New Training Season: the steps to go through

U.S. Ski Team Development Coach, Bryan Fish breaks down the steps athletes should go through at the beginning of a new training season, as well as how to gradually get back into training after spring.

Video Transcript:

Welcome to a new year of cross-country ski training. Before you start anything, I recommend going and getting a general screening that would include both a clearing from your doctor as well as going through a blood screening and a functional movement screening.

That will help outline and understand what your unique limitations may be so that you can safely train through the whole year.

As we start the new year, the first thing we really want to focus on is setting a good baseline and what that means. After you do your testing and get a good establishment of what your limitations are – go back and start from scratch. That means basic functional movement, focusing on general strength, doing activities that are broad-based without weight, really making sure that the body is reset for the next year.

General endurance training is really important. You still may have snow in your community. If so, take advantage of this opportunity so that you can go out and ski and continue to improve your technique. If not, focus on general activities such as running, biking, going for hikes, going for paddles, those sorts of things. Make sure you not only reset the body but also reset the mind so that you’re ready to do specific training in the future.

As it comes to recovery, this is a real important time to focus on a great deal of recovery. That does not however mean that you don’t do any strength or any intensity. At no point of the year do you want to do zero of any type of training. You just want to reduce.

So again, strength should be very functional, no weight, lots of activities, intensity. Maybe do it every couple of weeks just to keep a baseline so that all that intensity that you’ve built up from the year before and the season you just came off of is still developed and continued on into your next year.

Ski Travel: Baggage Tips

XCSkiWorld has developed this resource of airline policies with regards to the specific needs of XC skiers traveling with ski gear. International readers are asked to note that the information presented is specific to North American based airlines and may or may not translate to international carriers. All readers with recent experiences or information on this subject to contact our offices so that we can continue to keep the XC community up-to-date with info on the subject.


Remember that airline security rules are firm when it comes to flammable wax supplies — most notably wax cleaners, spray klisters, and some spray fluoros. It is exceptionally wise to study the containers if in doubt and simply plan to buy supplies at your destination when you know something like a wax cleaner is going to cause problems.

Nearly everyone we’ve talked to in the airline industry advises contacting specific carriers before you travel to make sure of baggage limits and requirements. Unfortunately, since so many airlines officially state one thing and practice another “in the field”, the best advice is to actually contact the airline counter of your departure city and find out what their policy is on the ground. This might not mean you’ll get the same treatment when you return from your destination, but it’s a better bet than talking to a faceless customer service rep reading from a computer screen.

Seasoned XC travelers will tell you that the very best way to avoid hassles and fees is to pack only what you need on ski trips. An Olympian might “need” a whole carload of skis but even for major citizen races, most skiers will do fine with a max of 1-2 pairs of skate and/or 1-2 pairs classic. If you are on a holiday trip, just take one pair of each and plan on adjusting techniques to fit the conditions. Same goes for waxing gear (which often can weigh much more than skis). Stick with the essentials and borrow or rent gear on the ground when you can.

In terms of packing, a good tactic for keeping skis not only compact but also safe is to tape all your skis together before slipping them in your bag. To avoid getting tape residue on the skis, wrap first with a piece of cloth. 3-4 pairs of race skis nestled together are not that far away in width from downhill boards. The tape also has an added benefit of preventing slippage which often is the worst culprit in scratches during air travel. Make sure to have a travel coat of wax on your glide zones and do not forget your ski ties! A light coat, jeans or other tough piece of clothing stuffed in the ends of your bag will help prevent damage when the bag is put on one end or the other. Finish things off with clothing wrapped around the sides of the skis and poles to help cushion the bag throughout the trip. Be aware that if you get too carried away with the clothing wrap that it can raise the eyebrows of airline personnel if your bag looks enormous. Compaction straps can help reduce the sheer width which can avoid getting your bag flagged as “too big”.

For poles, a good lightweight PVC or cardboard pipe to protect the shafts is usually all you need. Try to get a tube that isn’t too big to help with the overall width problem. If you have an actual hardshell ski tube carrier, you skip the need for the poles to have added protection so that saves weight and room.

