HNSC Newletter

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Clash snow days 2013/14 = 0 (0 good, 0 marginal) Editorial
An Olympic winter always brings a little extra excitement, actually a lot of extra excitement especially when we know there will be British crosscountry skiers competing. This is the main event of the season & several Huntly skiers will be attempting to qualify & we wish them & all the other British skiers & coaches the best of luck & success in Sochi (02-23 Feb). We can all do our bit to support them & I would encourage you all to visit the new British Nordic website & their Facebook page - the more hits & likes they get on Facebook the better chance they have of attracting funding. And you can help more by visiting & contributing to their Nordic Olympic Dream fund (ends 18th Nov). Another theme in this editorial is at the other end of the spectrum from Olympic ambitions & that is grassroots development & giving back to the sport. Under the leadership of Malcolm Cooper & assistance from his able coaches the Sunday kids club goes from strength to strength & is now bursting at the seems. But Malcolm is helping several parents to develop their teaching skills to make sure the programme continues to deliver top quality coaching & ski fun. The jointly HNOC /HNSC run winter JDS will benefit from these new coaches. The Kids Club & JDS is not about racing, it is about developing children into accomplished skiers that have a lifelong love of the sport. Of course one of the results is that some of these skiers go on to be very good ski racers but that isn’t its main purpose. What was very satisfying to see was some of our racing BNDS skiers volunteering to help at the kids club – so thank you to all of those numerous young skiers for helping. I must also mention Eileen, Claire & Frank for the after-school club & again they receive assistance from many of our older juniors. Alex Standen (along with Eileen & Claire) continues to regularly coach the Huntly & BNDS juniors even though he is an active athlete trying to qualify for Sochi. One problem common to many sports is the retention of teenage girls in active sports or hobbies. This summer Olwen Thorn & Posy Musgrave organised a girls only training weekend that gave some of our juniors girls a welcome break from the generally well meaning but rather boisterous boys. It turned out to be an eventful weekend when the girls helped rescue a couple of horses that had become entangled in a barbed-wire fence. A final example of young skiers giving back to the sport is Harry Nicholls visit to Gartly Primary School to give a talk on cross-country skiing as part of their Health Week. Harry was introduced to Nordic skiing during “Heath Week” when he was a pupil at Gartly. He was able to explain to the children how he attended after school sessions at the Ski Centre, then joined the Huntly JDS before being invited to join the BNDS. He described racing in Sweden & explained about rollerskis, skis & of course how to look cool in sun glasses before getting the children to participate in his daily stretching & core strength exercises.

Harry explains that the skis are waxed to make them go faster – not to remove creases.

It has been a very busy summer for the club with rollerski racing & lots of news from the Clash. Read on……


ROLLERSKI RACING NEWS 2013 SEASON Huntly Sprints, Sat 25th May
Fortunately the sleet/snow seen earlier in the week gave way to glorious sunshine our first rollerski races of the summer. To match the high temperatures there was some hot & close skiing for Saturdays Sprints with only seconds separating skiers in the morning time trials. Possibly a surprise winner of the men’s time trial competition was 15 year old Duncan Gibb who held off by Sircus & Johanssen just ahead of Stuart Gray just one second strong challenges from Erik Johansson (SkiFIT) on the final steep hill in the Men’s Final. & Robert Sircus (CBNSC) who tied for second. Posy Musgrave comfortably won the senior ladies race. Jack Nicholls & Flossie Roberts won the U14 categories. A field of nine skiers, aged 7-13, fought out the novice race which was won by Felix Roberts & Susan Massie. The skiers were then seeded for the usual fast n’ furious knock out sprints. Robert Sircus of Cairngorm won a very close Men’s Sprint Final pipping Erik Johanssen (SkiFit) & Stuart Gray (Huntly). Posy had a more comfortable win in the Ladies Final.

A Novice Semi Final heads up the start climb

Race Director Frank keeps a close eye on Thorn in case he impedes the obviously much faster Jack Nicholls & Brodie Murray

Clashindarroch Hill Climb, Sun 26th May
It was a day of new course records in the Clash Hill Climb. Oliver Newman smashed his old 4.85km record by 3 ½ minutes in a time of 18mins 27sec. In fact the first four boys (Fergus Newman, Jack Nicholls & Callum Cooper were all inside the old record. Flossie Roberts won the girls 4.85km climb. There were new records, by about 1 ¾ minutes, in both the men’s & ladies 8.05km climbs with Erik Johansson (SkiFIT, 22:44) & Fern Cates (SkiFIT, 32:16). Beth Maclean (U16), in second place, was also inside the old ladies record.

