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2021 Community Updates #1 and #2

Join the XCSO staff as we look at the year ahead and what might be in store. Agenda to be updated as new info becomes available.


  • Team Ontario Programming
  • Job Postings – District Approach
  • Para-Programming (Update #2)
  • Camp and Racing Calendars
  • Wax Protocols (Update #2)


April 15 @8:00pm: Zoom Link

ID: 864 8039 0025

Dial-in Options: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kbISqnUyFD


April 29 @8:00pm: Zoom Link

ID: 812 9006 5825

Dial-in Options: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kbISqnUyFD

Episode 3 of our Inspirational Interview Series!

You’re on Mute!

Stories of Everyday Covid Champions

A series of lively interviews of skiers from across Southern Ontario District to engage, inspire and tell the story of Nordic skiing during a global pandemic.

In our third episode we speak to 12-year old Team Hardwood veteran and self-described “social butterfly”, Anna Vurma.  You can find several online articles about Anna’s quest of Strava’s (QOM) Queen of the Mountain titles but her Covid story is really one of resilience. Grief and resilience live together. Anna, like many of our young racers misses her friends from other clubs.  What interested me the most about Anna is her grit. Grit refers to a person’s ability to persist after setbacks….., You got it, like a global pandemic!

Anna took a break one evening from her lasagna diner to answer a few questions. Thanks Anna!

Hey Anna!  You have become a bit of a media sensation right now. Thanks for making time in your busy schedule to share your COVID story with us. How are things at Team Hardwood this season? What is Ninja Camp and Pajama Day all about?

Things this season at Team Hardwood are very different.  We are definitely missing the races but we are having fun with mini time trials.  I miss skiing with my friends and playing games.  We have tried to make the best of the situation. A lot of us have improved in our technique. Ninja Camp is traditionally an overnight training camp where we work on agility, balance, strength and conditioning. We go for a pole walk, roller ski and play games (sometimes in the dark too!) Ninja Camp looked different this year but we still had fun. The fun doesn’t stop there! We also have fun days like pajama day and or plaid day along with crazy hat day where we change up our skiing style and have some fun!! This year I wore a plaid onesie on pajama or plaid day so that I could wear both. Then on crazy hat day, I wore a visor that had big eyes on it with a headband that had crazy string hair on top. 


Classic or Freestyle?  What is your signature “just add ski wax” move?

If I had to pick between Classic and Freestyle I think that Classic would be first but Freestyle definitely takes a close second. My signature “just add ski wax” would either be my hair flying out the back of my head and sometimes I might put some puke in it or that I always have snacks!! Usually, it will be Cheerios or Marshmallows.


Photo Credit: Peter Istvan Photography

You have been very successful in your pursuit of Strava segments this winter. In fact, you hold several Queen of the Mountain titles. Have you considered broadening your efforts to Queen of Grill and Chill, Dairy Queen? If you were an ice cream flavour, which flavour would you be and why?

If I were an ice cream flavour I think that I would be the famous Moose Tracks because it is one of my favourites. It also has a nice blend of everything between the chocolate, the peanut butter and the vanilla. I like that and I think that it has a good mix.

Note: For those new to Starva lingo, a Queen of the Mountain is “bestowed” for achieving the top performance, or fastest time, when skiing, cycling or running a specific segment of a trail or route. Anna currently has 6 QOM titles.

Using only emojis, how would you describe a typical pandemic day?  Should every day end with jazz hands?



A report this week from Canadian Women in Sport cites that 1 in 3 girls will drop out of sports by their late teens.  It also states that 62% of young girls never play sports at all. Why do you think sport is so important for girls? 

I think that sport is so important for girls (and guys). It’s the lessons taught and the things we learn. For girls in particular it’s self-confidence I think that girls gain a level of self-confidence that is used the rest of our lives. Sport also increases our awareness of healthy eating and proper eating. It’s important to fuel your body properly and eat food that is healthy and nutritious. For all kids, sport teaches time management which is helpful in school. It also helps us be comfortable not being OK and working and focusing in stressful as well as difficult situations. I also think that you create friendships that last your life which I think is so important and absolutely amazing!

Weird outfits, high fashion and an incredible voice – these are some of the ingredients Lady Gaga used to take over the world. Did you know Lady Gaga calls her fans “Little Monsters”?  Are you a “Little Monster”? 

I wouldn’t consider myself a die-hard Lady Gaga fan but I do enjoy listening to her music (sometimes while skiing). Maybe I’m a little “Little Monster”!

One of your coaches, Jack Sasseville, uses the expression “If you’re not 10 minutes early, you’re 10 minutes late!” When you travel to a ski race, when do you pack your gear? Early, Late, or Whew! Just made it!

When I’m going to a ski race a pack my gear early! If I need to have my gear ready for the morning I pack it the night before so I can sleep more!

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about yourself from the pandemic? How will you apply this learning to other situations in your life?

