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Nordic ski events this week in Pagosa Country

By James Dickhoff
Special to The PREVIEW

The Pagosa Nordic Club hosts the Pagosa Nordic Season Opener X-C Ski challenge, this week, Friday, Dec. 13-Sunday, Dec. 15, featuring masters cross-country ski champion and inspirational speaker Murray Banks.

On Friday, Banks will teach a cross-country ski waxing clinic from 6-8 p.m. at the Alpen Haus Ski Center, located at 2800 Cornerstone Drive in the Plaza at Aspen Village shopping center, (731-7547). Banks is on the Toko Wax Tech Team and will use anecdotes, examples and demonstrations to demystify the nuances of waxing classic skis and skate skis. He will start at the very beginning, with cleaning off dirt and old wax, then take you through layering both kick and glide waxes. He’ll discuss why you would choose hydrocarbon, low or high flouro waxes, how to heat in the binder, which brushes work best for different waxes and, finally, the application of Jet Stream. As an added bonus, Banks will give away Toko Wax product prizes for those who can answer bonus questions.

Like many of us, Banks has limited time for ski prep, so he will help us streamline our time and reduce our stress, while getting the fastest skis possible.

Banks is a two-time masters cross-country skiing world champion, so he will share some hilarious and inspiring race stories from the masters world championships in Italy, Norway, Switzerland, Canada and the U.S.A. Toko Wax and tools will be offered at special discounted prices if you order at the wax clinic. A small donation of $5 will be requested at the door. Please e-mail your R.S.V.P. to pagosanordic@gmail.com.

On Saturday, Banks will teach two of his inspirational skate ski clinics. An advanced skate skier clinic will be conducted 9-11 a.m. and an intermediate clinic will be held 1-3 p.m. This is a must clinic for aspiring intermediate and advanced skate skiers. With three world championships under his belt, Banks shares many new techniques that have been developed over the last five years or so, that will change the way you skate ski by making more efficient use of your energy and increasing your skate skiing enjoyment.  The $30 per clinic fee ($25 for Pagosa Nordic members) will be the best money you spend all winter. Please e-mail your R.S.V.P. to pagosanordic@gmail.com if you would like to reserve your spot for a clinic, indicating your ability level as intermediate or advanced, and you will receive a response with more detailed information. The clinic will be held in Alberta Park at the Wolf Creek Ski Area. Park your vehicle at the end of the Tranquility Parking lot and follow the signs down to Alberta Park.

Later on Saturday afternoon, 4-7 p.m., Pagosa Nordic will host the season’s first free Moonrise/Sunset soup and chili X-C Ski Social, to be held at the Alberta Park Nordic Trail at Wolf Creek Ski Area.  All ages and all ability skiers are invited to come join in the fun. You will enjoy an easy ski under the colorful skies and meet back at the trailhead for soup, chili and hot cocoa around a warm campfire. This is a great, family friendly activity. You can bring something to share, though it is not required. Dress warm and bring your headlamp or flashlight and chair, if desired.

On Sunday, Dec. 15, Banks will join Pagosa Nordic for a Biathlon X-C Ski Race. Using Red Ryder BB guns, skiers will compete in either a 12k competitive, 6k citizens or 3k kids race, with three opportunities to shoot at targets in between course laps. The secret to this race is to slow down your heart rate between ski laps to ensure an accurate target shoot. The event is a freestyle ski event in which participants can either classic ski or skate ski. Prizes for top finishers as well as participant drawing giveaways. The Red Ryder BB gun biathlon has been Pagosa Nordic’s most popular race during the winter. Registration fee is $20 for PNC members, $30 for non-members and $10 for kids under 16. The event will be held in Alberta Park at the Wolf Creek Ski Area. Send an R.S.V.P. to pagosanordic@gmail.com, and you will receive a response with more details.

Current Pagosa Springs area groomed cross-country ski trails open for your skiing enjoyment include 10k at Alberta Park, compliments of the Wolf Ski Area, accessed from the end of the tranquility parking lot at the ski area. Trail use is compliments of the ski area. Also, with all the recent fresh snow, Pagosa Nordic has been able to groom 8k at the West Fork, located 15 miles east of Pagosa Springs on U.S. 160 — look for the West Fork sign and be prepared to make a left-hand turn. If the road is not plowed, you should park along U.S. 160 on the north side of the road, but off of the pavement.  Conditions at these two locations are excellent and all trails are groomed wide for skate skiing with set tracks for classic skiing.  Additional area trails will be groomed as snow conditions permit.

Pagosa Nordic is a non profit, 100-percent volunteer organization with a mission “To enhance winter recreational opportunities in Pagosa Springs by maintaining accessible groomed winter trails for skate skiing, classic cross country skiing and snowshoeing for all ability levels and to encourage and promote the use of these winter trails through education, marketing and events.”

Pagosa Nordic invites anyone interested in volunteering with the club to contact pagosanordic@gmail.com. The Nordic Club needs interested individuals to help with trail grooming, marketing, event registration, race course monitoring, web page management and many other functions.

Cross-country ski trail grooming reports and events schedules can be viewed at PagosaNordic.com. Pagosa Nordic operates on club memberships, donations and sponsorships from the community.

Grab your skis and we’ll see you on the trails!

This story was posted on December 12, 2013.