About Nordic Training
Racing Schedule Results Local Ski Conditions Nordic
Web Sites
Ski Care & Waxing Training Tips Maps

About Pittsford Nordic

What is Pittsford Nordic? What clothing do you need?
What sort of training is involved? What equipment do you need?

What is Pittsford Nordic?

Pittsford Nordic is the Cross Country Ski team for the Pittsford Central School District. The team serves both Mendon High School and Sutherland High School as well as both the middle schools - we train and race Varsity boys and girls, JV boys & girls and Modified boys & girls

In the 1999/2000 season  there were 60 members on the team, about two thirds are returning athletes and the remainder are new skiers trying the sport for the first time. Every year also welcomes several middle school skiers who join the team as managers. The managers train with the team, they ski with the team but they do not race in the league races, instead they help out at the ski meets. Managers are an integral part of the team and form the feeder program for Pittsford Nordic.  The team welcomes any one wishing to try the sport - but this is a tough sport, some athletic background and a base of fitness  is a great benefit. However, more than anything we want enthusiasm, the will to try and an enjoyment of the outdoors.

Most people know Cross country skiing as a form of skiing  that looks rather like brisk walking or striding on skiis.  This "Classic or Diagonal" technique still forms the basis for a good technical skier. However in the early 1980's an new technique was introduced, the "Skate" or "Free Style" technique. This ski form resembles a skating action on snow, quite different to the classic technique. Both classic and free style are now accepted ski techniques, and nordic  skiers need to learn both techniques.


Team training begins about mid november. Until the snow arrives training consists of running, building up to distances of 12K, dry land training on hills and the track for plyometric exercises, roller skiing and roller blading. All the running, roller skiing and roller blading is done with poles. Safety is a serious consideration and all the athletes  wear team provided reflective vests for any workouts on the road, and those athletes that roller ski or roller blade must  wear helmets. The athletes do need to provide their own helmets as they will not be allowed to roller blade or ski with out a helmet.

As soon as the snow arrives dry land training changes to skiing! The majority of the snow training is done  on the fields at the back of the Pittsford Middle School on a 1.6K ski loop  that provides an excellent training  area. Two years ago the team raised money to purchase a snow groomer which allowed us to deign the training loop which  is groomed regularly,  providing good tracks for both skate skiing and classic skiing and at the same time  greatly reducing travel time searching for reasonable snow conditions. The athletes simply walk over to the middle school with their equipment from Mendon High school where the team room is located.


For  dry land training weather related running clothing is adequate -shorts, running tights, t-shirt, good running shoes, wind pants and wind breaker jacket, inexpensive ski poles for running, water bottle, roller blades if you have them, a helmet. The team does have several pairs of roller skis, but the more serious skiers do purchase their own.

For snow training the clothing requirements change significantly. Contrary to what is the norm in cold weather, for cross country skiing you really need light layered clothing. The body will generate incredible heat while training, even on the most bitterly cold days.

 The athlete needs to be able to take layers off, but at the same time the athletes  need to be able to layer up as soon as they stop because in the winter cold you cool down so much faster. Any wicking type of clothing including fleece wear is perfect, wind breaker running pants worn over running tights will be great for practice, and generally the athletes will train in tights alone with a long sleeved shirt and probably a sleeveless fleece vest on top. A good close fitting hat is essential, preferably one made from some type of wicking fabric. The Swix ear muffs are great and can be work under a close fitting hat or alone. Socks do not have to be thick and warm, regular running socks will be fine, but the athletes should always have dry socks available to change into immediately after practice. Wet feet will chill very fast and affect the rest of the body! Gloves are also  important  - a thick winter pair are fine for those times you are standing around, but for training thin Ploy- pro gloves are sufficient, and for racing there are many different varieties of gloves available.

For race days the athletes are provided with close fitting team ski suits made out of lycra. At first glance most parents are horrified that the athlete would wear so little, remember the body will generate incredible heat while skiing, but it's vital to keep warm before the race and of course immediately afterwards. On bitterly cold days skiers will wear thin layers under the ski suit, both on the top and the legs. But it is essential to feel that you are unencumbered by clothing.

Ski Equipment

This sport is not cheap - we won't even begin to fool you - however the cost needs to be balanced against the mental and physical health of the athlete. The equipment is well built and with good care will last well and has a very good second hand resale value. At the start up meeting parents and athletes are provided with information about equipment needs and requirements. There are 3 main sources of equipment locally - SNOW in Pittsford Plaza, Park Ave Bikes on Monroe Ave and the HFL Ski Swap and Sale held annually usually the saturday before Thanksgiving.

There are numerous Internet sources as well - some links are available on this web site but many good sites abound we can always help you find those in addition to doing Google searches!

Ideally a cross country skier should have 2 pairs of skis and boots for the 2 different ski disciplines  - skating and classic. However for a rookie skier who is trying the sport for the first time we usually recommend a combination set of skis and boots but encourage the purchase of 2 sets of poles as the pole length does make a great difference in the two techniques, shorter poles are used for classic technique and quite a bit longer poles are used for skating technique.

 Equiping your athlete with cross country skis and poles can be a rather intimidating aspect of this wonderful sport, don't feel that you have to go and buy equipment immediately, your coaches are always available for advise and indeed we encouarge you to seek help from us  before purchasing equipment so that we can ensure you are buying the correct and appropriate equipment that will make the experience so much more fulfilling.


Ski meets are scheduled from the second week in December. Unfortunately this sport is dependant on the weather, but as soon there is decent snow for grooming  meets will be held.

There are 3 main  venues for racing: Mount Pittsford at Barker Road Middle School; Bristol Mountain Summit Nordic Center at Bristol Mountain;  Mendon Ponds Park at the North Meadow or the West Meadow; and   Harriet Hollister State Park at the south end of Honeoye Lake.

The school provides bus transportation to the meets and all the athletes are required to travel both ways on the bus. Bus time is important part of team preparation for both the coaches and the athletes. Reasonable exceptions to this requirement can be made with the coaches. One of the most important aspects of meets is FOOD! Please encourage your athlete to bring  good wholesome snacks and plenty of fluid to drink, water is best. Cross country skiing generates tremendous thirst and hunger. And of course we encourage as many parents as possible to come to the meets and cheer the team. Just make sure you bring warm clothes and boots for standing around.  Your athletes will thank you for cheering them on!

For any further information or simply to find out more about the sport please feel free to contact one of the coaches directly by e-mail, we are only too glad to talk to you about this incredible sport.

Questions and Comments
11/06/08 09:41 PM