Covid-19 Information and Current Operations

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Doug Stewart fits a downhill ski boot. Photo Credit: Zach Walbridge.

Ask any veteran skier if their ski boots are important, or if they affect their skiing, I would not be surprised if most said “yeah, of course.” As someone who has spent my entire life on skis and the last few decades helping people ski better, I’m here to make sure you understand just how important your boots are to your ski day.

Based on this idea, I repeatedly tell customers, your boots are 10 times more important than your skis. This also applies to cross country skiing and snowboarding. Our goal is to get you in the right gear the first time around.

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Exploring Vermont via bike. Photo Credit: Zach Walbridge.

With COVID-19 safety guidelines and travel restrictions, winter is looking very different this year in Vermont. Since not many people can travel and are staying home, there's been a huge uptick in people venturing outside and discovering what their backyard has to offer. Outdoor activity is a great way to get exercise, de-stress and spend time with your household. More people getting outside is great news! However, the influx is a concern because of the strain on natural resources. Services such as ski resorts and search and rescue will also be effected. With this resource guide, our goal is to provide some ideas to getting you outside in a new way, while offering other options for people to check out, in order to spread people out in any given area.

Since we already know that ski resort offerings such as lodging and chair capacity will be limited this season, it might not be the year to hit the resorts every weekend like you are used to (click here to read up on the guidelines). It will, however be a great opportunity to try a new winter activity such as cross country skiing, backcountry touring, snowshoeing and winter hiking.

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Cooper skiing at Sleepy Hollow Ski Center, Vermont. Photo Credit: Zach Walbridge.

If you’ve been following the news in the Nordic world, there has been a lot of confusion regarding Fluorinated Waxes. Are they banned or not?

We learned of the upcoming ban from FIS council last year and then just a few weeks ago, learned the ban had been postponed until next season. However, to add to the confusion, we just learned that even if a venue does not allow fluoros on their ski trails, they still cannot ban fluoros for an FIS sanctioned / qualifying race. The logic is that FIS cannot put restrictions on their races as a whole - due to not having the right equipment to test for flouros (yet). We all know that fluoros make your skis faster, although bad for the environment; but if one venue does not allow them, the playing field is not level between races at different venues.

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Ben prepares for the cross country ski season with a roller ski strength training workout in South Burlington, Vermont. Photo Credit: Zach Walbridge.

It is common for most high school Nordic skiers to run cross country in the fall. This is amazing for cross training and building leg speed, fitness, and cardiovascular base for the winter cross country ski racing season. However, cross country running usually leads to neglected ski muscles that can make a huge difference in the winter. For nordic skiers looking for an easier transition from running to skiing in early winter, working on strength throughout the fall will pay off greatly in December. I recommend doing a specific strength workout at least once per week. It doesn’t demand much at all on the legs, so runners - have no fear of wrecking your legs during this workout!

This specific strength workout workout is done on roller skis and you will want to find a flat or gradual uphill depending on your strength/skill level. You can do this workout many different ways, but the simple method is just to activate the proper muscles and keep your technique solid the whole time.

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Chloe and Sara take a break from (having fun) cross country skiing at Craftsbury Outdoor Center. Photo Credit: Zach Walbridge.

My job at the Skirack is to help you have fun doing things outdoors, and that is rewarding for me.

Yes, I’m a gearhead. I love the things I sell, and I always have, but I never lose sight of the fact that in the end, it’s not about the stuff. It’s about the experience you have outside playing with the stuff. If you have fun, and do it more and more, then I have done my job, and that feels good.

You can be a gearhead too, and many people do enjoy the buying part of the process. However, my advice is that before you go to purchase equipment, take the time to visualize that part of the overall experience that gives you the most satisfaction and fun, then set out to maximize that part.

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2020 Craftsbury Marathon Waxing Tips. Photo courtesy of Craftsbury Outdoor Center.

It is time for the Craftsbury Marathon! Arguably the biggest cross country ski marathon in the Northeast, this weekend's event is shaping up to be a great time with ample snow, moderate temperatures, and the outstanding grooming Craftsbury is so well-known for. Regardless of your race distance or experience level, you will want some great wax on your skis to make the most of the event. The wax tips below are based on products that Skirack carries in-store. Many staff are racers and waxers themselves and can help provide even more guidance for interested competitors.

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Comments | Posted in Events Cross Country Skiing Expert Tips By Adam Terko

How to Select Cross Country Skis

Dec 30, 2019 4:42:00 PM

How to Select Cross Country Skis. Photo credit: Zach Walbridge.

Which cross country skis should I buy? This question has only become more difficult as more types of skis have been developed for every kind of skiing imaginable. Currently, Skirack carries 6 different categories of cross country skis. They are outlined below to help you get an idea for what you’re looking for.

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Ben prepares for the cross country ski season with a roller ski speed workout in South Burlington, Vermont. Photo Credit: Zach Walbridge.

One of my favorite roller ski workouts to do in the fall is some kind of short to medium length speeds. Speed work is great because it combines the need to have solid technique with strength, power, and coordination. It also is not as long as 60-70 minutes of controlled L3 nor as painful as max L4-L5 intervals where you are trying to train the body to build and clear as much lactic acid as possible. On the Green Racing Project we try to do some speeds during our distance skis at least once a week in the summer, and more often in the fall and early winter as the racing approaches. It is a nice way to mix up some easy long distance training as well so you don’t get too bored.

One way you can do speeds to try and get a bit sore and also work your body and brain is to do speed stations. It is best to find maybe 3-4 different terrains you want to work on and aim to do 6-8 speeds at each station that last 10-12 seconds each speed. I like to find some flat or very gradual uphill on nice pavement (bikepath or quiet road), a steep uphill if possible, and some corners to try and work many different techniques.

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Comments | Posted in Cross Country Skiing Expert Tips Rollerski By Ben Lustgarten

Cross Country Ski Boot Overview. Photo credit: Guillaume Desmurs.

Nordic ski boots come in many styles, constructions, and bindings to accommodate a range of activities. From backcountry touring on the Catamount Trail to skate skiing the Craftsbury Marathon, there is a boot designed to maximize the skier’s performance and enjoyment. Weight, stiffness, and warmth are all important factors to take into consideration when you purchase a ski boot. The following breakdown briefly describes each type of boot, and should help guide the skier to the correct equipment.

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Ben prepares for the cross country ski season with a roller ski workout in South Burlington. Photo Credit: Zach Walbridge.

In order to prepare as best as possible for cross country skiing in December, roller skiing is seen as more of a necessity than a luxury opportunity. Running, cycling, swimming, and weight lifting all create an amazing base of strength and cardiovascular fitness and endurance; however roller skiing targets specific neuromuscular recruitment and coordination, balance, and “accessory” muscle building to truly create a more enjoyable and successful winter.

Whether you are trying to just increase your off-season fitness, try your first ski race, make in on the varsity high school team, or qualify for World Cups, roller skiing is critical to make your transition on snow faster and more efficient.

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Comments | Posted in Cross Country Skiing Expert Tips Rollerski By Ben Lustgarten
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