It’s that time of year again, no, not time for staying warm indoors with a plate full of pumpkin pie! It’s time to go dig out all your cross country ski equipment, warm hat and gloves, and get outside! The Colorado Nordic Race Series begins January 21st, but in order to be a top contender, preparation starts before the snow flies.
What is the Colorado Nordic Race Series
Colorado Cross Country Ski Association is excited to announce the first annual Colorado Nordic Race Series. The series will consist of four races, the first race, hosted at Devil’s Thumb Ranch on Jan. 21st, is the 30 km Stagecoach Classic. The second race is the 42k skate-style Alley Loop Nordic Marathon hosted at Crested Butte Nordic on Feb. 4th. Just one week later, on Feb. 12th, from Snowmass Village to Aspen, is the 21k classic Owl Creek Chase. The series finishes up on March 11th at Snow Mountain Ranch with the 50k Snow Mountain Stampede.
Each race finishes as a celebration. The Stagecoach Classic finishes with a post-race barbecue and beer garden, and the Snow Mountain Stampede concludes with a barbecue. The celebrations honor the dedication of each athlete participating in the series, whether skiers come out to fulfill their competitive spirit, or just to have a good time exercising while surrounded by the beauty of a Colorado winter.
For those who are competitive, prizes are on the line. In order to qualify for grand prizes, a skier must complete at least three of the four races. Scores are based off the average of a skier’s top three placements, with the lowest score winning. For example, if a skier places third in a race, their score for that race will be three. Prizes are awarded to the top three male and female finishers of the race series and each age division.
Learn About the Colorado Nordic Race Series
Preparation Tips & Motivation
For those who question whether or not this series is for them, the answer is absolutely, yes! Cross country, or Nordic, skiing is one sport that really is for people of all ages and skill levels. Jana Hlavarty, at Keystone Nordic, skied on Team USA in the 1976 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria. She suggests establishing a firm starting day to prepare for ski season. No more thinking you’ll pick it up the next day, no more excuses. She also recommends taking a lesson first, either to learn the mechanics of Nordic skiing, or to get back into the groove. The next weekend after a lesson, go out and practice what you learned. Start with at least 20 minutes, just to see how you feel. A few days later, train in the gym to keep your muscles loose. And sometimes, it’s easier to practice with a friend.
The more skiers invest in the sport, the more likely they are to stick with it. Hlavarty says skiers should consider taking classes or working with a trainer, if they feel that this is something they are serious about pursuing. And most importantly, Hlavarty says, if you don’t get the hang of Nordic skiing at first, you are one of many who, like yourself, did not start out a natural. Keep working toward your goals, and remember that even the Olympians began their love for the sport as “novices straggling”.