Hoppet, Looking Back & Other Stuff

Hoppet – Do It Your Way … a huge success

The Australian and international skiing community has rallied around the 2020 Kangaroo Hoppet, with 1894 participants from 37 nations taking part in the virtual “Do It Your Way” version of the event. Previous record from the mid nineteen nineties was just over 1600 from 24 nations. 

Entries included 475 internationals with their activities spread across all seven continents. In what is probably a world first for a virtual sporting event there a couple of people doing the Hoppet their way in Antarctica. Past event winners from Norway, Germany and the USA also took part. Activities included running, walking, cycling, swimming, roller skiing, inline skating, paddling, canoeing, mountain biking, exercise machines, unicycles and a tricycle, and, for the limited number of Australians with the opportunity to ski at Perisher, Falls Creek and Dinner Plain, cross country skiing.

Feedback from participants to the organisers has been overwhelmingly supportive of the virtual edition of the event, with many Victorians in stage 3 and 4 lock-down saying how great it was to have something positive to work towards while living with coronavirus restrictions.

  • Committee — Thanks to Ben Derrick (race director) and his team for the pre-season work that went into thinking up the virtual event idea and making it a reality. What a success.
  • Entries & Results — Thanks to Michael Trnka of Alpine Timing for all the IT skills associated with this task.
  • Merchandise — Thanks to Trish Cross for all the ordering and for the arranging of the helpers to distribute the T-shirts and Buffs.
  • Race Secretary — Thanks to Kerry Lucas for keeping the Hoppet Office ticking over during the season.
  • Media Liaison — Thanks to Allan Marsland for the work he does to put the Hoppet out there.
  • Entry1,894 as of 2nd September, 1,419 Australians, 37 nationalities completing their activities in 40 countries including Antarctica and 377 entries from the Upper Kiewa Valley. Countries with more than 20 participants – 123 USA citizens in 20 states, 66 Canadians, 46 Germans, 31 Finns, 28 UK, 22 New Zealand and 20 Swiss.
  • International entry — 475
  • No 1 Bib HolderMarg Hayes (Mount Beauty). Congratulations.

Hoppet – Do It Your Way Facebook page. View photos, comments and video [HERE].

Results – Participant photos available on the results webpage at https://www.alpinetiming.com.au/results/r135/ 

Hoppet Buffs — Many ways to wear your Buff. Click [HERE] to view a short 2-minute video of 14 ways to were it.

Left photo – Clancy Rosewarne & Lucie Mariethoz on their unicycles. Right photo – Lorice Vine on her tricycle

We all know the normal modes of Hoppeteering but there have some unique ones as well as illustrated above. We are also aware of a Melbourne lady (Sarah Low) swimming in the ocean for her 7km Joey challenge over a few days.

Committee Meeting Happenings

The Committee has been meeting monthly via video link using ZOOM. Items of business have included the following:

  • Constitution review.
  • Birkie Award Policy review.
  • Race Committee to develop a draft MOU with Snow Australia re conducting National Junior & Senior Championship Races.
  • Registering the club with the Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission (ACNC)
  • Discussion on the installation of a Webcam in the Nordic Bowl.
  • Search & Rescue Group have good numbers (20+).
  • Investigating options to remotely switch the clubhouse power on/off.

Colleen Bolton (NSW) — Snow Australia Medal Recipient

Collen competing in the 1992 Pub to Pub in Perisher Valley NSW

Colleen competed at 1980 Winter Olympic Games at Lake Placid – the first Australian women to be selected for a Winter Games. Two remarkable achievements that stand out and are not well know about her was the second-place finish in the 1980 Swedish Vassaloppet and second in the 1982 Norwegian Birkebeiner. Leading up to the Olympics Colleen completed in the USA National Championships finishing 4th, 5th & 6th in individual races and 4th fastest time in the relay. For her consistency, she was made the overall women’s champion at the titles. Nationally she won eight 5km and six 10km championship titles. She was a tough lady!

To view Colleen’s ski profile click [HERE]. It makes interesting reading.

