How to Watch all Olympic Cross-Country Skiing Races Live

Don’t want to miss a second of Olympic cross-country skiing? NBCOlympics.com 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.


Source: http://www.nbcolympics.com/news/how-watch-all-olympic-cross-country-skiing-competitions-live

Long Term Birkie Outlook and Discount

Currently forecasts for the Birkie indicate overnight lows of around 0f and highs of around freezing for the whole period before and after the Birkie. With this in mind, you might want to consider some cold weather gloves or mittens, Thermo Race or Thermo Plus gloves, some Birkie wax such as LF or HF Blue and JetStream Blue, and maybe some tools such as fiberlene for ironing JetStream, a copper, horsehair, or nylon polishing brush, a Thermo Pad, or an iron!

Hopefully our local stores are well stocked with whatever you are looking for. You can always order at TokoUS.com and guarantee that you will have what you need well ahead of time. Ordering at TokoUS.com and using the discount code TOKOBIRKIE will give you 15% off from now until the end of February.

 

Ian Harvey, TOKO

Should I skip a local race in light of upcoming Birkie?

Q: I have a local race this Sunday which is all up. It’s level 4 the entire way. I would like to get the race in, but since the Birkie 29k is only 5 days later might I be not recovered for the Birkie, which is more important than our local series.

A: Is the Aspen Race the very best prep for the Kortie? Probably not, the Kortie will be a bit more user friendly this year, starting at Double O and finishing in Downtown Hayward. You won’t have quite the treacherous unrelenting terrain of the trails north of OO, but you will still have many punchy climbs and have to deal with the brute of a climb after Highway 77. So, practicing some climbing 5 days out is not such a bad thing.

I think the bigger questions are:

1. Will you be able to reasonably recover from the Aspen Race with travel to the Midwest in the 5 day period.

2. If you are only 95% recovered and as a result go a few % slower for the Kortie, will you still have a great experience at the celebration of the circus that is the Birkie?

If your answer to both questions is no and you might be kicking yourself about it, then you better skip the Aspen Race. If on the other hand your Kortie result is secondary to the whole experience of being at the Birkie and you think the Aspen Race is going to be a cool challenge, – go for it!!!

Birkebeiner Bridge will be part of Super Bowl Live on Nicollet Mall

The bridge will showcase demonstrations of cross-country skiing, skijoring and tubing.

The 200-foot American Birkebeiner International Bridge will come to downtown Minneapolis during the 10-day Super Bowl Live event on Nicollet Mall.

http://www.fox9.com/news/construction-of-birkie-bridge-starts-downtown-transformation-for-super-bowl

Photo Credit: Fox9.com

VIDEO: http://www.fox9.com/news/construction-of-birkie-bridge-starts-downtown-transformation-for-super-bowl

The bridge will be open to the public and built on Nicollet Mall over 9th Street South during the free event. The bridge will showcase demonstrations of cross-country skiing, skijoring and tubing.

The bridge is an “iconic centerpiece” of the American Birkebeiner (Birkie), the 35-mile cross-country ski race held each February in Hayward, Wis., according to the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee. The Wisconsin event, the nation’s largest cross-country ski race, cuts through the North Woods on the Birkie Trail.

Until January, the bridge has never been erected outside Hayward where it is assembled once a year for Birkie activities.

The 44th annual Birkie will take place Feb. 22-25. Super Bowl Live starts Jan. 26 and ends on Sunday, Feb. 4, hours before the football game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Some 13,500 skiers from 48 states and 22 countries skied over the bridge at the Birkie earlier this year, executive director Ben Popp said.

The bridge will also be part of the City of Lakes Loppet Festival. The Loppet Foundation will bring snowmakers to downtown, transforming two blocks of Nicollet Mall into a “winter playground,” according to the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee.

The bridge will be covered in snow from 12 dump trucks.

Source: StarTribune.com

How do I train between my key races?

ENDURANCE: Training volume drops. Training frequency (number of training outings) can remain unchanged to avoid feeling stale.

