SkiTrax - - Contents - By J.D. Down­ing

by J.D. Down­ing

As the 2015/16 sea­son goes in the books, there's a bunch of Mas­ters items large and small on my list to cover, so here goes on a grab-bag of them.

Snow and Weather - Our Shared Con­cern

I've writ­ten and talked about it time and again in the past decade. Cli­mate change is a clear and present dan­ger to the com­pet­i­tive end of our sport. As of 2016, that dan­ger is at the crit­i­cal stage.

It is just not re­al­is­tic to think that a num­ber of ski events across the North­ern Hemi­sphere can con­tinue when, nearly ev­ery year, wide swaths of the cross-coun­try-ski world are suf­fer­ing from poor-to-hor­rid snow con­di­tions.

Al­ready we are see­ing the ef­fects in the form of a weak­en­ing ski industry, clear de­clines in the num­ber of mo­ti­vated Mas­ters and a re­duc­tion in the num­ber of lo­cal races – all trends that are world­wide.

We all know that so­lu­tions en­com­pass much more than the cross-coun­try-ski world. But one thing we can do an­nu­ally is to take proac­tive steps to make our sport more re­silient be­fore the com­ing years and decades force our hand. What can you do this off-sea­son to make a dif­fer­ence?

Go­ing To Pump You Up Guys

Given the many hats I wear with the World Mas­ters As­so­ci­a­tion, I see many award cer­e­monies at the Mas­ters World Cup ev­ery year. Re­cently, I've be­gun to pay at­ten­tion to an amaz­ingly con­sis­tent phys­i­cal fea­ture of men of nearly all ages who stand atop the medal podium.

One phys­i­cal char­ac­ter­is­tic that at least the male Mas­ters World Cup medal­ists nearly uni­ver­sally share is a vis­i­bly prom­i­nent mus­cu­la­ture in the up­per arms, specif­i­cally, large bi­ceps and vis­i­ble mus­cu­lar def­i­ni­tion through­out the shoul­ders.

While not sci­en­tific, it jives with what re­searchers and coaches world­wide have been say­ing for years about up­per-body power mak­ing all the dif­fer­ence.

Very no­tably, you don't see the same vis­ual dif­fer­ence with women, and I'm still work­ing on some po­ten­tial rea­sons why.

Cross-coun­try Flu­oro Wax­ing - What We Leave Be­hind

Most skiers are aware of the dan­gers as­so­ci­ated with speedy pow­ders, blocks and/or liq­uid flu­oro waxes and use a mask or work in a well-ven­ti­lated lo­ca­tion.

Yet re­cent re­search con­sis­tently shows that cross-coun­try flu­oro wax­ing leaves traces on the snow long af­ter we've com­pleted our rac­ing.

While the fumes dur­ing the process dis­si­pate quickly they don't mag­i­cally “dis­ap­pear” once into the global at­mos­phere. The par­ti­cles left be­hind by flu­o­ros are also a sig­nif­i­cant prob­lem. We can sweep up a wax­ing lo­ca­tion all we want, but some flu­oro dust is al­ways go­ing to re­main some­where.

Re­search is find­ing residue from flu­o­ros in the soil where we ski. Thou­sands of lop­pet skiers can leave be­hind a no­tice­able amount of flu­oro in the snow, which even­tu­ally melts, tak­ing the by-prod­ucts into the soil. If it's in the soil, it's sim­ply a mat­ter of time be­fore it's in the wa­ter ta­ble and sur­round­ing plant mat­ter, then onto an­i­mal life and, ul­ti­mately, all of us.

I ad­mit that I'm still try­ing to work it out in my head what our next move should be as a sport. But I do know that, as with cli­mate re­siliency, Mas­ters have to step up to the plate and act.

Get Your Mas­ters Cross-coun­try In­for­ma­tion Year-round!

Here's yet another re­minder that the best source of cross-coun­try-ski in­for­ma­tion for Mas­ter skiers is via mem­ber­ship in Amer­i­can XC Skiers (AXCS). The ac­claimed AXCS Spring and Sum­mer Di­gest is­sues will be com­ing to mem­bers this off-sea­son, filled with ex­clu­sive con­tent from around the cross-coun­try-ski world. With both U.S. and in­ter­na­tional mem­ber­ship pack­ages, there's some­thing for ev­ery Mas­ter at a low cost.

Sign up to­day on­line at xc­ski­!

With so many is­sues fac­ing the cross-coun­try-ski world from cli­mate change to fluro waxes Mas­ters have to step up to the plate and act.

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