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Skiing


Weekend Skiing

From December to March, the skiers meet for breakfast at 9:00 AM every Saturday at the Swedish Pancake House, 3600 N. Main St., Rockford, at North Towne Mall. You are welcome to come to breakfast and just socialize, even if you don't ski.

If there is snow within reasonable driving distance, Sunday's skiing location will be selected.

After the breakfast the interested people go skiing locally.
Check out the Event Calendar for the latest information. 
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Cross Country Skiing with the Club

Ski Touring

The BBSC is not just about bicycling. Once the weather gets too cold and the snow has covered the Midwest many members take to the cross-country trails, both locally and in Wisconsin.

Local Ski Areas

Local ski areas are not ignored. Members often get together after the ski breakfast or arrange to meet and ski later or on Sunday. Rock Cut State Park is an excellent area when we have the snow. Trails are groomed for skate skiers and there are tracked trails as well for the striders. Trails are rolling with some hills and flats are also found here. Trails and conditions can be found on the Northern Illinois Nordic web at: (www.ninordic.org).

  • Sinnissippi Golf Course in Rockford has tracked/groomed trails when the weather permits and is a slight challenge due to the hilly terrain. This course can be skied at night. Rockford Park District information is available at: (www.rockfordparks.org).
  • A few Winnebago County Forest Preserves (www.wcfpd.org), the Boone County Conservation Areas, and the Byron Forest Preserve in Ogle County are alternatives to the trails mentioned above. None of these are groomed or maintained, but many locals ski them and usually one can find tracks to follow. McHenry County (www.mccdistrict.org) also has several areas groomed for skiers.
  • Nearby in Wisconsin many fine ski sites can be reached within a two or three hour drive. These include the John Muir and Nordic trails in Walworth County, McMiller and Scuppernong Trails in Waukesha County. The Madison area has Elver Park and other places nearby. Most are available on the Wisconsin State Tourism Website (www.travelwisconsin.com) or the Madison Nordic Ski Club site (www.madnorski.org).

Through special events, including moonlight skiing, lessons or trips to nearby trail sites, BBSC encourages its members to enjoy winter on skis. Check the BBSC or Northern Illinois Nordic web sites for details. Hey, it’s a great way to stay fit for the biking season!


Out of Town Ski Trips for BBSC Members: The BBSC schedules several trips to Wisconsin ski centers. These vary in time from a weekend to weeklong. A weeklong trip the week after Christmas is one of the more anticipated trips. Some come for the week and others for a shorter time. Lodging is at a local motel and the group usually meets for breakfast and dinner. A New Year’s Eve feast is one of the highlights of the trip. Oh yes, we do get in lots of skiing. Other weekend trips are often scheduled in February or March, snow conditions permitting. See the club’s web site for information

Ski Breakfasts: A favorite activity of both skiers and non-skiing BBSC members are the Ski Breakfasts. Each Saturday in December, January and February, members meet at 9am at a restaurant that is located near some of our local trails. Some people ski prior to eating, and others may head for the trails afterward. All members are welcome whether they ski or not. The Ski Touring Chairperson usually has information on ski conditions throughout Illinois and nearby sites in Wisconsin. Future trips are usually discussed at these informal meetings.

Groomed Trails in Winnebago County

  • Rock Cut State Park: Rock Cut is groomed at least weekly with areas for both skating and classical skiing. Terrain varies from gentle to rolling with a few good hills.
  • Rockford Park District: Skiing is allowed on all city golf courses but please stay off the greens.
  • Sinnissippi Golf Course: Groomed regularly for both classical and skate skiing. The 84 mile loop has gentle and rolling terrain with one significant hill.
  • Sandy Hollow Nordic Center: Due to financial constraints, the Park District no longer grooms and tracks this golf course.

Suitable Forest Preserve Trails

In early 2000, the Cross Country Ski Advisory Committee was created for the Winnebago County Forest Preserve District. One of the projects that the committee took on was to visit various preserves and research their suitability for cross-country skiing. The table below lists the preserves they identified as being best for skiing and the estimated trail lengths.

Note: Skiers need to take snow conditions into consideration as District trails are not groomed.


Cross Country Skiing with the Club

Forest Preserve

Trail Length

Blackhawk Springs

4

Hononegah

1.2

Kieselburg

4

Kishwaukee Gorge

1.5

Kishwaukee River

1.8

Espenscheid (access via Blackhawk

2

Springs)

 

Pecatonica River (lower portion)

3

Oak Ridge

6

Deer Run (formerly Cherry Valley)

4

Seward Bluffs

2

Sugar River

.5

Sugar River Alder

4

Colored Sands

2

 

To find these preserves, call 877-6100 and ask for the free trail brochures and maps. The Winnebago Forest Preserve District web site also has maps and information (ww.wcfpd.org).

Although some of the preserve gates will be locked, cross-country skiers are allowed in the preserves after dark. Many of the access roads allow room for skiers to park their cars off the roadway in front of the locked gates including: Kieselburg, Hononegah, Kishwaukee River (west), Seward Bluffs, Sugar River, Pecatonica River, Deer Run and Kishwaukee Gorge. Gates will be open at Oak Ridge and Blackhawk Springs (Perryville). (Excerpts taken from “Cross Country Skiing in the Preserves” by Jamie Johannsen.)