Example:

  • Frequency: lower the duration of endurance training but keep the number of sessions the same.
  • Duration: lower the number of sessions but keep the duration the same.

INTENSITY: sharpening intervals; fitness has been gained; intervals now are for feeling sharp and fresh, not improving fitness level.

Example:

  • Peaking intervals: 3×3 minutes just below LT w/ equal recovery, followed by 3×2 minute above LT w/ equal recovery, followed by 4x30seconds all out with full recovery.

SPEED: same idea as with intervals.

STRENGTH: minimal maintenance strength if any at all.

RACE: achieving your racing goals is the focus.


PLEASE NOTE: it can be good to bump up to a high(er) volume of training between important races so long as the intensity is kept very low. Sometimes using alternative methods of training, running, cycling, etc is a good way to do this. This helps keep the skier fresh, keep the muscles “clean” and “clear.” You have to know yourself to monitor this.

Source: SkiPost.com

Meet some of the Minnesotans skiing at the Masters World Cup

By Mackenzie Lobby Havey Special to the Star Tribune
January 18, 2018 — 4:55pm / Source

A grand skiing competition for the world’s masters arrives in Minnesota; racing begins Saturday.

Most of the recent media coverage involving sporting events in the Twin Cities centers on the upcoming Super Bowl, but Nordic ski buffs are gearing up for their own mega event.

The Loppet Foundation will host the Masters World Cup at Theodore Wirth Park, attracting more than a thousand skiers from more than 20 nations. Athletes, who range in age from 30 to 90-plus, will come to compete in individual races of varying distances (three race per athlete), as well as relays. The World Cup begins Friday and runs through Jan. 26.

Held annually across the Northern Hemisphere, the event is most often hosted by a European nation. The last time it was held in the United States was in McCall, Idaho, in 2008. What makes this World Cup particularly special is that this is the event’s first time in a major metropolitan area.

Offering ideal grounds to stage a championship event, Theodore Wirth Park is widely recognized for its pristine trails all in the shadow of the conveniences of downtown Minneapolis and the surrounding areas. What’s more, The Loppet Foundation’s impressive snowmaking capabilities mean that even with lackluster snowfall, they can still pull off a great event.

The large concentration of cross-country skiers and boosters in the area played a major role in landing the event here in Minneapolis as well. Many of those local athletes will be taking advantage of the opportunity to take on international-level competition here at home. We rounded up four of them to learn more about their training and what they are most looking forward to about World Cup racing.

 

KATE ELLIS
62, Roseville

Year-round Nordic ski coach for The Loppet, other organizations, and individuals

Years skiing?

24. I started skiing at 38.

What races are you competing in at the World Cup?

15-kilometer classic, 10K freestyle, 30K classic

What does a typical training week look like for you?

Usually 10-12 hours a week. I do two weight sessions, two longer easy skis, one 5K race pace interval session, one 15K race pace interval session, a ski-specific strength workout, as well as seven hours of coaching on skis.

Where is your favorite place to ski in the Twin Cities?

Woodland Hills in Elk River for skating and Theodore Wirth for classic.

What are you most looking forward to about racing at the Masters World Cup?

The opportunity to compete in races where there will be only women in my age class. Racing is about putting it all on the line. When I race I try to ski the perfect race energy-wise, as well as tactically, so that when I cross the finish line I have emptied myself. When that happens, I am totally satisfied and content to sit and ‘just be.’

What other activities do you do in the offseason?

Marathon canoe-racing, biking, canoe triathlons, jewelry- making, and a monthlong adventure each summer, which have included paddling trips in the Arctic, hiking the Haute Route in Europe and paddling the Columbia River Gorge.

MARK JOHNSON
30, Minneapolis

Medical student (final year!)

Years skiing?

Since I was 2 — thanks to my parents — so I guess that is 28 years.

What races are you competing in at the World Cup?

