12 Trails of Christmas: Aspen Trail to the Haunted Forest Trail

If you're looking for the perfect place for an afternoon of snowshoeing you can't go wrong from the Happy Jack trailhead. We love Happy Jack so much we're talking about it again, with another route to check out, the Aspen Trail to the Haunted Forest Trail. To get here start at the Happy Jack trailhead, head left at the base of the hill following the blue diamond markers on the trees. The trail will head toward the Pole Creek campground but keep going and head to the right before you get to the campground. You'll climb a little bit until…

12 Trails of Christmas: Happy Jack

We love Happy Jack. Not just because it's a 15 minute commute from our garage to the trailhead but because Happy Jack combines the perfect trifeca of a wicked fast sledding hill with winter trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Sure, you can also fat bike and snowboard on the trails from the Happy Jack trailhead too so I guess that would make it the perfect quintfecta. We also love that the Happy Jack trailhead is just a wee bit more protected from the wind than the Tie City trailhead. (Notice I said wee bit, no part of Pole Mountain is…

How To Teach a Toddler to XC Ski

This is the final post of our Cross-Country ski series for the winter. I like to think that we saved the best topic for last. It's also a topic that probably applies to just a few of our readers. Today's post is about teaching a toddler to ski. Some of my earliest childhood memories are of wearing my red and white polar bear ski's inside of my parents house and moving awkwardly on ski's across the backyard. I'd even take them outside in the summer and try to ski on grass. My ski's were one of my favorite "toys"--in fact…

3 XC Ski Tips for Beginners

If you're new to the sport of cross-country skiing it can be a bit overwhelming thinking about everything from equipment to putting the actual mechanics of how to ski together. As I've coached new skiers ranging in age from toddlers to grandparents I've noticed a few trends out on the trails. Today's blog post is all about the best ski tips for beginners. 1) For a new skier figuring out balance on cross-country skis can be tricky. We need to be able to shift our weight to balance and glide on one ski and then the other ski. This is…

Groomed Ski Trails vs Ungroomed Ski Trails

One question that we've been asked lately is whether or not it's better for beginners to learn how to ski on groomed or ungroomed trails. Before we dive into this question it's best to break down the difference between groomed and ungroomed trails. Groomed trails are those which have been packed. Sometimes with just a snowmobile pulling a sled or at a larger ski area with a big groomer like you'd see at a downhill ski resort. Without getting into the mechanics of grooming it's important to know that groomed trails leave behind a sink-free layer of packed snow. This makes…

Hydration on the Ski Trails

It's easy to forget about hydration when it's a cold winter day and you're out on the trails. However, when you're working up a sweat cross-country skiing or snowshoeing (especially at altitude) it's vital to drink. There are several great options for hydration devices, each has it's pro's and con's, and those pro's and con's are more personal preference than anything else. Here are a few things that we do a few things to stay hydrated. If we know we're going to be going on a crazy hard or long ski, we pay attention to what we're eating and drinking…

Cross-Country Skiing On A Budget

Cross-country skiing is like most sports, you can drop a whole lot of money into fancy equipment, waxes, coaching, races, clothing and gear or you can invest very little money on the basics. When I was racing it was common for me to spend every cent that I earned at the ski shop. But for most people cross-country skiing can be done without breaking the bank. If you're looking to get into recreational nordic skiing here are 4 frugal ways to get out on the trails. Rent or buy used equipment. A few months ago we went into detail about…

How to get up when you fall on XC ski’s

When it comes to skiing we've all been there, trying to get up after a fall. It can be something as simple as a little fall while trying to put your ski's on or a major collision with a snow bank during a backcountry adventure. So far in our cross-country ski series we discussed equipment, clothing, waxing skis, and a little bit about how to ski. Today's post is probably the most important of them all, how to get up when you fall on cross-country ski's. What's your most epic fall? Mine occurred when I was going off of a…

XC Skiing Downhill-The Step Turn

We're back today with the last video portion of our cross-country ski series. We're covering what I like to call 'the big 5' techniques of basic nordic skiing: the diagonal stride, double pole, herringbone, snowplow and today the step turn. The step turn is my favorite of downhill techniques on cross-country skis because unlike the snowplow it allows the skier to maintain their momentum while staying in control on a downhill. Speed is good on downhills, because often a downhill leads to an uphill and who wants to climb a hill if they could just use the momentum from a…

XC Skiing Downhill-The Snowplow

What goes up, must come down... Today we're sharing a simple video on the easiest of ski techniques for coming down a hill, the snowplow. This technique is very easy to learn and an important skill to have to maintain control on the downhill side of the trail. http://youtu.be/U3zD9qusM8U You can check out the other video's in our cross-country ski series by visiting our YouTube page.