Merino Muster (NZ) Virtual Event

The Virtual Merino Muster (NZ) is open until 20th September 2020. Many New Zealanders supported the Hoppet – Do It Your Way so let us support our neighbours across ‘the ditch’ by entering the Muster. Click [HERE] to enter. Look for the green button. Follow the action on the Virtual Merino Muster Facebook page. Click [HERE].

Looking WAY Back

The Skiing Swaggie – 1936

Late afternoon on 21 August 1936 four ski tourers stumbled into Cope Hut. The scarcity of firewood was totally unexpected as it was a tradition that hut users ensured ample supplies were always left for those that followed. The lack of firewood was attributed to a “hobo” found in the hut when the group arrived. Click [HERE] to read about this unusual encounter that made it into the newspapers at the time.

The 1st Birkebeiner – 1979 including Results

The club was only in its second winter when the committee at the time decided to organise a large citizens race named after the Norwegian Birkebeiner from which the club took its name. The course started on the other side of the Dam Wall and went to Watched Creek, Fitzgeralds Hut, Edmondsons Hut, Heathy Spur and finished in the Nordic Bowl a distance of 25km. The classic technique was used in those days. Participants had to carry a 5kg pack that symbolised the crown prince from the Birkebeiner legend. We had 84 finishes. To read about the event and view the results click [HERE].

Editor’s note — It is interesting to note that the 15th place-getter (out of 84 finishes) was 14 year old Chris Heberle (time – 1:57:32). In 1988 in Calgary Canada Chris was our first club member to represent Australia at a Winter Games. In 1991 (1st Hoppet) he appeared on the official Kangaroo Hoppet poster (see below).

Chris Heberle – Hoppet Poster 1991

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Birkies, Hoppet 2020 starts today

Hoppet 2020 – Do It Your Way

Birkies, support the 2020 virtual Hoppet by entering for only $10.00.
Click Hoppet 2020 – Do It Your Way to enter.

The Hoppet has been the main financial supporter of the Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club since the first event in 1991. In return, the club, the community and other supporters have provided the workforce needed to conduct this international skiing event. Here is your chance to be a participant instead of a volunteer. Club members are encouraged to support this year’s event and help make it the biggest event ever.

Entrants have from Monday 10th to Sunday 23rd August to complete their chosen distance in the activity of their choice at a venue of their choice, i.e. ski, run, jog, walk, cycle, swim, roller ski, rollerblade, rollerskate or canoe/kayak (or any combination). For those under stage 4 restrictions, your event can be completed over several days.

More detailsClick [HERE].

2020 AUSXC Awards

Snow Australia Cross Country Committee is proud to announce the winners of the 2020 AUSXC Awards. These awards celebrate and recognise the achievements and efforts of Australian skiers, coaches and volunteers over the 2019 Australian winter and the 2019-2020 northern hemisphere winter. Because of COVID-19, the 2020 awards were announced via Instagram in the last week of July.

Ewen Silvester VIC Volunteer of the Year – congratulations!

The full list of 2020 AUSXC Award winners is as follows:

  • Cross Country Skier of the Year: Jessica Yeaton
  • Coach of the Year: Callum Watson
  • U23 Skier of the Year: Seve de Campo
  • Junior Cross Country Skier of the Year: Bentley Walker-Broose
  • Rising Star (must be U18 in 2018): Zana Evans
  • Development Coach of the Year: Robert Catto-Smith
  • Youth Achievers (must be U16 in 2018): Heli Laajoki & Jayden Spring (Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club junior member. Congratulations Jayden)
  • Masters XC Skier of the Year: Jane Scheer
  • NSW Volunteer of the Year: Arnold D’Bras
  • ACT Volunteer of the Year: Geraldine Blanch
  • VIC Volunteer of the Year: Ewen Silvester
  • Special Achievement: Jessica Yeaton

Further details and images of all award winners can be viewed on the AUSXC Instagram account.

Looking Back – Hoppet Beginnings

From Allan Marsland re celebrity entrants for this year’s Hoppet

Our latest Hoppet 2020 celebrity entrant has been involved with the event since 1990, not a bad effort since the first Hoppet was held in 1991.

