Return of the Rock Skis

I don’t know how it happened, one day they were just there.  Upstairs, where my good skis go, the rack held a beat up old pair of Blizzards.  The Impostors were bold, as if I wouldn’t notice the cheap auto bindings, let alone the psychedelic rainbow sherbet colored p-tex bases that could only be possible in the 1980’s.  But how did they get there?  I had to get to the bottom of this mystery.

These skis are barely capable of locomotion when they are on my feet, so how could they leave my loyal RCS’s helplessly bound in the basement and make their way upstairs?  Usually when I am perplexed (i.e. most of the time) I go to my lovely wife Rebecca, for answers.  She just gave me the look she saves for times when I am being an imbecile, (i.e. most of the time).

Then I realized: I am in denial.  I might as well campaign for Ron Paul because I just could not face reality.  But it all came flooding back: the endless rollerskiing, the canoeing in December,  the ridiculous buds on my Magnolia…and sliding across the grassy slopes of Odana on nearly one whole inch of snow.  But that was a good day.  Marginal skiing is much better than not skiing in the same way that Blatz is better than no beer at all if you are truly thirsty.

So drag out your oldest, roughest skis.  Don’t bother to put wax on them, it won’t matter.  go ski on whatever we get.  And give your rock skis the admiration they deserve for sacrificing their bases to extend our season.

–Bill Coady
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President’s letter January 2012

Rob getting out with the kids on some real snow at ABR in Ironwood, Michigan.

Good snow, decent tracks and a good, young crowd to share the trail with make for a great day out as the Co-President cruises the green trails at ABR.

The lack of winter has put the damper on many a Mad NorSki’s plans.  After three great early snowfall seasons, this year’s beginning has a caravan of  MadNorSkis travelling north to find snow.  Even Ironwood Michigan has had lower than “normal” amounts of snow, with less than great conditions. These conditions have finally changed in the last few days with a foot of snow in the UP.  Reports across the world show a snow drought; Minnesota, Maine, Sweden, and Russia all with too much brown and not enough of the white.  Club member Nicole Bathe is out in Rumsford Maine at Junior National Championships waiting for the rain to cease so the races can be held on artificial snow.  The Juniors are hoping to travel to Iola and Rhinelander for the first races of the season this weekend. Around Madison there has been enough ice to mess up rollersking- we just can’t seem to catch a break.

The board continues to meet to negotiate an agreement with the City of Madison to make and groom snow- details will follow as agreements are worked out. This is still at the planning stage and start-up looks to be in 2013.  If successful, it will provide an opportunity for the club to fill in the present gaps in city grooming and allow the club to make a difference. Current grooming levels of service by the city would be maintained.  Insurance requirements and costs will be a factor as well as the need to acquire equipment and recruit & train volunteers to groom trails.  At this time, even what locations to groom have not yet been determined. If you’d like to be part of this initiative, contact Brock Woods of the trails committee or any other board member.

Clothing order: Last report from Dick Steinle our clothing project manager was that the design proofs had been approved and delivery was anticipated in late January.  Future orders should be able to have a quicker turnaround as we will have our designs on file with Mount Borah.

Ned Zuelsdorf, Director of the Birkenbiner,  will be the featured speaker at the January meeting.  He should have some updates as to the race preparations as well as the purchase of land for a new trail-head just south of Cable, WI, off highway 63 and Leonard School Road. The Birkie Board has decided to continue use of the Cable Airport for the start of the Birkie ski races as long as possible.

Ever the optimist, John Dee’s long-range forecast shows snow in the forecast for next week, so get out there, do your snowdance, stop by the club meeting to commiserate with your tribe and soon we’ll be on snow!  Best of the New Year to you from the MadNorSki board.  Rob

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Membership as of December 2011

Despite the lack of early snow, membership in Madnorski has been growing briskly.
As of early December there are 151 members.  48 are new to Madnorski.  And as in past years, membership is split evenly between Individuals and Families.
The easiest way to renew is online through  www.madnorski.org
An alternative is to print the membership form found at the site and mail in your membership.
Look forward to seeing you at the next meeting at the Lussier Center, December 12.

Reg Bruskewitz

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Door Creek Trail Update: No. 2

Muddy middle section of Door Creek Park's return trail (at cut-off from the upper trail).