The pandemic really showed me just how much I love being active with my friends. Especially outside! Now, that could be biking, skiing running or swimming, I just love it! Moving forward I will remember this and always make an effort to do something with my friends and make sure that I’m getting active outside every day!


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Provincial Programming Update

Due to the effects of the ongoing and evolving COVID-19 pandemic, Cross Country Ski Ontario has reviewed and will modify provincial programming for the 2021-22 season. Given the unpredictable outlook for the season, particularly for “in-person” training camps, XCSO programming will reflect “what we can do”.  Read more.

Episode 2 of our Inspirational Interview Series!

You’re on Mute!

Stories of Everyday Covid Champions

A series of lively interviews of skiers from across Southern Ontario District to engage, inspire and tell the story of Nordic skiing during a global pandemic.

In this episode, we look for a coaches perspective.  Time to check in with Georgian Nordic’s Peter Wiltmann.  Peter has been volunteer coaching for more than 20 years.  He is a Heinz Neiderhauser Outstanding Coaching Award recipient, a trusted friend, and a relentless optimist.  We caught up with Peter in Dillon, Ontario, in the heart of the 30,000 Islands region, in the world’s largest freshwater archipelago.

Peter, I am so stoked for this interview!  You have been a huge inspiration and positive force for so many athletes and coaches alike.  What have you been up to this season? 

Skiing a lot, wherever there is snow or not.

What can you tell us about coaching Georgian Nordic in pandemic times? What has it been like? Can you share with us some of the highs and lows?

We had a great start in May, with a new coach running with all, communicating with the local high school team coach, we were making progress and looking forward to work through this time of distancing. So far all that is going well, the good winter conditions surely help. University skiers were showing up over the summer and are still in touch with some team members. This helps the social aspect greatly, even if we do not have team sessions. All of this can only last so long, so we shall see what the next season brings, we are hopeful.

Peter and Dorte Wiltmann

A mutual friend of ours, Katja Mathys, sent a picture of what looked to be the whole town of Parry Sound taking to the ice of Georgian Bay for a skate.  Did you get out the old blades and get in on the action?  Are you concerned that Parry Sounder’s may have found something more enjoyable than Nordic skiing?

No, I  should have though. Parry Sounders always prefer skating on ice and playing some shinny, the ski club was abandoned for most of it, lol, Peter is always last to figure out that everyone was on the ice.  It was blue ice, it looked amazing.  It sure drew the crowds, unlike in Dillon where we had no crowds and a bit of snow on the ice. Kept skiing on a  thin snow cover for two weeks, crust type skiing was quite unusual by itself in early February.

I can’t help but notice that when it comes to practical and creative solutions, nobody can match your ingenuity.  What exactly does MID mean? What is the strangest thing in your wax shed?

MID stands for Made in Dillon. It was a lot of fun over the years to build such practical things like wax benches, forms, klister warmers, waxing machine,  flex tester, and mid groomers 4′ wide up to 12′ wide. We actually would have had money to buy some of these things, but I rather bought more racing skis for the team fleet instead, one pair at a time.  MID groomers were more appreciated outside our area, since they did not know where these rather simplistic but well working implements were made.  What others may perceive as strange may be all the fishing rods and wooden dowels I keep to fix ski poles with, there is always a diameter I might need. Some repaired rock skis stick around until needed. They end up with initials from former glory days, signatures of our skiers past and present who have donated them to be used for someone else. So really, none of this is strange to me at all.

What advice do you have for other coaches out there that may be struggling with the changes the pandemic has brought to our routines?

Trust what you do, follow your process, and pay attention to what your athletes need in times when they will make more independent decisions.   The pandemic has allowed us to focus more on training, and making it the most important aspect. They will love the sport for life if you are doing a good job.

You’re known for your prolific use of social media. There aren’t too many days I don’t see an Instagram post from you. What impact has this had on your relationship with the athletes you work with? Should we be preparing for your debut on Tik Tok?

Great question, and I am not sure. The impact of social media is a mystery I find worthwhile exploring further. In hopes that it may bring kids together, as a local team but also interact with same age skiers from other towns, skiers they met at races and camps. Trying to show movements that look fun, motivate them to go beyond what they are used to. I will continue to think of this as “social video analysis” without the technical pressure of a camera presence having an influence on their technique. It may not replace the technical work, but it seems to not bother them too much when Peter starts taking shots. Sure I get the odd rolling eye, so I hit delete, no question. It may just help them communicate to me how they feel about a certain exercise, or a certain move.  I hope video gives them the connection to sport they would otherwise not have.  Developing athletes need to know what they do is appreciated and is not being used in comparison to elite athletes’ movements.

No on Tiktok, I have not even looked at how to get on that.

I happen to know your son’s Victor and Konrad well.  Is Konrad still your favorite?

I love both of them equally, with all their differences they have, of course. Both are still skiing, I am grateful they are both healthy and doing ok.

How do I rate as an interviewer? I have no idea what I am doing.

When the kids tell me a session was ok, it was probably just ok.  If they use the word fun with a smile, ya that response keeps me in the game. So you as an interviewer ? You rate as fun, Bryan, I am smiling. Thank you for the questions.