10K freestyle, 35K classic, 45K freestyle

What does a typical training week look like for you?

I organize my schedule around learning medicine and providing patient care, so this means a somewhat opportunistic training schedule. I’m able to ski most days of the week this time of the year. My favorite workouts are those focused on strength and speed, which means drills to improve my ability to go up hills and speedily navigate technical parts of the ski trail.

Where is your favorite place to ski in the Twin Cities?

On a calm and clear evening, the trails of Theodore Wirth offer a silent and shimmering view the Minneapolis skyline — a highlight and unique feature not offered on most ski trails. It’s important to recognize the snowmaking efforts occurring across the metro. Those efforts make the ski season last as long as possible when there is little natural snow.

What are you most looking forward to about racing at the Masters World Cup?

Sharing the spirit of skiing with people from different cultures is invigorating, and the world is arriving in Minneapolis. I am looking forward to welcoming skiers to Minneapolis and showing off the supportive ski community that exists here in a metropolitan setting.

What other activities do you do in the offseason?

Coaching skiing with Loppet Nordic Racing, canoe-racing/trips to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, mountain/road biking, indoor rock climbing, and harvesting maple syrup with my family in northern Minnesota.

JIM AGRE
67, Excelsior

Professor, Department of Rehabilitation, University of Minnesota Medical School

Years skiing?

45. I started skiing in the winter of 1972-73, when I was a freshman medical student at the University of Minnesota.

What races are you competing in at the World Cup?

15K classic technique, 10K classic technique and 30 km classic technique. If I am so lucky, it would be great to ski a 5K leg of the 4 x 5K relay race, too. To do this, however, I would need to be named to my age group’s national team.

What does a typical training week look like for you?

Since returning home after completing the 2017 Norwegian [Birkebeiner], I put away my snow skis and got out my bicycle and roller skis. From the end of March until the end of November, I would typically roller-ski seven hours per week and cover 100K. I would also ride my bicycle four hours per week. Once per week I would perform a series of high intensity interval exercises. I also would spend about two hours per week on ski-specific strengthening exercises, as well as work on improving my balance and flexibility. When the snow flew at Elm Creek, Hyland Lake Park Reserve, and Theodore Wirth, I got out the skis. I’ve skied an average five hours and 70K per week. I have continued my strength, balance and flexibility exercises as well.

Where is your favorite place to ski in the Twin Cities?

Theodore Wirth is my favorite, especially the trail at Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and the bog. I have been skiing there since I started skiing in 1972. Other personal favorites are Hyland and Baker parks.

What are you most looking forward to about racing at the Masters World Cup?

I am really looking forward to the camaraderie of skiing with skiers from around the world. I am anticipating a very wonderful event and look forward to making new friends from around the globe.

What other activities do you do in the offseason?

Living only 300 meters from Lake Minnetonka, I enjoy getting out on the lake with my wife in a kayak or canoe. I also have an almost 11-year-old St. Bernard, and my wife and I often take Beyla out for walks in the neighborhood or in the woods.

Experiencing HALO Neuroscience Through a Coach’s Eye

By Eliska Albrigtsen, CXC Team Head Coach (former World Cup competitor and 2011 NCAA champion)

When I joined the CXC Skiing coaches’ team this spring, I was very excited about all the different exercise tools the Center of Excellence in Madison has to offer to athletes and their coaches. Having a background in human physiology and biomechanics, most of these “toys” were well known to me, however, there was one exception that attracted me, HALO Sport.

 

Eliska Albrigtsen (CXC Center of Excellence)


HALO Sport
is a headphones like device that improves your performance by enhancing neuroplasticity of your brain via transcranial stimulation. Uh, what a heavy sentence! Although it sounds very complicated, the setup is actually quite simple. Do you remember the time, when you were much younger and learning was so easy? That was thanks to your neuroplasticity. Neurons – the strings running through your body, sending information back and forth between your brain and body parts – were somewhat fresher and therefore more plastic, more moldable to support your body and brain in mastering new skills. As our movement patterns solidify with age, our brains tend to become solid, less plastic, as well. This is the point where HALO Sport comes into action with its gentle electrical stimulus to our heads. As I mentioned above, HALO looks like headphones, not earbuds, but a nice big pair of headphones with a big arch going from one ear to the other. When I also tell you that that is where the motor cortex, the center of the brain that processes movement, is located, it should begin to make sense.

