Rochester Active Sports Club (RASC) is a nonprofit club based in Rochester Minnesota, designed to promote nordic skiing, mountain biking and road biking in SE Minnesota.

                                       Nordic Skiing

December 31st 2020

We are still waiting for good ski conditions. However, if you are really desperate, there is reasonably good classic skiing (mainly double poling) on the local lakes - notable Mayowood lake and Cascade lake.

Thank You - From Ian Torchia

Hello friends!

I hope this finds you safe, healthy, and enjoying the holiday with snowy trails and socially distanced skiing :) I wanted to thank each and everyone of you for supporting my season through the online auction and hope the gear and items get well used out and about in your everyday adventures. With your help, we raised over $4500! This covers the expenses of the Davos World Cup and additional funds will be used for World Cups after the New Year and hopefully World Championships in Oberstdorf, Germany.

Ten days ago I flew over to Switzerland with my former collegiate teammate Adam Martin and we settled in and got acclimated to the Davos elevation of 5200 feet. The leadup to the race was spectacular as we received 2.5 feet of snow within 24 hours and got to explore the amazing Swiss valley skiing during easy sessions between interval race prep. Race day dawned snowy and tapered off as we watched the women crush with Rosie Brennan winning her second race in two days, Hailey Swirbul getting her first podium in 3rd, and Jessie nabbing 7th. The guys squad was fired up and ready to match the women’s level of success. I started steady and hung onto British star Andrew Musgrave for a couple minutes as I lapped around for my second lap. Matching the eventual 6th place finisher’s pace took its toll and I suffered the last half of the race as I gave it everything I had to the finish. I was disappointed to finish 49th, 3 minutes behind the winner Alexander Bolshunov from Russia. I put my best foot forward and pushed myself to the limit of what my body provided that day, but I simply did not ski fast enough. However, after talking with my fiance Kameron and Jessie Diggins later, they both separately told me that you can be disappointed in your result, happy for your teammates, and proud of your effort. I flew home with those words in mind and am grateful and happy to be with Kameron and her family for the holidays before returning to Vermont for unofficial official time trials that will serve as qualifying standards for future World Cups and World Championships.

Thank you all again for your generosity and hope to see you out on the trails someday!

Ian Torchia 

   Importance of Strength Training

This is an article written by Nathan Schultz that was part of an e-mail from Boulder Nordic Sports.  If you are a) serious about ski training or b) getting old and losing muscle mass, this is FOR YOU! (If you want to sign-up for their e-mail ,you can contact them at

One of the biggest challenges skiers face is upper body strength. Most of our off-season activities focus on the lower body, and aside from rollerskiing, there are not a lot of ways to improve upper body strength and endurance. In my experience as both a racer and as a coach, nearly 100% of US skiers are weak in this area and could dramatically improve performance on snow by improving upper body strength and endurance. I usually see big gains after the first year of coaching an athlete, and I'm convinced that most of this improvement is due to the athlete getting stronger and improving ski-specific strength.


Ski racers are made in the summer, and it is time to put in the training now to be fit in the winter. The bulk of training hours should happen for most skiers July-December. Most of the winter skiing months will actually be fairly low volume. A good strength program will mirror the overall training volume and build through the summer. Like all training, ease into it and give your body time to adapt to the new stimulus. 

There are three basic areas to target:

General Strength - Working all muscle groups to increase power, speed and endurance and build the generally weak muscles that oppose our strong ski-specific muscles to avoid imbalances.

Core Strength - This could be categorized under general strength, but it is so important to skiing that I keep it in its own category. We generate a lot of force with significant leverage in our extremities while skiing and the core muscles need to be strong enough to stabilize these movements and provide a platform to push off of. Core strength helps us be able to hold proper body position through an entire race and therefore improve technique and increase efficiency.

Ski-Specific Strength - Building power and speed in the primary ski muscles is vital. Skiing has changed to a power sport in the last two decades, and your ability to push hard on your skis and poles will determine how fast and efficient you will be on snow.


How do you accomplish these things? Most skiers enjoy skiing, running, cycling, kayaking, swimming, etc, but I rarely hear someone say that they really enjoy being in the weightroom. Strength is probably lowest on the list in terms of enjoyment for most endurance athletes. Luckily, you can get it done very quickly and there are a few ways to keep it fresh. These are general guidelines, and it is smart to plan out a strength program with a coach or mentor who can help you maximize the results of your training program.

General Strength

There are many ways to build general strength. Workouts can be done as a "circuit" of exercises where you spend a certain amount of time at a station, followed by a short period of rest before moving to the next station. For example, you might have 12 different exercises and you go through the routine with 45 seconds of work at each station followed by 15 seconds of rest. Typically, one would do the circuit for 20-45 minutes. The advantage of a circuit is that it can be easy to set up, it provides cardiovascular work as well as strength, and it is a good way to break up the boredom of being in the weightroom. You can set up a circuit on playground equipment at a park and do it at the end of a distance or plyometric workout.


Much general strength is done in the weightroom. The key in the weightroom is to be focused. Plan the workout you will do, go to the gym, and get it done. Don't just show up and figure it out; you'll be wasting your time. A typical weight room workout can be 45 minutes or less and hit core strength, general strength and specific strength. The goals here should be to build power, speed and endurance by loading key muscle groups. Free weights tend to be better than machines as they require more balance and build strength in a wider pattern of motion, but machines can be used to target specific muscles or weaknesses.

Core Strength

Core strength is one area where most people are quite weak. For the most part, our lifestyle has become devoid of physical activity like chopping down trees, moving rocks, etc. and we just don't get the natural core strength that we used to. Core strength is vital to being a powerful, healthy athlete, though, and luckily it is pretty easy to build and maintain it.


Core exercises should be incorporated into the general strength routines such as when you are at the weightroom or putting a few core exercises into a circuit. They should also be done on their own in short 5-15 minute routine that can be thrown in at the end of a workout or at the beginning or end of the day. Check out the download of our strength overview for some specific suggestions. 

Ski-Specific Strength

Ski-specific strength is also an area where most people can make big gains in performance. It's easy to build power, speed and endurance through strength exercises that imitate the motions of skiing, but it takes some specialized equipment. Skis and rollerskis are the most obvious choice, and poling machines, stretch cords and simple pull-ups and dips complement these well. On skis or rollerskis, we like to find a gradual hill 100-300m long and do repeats of double-poling, single-stick poling (like classic striding without your legs) and tricep isolations. Start with one set of these and build to 30-45 minutes. This workout can be done in the middle or at the end of a distance rollerski workout. We also like double poling workouts of 10-240 minutes of double-poling to build endurance poling strength. 

Ski strength should be complemented with other specific strength as well. Target ski-specific muscles in your general strength routine at the weight room, and consider stretch cords or a poling machine to throw into your circuit or core routine. We have an Ercolina set up at our shops and I notice that doing even ten minutes on the poling machine each day makes a huge difference in my poling power and endurance.



Old Facebook Page for Local Ski Trail Conditions 

(this page no longer works correctly - please post to the Facebook page below)

Updated Facebook Page for Local Ski Trail Conditions 


This is a excellent source for all the major FIS nordic ski competitions. Here you can find full video coverage of all the major events from Eurosport in English.

 is the premier site for nordic skiing in the mid-West, with reports on trail conditions, race reports, ski camps, and everything else nordic. 

Greg Bednorski Ski Forum
Greg Bednorski has a ski forum that contains a lot of useful information for everyone from beginner to elite race.

Northwest Wisconsin Ski Trails & Reports

This site posts trail reports for many of the trails in NW Wisconsin.

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