Monthly Archives: January 2018

Canadian cross-country skier makes history in Italy

1C9230AD-AAC6-4E0C-BD10-54EA92DB9AA5.jpgThe chalet at Horseshoe resort

I know I’m late to the party, but it was only during a xc ski lesson with Sylvia last Sunday that I’d heard of the name Alex Harvey.  She said to watch for him in PyeongChang.  So I googled him and the story is that he’s the first North American to reach the podium in the Tour de Ski that happened in Val di Fiemme, Italy two Sunday ago.

You might know him as the guy that plays a mean air guitar@7:55

(Oh – that guy)

Don’t forget to register for next Sunday’s trip is to Highlands Nordic before 9 pm Thursday!

If you’re not a member of Trakkers and are inspired to join, click here!


Next Sunday’s trip is to Highlands Nordic!

Highlands Nordic is on the top of the escarpment and close to Georgian Bay. The 24 km trail network offers skiing for beginners to experts. The Highlands trails are all 30ft wide and are groomed and track-set for both classic and skate skiing techniques. There are 7.5 km of snowshoe trails. Here’s their video on You tube for people who haven’t been:

The Highlands Lodge houses an excellent cafeteria with “hot soup, sandwiches, hot and cold drinks, and yummy homemade goodies”, boxed lunch room, pro-shop, rental department, service shop, waxing facilities, change rooms, and showers. There is a microwave oven on site.

Trail Pass Ski: $16
Trail Pass Snowshoe: $10
(children 7 and under – free)
Classic ski rental $20
Skate ski rental $30 (does not include trail pass)
Snowshoe rental $10 (does not include trail pass)

Lessons planned:  Absolute Beginner, Experienced Beginner, Intermediate Classic xc ski.

Conditions at Highlands Nordic. At least it will be warmer!

See you on the trails!


17 warm-up moves before xc skiing

This is taken from David Lawrence’s website @ It’s a really great website so if you’re not familiar with it, check it out on the bus ride to Horseshoe Resort this coming Sunday.  The bus ride will be about 1.5 hours and it may be equipped with WIFI.

[Note: there are *12 stand-by seats available* so if you’ve been thinking of trying xc skiing, just show up around 8:30 AM at the pick-up location @ NW corner of Bloor St. W. and Indian Rd. just east of the Keele subway (map below) and bring $27 cash for the bus fare.  Rental ski and trail pass are $35. Dress in layers and bring a lunch, a snack for apres-ski, and water.  This is a good trip to go on if you’re never skied before because the lessons being offered are geared towards people with no experience, children and there will be a class on hills only.]



These 17 exercises are taken from here:

There is also a good video in the link above where he demonstrates the stretches. Those exercises are clearly geared for skiers training for competition because my first thought was that the stretching routine he’s recommending would be pretty near a full work-out for me. This is because these are dynamic, not static stretches; e.g., 15 squats, 20 pushups, and 15 one-leg squats with skate jump He demonstrates the stretches and talks continuously throughout the video, without looking like he’s putting in any effort.

The exercises at the beginning #1-8 are just to loosen up each joint by rotating them, starting from; i.e., ankle, knee, hips, spine, shoulder, neck, then full body stretch with sun salutations. #9 and up – this is where he gets into pushups, squats, planks and a variety of leg swings to improve balance.

Here’s his list:


