Articles by: Jonathan Wiesel

Yurts and heated tent cabins accommodations in remote corner of Yellowstone.

Make More Tracks: Yellowstone Expeditions

A Rustic Retreat In Remoteness. When skiers talk about great backcountry, they often cite the Tenth Mountain and Braun systems in Colorado; Sierra Club huts in California; Skoki Lodge, Assiniboine and Shadow Lake in the Canadian Rockies. I’d like to add a new destination, near Canyon in Yellowstone National Park. (Check an atlas, find Yellowstone in the northwest corner of[Read More…]

by February 22, 2021 0 comments Make More Tracks
Freshly groomed XC trails last longer. Credit: North Shore Nordic Association

Make More Tracks: Corrugation For Groomed Trails

The Technical Reason Why Ski Trails Are Corrugated. [Editor Note: This article was written in collaboration with Auguste Lockwood, Yellowstone Track Systems.] Interest in winter recreation promises to grow phenomenally in winter 2020-’21, despite—or because of —COVID-19, and a lot of us are looking forward to more friends and families on more and better groomed trails. One of the subtle,[Read More…]

by January 21, 2021 1 comment Make More Tracks
Make More Tracks: “Tasty” Three Forks Ranch

Make More Tracks: “Tasty” Three Forks Ranch

Luxury Ranch Includes Gourmet Food And Outdoor Sports. I’m a winter guest (or “dude”) ranch specialist – ski at them, write about them, consult with them, love them. Which is a little ironic because when you think “ranch,” you probably also think “horses!” – but I’m a wondrously inept horseman, whatever the season. I’ve been lucky enough to visit maybe[Read More…]

by January 14, 2021 0 comments Make More Tracks
Ski the TOA. Race? Fun? Both? Up to you. Credit: Anchorage Daily News

Make More Tracks: Nutter Butters And The Tour Of Anchorage

Joining A Race Without Training? Hey, It Could Be Fun. In this strangest of times, I think back to the great and diverse and sometimes unorthodox adventures I’ve had cross-country skiing. And although I haven’t competed often, there was this one time, some years ago… As I understand it, you’re supposed to train for a major race. Seems sensible, right?[Read More…]

by January 3, 2021 3 comments Make More Tracks
Could this be Nordic Heaven? Credit: Teton Pines

Make More Tracks: Jackson Hole Nordic

States Of Euphoria The week before Christmas, 1980, I drove west from Cody, WY, through the rugged Absarokas, over Togwotee Pass, dropping into the northeast corner of Jackson Hole, then south to the town of Jackson. Deep fresh snow covered the landscape, with occasional bison, moose, and coyote tracks crossing broad meadows. The road parallels the Snake River. So do[Read More…]

by December 10, 2020 1 comment Make More Tracks
Make More Tracks: Private vs Group Lessons

Make More Tracks: Private vs Group Lessons

Groups For Beginners, Private To Refine Technique. Let’s say you want to learn how to cross-country ski relatively quickly and easily – how to move with grace and minimal effort, develop endurance, and enjoy what you’re doing from the git-go. The surest shortcut to becoming a good skier is to take multiple lessons with a professional instructor. I’ve often wondered[Read More…]

by November 16, 2020 0 comments Make More Tracks
Make More Tracks: Craters Of Moon

Make More Tracks: Craters Of Moon

Ocean Of Volcanic Lava Offers Awesome XC/Snowshoe Experience. “[It is an] area of about 60 miles in diameter, where nothing meets the eye but a desolate and awful waste, where no grass grows nor water runs, and where nothing is to be seen but lava.” (Washington Irving, The Adventures of Captain Bonneville, 1868 ) Some things leave a lasting impression.[Read More…]

by November 12, 2020 4 comments Make More Tracks
Sun Valley Nordic Center has beautiful vistas and trails. Credit: Visit Sun Valley

Make More Tracks: Sun Valley Sabbatical

Classy And Classic, Sun Valley Has Magnetism And Charm. I’m a total sucker for romance, and Sun Valley, ID, radiates charisma, beauty, diversity, skiing history— the whole shebang. Known as “America’s First Destination Ski Resort,” it’s 2.5 hours from Boise. Happily, there’s a jet airport only a dozen miles away. Set in the rugged Sawtooth Mountains, Sun Valley Nordic &[Read More…]

by November 5, 2020 1 comment Make More Tracks
West Yellowstone Rendezvous Trails might be the center of XC in North America.

Make More Tracks: Rendezvous Ski Trails

Catch Early Snow in West Yellowstone. If you head to West Yellowstone, MT, in late November, you can visit the early winter cross-country ski epicenter of North America: the Rendezvous Ski Trails. There are a bunch of fall camps in the Rockies – including Silver Star, BC, Crested Butte and Steamboat Springs, CO, plus Mt. Bachelor in Oregon – but[Read More…]

by October 13, 2020 1 comment Make More Tracks
Touring is Nordic is XC. Credit: Dynafit

Nordic Skiing Terminology

XC, Nordic, Touring, Cross-Country. What’s What? If you’re new to the sport, you’re going to find people using terms that may be a little confusing at first. Here’s an explanation of most of the jargon you’re likely to meet. Nordic skiing is the catch-all term that includes classic technique, skating, ski touring, telemarking, even jumping and biathlon… In all these[Read More…]

by July 5, 2020 0 comments Make More Tracks
Skate skiing has its own techniques and gear. Credit: HuffPost Canada