Bib number 6 goes to Tom Duffy from Hayward Wisconsin (USA), home of the American Birkebeiner, where Tom is still a member of the Board after more than 40 years involvement with the event. Tom has been involved with the Worldloppet ski federation since its inception in Uppsala (SWE) in 1978. Tom and his wife Carol have completed some 45 Worldloppet events between them with Carol holding Worldloppet Master medal #1 and Tom medal #3.

Tom’s involvement with the Kangaroo Hoppet began at a Worldloppet meeting in Hämeenlinna (Finland) in June 1990 when the Australian International Ski Marathon was a candidate for membership of the international series. The meeting appointed Tom Duffy (USA), along with Robert Steiner (AUT) and Rolf Kjaernsli (NOR) to visit the 1990 event and decide if it was good enough to become the eleventh member of Worldoppet. They gave the OK for the event to join, but recommended that the name be changed as Worldloppet already had two Birkebeiners (the original Birkebeiner in Norway and the American one) and a couple of international ski marathons (the Engadine in Switzerland and the Sapporo in Japan). After much discussion, allegedly involving some good North East Victorian red wine, the name Kangaroo Hoppet was created. Tom came back to Falls Creek for the first 1991 for the first Hoppet, bringing a number of his friends from Hayward to swell the international field, and visited again in 1992.

Tom Duffy at the inspection of the 1990 Australian International Ski Marathon.  l-r Rolf Kjaernsli (NOR), Robert Steiner (AUT), and Tom Duffy (USA)

Development of Skating

For decades, the skating techniques lay forgotten or ignored by racers, but in the 1970s they were reintroduced by Pauli Siitonen (FIN), whose contribution to popular racing (citizen/tour racing) and to cross country skiing, in general, cannot be overestimated. He popularized the Sitonen Step (later to be called the Marathon Skate). In the 1980s Bill Koch (USA) introduced it to the World Cup and in 1982 won the overall World Cup using primary skating techniques.

Read all about these two skiing innovators. Click [HERE].

Pauli Siitonen (FIN) demonstrating his skating technique (know as the Siitonen Step) later called the Marathon Skate.
Bill Koch (USA) credited with developing modern skating techniques.

Also, read this article taken from the International Skiing History website on ‘How Skating Started‘ written by Bengt Erik Bengtsson. Click [HERE]. Read about Australia’s part in the decisions made at the captains meeting prior to the 1985 World Championships in Saalfeld Austria.

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Falls Creek Resort Management – the latest!

  • No visitors will be allowed to enter the resort at the resort Howman’s Gap ticket box.
  • General resort entry or season passes can no longer be purchased.
  • XC trail grooming is closed for the remainder of the season.

Click [HERE] to read the full report.

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Update on Falls Creek Season Passes

Hi Ewen (President Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club),

My colleague, Ben Derrick, has passed on your details as the best point of contact for the Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club.

I just wished to advise that we have been able to release a number of Falls Creek Season’s Passes for sale. There is limitation of the number sold therefore I wanted to advise and ensure you club was aware of the availability of these passes.

They can be purchased via this link or via the Resort Entry page on our website.

If Birkebeiner members have previously purchased Resort Entry day or multiday passes and would like to now purchase a Resort Entry Season’s Pass we are happy to refund the previous days purchased. These members should email fcrm@fallscreek.com.au with their details and the team in the Visitor Information Centre will organise a refund for those days.

If you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind Regards,

Sarah Watt

Falls Creek Resort Management
Marketing & Communications Manager

Other News

Winter Olympian – Grenoble France, 1968

In 1968, New South Welshman Ross Martin represented Australia at the Winter Olympic Games – Grenoble, France. Ross is the fifth Australian cross country skier to be awarded the Snow Australia Medal. Click [HERE] to read Ross’s profile on the club’s website History page (scroll 3/4 down the page).

