Nordic skiers enjoy day at the track |

Nordic skiers enjoy day at the track

Joel Stonington
Erik Hvoslef, left, and Nelson Oldham, technicians for Toko, wax skis Saturday during the Cross Country Ski Extravaganza at the Aspen Cross Country Center. (Mark Fox/The Aspen Times)

Therese Alpern, her son Eli, 10, and daughter Sadie, 9 don’t have nordic gear, but they like to glide around the cross-country track.So they come out to get outfitted and ski at the annual Cross Country Ski Extravaganza on Saturday at the Aspen public golf course. “We did this last year,” Eli said. “It’s fun taking our dog out there.”Sadie said she fell a few times but otherwise they were having a great time.The event – which included free demos, lessons, food, waxing and prizes – brought hundreds out on a blazingly sunny day. Austin Weiss, the nordic trail coordinator for the city of Aspen, said he was excited to see the great turnout for the annual event. “It’s one of the largest free nordic systems in the country,” he said. “We’re grooming all the way down to the Basalt High School. We even have people commuting to work on cross-country skis these days.”Weiss has been cross-country skiing for 38 years and talked excitedly about the 100-kilometer trail system he oversees.

“One of our gem trails is the Owl Creek Trail,” he said, where on Feb. 11, the Owl Creek Chase for the second time will be a Super Tour nordic racing event. “There will be elite skiers from around the country,” he said, “about 150 racers.” Though there were some serious racers out at the extravaganza, there were also plenty of people trying their nordic legs out for the first time, taking beautiful spills and falling all over the place. Dave Peterson, manager of the Aspen Cross Country Center, said there were many beginners trying out equipment.”We’ve got a good turnout,” he said. “Typically we’ll get about 300 people for this event.”Pierre Pelletier, a native Aspenite, was one of the tech reps on the scene for Swix. “I’m out here to support nordic skiers,” he said, “the fun part is to get people out on the skis.”Nelson Oldham, a small-business owner, was out representing Toko, a wax company. By noon he had waxed about 30 pairs of skis and by 2 he was still waxing as quickly as he could.There was also Nancy Stevens, a spokeswoman for Challenge Aspen out talking up their expanding nordic program. “We’re doing two guide clinics,” she said, “to teach blind skiers to do cross country.” The clinics will be held Jan 10 and 14 at the Aspen Cross Country Center. Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is

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