Track Vs Tour

Groomed Vs Bushwhack? Both Have Positives. For the past 50 years or so, there’s been a generally amicable debate whether cross-country skiing on machine-groomed trails is preferable to making your own way o’er the fields and through the woods. The argument has a lot of angles, including “Free vs. Fee” and “Pristine, Silent, and Serene vs. Speedy, Social, Service-based, and[Read More…]

by July 5, 2020 0 comments Make More Tracks
Lessons make a difference. Credit: White Pine Touring

Out-think Your Feet With XC Lessons

It’s Not Like Walking. But Not Complicated To Learn. In the early 1970s, in a visionary but totally wrong-headed move, the fledgling Nordic ski industry declared that, “If you can walk, you can cross-country ski.” Retrospectively, it would have been a lot more helpful and realistic to say, “If you can walk, you can learn to cross-country ski. And it[Read More…]

by July 5, 2020 0 comments Make More Tracks
Lightness and improbable strength are features of the Eva.

Snowshoes: From Wood To Metal To…Foam?

There’s Always A Better Way. Foam Is Light, Strong, And Long-Lasting. As a long-time, single-minded Nordic fanatic, snowshoeing used to seem pretty tame – kind of a melding of on-snow recreation and utility, with not much maneuverability and no glide. Aging knees and mature perspective (or an approximation!) have changed this some, along with vast improvements in snowshoe materials and[Read More…]

by July 5, 2020 0 comments Make More Tracks
CB's Alley Loop marathon starts in the middle of time. Credit: Xavier Fane/CB Nordic

Resort Review: Crested Butte, CO

Skis, Dogs, Bikes. It Must Be Crested Butte. It sometimes feels like not much of the American West remains unspoiled, but the town of Crested Butte, CO, comes mighty close. It’s a ski town that used to be a mining community (gold and silver, then coal). Somehow it’s kept the serenity (population is pretty steady at around 1,700) and retained[Read More…]

by July 4, 2020 0 comments Make More Tracks
Learning To Love Snowshoes

Learning To Love Snowshoes

Not XC’s Poor Cousin Anymore. Back in 1971, when I transferred winter affections from downhill to Nordic skiing (due to a spectacular fall in Austria, that racked up one knee and stripped off my nifty French-made Fusalp ski suit– but that’s another story), I tried snowshoeing too. After all, cross-country skis and snowshoes were both made of wood and quite[Read More…]

by July 4, 2020 0 comments Make More Tracks
Who knew a belt could be so important? Credit: Jeltbelt.com

Keeping Your Ski (And Other) Pants On

OK, That Sounds Salacious But It’s Not. I kind of collect belts, from the 50-year-old hand-stitched inches-wide leather style with ornate Mexican silver buckle; to a contemporary pseudo-leather critter with multiple off-set holes; to a futuristic version (my favorite!) that grips, flatters, goes through airport security without setting off alarms, comes in colors – and keeps my pants up in[Read More…]

by July 4, 2020 0 comments Make More Tracks
Changing XC Skiing Stereotypes

Changing XC Skiing Stereotypes

“Aren’t Groomed Trails Free?” There are at least three unfortunate stereotypes that are really important to the cross country ski world: “If you can walk, you can cross country ski” “Oh, it looks like so much work!” “It’s free, right?” Meaning: Well, I heard it was free, so I expect it to be free. Okay, a lot of cross country[Read More…]

by November 20, 2019 5 comments Features
Group Or Private XC Lesson?

Group Or Private XC Lesson?

Here’s What The Experts Say. Let’s say you want to learn how to cross-country ski relatively quickly and easily: How to move with grace and minimal effort, develop endurance, and enjoy what you’re doing from the git-go. Well, it’s going to take time on skis to develop that self-assurance, balance, and muscle memory (though kids can do a lot of[Read More…]

by April 3, 2019 1 comment Features
Credit: Ski Museum Of Maine

Cross-Country: Lessons Are The Best Way To Out-Think Your Feet

To Make The Switch To Cross-Country, Please Start With A Lesson And These Tips. In the early 1970s, in a visionary but totally wrong-headed move, the fledgling Nordic ski industry declared that, “If you can walk, you can cross-country ski.” It would have been a lot more helpful to say, “If you can walk, you can learn to cross-country ski.[Read More…]

by April 3, 2018 4 comments Features
Groomed trails at Applleton Farms, Ipswich, MA, easier and less tiring.
Credit: NS Nordic Assn

Cross-Country: Tracks vs Touring

Groomed XC Trails Are Becoming More Prevalent; Does That Ruin The Aesthetics Of The Sport? For the past 50 years or so, there’s been a generally amicable debate whether cross-country skiing on machine-groomed trails is preferable to making your own way over the fields and through the woods. The argument has a lot of angles, including “Free vs. Fee” and[Read More…]

by March 19, 2018 6 comments Features
Modern: Light, durable, inexpensive

Lovin’ Snowshoes

‘Shoes Have Come A Long Way.  Have You Looked Lately? Back in 1971, when I transferred winter affections from downhill to Nordic skiing (due to a spectacular fall in Austria that racked up one knee and stripped off my ski suit—but that’s another story), I also tried snowshoeing. After all, cross-country skis and snowshoes were both made of wood and[Read More…]

by February 1, 2018 0 comments Gear