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  • Storage wax redux
    Snow is still falling in significant amounts in the northern tier of our region. Nevertheless, I'll assume that most of us are more than ready to put our skis away for the season. 
  • Classic ski better
    Some skiers hang up their skis after the Birkie. But March in the upper Midwest can provide the best skiing of the season. Igor Badamshin and Charlie Dee discuss how to make the best of late season season, especially to lock in good classic ski technique. 
  • Ski the Birkie more efficiently
    Igor Badamshin: Faster, faster. Everybody wants to get faster. But speed is dependent on more factors than I can deal with at once. So let’s concentrate on a few things to make you and others more efficient between now and the Birkebeiner. Increasing efficiency will mean you use less energy to get to the hills and up them. Let me know after the race if that makes you faster!  
  • Already popular among cross-country skiers and mountain bikers, the Nine Mile Recreation Area in Wausau, Wisconsin, has added trail and features. 
  • Fido digs snow, too
    Work had gotten the best of me, but with excellent snow conditions and a full moon, I wasn’t about to waste a perfectly good ski day. Woody, my 50-pound yellow lab mix, knew he was in for an evening adventure. 
  • CXC head coach Igor Badamshin dies on the Birkie Trail
    Charlie Dee called me with the tragic news as I pulled up to the Superior Dome in Marquette, Michigan, late Friday afternoon. "Igor died today on the Birkie Trail," he said, sounding shocked and heartbroken.
     
  • Acquired skills
    XC SKIING with Mitch Mode
    None of this is instinctive. We are not born accomplished skiers. It is an acquired skill. Technique is the driver. Without it we flail, energy wasted. Our enthusiasm may know no bounds, but bad technique is an open window as the furnace runs hot. Technique comes with time and with work. It is malleable, changing form as our experience grows. We may be born to ski but we are not born competent skiers. 
  • The Wisconsin Snow Report website is a new tool for tracking cross-country ski trail conditions throughout the state.  
  • Early season skiing
    If you’re lucky or obsessed, you’ve already been on snow by the time you read this. But a lot of skiers only get out once or twice in December, and some don’t get out at all until after the Christmas rush of family events. Whichever group you fall into, that first time on snow is like seeing an old lover a month after you’ve broken up with someone else: exhilarating but risky.  
  • Making our way through the backcountry
    It had been decades since I cross-country skied on anything but a groomed track. But last year a day’s trek through unblemished snow near my home in northern lower Michigan rekindled an interest. And when plans were made for this year’s winter ski trip, we included Bellevue Valley Lodge in our itinerary. 
  • The VASA Trail
    If the snow conditions are good, you can count on Traverse City, Michigan’s VASA Trail being ready for skiers. The more than 30K of 12-foot-wide pathway will be packed for freestyle skiers and two sets of tracks will have been cut for those looking to do classic.  
  • Documentary on multiple sclerosis to feature Birkebeiner
    A documentary film, titled Multiple Sclerosis, The Vikings and Nordic Skiing, will feature prominently Midwest skiers of the American Birkebeiner. The producers of the film are trying to raise $20,000 through Kickstarter to complete the project and distribute it to public television stations. 
  • Charles Dickens’ novel A Tale of Two Cities juxtaposes life in Paris and London during the onset of the French Revolution. In contrast, two small northwestern Wisconsin hamlets, Hayward and Cable, serve as anchors to two of my favorite and humbling events, the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival and the American Birkebeiner.  
  • The employees of Telemark Resort in Cable, Wisconsin, were told on March 25 the resort was closed indefinitely, according to Cable Area Chamber of Commerce Director James Bolen.  
  • The following article provides a pathway for organizations to apply for trail development and maintenance grants by highlighting the Greenbush Trail Rehabilitation project. Much of the information contained here can be used when applying to any trail grant program.  
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