Flossie Roberts receives encouragement from a marshal to help her home.

Rick uses music to help him home.

Fergus Newman use power & determination to get him home.


Huntly Rollerski Championships, Sat 7th September
Torrential early morning rain flooded the track requiring some emergency drainage works but by mid-morning the Sun appeared & dried the track in time for the first start. A large contingent of Army & RAF joined skiers from Cairngorm to swell numbers & led to some very competitive races. Ben Woolley, just recently retired from the British Biathlon Team, won the men's 7.1km race by a 50 second margin but only three seconds separated the next three skiers home. Duncan Gibb & Beth Maclean, both Huntly, won the U18 5.4km races. Brodie Murray (Huntly) equalled the course record of 10:50 to win the boys U14 3.7km event while Flossie Roberts (Huntly) won the girls title over the same distance. Children from the Huntly Sunday Kids Ski Club took part in a 1.8km novice race which was won by David Massie who persuaded his mum Elizabeth to race as well & by doing Elizabeth became the first Senior Lady claiming all 50 GB Series points. The relay followed & was won by a young, but very strong Huntly team from the Army National Development Squad team.

Oliver Newman makes a powerful start

Madeleine & Elspeth Cruickshank start their first ever rollerski race

Harry Nicholls hands over to Gregor Young in the Relay

Huntly 3-Lap Challenge & Team Sprints, Sun 8th September
The Sunday saw a new event on the rollerski calendar with the inaugural Huntly 3-Lap Challenge & Team Sprints. The Challenge involved a time trial over the inner-middle & outer loops of the Huntly track, a distance of 1310m. The men's race was won by Gregor Young in a time of 3min 16sec & the ladies race by Beth Maclean in 4 minutes 0 sec which, by the way are the new official course records. There then followed the Team Sprints an event that involves teams of two skiers each skiing three laps. A Club Team Sprint using a 409m lap was won by the Huntly pairing of Gregor Young & Harry Nicholls from the Cowie brothers Lachlan & Hector from the Cairngorm club. The skiers were then sorted into evenly matched pairs for a Seeded Team Sprints competition using a shorter 294m lap but with more climb. The seedings worked quite well with very close races with positions changing every lap. The final winners of the Seeded Team Sprints were Oliver & Fergus Newman.

British Rollerski Championships – Wessex Sprints, Sun 29th September
Huntly juniors had a successful day of competition at the British Rollerski Championships at Castle Coombe. Jack Nicholls was first U14 boy in the 3km FT while older brother Harry won by a toenail from Gregor Young in the U18 men’s category. Beth Maclean had an excellent victory against strong competition in the U18 ladies race. Then a Huntly quartet of Angus Maclean, Jack Nicholls, Harry Nicholls & Gregor Young convincingly won the Senior Men’s Relay while Beth Maclean & Lynne Gray joined Fern Cates in a BNDS Ladies team that in turn dominated the Senior Ladies Relay.

British Rollerski Series 2013
The Wessex Sprints were also the concluding race of the British Rollerski Series. Despite three first places during the season Flossie Roberts had to settle for 2nd place in the U14 Girls competition. Jack Nicholls won a very competitive U14 Boys category. Another close 2nd behind Fern Cates of SkiFIT was Beth Maclean in the U18 Ladies contest with Lynne Gray a close 3rd. Huntly skiers took the four top places in a closely fought U18 Men’s category with Duncan Gibb coming out on top. And finally Dave Horsley took a very deserved top spot in the Men’s Series.


NEWS FROM THE CLASH if you head up to the Clash this winter you
are sure of a big surprise, in fact several big surprises….

The Hytti Rises by Hilary Musgrave
In August this year a group of Finns from Juankoski in eastern Finland found themselves in the Clashindarroch Forest along with 20 or 30 eager volunteers from the Huntly Nordic Ski Club. Their task - to help us build a new shelter, Finnish style.