HALO uses the arch to plant three 1.5 by 2 inches plates containing 24 soft spikes each that stimulate your motor cortex by sending very gentle electrical vibrations through your cranium, the part of the skull that encloses your brain. This stimulation amplifies the natural amount of electrical impulses in the motor cortex and therefore enhances the plasticity of the brain.

 

Nichole Bathe (2017 U23 World Championships Team members) training with Halo at the CXC Center of Excellence.

 

When I learned about this process, my next step as a curious coach was obvious. I had to try this! At that moment, I was working with British National Ski Team athlete Nichole Bathe, who, due to her tendency for straight leg positioning, which is common in women athletes, developed a negative habit of skiing with “stiff legs.” This habit hindered her ability to lean forward to bring her hips over her toes, in all ski techniques. My decision was brisk and we scheduled Nichole’s HALO Sport sessions over the next two weeks.

HALO Sport is powered through their app that runs for 20 minutes and allows you to increase and decrease the electrical stimulus according to your comfort. The twenty minute period is the only time required to wear the headphones to obtain the stimulation, and it is also the most sensitive period for motor changes. However, the brain is powered by these twenty minutes for another hour after you take the headphones off. Therefore, I planned Nichole’s workout to start with 20 minutes of technique skills, in a controlled environment, with mirrors for a feedback, followed by her classic or skate rollerskiing session, to support her effort to improve her technique with freshly acquired skills from the twenty minutes of drills. We started with simple balancing exercises, such as a one legged stand in classic and skate style, and in just two days I could see and Nichole could feel the progress. Instead of a shaky quadriceps being in a new uncomfortable position, there was a confident calm muscle knowing exactly where to be placed. Nichole herself had to admit that it suddenly became quite effortless. We did not waste any time and added a new challenge into Nichole’s routine, a quick body mass transfer into a gliding position onto one leg. Soon enough, three days later, the task was simple to accomplish. I went on and challenged her to perform the drills on an uneven surface by standing on a half-cylinder that rocks side to side, similarly as Nordic skis do. In the next three days, Nichole mastered that challenge as well.

I have to admit that it was a great mental satisfaction for her as an athlete. Being able to accomplish a task that your coach keeps repeating throughout your whole ski career in just a couple of days feels pretty amazing. Towards the end of our fourteen day HALO Sport period, we really went for it and made Nichole perform all the balancing exercises also standing on rollerskis. Those of you who have tried to stand on the less comfortable sisters of Nordic skis, can maybe imagine how challenging it is to stand on one leg only, in perfect gliding position, while motionless. It does require pristine style that is accomplished only through supreme balance, muscle memory, and strength. While following these drills with an hour of rollerskiing, Nichole was able to increase her explosiveness as well, leaving her with a year’s worth of work accomplished in just two weeks.

 

Jed Downs (Birkie skier and CXC Masters Team members) working on technique before rollerski workout.

 

No athlete is perfect and we all need to keep improving every minute of our lives. But does it have to take that long to master a single skill? If you count yourself among one of those athletes who keeps hearing the same thing from your coach over and over, get your hands on a pair of HALO Sport. As a coach, I was pleased with saving my efforts as well as impressed with my athlete’s progress. I want to wish Nichole good luck with her season and thank her for being a subject in my trial with HALO Sport.

I hope this got you interested, if not in trying HALO, then at least in always trying to improve yourself or support others to do the same. Repetition and hard training do bring the fruit. The variable that remains is your time.

To train with CXC contact us at info@cxcskiing.org or for more information about clinic and camps visit www.cxcskiing.org.