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Archive for February, 2012

American Birkebeiner Coverage Compiled on Birkie Site

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

FasterSkier was in northern Wisconsin for nearly a week leading up to the 2012 American Birkebeiner. All articles through Saturday, Feb. 25, are listed on under “Behind the Scenes at Birkie 2012.”

Elliott, Brooks Notch Birkie Victories; Dubay Disqualified (Updated)

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

Note: This post has been updated to reflect Joe Dubay’s disqualification for racing in the wrong bib. Dubay finished first in the classic race, but was wearing the bib of his teammate at the College of Saint Scholastica, Chris Parr.

HAYWARD, Wis. — U.S. Ski Team member Tad Elliott and Holly Brooks of Alaska Pacific University outlasted their elite competition at the 39th American Birkebeiner on Saturday to win the men’s and women’s 50 k skate races, respectively.

Elliott broke away from the pack with about 15 kilometers to go, opening up a gap to more than 30 seconds with 6 k remaining. He beat former CXC teammate Matt Liebsch (Team Strong Heart/Team Birkie) by 13.7 seconds with a winning time of 2:04.48.5.

Brian Gregg (CXC) was third (+14.8), two-tenths of a second ahead of Canadian Michael Somppi (NDC Thunder Bay).

In the women’s race, Brooks beat Caitlin Gregg (CXC) to the line by 0.4 seconds, winning in 2:18.53.2. The two consistently led a pack of about a half dozen women throughout the 50 k and broke away with about 20 k to go. Jennie Bender (CXC) made her way to the front of the chase group and finished third (+2:53.1) in her first Birkie skate race. Bender won last year’s 54 k classic race.

Minnesota’s Joe Dubay (Saint Scholastica) was the first to cross the line in the men’s classic race on Saturday, but was later disqualified for racing in a bib that belonged to his teammate at the College of Saint Scholastica, Chris Parr.

David Chamberlain of Boulder Nordic Sport, who was originally second but a small margin, moved to first. Norway’s decorated Olympian, Vegard Ulvang placed third.

In the women’s classic race, Hayward’s own Carolyn Ocariz (CXC) won her first Birkie in 3:03.10.9, more than two minutes ahead of Canadian Brandy Stewart, who was second. Hilary Patzer of St. Paul was third (+2:39.0)


Video from elite men’s finish

More video from elite finish, including women





Follow the Birkie Live

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

While FasterSkier will be tweeting as much as possible from the 39th American Birkebeiner (@fasterskier) on Saturday, this Birkie Live webcast is also available via CXC.

If you happen to miss the races starting at 8 a.m. local time (9 a.m. Eastern), check out archived videos here.

(Note: FasterSkier live updates will be based on cell service, which is non-existent for at least the first half of the race. Be sure to check back and read the race recaps on Saturday).

What’s the Wax? Birkie Tips

Friday, February 24th, 2012

HAYWARD, Wis. — The American Birkebeiner expo was jumping with athletes on Friday afternoon, many of which buzzed around industry tables seeking advice from ski professionals.

What’s the wax?

With temperatures expected to be in the 20’s later Saturday morning, most everyone was recommending blue.


Here are a few tips from the service pros as seen on their websites or expo newsletters:

Boulder Nordic Sport:

  • Ski Selection: Early waves: med to stiff flex cold ski, Later Waves: Medium flex Cold Ski.
  • Stone Grinds: Skating S1.3 (CV0), S1.2 (S1-0x), S0.2 (0.55), S2.2 (S2-1x), Classic: C1.2 (XTi2), C2.2 (Li2), C0.2 (ZR1XL).
  • Base Layer: SkiGo LF Graphite
  • Race Paraffin: Holmenkol Matrix Blue or Ski*Go HF Blue
  • Fluoro Powder: Holmenkol Mid 08 or Solda HP05 or Ski*Go C105
  • Topcoat: Holmenkol Speedblock Cold
  • Structure: Holmenkol Structure Tool (one roller) or Finite L04/AF10
  • Kick: Clean the kick zone, rough up kick zone with sandpaper, iron in a binder layer of Toko Green hard wax/binder. We tested quite a lot of kick wax Friday at 10AM and found the following recommendations. Conditions on race morning are supposed to be colder, with more new snow possible, so this may need to be adjusted on race morning!
  • Guru Green for those who are skiing early and have solid technique.
  • Rode Super Extra for those in later waves or who need a little extra kick. It had great kick and was the fastest of everything we tried except Rode Super Extra has better kick and is still almost as fast as Guru Green. SkiGo HF Blue was also quite good, although with the new snow coming, SkiGo HF Violet might be a better choice.