The build starts

Many of you will remember - with more or less rosy nostalgia - taking refuge from the elements in the old portacabin next to the biathlon range. While decidedly lacking in beauty it served a useful purpose for many years but in its final days choosing to enter its damp and gloomy interior was usually only in extremis - to escape hypothermia, frostbite or complete saturation. When the roof finally caved in and the Forestry Commission said it had to go there were not many tears shed (except by those having to organise the actual removal who shed many tears of frustration). So when I went to Finland three years ago with a group from the Huntly Development Trust and saw all the different styles of shelter the Finns build along their forest trails I thought there was an opportunity to build something a bit different with help from experts. The road from the idea to the actual build was a long one with many obstacles - withdrawal of funds from the HDT/Finland collaboration, renewed funding over a year later, agreements to be reached with Forestry, the sudden demand from the Council that we apply for planning permission only two weeks before the ceremonial first sod was due to be turned - having previously been assured this would not be needed. But with the help of many people, especially from the Huntly Development Trust itself, all these hurdles were cleared, the site prepared and we were ready to build. The workforce - Finnish/Scottish/other, experts/capable/definitely-not-experts, under instruction from Keijo, Harri, Dave Whitehead and Steve Young, were assigned tasks matched to their ability and were soon transformed into an efficient building machine. The first task was to scrape the bark off the tree trunks which had been donated and brought to the site in large quantities by the Forestry Commission. Once a few of these were done and cut to length, the experts began to erect the framework of the shelter. The language barrier was rarely a problem, overcome with a mixture of gestures and talking slowly and distinctly (English spoken slowly is universally understood, of course, while Finnish spoken slowly sounds like - Finnish) though I must admit that by the end of the weekend the only names of our helpers that I could remember with any accuracy were Andi, Irma and Harri - Keijo, Reijo, Saila, Kaisa, Kauho were too tricky for my brain to assimilate (and remembering Andi was cheating as he is British not Finnish). By the end of day 1 the outline of the shelter was clear and most of the timber needed was scraped clean and cut to length. Day 2 started with a Finnish ceremony to celebrate putting the ridge pole into position. A bottle of colourless liquid was passed around which had an energising effect on the builders, whatever it was. Songs were sung, though our lack of progress in Finnish meant we were unsure whether they were being complimentary about our forests and/or building skills or not. Even before the roof was finished three of the Finns decided to start on the interior decoration and spent the afternoon weaving a basket with larch twigs and filled it with heather. Detailed instructions were translated as to how and where this was to be hung in the finished shelter. At the same time much thought was given to the name of our new building. After some consideration “hytti” was decided on as this is Finnish for cabin and has a suitably Doric ring to it. One of the interior designers made a name board which was nailed above the door, though a more sophisticated plaque has been promised, to be delivered by another group coming over here in October. She also made a set of

5 forest skittles and demonstrated the rules so that even when we don’t have Finnish snow we can go up to the Clash to play. There have been many comments on the design of the hytti - it does have more the look of a summer house than a cosy shelter from the elements. The choice was made primarily because it was thought to be relatively quick and simple to build and also because anyone cycling or walking as well as skiing in the forest can have access to it. The open design hopefully makes it is less likely to be vandalised. To give more shelter in the winter The build in full swing we are fixing hooks above the windows from which made-to-measure tarpaulins (now on order) can be hung on days when we have groups such as JDS up in the forest. We are also hoping to make a storage container to hold not only the tarpaulins but also the stretcher and tables (and skittles) currently in the snow-machine shed. After two days hard work the hytti was two-thirds finished and the Finns had to leave, but we were confident that with the help of our own experts, Dave and Steve, we could finish the task. It took another couple of days work but the Hytti is now fully functional and with the recent hanging of the heather basket, beautiful to behold!

The end – master builders Dave Whithead & Steve Young test the structure

As a final word I would like to thank all helped in the build – we had 20-30 people up there at times! In particular Dave Whithead & Steve Young went beyond the call of duty in leading the build. And then Hilary for her perserverance in seeing the project through from its embryonic stages, over the numerous hurdles & final naming ceremony with our Finnish friends on the 24th October 2014.


Trail maps over the years

There is a new, 3rd edition of the Trails Map in the forest. The Forestry Commission are thanked for drafting & producing these & also taking on board our suggestions & corrections. A lot of work went into producing these maps & also the new information board that should appear some time. The old map was drafted have occurred that are now incorporated on the new map, for example The Fingers are now shown – mapped in using my GPS. A big thanks to Colin for meticulous checking & correcting of maps & also helping paint map boards & putting maps up.

