were skating.

The skaters were doing drills whereby they had one ski off and no poles and then scooting along on a boot and then gliding on the ski, what with the tailwind and hard icy track if I'd been allowed by the OH I could have some great YouTube footage of the subsequent carnage, not too sure in the UK a teacher would have been allowed to get away with that as was asking for broken bones etc
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Quote:

The skaters were doing drills whereby they had one ski off and no poles and then scooting along on a boot and then gliding on the ski

I remember doing that when learning to classic too.

Granted, skating skis glide so much better than classic skis. Very Happy
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Col de joux plane today. An iconic tour de france climb but in the winter home to a small cross country area. Drove up from Samoens but there is a shuttle bus. Very close to the pistes of Les Gets and my wife did ski back to Les Gets on her rando skis. However, not really accessible on cross country skis so quite a drive round if staying in the pds.

Snow and trails in beautiful condition for both skating and classic. Walking tracks aswell but strictly kept separate.

Small ski shop and restaurant on site.
ski holidays
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Another beginner daft question, what socks?? running ones or skiing ones or ???
ski holidays
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
ski socks for me
ski holidays
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Warm walking socks.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
My two feet are slightly different in size. So on the small foot, I wear thick ski sock to take up the extra room in the boot. On the other foot I wear thin walking socks.

Warmth is not an issue for a short (~2hr) outing. Sweat wicking far more important. DRY feet = WARM feet.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Bit of Willy Waving if I may.

Just back in from my fastest 10km to-date, 45:34 so I'm quite chuffed.

OK at the 5km mark I do have a break, but this is the same for all the previous efforts.

What is good is that there is a particular segment that is an 8% climb over 1.25km and 95m vertical and I'm regularly doing PB's on this which must mean my technique is getting better and or I'm getting fitter?

Other segments (downhill) were not as fast but all 2nds, but that's more to do with those previously probably being a tad wind-assisted.

What goes to show that XC Skating, though I'm sure if I was pushing it hard on classic could well be the same, is one's heart rate, my average over 45:34 was 160 peaking at 171 that's a serious work-out and in the old days I'd be happy with that on a bike / running.

https://www.strava.com/activities/2998362762/overview

I still had a couple of dudes fly past me, and I think I'd really like a bit of coaching again now to maybe iron out some bad technique?
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Hi all,
Have just booked a few days in Les sailies in a couple of weeks.
Has anyone any particular recommendations for hire, technicians (for if I manage to acquire any kit in the meantime) and schools?
And although I'll probably ask the tourist office, are there facilities for changing, showering, lockers at the start of the espace nordique?
Thanks, d.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Some good facilities but not showers AFAIK. Most folk turn up in their gear and park in the big free car park. The very nearby swimming and sports complex will have showers but only for paying participants. All the ski hire shops will be competent with XC gear. Both ESF and ESI have good XC instructors. Will you be there before start of French holidays? If not, book lessons soonest.
ski holidays
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You'll need to Register first of course.
You can walk in your comfy xc boots from anywhere in the resort, carrying your Featherlight skis!!
ski holidays
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Where are you staying?
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
The reason I'm curious about changing facilities and lockers is that I'm staying in albertville the first and last nights (to give a bit more flexibility if the trains don't work perfectly). I'll be using the bus to travel up there and back. While I might be able to leave stuff at my saisies digs, they're at the far end of town and I'm not sure how convenient if will be.
As for dates, will be the week of 20th, so just pre hols I think.
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
It's a small town! And if you're more used to alpine gear the ease of walking in XC gear is a real pleasure. Yes, pre- hols. There are lockers, I think, though I always had my car there when XC skiing so didn't pay attention. Is there a bus? There was a time when busses from LS didn't stop in Albertville.
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slight quandary for next weekend, the forecast is flip/flopping but there is a chance our 3 hour lesson could be whilst snowing (and I hope not raining!)

We've both got very thin Goretex jackets (that I'd wear cycling and running in), so I think our top halves will be fine, but if we just wear running tights I assume our legs are going to get very wet over 3 hours.

Assume anything like over trousers will be way too hot, so we do we just "get wet" and hopefully not too cold?
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