Fast Wax:

  • Glide Wax: Apply 2 layers of HSF 20 Tan over 1 layer of HSLF-20 Blue. Top coat with Flite Cold, Iron in using the Fast Wax Base Saver
  • Grip Wax Options: (Make sure to rough up your wax pocket with 100 grit sand paper before waxing)
  • Iron in Rode Black Binder, cork in and let cool, then cover with several layers of Rode Multigrade Blue or Rode Multigrade Purple, –> Rode Violet Special
  • Iron in Rex Blue Power Grip or Grip Tape then add a layer of Rode Multigrade Blue or Rode Mutligrade Purple –> Rode Violet Special


Start Wax:

  • Glide: Start Blue for snow 10F-20F: It will be a high humidity day with plenty of moisture and dirt. The more Fluor skiers use, the faster the skis will be throughout the race. … The skiers in the back 1/3 will have air temps above this range but the snow will remain colder and with the extra dirt farther back, Blue is still ideal. Choose between SG6, FG16, LF07 or HF70 based on your budget and goals. Two layers of Blue with your highest Fluor on top. … For 100% Start Speed use SF10g or SFR 99 block or Nano N7 — 100% Finishing Fluors.
  • Kick: Start Blue. Iron in Base Wax on roughed up kick zone to keep your kick in your kick zone for 22 km or 54 km. Add 5-8 thin layers of RF Blue. RF Blue has the widest temp range 14-15F of all our blues and has a lot of Fluor for dirst and moisture. Terva Tar Blue (the poor man’s Fluor) would be another good option for those that have it but we would recommend the durable Synthetic Blue under it for durability.



  • Glidewax: All waves, both techniques: Apply LF Moly, scrape and brush, then apply HF Blue, scrape and brush. Finish by rotocorking JetStream Blue, brush with a dedicated nylon polishing brush and polish with a thermopad. “Quick ironing” the JetStream Blue and corking over it is also a great option. See for demonstration.
  • Gripwax: Rough kick zone with 150 grit sandpaper, apply Nordic Base Wax Green, iron in, cork smooth, let cool. Then apply one layer of Nordic GripWax Blue, cork smooth, and cover with Base Wax Green, cork smooth. Then Blue, Green, Blue, all full length of zone. Follow with Green, Blue, Green, Blue, in middle of kick zone. Later waves should carry GripWax Red and a cork.
  • Structure: A fine linear structure covered by one pass with the Blue Structurite tool (before JetStream application) will best suit these conditions.


Click here for a complete list of Birkie expo vendors and website links. 


Birkie Elite Sprint Video

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Video of the 2012 Birkie Elite Sprints is now available to watch.

The sprints were won by Jennie Bender (CXC) and Dmitriy Ozerskiy.

Watch the video here

Ammar and Swank Win Freestyle Gatineau Loppet

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

The second consecutive day of racing got underway today at the 34th annual Gatineau Loppet  under blue skies.  Again the competition for the top step on the podium was close and hard fought.  In the men’s 51km race it was Duluth, Minnesota’s Adam Swank who took the sprint finish by four seconds and by the same margin it was Canmore, Canada’s Amanda Ammar that claimed the women’s crown.

In the women’s race Ammar crossed the line in 2:24:55, just four seconds ahead of Canmore’s Andrea Dupont.  Robyn Anderson of Stowe, Colorado took the final step of the podium in 2:26:34.

The men’s 51km race was just as close as Swank finished in 2:06:52, just besting Anchorage’s Lars Flora.  Pate Newman (Canmore, Canada) captured third in the same time as Flora – 2:06:56.

In the 27.5km freestyle race it was a pair of Ottawa skiers that claimed the top hardware as Anna Crawford took the women’s race in 1:18:33 and Michael Vieira was the fastest male in 1:08:33.

Complete Results

Larinova and Enevoldson Win Gatineau Loppet 51km Classic

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

For the first time in five years great conditions allowed for the full course to be used for this 34th Gatineau Loppet.

