Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

The Cross Country Ski Team is Ready!


Girls at the chilly “skate” race on January 5th!

Prior Lake High School’s Nordic Ski Team started November 13th and they’re praying for snow! Head Coach Kevin Panzer, along with assistant coaches Mark and Heidi O’Connor and Joe Deutsch are pushing their skiers to work hard and “Up-hill funk it up!”

The skiers are encouraged to “snow dance” to make snow fall! Coach Panzer claims “kids haven’t been doing enough snow dances because there is barely any snow!” But what do skiers do when there isn’t any snow? Well they either run, which is super fun (not), or they roller ski.

Roller skiing is a training exercise cross country skiers use when there isn’t any snow. Roller skis are ski-like rollerblades with a long hard surface, shorter than a normal ski, with two wheels, one on each end.

The roller skis are used to practice skiing techniques without snow. Coach Panzer starts his rookies off on these fast-moving roller skis to learn the different types of gears and when to use them.

For example, one frequently used gear is called the “V2 Alternate” which is a push-glide motion and roller skiers use their poles to push off and glide on their skis. This gear is often used on slight downhills and flat surfaces to keep speed because its a very gliding gear.

Not only do these roller skis help cross county skiers practice their form, but there are actual competitions held to race on them. The first roller ski race took place November 30 at Cleary Park. Prior Lake hosted the SSC roller ski race. Prior lake did great on this roller ski race and raised the bar high for the rest of the season.

With Hyland’s man made snow, skiers often train on the tracks that they race on. Hyland contains one 3K and one 5K that most skiers work on. If you’ve ever talked to a skier about Hyland’s 5K, they’ve probably mentioned “The Wall” which is the hardest part about Hyland’s 5K course and requires the most work. This steep uphill brings fear to many skiers, until they realize you have to go down it also. This hill gives way to many wipeouts and “snow plows” (when a skier forms a V with their skis to slow themselves down). Personally, this hill scared me at first, but once I went down it a couple times and fell a few more times, I learned.

With the lack of snow this winter season, Prior Lake has only had a couple races. The varsity team started their racing season January 2nd and the junior varsity  started their racing season on January 5th. The team has done both classic and skate technique races.

Cross country skiing has two techniques used for two different purposes, with different motions and gears. The skate technique of Nordic skiing looks like your normal skiing. It’s a lot like rollerblading but with poles and on snow. The skate skis have normal glide wax to make racers go faster. On the other hand, classic skis are used in the “tracks” at Hyland and looks like running. This technique requires skis with both kick and glide wax. Kick wax for sticky skis to get a good kick, while glide wax for smooth skis to get a good glide.

Not only does a beautiful snow blizzard bring angry commuters and angry teenagers, but it brings happy skiers and a fun time skiing. “Up hill funk you up!”