As temperatures drop, it’s time to think about getting your body ready for the ski season.
XC Ski Indiana gives great tips on:
- Stretching to improve flexibility
- Improving your balance and stability
- Toning your muscles for increased endurance
Blitz Conditioning also offers a great strength training routine for those wishing to improve their performance:
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Arrowhead Provincial Park takes a little longer to get to than most other destinations we visit, but for many Trakkers, it is well worth it. This destination has a special, northern remote feel.
We asked Xavier and Sylvia to share some reflections and to suggest trails for different levels of skiers.
“We brought friends from France a few years ago – a mum and her two children plus our daughter Alice, aged 13. They all came on the Trakkers bus. The French kids were new to cross-country skiing but had a great time falling and laughing. It was a unique, very remote experience for them and they did find it cold! Whenever we see them they still talk about their good memories of a true Canadian winter!”
Trail Choice Suggestions
“For a beginner, we suggest taking the 5k Arrowhead Lake Trail. It is lovely with many views of the pretty lake. There is one big climb and a downhill, but otherwise it is mostly flat.”
“More advanced skiers should try the Hardwood Hill Trail loop. It’s worth the climb to the upper parking lot with the charming little Mayflower Warm-up Chalet at the start and finish of the trail. This is one of our all-time favourites with rolling downhills where you can stay in the tracks for a thrill! “
“This is a remote location, so ski with a buddy. And don’t forget to bring snacks, water and a map with you on the trails.”
Are you a new or returning skate skier looking for tips and inspiration before hitting the trails? Mastering skate skiing means learning a collection of techniques – Free skate as the foundation, one skate for acceleration, two skate for cruising, offset for moderate hills, and diagonal skate to conserve energy on longer, tougher hills. If you are a visual learner (and many of us are) you can get a lot out of viewing online technique demonstrations while hearing about the principles of propulsion.
Trakkers Ski School Coordinator Steve Favell recommends the instructional videos provided by CANSI (The Canadian Association of Nordic Ski Instructors) that feature Keith Nichol, a Level 4 CANSI instructor. Keith’s videos feature some of the drills used by Trakkers ski instructors during ski lessons. Here are some of Keith’s most popular skate videos:
For one video that covers a whole range of skate techniques in a little over 8 minutes, check out the video by Saul Goldman, founder of Velotique, a ski and bike store on Queen Street East.
Remember that good skate technique relies on power from the legs, so any dryland leg strengthening workout will help you prepare. When you arrive at a ski destination, you’ll be glad you put some effort into getting ready.
Let it snow!
Will you be ready to ski well when the snow arrives? Reviewing some basic how-tos can remind you of what it takes to get good propulsion on the trails.
We asked Trakkers Ski School Coordinator Steve Favell to suggest a video for us to watch to brush up on classic or diagonal stride ski technique. Steve’s pick is one provided by CANSI (The Canadian Association of Nordic Ski Instructors) that features Keith Nichol, a Level 4 CANSI instructor. This video includes some of the technique improvement drills used by Trakkers ski instructors during ski lessons.
Also popular with Trakkers members are the tips given by well-known skier Saul Goldman, founder of Velotique, a ski and bike store on Queen Street East. Check out the first 4 minutes or so if this video, filmed at Hardwood Ski and Bike, one of the club’s destinations. Here, Saul carefully explains the dynamics of the diagonal stride technique.
And here’s a very thorough video with quotes from some of Canada’s best skiers. It includes good tips on climbing hills at the end.
Stay tuned for more skiing tips!
Trakkers Sunday bus trips offer a relaxing way to get to some of Southern Ontario’s best cross country ski and snowshoe destinations. Passengers take what they think they will need for the day onto the bus in a sports bag or backpack. We asked a few long-time members for their tips on what to bring for an enjoyable day trip.
Steve’s suggestion is to take different pairs of flexible wind-proof gloves (light ones for mild parts of the day and vigorous activity and a warmer pair for when the cold winds blow). Barb agrees and recommends the same with hats – a warm one for frigid temperatures and a lighter one for high energy skiing in moderate weather. Karen reminds us to bring sunglasses for those brilliant, cloudless days along with sun screen and lip balm.
Energy or granola bars can be brought along on the trails in case you need them. Bring your lunch or you can buy it at most of our destinations. A slim money pouch or thin wallet for essential valuables that you can keep with you on the trails is another good idea.
Keep in mind that skiing warms you up quickly so take thin layers that you can add or remove easily. Breathable synthetic or wool clothing is best. Paula brings a big warm coat to get from home to the bus and back. She leaves it on the bus during the day. Your ski or snowshoe workout may leave you damp and sweaty for the ride back to the city. Avoid this by bringing a pair of dry socks and a cozy top to change into for the journey home.
And for that ride home …. Karen suggests a newspaper, book or knitting. This is the time to indulge in a special treat. “I sometimes bring a thermos of hot chocolate with maybe a drop of Bailey’s Irish Cream for the bus ride back!” says Paula.
Snowshoeing is offered on Trakkers trips and the number of members choosing this activity sometimes or all of the time is growing every year.
For those thinking about what to expect and what they need to enjoy a day of snowshoeing with the club, here are some tips:
Conditions and Terrain on Trakkers Trips
Snowshoeing first-timers can expect marked trails and easy to follow maps at the destinations we travel to. No need to bushwhack! Trail choices may include rolling and hilly terrain, but you are unlikely to encounter icy, steep climbs or highly challenging descents. Expect surfaces packed down by those who have gone before you without a lot of deep powder.
Choosing a Snowshoe
Despite the simplicity of the sport, there is a lot to know about selecting snowshoes that are right for you and the type of snowshoeing you plan to do.
About snowshoes from Mountain Equipment Co-op
How to choose snowshoes from REI Co-op
You’ll want to wear stable waterproof boots with firm toes and flat soles. Taking a pair of poles along to can give you a better workout for the arms and help with balance.
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