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Looking out to Camel's Hump after skinning up Mt. Mansfield. Photo Credit: Jake Whitlock.

Alright so your cool skier friends have finally convinced you to give Alpine Touring or “AT” for short, a go. So, what should you do first? Well if you don’t have a set up then the first thing you should do is go to Skirack at 85 Main St. in Burlington to get your gear.

1. Boot Fitting & Ski Selection:

Take time to sit down with a Skirack boot fitter and let them help you decide what boot is best for your foot. We can also recommend a great ski and binding that best suits your skier type. Ideally, we would want to go with a lighter ski to make the uphills a little less strenuous but if you still want that hard charging heavy ski - it’s up to you!

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Peering out across Colorado mountains from Leadville, CO. Photo Credit: Nic MacCulloch.

I remember setting down my first ever skin track in the shadow of Sugarloaf Mountain, Maine. We rode the King Pine lift up to the ridge that connects over to Burnt Mountain via a trail called Golden Road. From here, we transitioned our splitboards into touring mode and set out along the ridgeline. This first transition for me was unlike anything my normal snowboarding career had prepared me for. Moving my bindings around. Applying skins to my splitboard?! Riding skis?! I probably spent a solid 20 minutes on this first “transition”. That was 5 years ago, and since then I have dialed in my transition time and general skills as a backcountry traveler.

Here are 6 areas of focus to help you get more confident and efficient as a splitboarder:

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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

Tips for Cold Weather City Running

Dec 31, 2019 2:44:00 PM

Emily gears up for a run along the Burlington, VT Waterfront. Photo Credit: Zach Walbridge.

I haven’t always been a runner, but it certainly feels as if it’s woven into my DNA. I’m not fast, my form could use some work, and I don’t run a lot of races. But I do know, when I don’t run, I’m not the best version of myself. The more I run, the more true that last statement is. Not only do I love it, but I need it. Last summer was my first consistent season of training, and compared to now, it was minimal. I started to increase my mileage and accomplished some goals I never thought were possible. I ran the Pemi Loop in a day (a popular 31.5 mile loop in White Mountains of New Hampshire) and after that I was absolutely hooked. It wasn’t even completing the loop that hooked me, it was the training. I thoroughly enjoyed training, pushing my limits, and seeing growth. Then we moved to Vermont, in the middle of November, and there was a foot and a half of snow on the ground. Long story short, my training fell apart.

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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

Sam and friends run along the Waterfront in Burlington, VT. Can you spot him? Photo Credit: Zach Walbridge.

Many of us come to Vermont so we can do fun things outside, and some of us just have to be outside to get to work or maintain our health. Whatever the motivation, we Vermonters generally lead busy outdoor lives year round: work, play, drive, walk, run, workout, hike, bike, ski, snowshoe, hunt, fish, snowmobile, go go go.

With so many active people sharing outdoor space, accidents can occur. Anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors has stories of tragic incidents and near misses. We all must take care to avoid accidents when outside, and one important way to reduce risk is to make yourself visible so others can avoid you.

Being seen while you recreate, commute or work, can be as common sense as not wearing all black for your walk back to your car at dusk, but industry groups have established standards for high visibility equipment (Check out ANSI/ISEA 107-2010). Many sporting goods companies like Brooks, Louis Garneau, and Nathan have combined their own research with observance of industry standards to produce high-visibility garments and accessories specifically for outdoor recreation.

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