  1. Ankle roll – roll your right foot then your left foot around with the heel up to move the ankle joint. 5-10 seconds each foot
  2. Knee circles – place your hands on your knees and roll your knees left and then right to move your knee joints in all the planes. 5-10 seconds each direction
  3. Hip swings – place your hands on your hips and roll your hips left and then right. 5-10 seconds each direction
  4. Spinal twist – twist from your stomach, twisting your spine left and right to loosen the spine. 5-10 seconds
  5. Side bends – with hips level, hands by your side, reach down along your leg with one arm to the side of your knee creating a bend in your side. About 5 times each side
  6. Shoulder rolls – arms extended out to the side, roll your arms forward and then back. About 5-10 seconds each direction
  7. Neck circles – roll your head from chin on chest to ear on shoulder to back of head on back to other ear on should to chin on chest. About 5-10 rolls
  8. Sun Salutes – touch your toes for about 5-10 seconds, slowly roll your spine up, keeping your chin on your chest, straighten your spine, slowly lift your head as you bring your arms out to the side, palms up, pulling your shoulders back, reaching up over your head lengthening your spine and legs. About 5-10 times.
  9. Squats – squat 10 to 15 times
  10. Push ups – 5 to 20 push ups
  11. Planks – front plank 10-20 seconds, side plank right 10-20 seconds, side plank left 10-20 seconds
  12. Diagonal stride swing – stand on one leg, swing your arms and offside leg like you are diagonal skiing. About 30 times each side
  13. Lateral leg swing – stand on one leg, swing the other leg out to your side, let it swing back in front of the foot you stand on and repeat. About 10-15 each side
  14. Toe jumps – jump up and down on the balls of your feet. About 5-10 seconds
  15. One foot toe jumps – jump up and down on one foot on the balls of your feet. About 5-10 seconds each foot
  16. Diagonal stride swing with jump – stand on one leg, swing your arms and offside leg like you’re diagonal skiing, add a jump/hop every time your hands pass your hips. About 15 jumps each side
  17. One leg squat with skate jump – stand on one leg, bend down into a one legged squat and then laterally jump onto the other leg, bend down into a one legged squat and then laterally jump onto the other leg. Repeat. About 10-15 total jumps.


Cross-country ski lessons with Trakkers

Last Sunday I took an intermediate xc ski lesson with Hilary and here’s what we learned:


That’s in front of a warming hut at Wasaga Nordic.

Seriously, the lesson was really helpful. I’ve done a few lessons with Trakkers since joining last year and I always learn something new.

If you’ve never been on xc skis before, here’s a great intro to the basics that is on Trakkers’ website. There are lessons offered on every Sunday trip with Trakkers although what levels are being offered is variable from week to week.

If you’re not sure what level to sign up for, here’s how they are defined:

Beginners (Classic)

Absolute Beginners:
You have never skied before or have not skied for at least 20 years.

(that was me last year)

Experienced Beginners:
You are comfortable on your skis, can glide, herringbone up and snowplow down a very gentle hill, or are new to cross country skiing but have downhill skiing experience.

Intermediate (Classic)

You can transfer weight, glide, herringbone up and snowplow down a moderate hill, but want more skill and confidence.


There are also usually lessons for skate skiing and sometimes for children.

For next Sunday’s trip Absolute Beginners, Children, Beginner Hills and Intermediate Skate lessons are offered. If you’re wondering what will be covered in the lessons, that’s outlined here.

Probably the most useful thing I have learned is how to bomb down a hill on xc skis without falling flat on my face:  bend your knees slightly and extend your arms forward as if you’re holding a tray.  Hilary reminded us that it’s the arms that give you balance and not to lean forward; stay in a neutral stance.  Amazingly, if you do all of this and you trust that it will work, you’ll be able to make it down the steepest incline in one piece.

Forecast for next Sunday  — sunny but a bit chilly so bundle up!

** Don’t forget to register before 9 pm tonight!

See you on the trails.














Horseshoe Valley is our next destination!

And apparently they have Free WIFI!

Horseshoe is located at the edge of the Copeland Forest and at the junction of 2 snow belts. There are 40 km of groomed and track set trails through scenic rolling woodland. The trails are suited to all abilities, including 9 km of trails for snowshoeing.
There is a cafeteria, large eating area, ski rentals and a place for waxing. This resort has a small retail shop that sells snacks.

Photo of the Chalet below courtesy of Florence.

Trail map and ski conditions here.

Bundle up – forecast says -12 C.  This is similar to last week which was just fine with a thin pair of long-johns, a thin fleece layer, and an outer layer to keep the wind out, if like me, you’re not a super-fast skier.


Trail Pass $ 20.00
Classic Ski Rental $ 21.00
Classic Ski Rental and Pass $35.00
Skate Ski Rental $ 31.00
Skate Ski Rental and Pass $42.00
Snowshoe Trail Pass and Rental $21.00
Snowshoe Trail pass only $12.00

admission free for children under 6

See you on the trails!