Cross Country Skier Early Winter 2021

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On the cover: On a near-zero-degree morning in late March in Crested Butte, Colorado, Xavier Fane captured this unknown skier on Mike's Mile, one of the Nordic center's most remote trails with Mt. Crested Butte behind. "To me," Fane says, "it denotes the peacefulness of a cold, calm spring morning during the time when COVID was just getting going." [Photo] Xavier Fane

FEATURES

The Fastest Race on Cross Country Skis
Almost from the time the sprint made its World Cup debut in 1996—25 years ago this season—North American cross country skiers have been adept at it. Canadian Beckie Scott's first World Cup podium came in a sprint. So did those of U.S. skiers Kikkan Randall, Jessie Diggins and Andy Newell. This has led some to claim that the cross country sprint started on American snow. Peggy Shinn digs deep to find out from where the sprint came and why Americans are so good at it.

In Pursuit of New Targets
In March, two months after Stina Nilsson left the Tour de Ski and the World Cup Circuit with a stress fracture in a rib, the two-time Olympian and Swedish powerhouse made a major announcement: she would be switching from pure cross country to biathlon. To understand what it takes to make such a move, Danny Kuzio speaks with Nilsson, decorated U.S. biathlete Susan Dunklee and longtime biathlete and coach John Morton before heading to the new rollerski track at Vermont's Craftsbury Outdoor Center to refocus his own sights.

DEPARTMENT CONTENTS

Mass Start

Editor's Note
The Dark Times

WaxBox

Gallery

Essay
Learning to downshift through Bill Koch League, how COVID-19 made us all a bit more Norwegian and the Christmas gift that keeps on giving.

Nordic Nation

Hotspots
The coronavirus pandemic has reshaped nearly everything about our lives, and its influence on skiing will be no different. To learn how COVID-19 will affect cross country centers and trailheads this winter, we consider how hotspots like Crested Butte, Colorado, and Park City, Utah, handled last season and what they have planned for this year.

Overland: Cable, Wisconsin's World Cup Trail
The American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation celebrates history and looks to the future on the 50th anniversary of northern Wisconsin's first World Cup race.

Destination

Beyond the Birkie
The 2020 Birkebeiner had been a success. As a darkness began to cast its shadow across the winter landscape, two skiers left northern Wisconsin for their home in Vermont, visiting as many cross country centers as they could along the way.

The Final Stretch

Back Shop
How to increase double-poling power. And the foundations and drills to improve descending skill and confidence.

Gearbag

Perspective
Bryan Schaeffer's art of cross country.

Senior Moment
Neighborhood Nordic

Photo Finish
Dumpster Diving

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