I recently visited Door Creek Park to check the trails, so here are more precise directions: Drive to the east end of Milwaukee Street, turn right (south) on Wind Stone, then left on Littlemore to the main parking lot. Or you can park on top of the drumlin by the middle of the high striding trail by going east on Cottage Grove Rd. past the Interstate and a four-way stop, then left on Amnicon, and right on High Cliff to park on the street where it joins Bluff Point.

I walked the two existing trails and they are completely in. However, a quarter of the new high trail (the newest section) is covered with a rope mat to prevent erosion and we must have a good foot of snow before any grooming will be done there to ensure that the mat does not get disturbed. Grass has barely begun to grow through the mat. There is also a section about half way to the end (by High Cliff and Bluff Pt.) that has no grass on it yet; it’s all mud. Hopefully, the soil will freeze hard and allow grooming, but be careful on these sections if you ski there this winter.

Again, from the parking lot, ski over or along the black-topped bike trail to the bottom of the drumlin where the ski trail heads up the hill ahead of you. Or simply ski across the flats in front of you past the conical spill pile, cross the little feeder creek if it is frozen and/or covered with lots of snow, and head up the hill to the right. The trails are all marked with brown ski signs indicating the correct direction to ski. (Consider checking the park out before the snow so you see what I’m talking about!)

New classic-only trail at Door Creek Park with its protective rope mat.

As alluded to above, there may be no grooming this year, but if there is, both trails will likely be classic only since that is what the high trail is, the only trail going southwest to the other end of the park. The return trail will be both skate and classic next year after the freestyle loop is put in next summer, but at present there is no way for skaters to get to its start unless they were to blaze a temporary trail over the soccer and corn fields. Those fields offer room to play on skis (as they do at Elver), and could be used for this, but once snow gets deep most skaters will want to stay on packed trails. (We’ll ask Parks to consider packing such a temporary skate trail for just this year!)

As always, if you have any questions or suggestions about skiing this new park, contact me or anyone else in the Trails Committee. We also hope to have a Parks representative at one of the club meetings to answer questions.

Brock Woods, Trails Committee

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December Club News

It has been a busy start to this year’s ski season. It began in November with the Elver Work day organized by club vice-president Tom Woody. Volunteers met to cut brush and clear trails at Elver Park. Thanks to all who participated in this important pre-season preparation. Through the generosity of local skier Jon Wolff, who brought Murray Banks to Madison from Vermont, there were two early season instructional clinics. In the morning Murray worked with downhill and nordic ski instructors at Blackhawk Ski Club. It was reported to be both useful and inspirational . Our Director of Instruction, Jimmie Vandenbrook worked his phone list to get a good turnout of instructors from MadNorSki. Later that day at Badger Prairie Park in Verona 17 hardy souls turned out for a fun-filled dryland and rollerski nordic training clinic. Murray related his experiences skiing at World Masters events and cajoled the participants to work on explosiveness, strength and to focus on technique while training. Participants donated over two hundred dollars to support the Middle and High school Nordic teams. Next on the agenda was the MadNorSki ski swap- Vice president Tom Woody along with partner Pam Schneider organized the fifth annual resale and achieved record numbers of sales. This project is always useful to members who wish to add to their quiver, upgrade equipment and find something to fit those growing kids. Former club president Sue Gallagher ran a dryland ski training group at Elver on Sundays a great opportunity to get those ski muscles tuned up. Club “Swagmeister” Jim Stevens organized a successful vendors fair at the first club meeting. We had a great turnout even though it was a Monday night Packer game) and the Lussier Center was full of excited skiers ready for the season. New equipment was checked out, “magic” waxes were purchased, old friends visited with each other,and we had a large number of new folk check us out. and join. If you get a chance at the potluck be sure to chat up someone you don’t know -we have forty-eight new members! Dick Steinle had a table and was able to successfully compile an order for club logo clothing! The initial order has been placed and there may be an opportunity to add on to the clubs order, contact Dick if you missed out. Club designer, Ben Neff has Mad Nor Ski Club T-shirts for sale. Grey in color with performance fabric only -they’ll go fast!