Welcome to new members

  • Germancheve/DiCristoforo family — Wattle Glen Melbourne
  • Kelley/Lee family — Bright
  • Wurfel/Nyein family — Tawonga South
  • Greenhaigh family — Mount Beauty
  • Goodwin/Spinks family — Yackandandah
  • Aaron Knight — Mount Beauty (Search & Rescue)
  • Atila Keretes — Mount Beauty (Search & Rescue)

Athlete Overseas Travel Grant …. update of policy

The committee has reviewed and updated the Athlete Overseas Travel Grant Policy. Click [HERE] to read.

Club Award

For the last 20 years, the club has presented the ‘Ian Ryan Award’ to a ‘Quiet Achiever’, ‘Best Club Person’ or the ‘Best Volunteer’. The widow of Ian Ryan wishes the award to be ‘retired’ as from the end of last season. The committee has had recent discussions along the lines of should we initiate another similar award (name?), present an annual Achievement Award, award it every two years or drop the idea altogether. Members who have thoughts on this please email them to the secretary Ronice Goebel<secretary@birkebeiner.org.au>. This request was notified to members in a previous Post and the committee is still looking for suggestions on the subject. Please email the secretary.

Kangaroo Hoppet 2020 — Do It Your Way

 Click [HEREto read all about it. Keep an eye on the Hoppet Website for further developments <www.hoppet.com.au>. Come on put in an entry it’s only $10.00.

Young athletes roller skiing on Damms Road Mount Beauty. The club has a Roller Ski Policy which all skiers who train this way should read and adhere to. The Policy contains the rules for borrowing club roller skis and the all-important Safety Guidelines. Click [HERE] to read.

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Snow Australia XCC – Event Statement

Club Facebook Page

Birkebeiner Nordic Ski ClubClick [HERE] to join.

Winter Olympians – Squaw Valley USA, 1960

In 1960, Victorian Dick Walpole and New South Welshman Hal Nerdal represented Australia at the Winter Olympic Games – Squaw Valley, USA. Hal Nerdal was selected as a Nordic Combined representative (cross country skiing & jumping). Both these skiers have just been awarded the Snow Australia Medal. Click [HEREto read all about them on the club’s website History page (scroll 3/4 down the page).

Last Weekends Snow Report — Video Aerial view

Falls Creek Snow Report — Saturday 27th June.
— Play the video —

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Nordic Bowl Facilities Development & Other News

Back in 2016, the club was involved in discussions with Falls Creek Resort Management (FCRM) about future development options for the Nordic Bowl. The development would cater for both summer and winter users with facilities including toilets and changing rooms, public shelter, equipment storage and race office, along with a flat area for summer training and sporting activities.

Following this consultation process, FCRM put in the hard yards to flesh out the proposal and secure the necessary planning permits. Since then, the project has been sitting on the shelf ‘shovel ready’, waiting for a funding opportunity that would allow works to proceed.

Such an opportunity has just appeared in the form of the Victorian Government’s $68 million  Community Sports Infrastructure Stimulus Program to build and upgrade community sports facilities across the state and boost Victoria’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

As well as the requirement for projects to be ‘shovel ready’, the guidelines also state that “Priority will be given to projects that include a mix of other confirmed funding contributions from project beneficiaries. Projects with a mix of funding, including confirmed and appropriate financial contributions will be highly regarded”.

Last week our club received a request from FCRM to support the application. In light of the guideline regarding contributions from project beneficiaries, the committee has replied, not only offering a letter of support, but also a commitment to contribute $20,000 to the local funding contribution. With a further $30,000 commitment coming from the Hoppet, this makes a total commitment of $50,000 from the cross country ski community towards the 10% local financial contribution that is required. i.e. our $50 000 will be supported by $450, 000 in grant funds from the Victorian government. (Thanks to Allan Marsland for this summary).

Concept drawings & photographs (nothing set in stone). The cross country community will have the opportunity to provide input to the project if funding becomes available.

Club Beanies for sale

The club has a number of beanies for sale in the club colours of royal blue & white. If you would like to purchase one at the giveaway price of $8.00 please contact the secretary by email <secretary@birkebeiner.org.au>. To pay by direct credit, check out the club bank details on the website under Membership (reference it club beanie).

Pictured is the club’s three-time winter Olympian, Esther Leccardi,
proudly wearing club colours.

Club races and events

The committee have decided that no on-snow club races or events will be conducted this winter.

