Season Start

IMG_0246Snow hasn’t arrived, yet, but the Shenendehowa Nordic Bill Koch Youth are off to a great start.  The weather cooperated and brought in frosty temperatures over night.  These guys can’t hold still for a moment.


Winter Forecast

NOAABarb, Tyler and I had the privilege of visiting the new NOAA weather center in Albany today.  Even though they were preoccupied with the approaching storm, they did offer some insight on what they expect this winter.  Keep in mind that the National Weather Service’s definition of winter is for the calendar season December 21 to March 20, while you and I know it can snow anytime between now and the end of April.  In fact, before we left, they were looking at the possibility of snow in the Tug Hill and western Adirondacks on the back end of the approaching storm.

…a “normal” winter, “like last winter.”

The team of meteorologists all seemed to agree that this will be a “normal” winter, “like last winter” at least here in the Albany area.  There will be “normal” amounts of precipitation  and “normal” temperatures.  Further, they point out that Lake Ontario and Lake Erie are warmer than normal right now, meaning enhanced lake effect precipitation most noticeable in the Tug Hill, northern Adirondacks and St Lawrence Valley.  They would not make any prediction on the amount of snow other than to say that “normal” winter average temperature is about 27o.  You and I know that temperatures are consistently one or two degrees cooler north of the Mohawk than they are in Albany (specifically at SUNY-IT).  They added that “normally” we are more likely to have snow early in the season and late in the season.

Will this coming storm shepherd in colder weather?  No, it will probably not result in a dramatic drop in temperatures, but more “normal” temperatures will follow.  This is likely to go into the record books as the 5th warmest October on record.

The team also promised an update on the winter outlook on November 16.  Another teaser:  two of the younger members of the team promised to publish a video of a weather balloon launch on Youtube.  A launch occurs from the roof of the building at SUNY-IT twice daily, sometimes more frequently, if needed.

If you ever get an invitation to visit NOAA’s weather center, take them up on it!  You don’t have to be a weather geek to really appreciate the opportunity.

Concessions at SPAC

ConcessionsFL:GAOur most successful fundraiser the past two years has been running the concession stand at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. Here is the crew of Shenendehowa Nordic Club members who worked the Florida Georgia Line concert. Thanks for all you’re help and support!
The whole effort was organized by Vice President Tracy Moore right here second from the right in the front row.

…and Then it Snowed

…and Then it Snowed

IMG_0024Today we saw spring skiing at its best!  Temperatures in the low 50s, bright sun, and plenty of snow.  Five of our Bill Koch Youth Ski League members turned out for a fun ski.  You can see a couple of them in tee shirts.  We skied a loop that must have been a kilometer then settled in for a favorite game of red rover.

It became obvious to me that over the season these youngsters have grown more confident on skis and have developed some lasting friendships and an appreciation of the great outdoors even in winter.  Even though we’ve been on snow only a handful of times the improvements are most noticeable.

As for coaching I have to thank the supportive parents and thank Mary Duclos for her help, the extra pair of eyes, and her contributions this season.  This concludes my thirtieth year volunteering as the club’s youth coach.  Sure I come home sore and tired, but these youth keep me young and share their enthusiasm.  This is the most rewarding part of Nordic Ski Sport.

What’s best of all?  These guys are already talking about next season.  And Matt, second from left, volunteered to be in charge of snow.  How about before the next spring skiing event the club invests in a bunch of sunglasses?


Where’s The Snow


This is less than half of our crew shows up when there’s no snow.

Like the rest of us the Bill Koch Youth are baffled by the warm weather.  Here you see our crew ready for snow and we are left with games like Red Rover and Dodge Ball tag.  These youth plant ice cubes, wear their P Js inside out, and sleep with a spoon (scoop side down) under the pillow?

We still have a couple of weeks left to winter and who knows what April will bring.  Don’t put your skis away, yet.  Put a bit of F4 or similar glide wax on them so they will be ready to use on heavy wet snow we usually get these last few days of winter!

Also check to make sure you have the end of season dinner on your calendar for Friday, March 24, 6 PM at the Shenendehowa Methodist Church hall.

More Snow Coming

We all know that we have at least three more weeks of winter, right?


Grace, James and Nolan are in the excavation mode.

With the recent warm weather our Bill Koch Youth are concerned about the ground thawing too fast.  So along with coaches and parents they were out today in force to cool the earth so the late season snows will hang around longer. Two teams fanned out on the Shenendehowa Campus today armed with trowels and ice cubes to do their part to prepare the surface for the coming March snows.


Sabrina and Mohi picked out the top of a favorite hill and set to work!

The key is to pick out a high point, get the ice to the high point, and bury it before it has a chance to melt.  With temperatures near 60 degrees we had to move swiftly, move from high point to high point and spread out the areas planted.



Mohi shows how to do it efficiently: scoop, plunk, stomp, and move on.

During the process our youth came up with other suggestions like wear your pajamas inside out, sleep with a spoon under your pillow. Consensus was that the spoon needs to face down under the pillow.

Coach assures us that March will come in tomorrow “…like a lamb.”  As the old timers all say with certainty and experience, “If March comes in like a lamb, it will go out like a lion!”

Okay March show us your stuff: end this season with a good one!
– Photos by Mary Duclos and Jen Gillooley

Family Moonlight Ski

Family Moonlight Ski


Sharing marshmallows and hot cider and cocoa after skiing the canal towpaths – photo by Charlie Huff

Moonlight skis are hard to schedule because of changeable weather and even more changeable snow conditions.  The trick is to have them several days before the full moon so that the moon is overhead during the evening.

February 9 we had perfect conditions. Not only did we have an excellent moonlit trails and five inches of new snow, we had eight skiers turn out to kick off the Clifton Park Winterfest.  We skied along the original 1825 Erie Canal,  across the towpath for the 1842 enlarged Erie Canal and back along the now abandoned first town road and the historic reconstructed cast iron Truss Bridge designed by Union College graduate Squire Whipple.  The members of the bridge were cast in 1862.


Backlit by the moon one of the club’s Bill Koch Youth is king on the mountain – photo by Uwe Weidmann

To share all that history along with a perfect and memorable moonlit evening reminds us how fortunate we are to have these recreational opportunities right here in our back yard.