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Word From The Wax Bench...

Ercolina – Upgrade Your Fitness Routine

Upper body and core strength is the foundation of cross country skiing. The Ercolina is the perfect solution to increasing and maintaining your power and fitness through your off-snow season. Local CrossFit studio owner, Dave Prois, gave us insight into why he uses Ercolinas in his gym, CrossCut CrossFit.


“Our CrossCut CrossFit members range in age from teens to 80-plus. We like the Ercolina because it is adjustable for height, shoulder width and resistance, making it a versatile piece of training equipment for athletes with a wide variety of skills and needs.
Photo by Dave Prois
We found it particularly useful last year when our members trained for an international 1,000-meter ski erg contest. Several members, including some without ski experience, placed near the top of their age divisions after a few months of programmed training on  our two ‘Linas.’
The Ercolina’s adjustable resistance feature allows us to program distinctly different workouts, from strength workouts on high to tempo workouts on low, or longer endurance workouts at medium resistance.
The power readouts for each arm allow the athlete to quickly identify and adjust for disparities in strength between sides. The ability to use either single-pole or double-pole technique allows athletes to vary the muscles trained within any workout.
Our small gym is routinely packed with people and equipment, so the fact that the Ercolina is wall-mounted and takes little space when not in use is another appreciated feature.” 


Ercolina’s many features including a programmable workout monitor, adjustable resistance, travel bag, and mounting hooks make it the perfect piece of fitness equipment. Check it out at Newmoonski.com and call with any questions.

Dave and his wife Darlene moved to Hayward in 2007. Dave’s background as a police trainer, coupled with his long involvement in competitive endurance sports (triathlons, bike – and inline skate racing), drew him to kettlebell training. He holds many professional qualifications including CrossFit Level 1 & 2 Instructor, USA Olympic Weightlifting Level 1 Sport Performance, National Academy of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer, RKC/FMS Functional Movement Screening, and Precision Nutrition coach. Check out CrossCut CrossFit  or their facebook page for more information about Dave, Darlene, and Hayward’s CrossFit affiliate.

A Farewell to the Birkie Trail, Spring, 2019

Photo: Steve Morales

Saturday, March 23: If you don’t hit the snow early this time of year, you may as well forget it. It’s maple tree-tapping time with overnight lows in the teens and daytime highs in the 50’s. After some French toast, I strike out at 9 am on our local Brook trails, which also serve as the lead-in to the Prince Haakon race. It is brick hard underneath with a half inch of powder revealing some snowshoe tracks probably made this morning.

After a kilometer, I come to my objective: the Birkie Trail. Turning right would take me up the 39K hill toward B Hill (The official Birkie designation these days), and I don’t want to do that so I go north and cross Mosquito Brook Rd. Here the grooming has been more recent, and while nothing like mid-season conditions, the trail has features that skater’s love: a near frictionless highway of crusty snow that makes downhills an adventure but uphills easier. Note, I didn’t say easy! I see what appear to be shorebird talon imprints on a sandy beach … no, they’re long brown pine needles lying everywhere.

Photo: Steve Morales

Normally when my skis make noise in the snow, it’s because it’s zero degrees Fahrenheit and the sound is the snow squeaking and impeding my glide. But today there’s no squeak – rather it’s a crunch from the ice crystals that facilitate glide and yet allow each ski to gain purchase for a solid push-off on each skate. On smaller hills I can V2 up as the elites do. It’s empowering to imagine I might look like them even for a moment in these friendly conditions.

I head up a steep hill that is cut in half by a snowmobile trail and I’m pleased that I still have the energy at the top to jump in the track to rest on the gentle decline that follows. One could classic in the still decent tracks on either side of the trail but why would you waste an epic skate day striding? This is the third bluebird day in a row and the shadows of the surrounding trees are etched into the brilliant white skate deck.

That deck is punctured in places by wind-blown small white pine boughs, pine cones, and oak leaves that absorb the sun’s heat and sink an inch or so into the snow surface. They are spread out and not so numerous as to impede my skating in any way. I greet a skier heading south and almost take a tumble due to inattention to my task. I see another skier up ahead… no, it’s the shadow of two trees in just the right shape to mimic two legs.


I have on a light ski jacket and a baseball cap which seemed a bit chilly when I began but now feel perfectly comfortable. The kilometer markers have been a frustration to me because a couple of years ago the Birkie Foundation reversed the numbers to count down instead of up. That makes sense but to one who has identified each area by a given number, I now have to subtract the number on the sign from 52 to remember where I am. The old marker for the 39K hill (in addition to the new 13 K marker) was left in place for the party folks who offer shots to skiers who wish to partake… but that’s another story.

I stop at the 20K marker (32 in the old system) which is at the top of the hill that descends to gravel pit road and the feed station there. I look down and remember the many times I cursed it’s steepness during the race. It’s a good place for me to head back. I ski this section of trail numerous times each year in the eight winters we’ve lived here. Going south there are certainly several challenging uphills but overall the trail is fairly benign in this section and one can make pretty good time.

A tiny, skinny vole darts across the trail in front of me. I pass a young couple heading back north that I had previously seen going south. We talk briefly, and I tell them I am inspired to write about this perfect day we are experiencing. I think to myself of how lucky they are to have many years ahead of them to enjoy this world-class trail. When I was their age, I was an average Alpine skier and had never heard of Nordic skis.