Episode 1 of our Inspirational Interview Series!

You’re on Mute!

Stories of Everyday Covid Champions

A series of lively interviews of skiers from across Southern Ontario District to engage, inspire and tell the story of Nordic skiing during a global pandemic.

For our first interview, we caught up with Andrew Howlett of Owen Sound’s Bruce Ski Club to ask him a few questions about his skiing this year during the Covid Pandemic.  Andrew is a club executive member who is usually found organizing races and crunching numbers. This year we noticed Andrew putting is some BIG distances out there on the trails.

First of all Andrew, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself. What is your role here at Bruce Ski Club? How long have you been a Nordic skier?

I started skiing in 1978. I lived in Hamilton, I would make my own tracks at the park or a local golf course. When I moved to Owen Sound a friend introduced me to groomed trails at Bruce Ski Club. What a great idea! I volunteered with the club and have done lots of jobs. This year I am the club treasurer and I clean the porta-potties.

We notice that you wear earphones while you are skiing.  What is your jam? Black Sabbath or Miley Cyrus?

I listen to a mix of 80s music, orchestral stuff like Mozart and Beethoven, and movie soundtracks. My playlist has about two hundred tracks and is maybe twenty hours long. I can put it on shuffle and don’t get many repeats.

Most people have opted for sweat pants and Netflix. At the time of this interview you have logged an impressive 1435km, including 6 days over 80km.  What is motivating you this season?

I wanted to do the Canadian Ski Marathon (CSM) this year. The CSM is 80km two days in a row. I started training at the beginning of December. I did my two 80s on January 23rd and 24th. I will do the CSM virtual event in February but the virtual event is shorter: it only requires two 50km tracks.

Membership numbers at Bruce Ski Club have surged, a trend we have seen across the district. Do you think this trend will continue after the pandemic is over?

I think some people will be back next year. Many of the new members are snowshoers and they really like our snowshoe trails. I see many new families out skiing together, which is encouraging.

What do you think of garden gnomes?

Not sure where this question is going …. haven’t noticed any gnomes on our trail. If they were there I think I would have seen them because I’m always looking for rabbits. Rabbits are active early in the morning between 6am and 7am. It’s that weird time in the morning when I can turn off my headlamp but everything is black and white, no colours. I spotted one in January but only because it ran. A still rabbit is very hard to spot in the winter. I will be on the lookout for gnomes from now on.

This year we have lost our in-person racing and training. What advice do you have for younger skiers looking to stay positive and motivated during these challenging times?

Try to turn every setback into an opportunity. This is a great time to try something new. Experiment with your training program. Set a goal that wouldn’t fit with your normal activities.

We hear you may have Domino’s Pizza on speed dial. What are your favorite recovery foods?

After a long ski (more than 30km) I make a stir fry with lots of veggies and three scrambled eggs. After a short ski I eat a couple bowls of Vector cereal.

Nothing beats skiing in circles for hours upon hours but we are talking about a lot of exercise. The Germans have a word “Muskelkater”, which translates to Muscle Cat. It is a word to describe muscle fatigue and muscle hangover. How is your body holding up? Are you feeling Muscle Catish?

Yes, definitely. I get that feeling a lot. I think the point of doing 80km twice in a row is to get used to it and move past the fatigue. I don’t take days off, at least not on purpose. I try to ski at least 20km every day. So I’m always in the fatigue zone.

Spending full days on the trails is hard to manage for some. You must have the world’s best boss and supportive family?  Are you a paid professional skier?

Ha ha almost. I’m retired. I’m married to my best friend and she is very supportive. She baked me a 1000km cake.


Nakkertok is hiring!

Nakkertok Racing Program is seeking a part time Coach – more info

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XCSO Skill Development Programs Materials – Request for Proposals Extended

XCSO invites an interested club to bid on the management of our Skill Development Program Materials inquiries, ordering and handling.  The contract will be awarded to a responsive club/individual well integrated in the Ontario cross country ski community sharing a common vision of engaging youth in sport and promoting cross country skiing as a life long activity.  Please see our Request for Proposal for more information. DEADLINE extended to September 1, 2020


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Ontario Cup Bids for 2020/2021 now being accepted!

Event hosts:  Please see the Officials page for details on the Ontario Cup bid package!  Deadline for bids submissions is Monday July 13, 2020.

Rowan’s Law – Phase 2 Implementation Delayed

Phase 2 of Rowan’s Law  has been delayed to January 1, 2021.  Phase 2 makes it mandatory that all sport organizations establish a Removal-from-Sport and Return-to-Sport protocol.  Please visit our Rowan’s Law webpage for more information.

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Community Update #2

May 7 @8:00pm EDT

Access audio via conference call 1-855-392-2520 / 5955447
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Password will be shared over the conference line and on WhatsApp via XCSO Coach Info Line
The presentation will be available after the call upon request.


XCSO COVID-19 Response
Programming and Calendar Updates
Remote Training Guidelines Answers