Clubhouse — 25th Anniversary of the opening

This is a milestone for the club. In June 2021 it will be 25 years since the clubhouse was opened and what a resource it has been for members. The club will have a function to celebrate the occasion. Watch this space… Click [HERE] to view the clubhouse history. Note: the clubhouse is closed and the door code changed due to the COVID-19 situation.

Falls Creek Resort Entry

Click [HERE] to find out what you need to know and do.

Brianna Oldis’ Profile

Young Achiever Brianna Oldis. Click [HERE] to view her profile.

Our First Winter Olympians – Oslo, Norway, 1952

In 1952, Australia had our first cross country skiers at a Winter Olympic Games. Both skiers have just been awarded the Snow Australia Medal. Click [HERE] to read all about them on the club’s website History page.

FIS Ban on the Use of Fluorinated Waxes

The message from the FIS is clear — ‘The use of fluorinated waxes in all FIS disciplines is not allowed anymore and we will start to control the ban with the start of the upcoming season 2020/21’. Click [HERE] to view the details.

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Early Season Update

2020 Snow Season Operations – Falls Creek

Read all the detailsClick [HERE]

Clubhouse Access

All members should be aware that the clubhouse is not accessible during the coronavirus lockdown situation. If and when the resort is open and we are given the go-ahead that is when the facility may be able to be used again. Note — The clubhouse is closed for all access until advised otherwise. The Door Code has been changed and at this stage the committee only has access.

Membership – 2020/21

We feel it’s important that our financial members were not left to make the choice of whether to renew their membership. At the BNSC AGM (Tuesday 18th May) a motion was put (and supported) to waive all membership fees for 2020. As a result, if you and members of your family were financial members of Birkebeiner in 2019, you are now automatically members of Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club in 2020. You do not need to take any further action.

Voluntary ContributionWhile we do not expect any payment, if you would like to make a voluntary contribution, you can do so by the following link to our PayPal Account. Please follow the link you received in your earlier email on 29th May 2020. We thank you for the support.

Kangaroo Hoppet Press Release — 1st June

Hoppet 2020 – Do It Your WayClick [HERE] to read all about it. Keep an eye on the Hoppet Website for further developments <www.hoppet.com.au>.

Overseas Athlete Grants

Birkebeiner has always supported athletes that make National Cross Country Ski Teams. For season 2019/20 a number of senior and junior members were provided with a club grant to assist them with their trip costs. A requirement for receiving a grant is that the athlete has to submit a report to club members on their experience.

Snow Australia Medal – it’s new

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Good News!

2020 Ski Season to Open on Monday 22nd June

It has been announced that the 2020 ski season will open on Monday 22nd June. What this means as far as access and social distancing is concerned we will need to wait for further information from the Government and Resort.

AGM Committee Elections

The following make up the 2020/21 committee.


  • President — Ewen Silvester (3rd term) 
  • Vice President — Michelle Forrer 
  • Treasurer — Jeanette McLaren 
  • Secretary — Ronice Goebel 

General Committee Members

  • Nick Wright — membership secretary & snowmobile steward
  • Ann Bellingham — race secretary
  • Warren Sanders — search & rescue co-ordinator
  • Paul L’Huillier — website administrator
  • Peter Smith — clubhouse steward
  • Alan Marsland — Hoppet representative
  • Mal Oldis — all-rounder!
  • Paul Gray — junior committee

At the first meeting of the new committee on Tuesday 16th June, other portfolios, convenors and subcommittees will be formed. Other members are welcome to join subcommittees – we encourage members’ involvement

2020/21 Membership

Dear Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club Members,

With the uncertainty surrounding how the winter ski season at Falls Creek will operate this year, which has a direct impact on the use of our club facilities and XC events, the committee has thought of how we can support our members during this period of Covid-19.

We feel it’s important that our financial members were not left to make the choice whether to renew their membership. At the BNSC AGM (Tuesday 18th May) a motion was put (and supported) to waive all membership fees for 2020. As a result, if you and members of your family were financial members of Birkebeiner in 2019, you are now automatically members of Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club in 2020. You do not need to take any further action.

