The Clinic

by Eric Hamilton
July 1999

It wasn't noticeable at first, but the heavy, damp air began to drip. Excited about seeing an enthusiastic bunch of skiers for the first time in months, nobody seemed to notice or care. Twenty-eight coaches and athletes of all ages from Bill Koch youth to masters joined under a miserable grey ski in a large parking lot of the Adirondack Community College on July 15. As we were getting paperwork out of the way the drizzle turned into a steady rain.

Tom Moffett, who along with Pat Clancy had the brainchild for the clinic, introduced the coaches for the day: Rene Clarke, Jenny Lane, Deb Nordyke, Bill Parks, and Curt Schreiner. Curt started off the session with a sobering, but comprehensive discussion of safety considerations when roller skiing. From there we divided into two groups for a progression of technique from double poling, to V1, then the V2 alternates, and finishing up with V2 skate just before we broke for a quick lunch. Precipitation progressed into a steady rain as we moved through the skills, but no one seemed to mind as long as we kept moving.

Participants wolfed down what they had brought for lunch and many tried out one or more of a collection of roller skis that Dave Matthews had brought from Inside Edge/Reliable Racing. The rain did abate noticeably so that sandwiches didn't get too soggy.

The afternoon sessions covered the finer points of balance and ideas for a "skier's bag of tricks", like marathon skate and drafting a faster skier. Curt Schreiner and Bill Parks wrapped up the clinic with a technical discussion and demonstration of hill bounding, power hiking, plyometrics and other things you can do to add variety to your training schedule (as well as make you self conscious when a neighbor finds you doing them in the woods).

The whole session was wrapped up with a fun raffle drawing of merchandise for those who had renewed their NYSSRA membership for the coming season. All 28 went home with some new insight into some part of his or her technique to improve, strong reinforcement of good habits, exposure to some top quality coaching, a trunk full of wet clothing and equipment, and a warm feeling of camaraderie that a few hours with other Nordic ski enthusiasts always brings. And I came home with 18 renewals that I can do now rather than during the frantic rush this fall.

Thanks to all those involved in putting on this clinic. Obviously I felt that it was a great success, and further goes to prove that the worst day on skis (even rollerskis), sure beats a "Honey-do" Saturday!