Tips on Cross Country Ski Equipment

Skis: For a first pair of skis, waxless touring skis (classical) are good because they are easy to use and preparation is minimal. They are inexpensive and will continue to be useful even if you purchase more advanced skis later. A good example would be the Fischer Summit Crown. It is narrow enough to fit in track yet wide enough to use for bushwacking ungroomed trails (like the Forest Preserves in Winnebago County). Touring skis are wider than performance skis and work well in both ungroomed snow and most track conditions. (The main exception is an icy track where only klister will grip.)

Boots: Do not skimp on boots. Get a good pair. The compromise of combi skis (skis for both skate and classic technique) has had limited success, but some of the combi boots available really do work quite well for both techniques. They allow some forward flex for classical skiing but maintain torsional stability for skating. Food for thought if you think you might want to employ both ski techniques in the future.

Poles: A $40 dollar set of fiberglass poles will work just fine. In poles extra money goes into lightness and stiffness that the beginning skier may not need. There is one exception. The new advanced grips and straps are really nice and are not standard on the entry-level poles. You should check them out to see if you think they are worth the extra money. Some skiers have replaced the grips on their old poles with the newer grips.

  • Length: When you are standing on the floor, a classical pole should come up to/or between the middle of your shoulder and the top of your shoulder.
  • Skating poles should be from chin high to the bottom of your nose. In both cases, there are a couple of inches for personal preference. Competitive skiers are generally skiing longer classical poles than they did 10 years ago, but skating poles have become shorter. Some of the change may be the result of better equipment.

Skating Skis: Skating is nice in Illinois because it can extend your season when snow conditions aren't fit for classical skiing. Skating skis are typically 10 to 15 cms shorter than classical skis although there are some very short models available. "Shorties" can be fun but a full-length skate ski will yield greater push off as well as more glide. The short skis are easier for some people to maneuver, especially on narrow trails. Advanced skiers with good balance and strength prefer the additional glide and stability of normal length skating skis (still 10-

1 5cms shorter than classical skis).


Cross Country Skiing with the Club

  • Your first pair of skating skis should be the midline flex (universal) for your weight. As you get more involved with skate skiing, you may want skis with different flexes for different conditions.

Waxable Classical Skis: Some ski manufacturers offer short classical skis, and there are folks that love them. Long skis give more glide for the stride but take more skill on downhill corners. Again the advanced skier prefers the traditional length ski for classical skiing. It is very important to get the right flex if you spend the money for a higher performance ski. Body weight is the largest single factor in determining what flex a ski should be.

Other Tips on Classical and Skating Skis: Fit and camber are important on both classical and skating skis. Good ski shops can and do check the flex of all the higher end skis. Pick a pair that works for the skier's weight and the type of conditions the ski will be used for.

Classical skis should fit your weight. Shops that specialize in XC equipment can 11t \RXE\ 341RCHDOKi111D2 D\s I RRGARU HtAR D g RRGANA41RSCI \RXFDCu especially to try on boots.

Whatever you decide to get for second or even third pair of skis do not retire your big waxless skis. They will serve you for many years. Even if you become Joe Nordski XCSki Pro, there will be times when you just want to get into the woods on ungroomed trails.

You do not need to spend $300 or $400 to get a high performing ski. The main difference between a $430 ski and a $230 ski is about 150 grams. You often get the same profile and the same base on the 2nd line performance or sport ski. The top line skis are specifically made for competition.

Classical ski waxing is a little more complex because tips and tails of the skis are glide waxed while the middle or kick zone is waxed to grab the surface of the snow and allow kick.

  • Some skis have 3 kick zones marked on the base. Kick zones on classical skis are waxed at different lengths for different conditions. Long for powder snow, medium for hard pack, and short for klister conditions. Experiment to find what is working best.

Skate skis are glide waxed only. Because skating skis are in constant motion on the snow glide wax wears off more quickly on them. They need to be glide waxed more often.


  • Wax can be very expensive but does not have to be. The benefit of more expensive flouro wax is most notable on old snow in warmer temperatures and high humidity. The low flouro glide waxes are a very good compromise; they give a good bang for the buck. They will help your glide on old dirty snow. Unless you are a serious competitor, the high flouro waxes are too much money for marginally better performance. Graphite or Moly glide waxes are reasonably priced and also make a worthwhile contribution to performance in cold and dirty snow. The technology works, but the best value is in the "middle waxes."

Look at each manufacturer's list of waxes and decide which brand you want to get based on your understanding of their system. You don't need to get fancy; simple works well in most conditions.

Equipment for waxing: For the beginning ski waxer, the bare necessities for waxing are an iron, a scraper and a nylon brush. As you ski more you will want to get a profile bench to secure skis while you wax them. Horsehair or combination horsehair/nylon brushes are also useful for removing different waxes from the ski base. (Wax should be in the ski base, not on it.) The serious skier will eventually acquire tools for structuring ski bases for different conditions. These may include a variety of brushes and rilling tools. A nylon Roto brush can greatly reduce time in the wax room for beginners as well as advanced cross country skiers.

Roller Skiing can extend your ski season. It is also a very good way to learn skate skiing. Skating on skate type roller skis is very close to skate skiing on snow skis. It is important to wear a bike helmet and appropriate clothing (reflective tape and/or a flashing light). The newest roller skis have large wheels that are less vulnerable to lock ups from sticks or rocks. Some can even be skied on crushed lime trails.

  • Classical roller skis are also available. They require additional skill and balance and do not mimic snow skiing quite as well.