Snowmobile. The final new sight you will see in the forest this winter will be our new
Yamaha RS Viking Professional 973cc 4-stroke snowmobile. This should arrive in November to replace the nearly 20-year old Lynx GLS 5900 2-stroke machine. This machine was at the end of its life & I don’t think we would have got another season out of it without a major & probably unviable overhaul. The new machine will be more powerful, hopefully requiring less digging out of snow & more able to tow the roller up the hills. It will also be far more environmentally friendly. Once again the Lottery Awards for All came to our rescue with an amazing £9500 grant. The Glens of Foudland Community Fund have pledged £500 & the remaining £2-3000 project will come from club funds. We will be getting other ancillary equipment such as a trailer, winch & other safety equipment.

The Windfarm.Vattenfall began construction of the new access roads & tree felling in the Clash. The felling just
reaches the northwest corner of the ski trails but will not clear-fell any trees on the trails. There is no access to the windfarm from the ski trails direction so we should have no problems. The new windfarm roads open up a whole range of new skiing possibilities. Construction of the concrete bases & erection of turbine will take place in 2014.


With eight Olympic gold medals, nine World Championship gold medals, six World Cup Championship victories (plus two second places) Bjørn Dæhile is the most successful cross-country skier of all time. He won in total 29 medals at either Olympic & World Championships between 1991 & 1999. Dæhlie measured a V02 max of 96 mL/kg/min, the second highest ever recorded & only surpassed in 2012 by 18 year old Norwegian cyclist Oskar Svendsen – Siberian huskies running the Ititarod reach 240 mL/kg/min (it is amazing what you can learn on Wikipedia – I’m not guaranteeing its accuracy). Mere mortals will have 50 or less. Dæhlie as a youngster was active in many sports from hunting/fishing to hiking & kayaking. He had ambitions to be a footballer. He attributes much of his success to these varied activities in his youth. He did not have immediate success as a junior skier but consistently improved. He made his World Cup debut in 1989 winning his first World race the following season. He won his first World Championship gold in 1991 & then went on to dominant men’s cross-country skiing for the next eight years. His most successful World Championships was in front of his home crowd in Trondheim in 1997 where he won a medal in every race (3 gold, 1 silver & 1 bronze) he claimed that his 50km FT victory was is hardest ever race which he won by just 8 seconds. In the same championships Dæhlie displayed his true sportsmanship by waiting for over 20 minutes (delaying the medal ceremony) at the finish to encourage Philip Boit of Kenya home. Boit called his first son Dæhle Boit. Dæhlie’s skiing career came to a premature end when he damaged his back in a rollerski accident in 1999. Despite extensive treatment he was unable to continue at the top level & retired in 2001. Despite all his success he never won at the “blue-riband” Holmenkollen 50km but was awarded the prestigious Holmenkollen medal in 1997. Ever the competitor he photo-finished second in the American Birkebeiner in 2009 raising funds for multiple sclerosis. And in 2011 won the downhill event in the Kicksled World Championships. On retiring he became a successful businessman with sportswear & real estate development. I know several of our current British seniors consider Bjørn Dæhlie as one of their major inspirations. A true skiing legend & role model. Sunday Kids Club with their

Huntly got a brief mention at the highest levels of sports governance at a recent FIS Cross-Country Youth & Children Sub-Committee meeting in Slovenia. Recognition was given to Huntly Nordic SC for putting the first ever British crosscountry entry into the FIS SnowKidz Award. Malcolm Cooper has entered the Sunday Kids Club into the 2014 competition - good luck.

new SnowKidz hats.

New Members
Welcome to the Allan family John, Mel, Tabitha, Amelia & Phoebe from Alford who want to broaden their alpine skiing to include Nordic. Finn Loughnane, who has dual British/German nationality has decided he would like to try & ski for Britain & has joined the club as the first step in getting his British FIS licence. He has just started university in Germany.

Winter Events.
• • • • • •
Sun 1st December 2013 – The Christmas Ming organised by Rick Newman [email protected] Sat 4th January 2014 – Ski Orienteering CLUB SPONSORS Sun 12th January 2014 – Clash Dash th Sat 8 February 2014 – The Secret Clash – New Adventures Sun 23rd February 2014 – Huntly Nordic Open Championships Sun 2nd March – Back-up race date

Brodie Murray

Correspondence to: Peter Thorn West Craigton Cottage, Kennethmont, Huntly, Aberdeenshire AB54 4QP Email: [email protected]

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