The Kidski program looks filled to capacity (50) and needs volunteer instructors to commit to Sunday afternoons at Blackhawk Ski Club. The Middle School program has over twenty skiers registered and everyone is looking forward to the coming race season. The High School team has twenty-seven skiers registered and with a few late joiners should meet the programs goal of thirty high school skiers. They do have a lot of fun and their potlucks are the best!

Greg Jones is still looking for race committee members and has a new major sponsor for the Elver Park race series. T-shirts have been ordered so be sure to check them out and talk to Greg if you can help out. Jane Schmieding is coordinating adaptive ski volunteers for adaptive skiing in the area, so let her know if you can help.

Future agenda items on the club list include: Fundraising to support research for Multiple Sclerosis. There is also momentum to raise money for grooming equipment and find volunteer groomers- the club may be working with the city to provide trail grooming. It is one way to make sure we continue to have groomed trails to ski on. Talk is in the air of having a club ski day at various venues. We hope to post on the club website and Facebook page so that members are in the loop and included in the “where to go”. Door Creek, Governor Nelson and Nordic trails are possible gatherings. points. January 21 is the date for the McCarthy Park festival so put that on your calendars. McCarthy park has the potential to be a great East Side venue as it is larger than Elver and has an active “Friends” group committed to cross-country skiing. The Mad Nor Ski board recently authorized some funds to help provide rolling of the trails.

Be sure to put Winterfest on your calendars, February 18th & 19th, the club has always had a great presence at this marquee event. It is awesome to ski around the capitol at night! The board continues to look for a event/publicity chair, so speak up and tell a board member if you want to join up. All we need now is some snow! Keep your skis pointed downhill! Rob & Bill

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Door Creek Trail Update

The initial Door Creek ski trail system is to be comprised primarily of three trails running the length of the park. A few cutoffs and connectors promise to add some diversity. The two outer trails will be one way from the North parking lot to the south. The east trail will accommodate skaters (next year) and the west trail classic skiers. A rendezvous with the center trail at the south end will allow all skiers to head back to the north end.

As many of you who are on the Nordic list-serve “xc@lists.danenet.org” may remember from this summer, Madison Parks took action to re-visit an unworkable agreement with adjacent landowners that had stymied building the west, classic-only trail for several years. The result of this effort, as well as adequate funding, is that this beautiful, wooded, winding trail has finally been built. The central trail had been brushed out a couple years ago.

Unfortunately, the east trail for skaters cannot be completed until the city gets new culverts in place to cross Door Creek. Funds for installing these next summer are in the city’s budget (to be voted on mid-November).

This season the two current trails only will be groomed for striding when enough snow permits equipment to move safely over the new trail beds, which may be somewhat erratic. But that shouldn’t stop us from skiing them anytime!

So, if you are in the mood for a little adventure this winter, drive to the east end of Milwaukee St. and find the new north end parking lot off of Littlemore Drive. To find the trails, ski south across the adjacent field. Cross the small feeder creek over the large road culvert, or with adequate snow, just ski over it. The classic route to the south winds up the hill into the woods to the right. There should be small signs at both that trail head and the center return trail so you know where they are, but feel free to explore in the park wherever you dare!

Brock Woods

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Team Racing at the Elver Race Series This Year

NEW FOR 2012: There will be team racing this year as part of the Elver Race Series. There will be two categories of teams, female only and “open”.  Open can be any combination of males or females (all male is ok).  A team may consist of 3-5 skiers. Only the top three skiers from a team will score points for the team on any given night. The racers on any one team DO NOT have to be in the same race (they do have to be skiing on the same night). Scoring for a team will happen in the same manner as individuals. Your finish place in your race (separated by gender, but not age) is your point value.   A perfect team score for a night would be three, from 3 different first place race finishes. At the end of the season a team must have scores from all but one race.  For example, if all six races are held a team’s top 5 scores will be used.  If only five races are held a total from 4 races will be used.

There is no extra fee for registering a team, but all the skiers on a team must be entered as season skiers.

Additionally, we are looking for people with interest in helping out with the ski races at Elver this year.  We will have our one and only meeting of the year for planning this Tuesday night. Come join us at the meeting, if you can’t come to that you can still sign up to help us.  Respond to me (Greg) at 7771jones@gmail.com

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