Good ski bags are worth their weight in gold and well worth the cost if you plan on traveling by air quite a bit. Many of the nicest bags come with wheels on one end which is a huge help especially when you have a long walk thru airports or train stations!

Even better than really good ski bags for some folks (and not all that more expensive) is to opt for one of the hardshell ski cases you can find at some XC retailers. The hardshells come with wheels for easy transport but what really makes them valuable is that many airlines will often only pay up on broken equipment claims if you use a hardshell. You often can’t get as much extra stuff like clothes in a hardshell without making packing a huge pain…but they do provide a measure of safety for your gear that almost no soft ski bag (no matter how well packed) can match. Note that it is always a good idea to toss in a small ski bag so that you have something to use for short to/from trips to skiing once at your destination.

Talking with a few airport personnel over the years, the biggest things you can do to make sure your bags are checked without hassle are to be nice to the gate agent and keep the weight of the bag well within limits. If the agent won’t pull a back muscle picking up your bag, they are less likely to enforce even the most stringent of official rules.


Once upon a time, maintained a list of all the major U.S. airlines ski-specific baggage policies. However, these days policies are changing literally every few months with added baggage fees and new restrictions. So your best advice is to visit the airlines you are traveling on and print out their policies when you buy your ticket. Actually, in some cases you may want to price in the cost of the bag fees BEFORE you decide on a ticket since some airlines can be so spendy with added fees you are better off buying a slightly more expensive ticket on another airline with better bag policies!

If you have particularly complicated travel with different airlines, it will pay to map out when and where you’ll face bag fees before you lock in any itinerary. Whereas the actual airline tickets might be a couple hundred dollars cheaper with one scenario, if you jack up your bag fees versus a more expensive ticket — you might be better off with the latter option. So always factor in the bags with any air travel these days.

Traditionally, skiers have been allowed one ski bag AND one boot bag to count as just one piece of checked luggage with most airlines. This was in place specifically for alpine skiers — but it was a huge benefit for XC skiers. We could put several pairs of XC boards in the allowed ski bag and then put both CL and FS boots in the allowed bonus boot bag plus some clothes. Now that policy seems to be on the chopping block with some airlines so take advantage of it when an airline still has the old rules in place. Also note that on some carriers skis are now getting a mandatory extra-extra fee similar to oversize luggage. Again, it will pay for you to shop around to see where you are hit with the highest fees. Weight as well as length are both considerations in the various policies.

Muscle Fatigue

I’ve never been a fast climber and am much stronger on flat terrain in both skiing and other sports (like biking). This year I competed in both the Birkie and the West Yellowstone Rendezvous 50km skate races (starting in wave 1 of both races). I paced myself well in both races, but in the last 10 k of both races, my muscles burned on the climbs and generally left me exhausted. I had no problems with muscle fatigue on the flat sections or any short hills requiring burst of power in the later portions of these races. I’m wondering how I can adjust my training to generally improve my climbing ability, and in particular to stave off muscle fatigue on hills later in a marathon.



I’d approach it on three fronts, technique, strategy/pacing, training.

Technique, when you come to the uphill, stand up taller to help get your hips forward over your feet.  This will make it easier to take smaller skate steps, moving more quickly from foot to foot. This keeps the skis moving. You won’t get bogged down as easily, and will be able to keep the skis gliding with less effort. Also standing up with your upper-body helps you breathe more easily.

Strategy / Pacing, this has to do when and where in the hill you put your energy. Focus putting energy where you get the most speed in return. Use your energy to maintain your momentum as far up the hill as possible, but then back off in the meat of the hill. Stand up taller, breathe and settle in to a relaxed rhythm. Then a few strides from the top, over the top and a few strides down the other side put in a bit more energy to build momentum through the transition and into the next piece of terrain.

Training, lastly and probably most importantly, put these tactics into practice.  Training with focus helps improve those things, but also helps you be in the zone while you are training – more focus on what you are doing, more improvement and a deeper enjoyment. Also, working on the hills with a specific focus will help you both physically and mentally to take them on.