With temperatures just below freezing Tatiana Larinova (Irkutsk, Russia) skied to a three minute win in the women’s 51km classic race, finishing in 3:21:23.  Ottawa’s Carley Kenwell captured second in 3:24:36, while Rimouski’s Louise Martineay rounded out the podium in 3:25.:05.

In the men’s 51km classic race Canmore’s Jon Arne Enevoldson out sprinted Rosemere’s Phil Shaw to win by just two seconds in a time of 2:37:45, while former UVM standout Juergen Uhl (Burlington, Vermont) claimed third in 2:39:59.

In the women’s 31km classic race Michelle Workun-Hill (Chelsea) posted the best time in 1:27:33, while Samuel Dostie-Ménard (Gatineau) took the men’s crown in 1:18:56.

Festivities at the Gatineau Loppet continue tomorrow when the freestyle races get started.

Complete Results 

2012 Unofficial Birkie Guide Website Launched

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

For the past two years, Ari Ofsevit has published an unofficial guide to the American Birkebeiner in the form of of a blog post. The guide provided all sorts of useful information, from logistics to trail updates.

This year Ari has raised the bar, creating a dedicated website for the run-up to the 2012 Birkie.

“I’ve fleshed out the blog post in to a more-full-blown website,, which should help new skiers navigate the maze and old skiers chuckle about wave start times and rutted hills,” Ofsevit said. “In other words, I have a severe case of the fever. And I’m trying my best to be contagious.”

“As race day nears, I’m keeping tabs, daily, on the long-range forecast and posting the ‘weather speculation’ on the site. I’m also keeping an eye on changes to registration, start times and trail closures and posting them as they come about, as well as anything else pertinent,” he said.

Ofsevit’s guides of the last two years were dubbed “remarkably good,” by the notorious JohnnyKlister, and the bar has been raised this time around.

Check it out at

Mora Vasaloppet Canceled

Monday, February 6th, 2012

The 2012 Mora Vasaloppet has been canceled due to lack of snow. The following is a press release from the organizers.

Bright sunshine and rapidly warming temperatures Saturday brought the Vasaloppet USA board of directors to a conclusion they all knew would happen if forecasted warm and sunny weather arrived; cancellation of the 2012 40th anniversary race scheduled for February 12.

Sunny skies and near 40 degree temperatures are forecast for Saturday, Sunday and Monday, which will melt what snow remains on the Knife Lake back-up ski course.

The forecast for next week also meant there would be no race-saving snowfall to replace the snow lost over the weekend. Clear skies and warm temperatures were forecast for last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, but clouds and cooler temperatures preserved the snow that remained on Knife Lake after last Tuesday’s high temperatures.

The cancellation of next Sunday’s five races means the Miniloppet, the Friendship Tour, and Eldris Sprints are also cancelled. Skiers that registered for the 2012 race will receive a certificate towards a $25 discount off of the 2013 race registration. This certificate will arrive in the mail to the skiers that are registered.

However, all other community events planned for the 40th Anniversary Celebration will continue with some changes of time and venue.

The Vasaloppet will host a community appreciation event at the Vasaloppet Nordic Center Complex and ski trails next Sunday for all volunteers, sponsors, and skiers. An orienteering event, hiking, skating, bonfires and food are planned. The event will begin at 1 p.m. and will run until dusk.

Liebsch and Gregg Win City of Lakes Loppet

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Matt Liebsch (Team StrongHeart/Team Birkie) outsprinted Brian Gregg (CXC) in a shortened and relocated City of Lakes Loppet to take the victory in Minneapolois, Minnesota.

Eric Wolcott (CXC) was third nearly 1:30 behind.

In the women’s race, Caitlin Gregg (CXC) skied to a clear victory over teammate Jennie Bender, winning by 2:22.

Natalia Yakimova was third 10 second behind Bender.

Gregg’s winning time ranked ninth overall in the field of 596, just behind Olympian John Bauer.

The race was relocated in its entirety to Wirth Park, due to low snow and deteriorating ice conditions on the lakes. The distance in the premier freestyle race was reduced to 17k.

The 2012 Loppet Festival consisted of numerous events over two days, including the Finn Sisu sprints on Saturday and a classic race Sunday morning.

City of Lake Loppet Results