As many of you will be aware, BNSC supports the development of our sport through junior development programs and the awarding of travel grants to Australian National Team members (Junior and Senior).  In light of this, a second motion was put (and supported) at the AGM to allow our 2020 BNSC members to make a financial contribution to the club that will be directed exclusively to club development programs (junior training and athlete grants). While we do not expect all of our members to be in a position to make this contribution, if you would like to make a voluntary payment to Birkebeiner, that facility will be made available. How are we doing this?

If anyone wishes to join Birkebeiner in 2020 for the first time, they will be able to request to become a new member, using the usual application and to pay the same fees set in 2019. NoteOnline membership payments will be set up soon.

Thank you for your ongoing support of being a member of Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club. 


Nicholas Wright
Membership Secretary

<membership @birkebeiner.org.au >

Overseas Athlete Grants

Birkebeiner has always supported athletes that make National Cross Country Ski Teams. For season 2019/20 a number of senior and junior members were provided with a club grant to assist them with their trip costs. A requirement for receiving a grant is that the athlete has to submit a report to club members on their experience.

Kangaroo Hoppet Press Release!

Well, we have some bad news and then we have some good news.

The bad news is, we will not be staging the 30th Kangaroo Hoppet at Falls Creek in 2020. The Organising Committee has delayed this decision as long as possible, but even with the potential easing of the coronavirus restrictions, we are not in a confident enough place to proceed with the essential planning and commitment of funds that are required in May. The OC genuinely apologises to all of our participants and supporters. With the outstanding weather that we have enjoyed for the last three years, perhaps this year will be a howling blizzard (just to get it out of the cycle) and we will be back again with a perfect day in 2021.

However, with the bad news comes an opportunity…

2020 will be the year of the Stay at Home Hoppet, or probably more accurately, a DIY version – Hoppet Your Way. On June 1 we will be releasing details of a participant based event that Hoppeteers can take part in as a substitute for the 2020 Hoppet. As all XC skiers can attest, we’re a pretty fit and well-rounded group of people and participate in a range of different sports and activities. To recognise this, we will be offering a remote Hoppet event where you can ride, run, paddle, backstroke, walk, rollerski and yes, even ski the 2020 event wherever you are.

An exclusive collection of limited edition memorabilia will be available for those wanting a memento of the Covid-19 Winter of 2020.

More information will come soon, but in the meantime, lace-up, push-off, strap in or dive into whatever your favourite activity is in preparation for the Stay at Home Hoppet 2020. Keep checking the Hoppet website <https://www.hoppet.com.au>.

Stay healthy and happy!

Kind regards

Hoppet Organising Committee (22/5/2020)

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Autumn News

2019 Merino Muster (NZ) — Video

This video is 14 minutes long BUT the really good bit starts at 10 minutes so scroll the bar at the bottom of the video to access if you don’t wish to view all of it. Click [HERE] to view the video. It is an excellent presentation. Note — sound may be muted so look at the bottom right of the window to unmute.

Waiorau Nordic Sports Club — New Zealand

More NZ cross country skiing news. Click [HERE] to view.

Committee Meeting

The first committee meeting for 2020 is scheduled for Tuesday 21st April and for the first time will be an online ‘Virtual Roundtable Meeting. Many organisations are arranging this type of meeting because of the Coronavirus restrictions. Note — The Annual General Meeting (AGM) is on Tuesday 19th May 2020 at 7.30 pm.

Keeping it in the ‘Evans’ Family

From left: Carla, Zana & Anthony

Zana Evans (15 yrs) represented Australia at the 3rd Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Lausanne, Switzerland. Click [HERE] to read the full story.

Snowmobile Maintenance

The club has owned the Bearcat snowmobile since 2011. To purchase it funds were contributed by the club, Hoppet and an Alpine Shire grant. It cost $15,000.00. Over this time Ian Franzke and Nick Wright have serviced and maintained it. Thank you both for that as the club could not function on-snow without it. At the end of last season, the club decided to give the Bearcat a complete service by the ‘experts’ and this was arranged by Nick for a very good price. Thanks, Nick. Hopefully, it will get some use this winter.