Coming to the top of the hill cut by the snowmobile trail I hesitate to listen for the whir of engines that could ruin my day if we happened to meet on my way down. Hearing nothing, I scrape my way down in a chicken snowplow, my skis desperately digging in to slow my descent and I ski on toward home.

It’s sad to say goodbye to this familiar section of trail but I’m consoled, knowing that off-season in the Northwoods is a pleasure all its own, and I know next winter will bring back these wonderful times once more.   -Scott Smith

Scott Smith moved to Hayward in 2011, and has become a core part of the silent sports community here in the northwoods. Scott is also a soccer referee, crossfitter, serial volunteer, avid gardener, traveler, and craftsman. As a PSIA certified ski instructor, Scott particularly loves to teach nordic skiing to others. Send him an email at trinord2943@gmail.com if you are interested. All abilities are welcome!



Spring Skiing and Fat Biking Continues!

When the weather is constantly changing and in-between winter and spring, you don’t have to give up your daily ski or bike. In fact, if you are able to plan ahead, you might just have some of the best skiing and biking of the year!

This past weekend, was one of perfect spring skiing. Ian held a wax clinic at OO and he said this about the trail, “It was ideal spring skiing with a firm and fast deck, but not so icy that you couldn’t get an edge.” Joel also was out on the Birkie Trail and he commented that from “Hatchery to Mosquito Brook….was just super skiing!” As for the bike trails, they currently range from excellent to fair, with the fair spots being choppy, mainly from deer traffic. CAMBA-Fat posted this video that talks about the conditions in Seeley.

If the bike trail looks like this behind you, it’s time to get out of the woods and grab a latte!

Temps will be warming up in the next few days, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the trails are done for. “Based on the forecast, we will have good morning skiing and biking through late this week,” Chris says. “Friday and Saturday will be warm with overnight lows only just under freezing. What that means for skiers and bikers is to plan on getting onto the trails by 7am or 8am at the latest, getting your ski or bike in, and then prepare to be out of the woods by 9am.” Getting off of the trails before they get too mushy enables to the trails to stay in their best possible condition as long as possible. “When the trail refreezes it will be in good condition for the next outing,” Chris explains, “If you leave significant ruts with your skis or tires, that makes it incredibly difficult for users the next day. And, in extreme cases if you’re breaking through the snow into the dirt, you can even do damage to the trail bed.”  Let’s all try to be good stewards of the trails and leave them in the best possible condition for as long as possible.

You can keep up-to-date on trail conditions, grooming, and trail closures HERE for fat biking and HERE for the Birkie trail, or, feel free to give us a call at the shop. 715-634-8685. Somebody here is bound to have been out and about recently.

And, don’t fret! Even though mud season is coming up, New Moon has some fun events planned to keep you busy until the trails dry out. Check out our facebook events page-we’ll be posting soon!

Rex Clinic Recap

This past weekend I had the pleasure of hosting the Hecker family on behalf of Rex Ski Wax for a liquid wax clinic at the Samuel Johnson Nordic Center at OO (in our fancy smancy New Moon Wax Room no less!) Another perk of the job is that I was able to get out for a short bit to enjoy a bit of top notch spring skiing.
We sprayed, we brushed, we conquered. It was a great way to showcase what is turning out to be a paradigm shift in waxing. Jeremy Hecker led the demo, representing not only the Rex brand, but his new role as the Head Nordic Ski Coach for the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. The event was well attended, and we had our hands full during the whole demo, waxing skis and getting everyone up to speed on how to apply these new waxes. The trail had just been groomed on Friday, so the skiing conditions were excellent. It was ideal spring skiing with a firm and fast deck, but not so icy that you couldn’t get an edge.
Later in the afternoon we headed back to the shop for a “happy hour” with some apres ski snacks, beverages, and further wax wisdom. It was a great event to host as a follow up to our success with Rex over Birkie. Thank you to the whole Hecker family, Mike, Connie, Chris, and Jeremy for being great partners and representatives, but also for all they do in the Nordic community in our region and abroad on the World Cup circuit.
We will definitely do this event again next ski season, so keep your eyes on our events calendar in the Fall. In case this was the last weekend of truly great skiing for the season, I hope you enjoyed this winter as much as I did! -Ian

Spring Skiing & Fat Biking?? Well, Yeahhh!

Friday, March 15, 2019:

We are keeping our fingers crossed here at New Moon for our favorite skiing and biking on the year. We seem to have weathered the big thaw, (no pun intended) with a lot of snow pack intact! Now we wait for temps to slowly creep back below freezing. As of this morning, brisk winds have locked in out of the NW are we even received a skiff of new snow overnight. Click below for the live video feed from the Birkie Start.

The weather forecast bodes well for weekend skiing and fat biking and continued good trails into next week. Regular freeze/thaw cycles are expected for the area. That will set up ideal trail conditions for both skiers and fat bikers:

Of vital importance, though, is that trail users – skiers, bikers, and snowshoers – watch the forecast and temps and get out EARLY on the warm days. Skis and bikes will leave irreparable damage if one goes out on soft snow late in the day. Stay off the soft trails!

NO NO NO! This bike and walker damage is nearly impossible for groomers to fix. Wait for the trail to freeze before you go!

Don’t miss out on the best trails for the winter season. Feel free to call New Moon or stop in the shop for the latest on our trail conditions. Users can also look at Birkie’s current trail updates for the scoop from the Birkie Grooming Crew. Birkie makes regular trail updates. Check this page often:

For fat bike conditions, CAMBA posts recent groomer reports as well:


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