Pete Vordenberg
for SkiPost


Iron Temperature

I have heard from a number of people that our irons are not running hot enough. Fortunately this is NOT the case. The issue is that people are using infrared thermometers to measure the temperature of the bases of the irons. Infrared thermometers are great for measuring temperatures of things that are not shiny, but when there is any reflection involved, generally a temperature reading that is far too cool is the result. Stainless steel is especially famous for this issue. What actually ends up happening is that the infrared beam reflects and you get a reading of something in the room as compared to the iron base. All of the irons in the test were set for 160c (320F) as the question at hand was if they got hot enough.

Here is an example of the contrast:

These two images were sent to me as evidence of the iron not getting hot enough.

Here are the actual temperatures of the iron bases (two different irons that were sent back).

Here is a T8 iron reading. We know the T8s run slightly cool, so this is very good for an $80 iron!

This is the proper equipment for measuring the temperature of a base of an iron. It is a thermocoupler which is basically a digital thermometer that has a direct interface with the iron base eliminating any reflection. This is a scientific instrument that is both expensive and accurate.

Anyway, this wasn’t a bad exercise to have gone through as it had been a while since I checked the actual temperatures versus readouts.

Ian Harvey, TOKO


Skin Skis – Opinion

There sure is a lot of hullabolu about the new skin skis and I am wondering are they an improvement over the old nowax pattern skis, and if they are, – why are they better. Or are they just another fad like the short skating skis, palm grips of poles etc. I sure would like to hear from other skiers, how they like them and why?


A: The skin ski makes a faster and quieter racing waxless ski than a cut pattern. But a waxed ski beats a skin ski most days. Skin skis are great for marathon classic races where the snow will change a lot throughout the day. Skin skis makes it easier to go out and classic in any condition without having to take any time to wax. For those of us who like waxing, – waxing rules.

Andy at SkiPost

Transporting Top Coat Gels On An Airline

Q: I have been having good success with SWIX HVC warm and cold liquid Cera as a final top coat in humid (above 70%) conditions. I’d love to bring the two containers I have, but a friend says the TSA may give me a hard time in transporting them in my ski tube. Have you been able to transport these kind of top coat gels on an airline?


A: If your wax containers have the little flame symbol on them, you are probably not supposed to fly with them. So, I should tell you not to…

That being said, if you are checking a bag of regular standard sized luggage and equipment that will go through the X ray machine, you will probably be able to fly with them if your bag is not searched by hand. If they are in an oversized piece of luggage that will possibly be hand screened, your chances of being able to fly with them are not very good.

The safest route would be to buy the one HVC liquid you are going to need at the expo, use it and then figure out shipping it home.

– Joe H. (CXC Skiing)

How to Watch all Olympic Cross-Country Skiing Races Live

Don’t want to miss a second of Olympic cross-country skiing? has you covered.

Women’s 10km individual

When to watch: Thursday, Feb. 15, 1:30 a.m. ET.
How to watch: Live event stream.

Men’s 15km individual

When to watch: Friday, Feb. 16, 1 a.m. ET.
How to watch: Live event stream.

Women’s 4x5km relay

When to watch: Saturday, Feb. 17, 4:30 a.m. ET.
How to watch: Live event stream.

Men’s 4x10km relay

When to watch: Sunday, Feb. 18, 1:15 a.m. ET.
How to watch: Live event stream.

Men’s/women’s team sprint

Event: Semifinals
When to watch: Wednesday, Feb. 21, 3 a.m. ET.
How to watch: Live event stream.

Men’s/women’s team sprint

Event: Finals
When to watch: Wednesday, Feb. 21, 5 a.m. ET.
How to watch: Live event stream.

Men’s 50km mass start

When to watch: Saturday, Feb. 24, 12 a.m. ET.
How to watch: Live event stream.

Women’s 30km mass start

When to watch: Sunday, Feb. 26, 1:15 a.m. ET.
How to watch: Live event stream.