Snowmobile (purchased 2011) & Trailer (built-in 1981)

Australian Mountains Website

The Australian Mountains website is comprehensive and includes the history of huts & buildings (incl ski lodges), historical articles – 1. Timber Tramlines, 2. The Re-Discovery of Moroka Gorge, 3. Snowy Mountains Main Range Development, Walking Notes and Main Articles. The site is a work in progress and maintained by David Sisson. Well worth a look. Click [HERE] to view.

Details are also on the club’s website History Page at
<https://www.birkebeiner.org.au/ski-history/>. This page has a comprehensive history of Cross Country Skiing in Australia and skiing in general. Check it out!

Snow Active Fitness Program

Developed by Snow Australia, SnowActive has been designed to deliver a fun and interactive fitness program aimed at people of all ages and abilities.

Hosted by 2 x Olympian Sami Kennedy-Sim, SnowActive is a 30-minute strength and fitness workout you can do from home. With new sessions each week, this free and accessible training program is great for the whole family to remain active and ready for the snow.

New programs will be available each Tuesday at 8:00 am and are designed for 3–5 sessions per week of the same workout to help you progress through the complete 8 weeks SnowActive Program. Click [HERE] to access the video presentations.

SnowActive is perfect to help keep you active while you get through self-isolation restrictions at home.

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Phil Bellingham & Victor Gustafsson (SWE) take 2nd at the 2020 Nattvasan in Sweden

2020 Nattvasan 90 km (F) Race (SWE)        
Phil Bellingham & Victor Gustafsson (SWE) — 2nd
The Nattvasan 90 km is an exercise race where no winner is crowned.

While many of our readers know Phil who grew up in Mount Beauty, not so many Australians outside the local Birkebeiner Nordic Ski Club know Victor Gustafsson (Sweden), who spent the 2013 winter here as the club’s coach in residence … and … ‘what is Nattvasan 90?’ is a question most people will ask.

The biggest cross country ski event in the world is the 90 km Vasaloppet held in Sweden, with over 15,000 skiers in the main event and more than 40,000 skiers taking part in other events held in the week leading up to the main race.  

One of these is the Nattvasan (Night Vasa). It is held on the same 90 km course as the main race, with the slight difference that skiers start in the dark at 8 pm wearing headlamps and must take part as teams of two. In a close finish, Phil and Victor finished just before midnight and were given the time of 3:53:22, the same time as the winners. While Phil and Victor finished on Friday, most of the 524 teams finished the next day, with team Fridaforsarna ‘signing the finish list’ just before 7:30 am the next morning with the time of 11:29:17. Starting an hour and a half after sunset … and finishing an hour after sunrise! 

Phil reported, “that about halfway into the event my headlamp ran flat so I did just over 40 km relying only on the light from Victor’s headlamp”.

As if one 90 km ski race is not enough, Phil backed up Friday night’s 90 km ‘night’ race with another 90 km in Sunday’s main race, the Vasaloppet. Perhaps unsurprisingly, his time was a bit slower than on Friday night, a still very respectable 5:25:09, just under an hour behind the winner Petter Eliassen of Norway. 

Phil has been ‘ski busy’ while in Europe, Scandinavia and other places this winter.

  • Vassaloppet China 5o km — 21st 
  • Dolomitenlauf (AUT) 42 km (skate) Saturday — 15th.
  • Dolomitenlauf (AUT) 42 km (classic) Sunday — 16th.

From left: Phil Bellingham & Victor Gustafsson

Junior World Championships now on until 7th March

Follow the skiers at the Championships. Click [HERE]

Snow Australia XC Athlete Pathways

The FTEM framework (see below) consists of 3 macro stages of the skill and performance development of sporting participants which are further differentiated into 10 micro stages. These stages and micro stages include — Foundations (F1, F2 and F3); Talent (T1, T2, T3 and T4); Elite (E1 and E2); and Mastery (M).
Click [HERE] to view the excellent Brochure that has been produced and which explains the framework brilliantly. Finn Marsland (National XC Program Director) had much input into the Brochure.

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