Birkie Fever

As I sit down and write this, there are exactly 297 days until the next American Birkebiner. Since registration opened yesterday, I am writing my training plan to ensure I’ll be more prepared this coming year than last year. Like a college student attending their first “real” party, no story could prepare me for what awaited at the greatest race on American soil.

It’s 4:32am. I can see the warm glow of last night’s embers in the fireplace as the clock slowly ticks above the mantle. I roll over but know I won’t go back to sleep. In 3 hours, 58 minutes and 13 seconds I’ll be losing my Birkie virginity, and I’m more excited than a kid on Christmas. Finally my alarm goes off. As I head to the bathroom, the gurgling in my stomach is a reminder of all the carbohydrates I ate the night before.

Before I know it, I, and thousands of others, are rolling up to the venue. As we exit the bus, anxious to get this party started, there is faint music playing in the background telling everyone that this is the place to be. While running to the start line, I am reminded that the real reason skiers wear spandex, is not because it’s easier to move in and aerodynamic, but because it does a great job of showing off all the squats you did during dryland. Looking around at the competition, I was hoping I had done enough.

The gun goes off. The flags go up. And before I know it, we’re racing! After the first surge of adrenaline subsided, I looked to my left to see none other than 4 time Birkie Champion, Caitlin Gregg skiing along side me. That should have been the first clue that I was a bit in over my head, but I was having too much fun to care. I was able to keep up for most of the race, but somewhere around 40k I fell off the cliff. Hit the wall. I bonked. But there was only 10k left, so how bad could it  be?

Somehow, (I can’t remember all the details) I crossed the finish line. My friends tell me that I finished strong, but for some reason that seems skeptical. What I can remember is stumbling over to the food truck, trying to ask the attendant for a chocolate milk, and not being able to form any real words. To this day I won’t be able to tell you exactly how many doughnut holes I consumed before passing out, but I can tell you that they’ve never tasted so delicious.

When I finally woke up from my nap, it felt like Uncle Fester was trying out his new clamp on my head. Guess I forgot to drink enough water. While filling my one gallon pickle jar at the kitchen sink, I reflected on the events earlier that day. A smile crept across my face. My head may be throbbing, my back may be sore, and my legs may barely be able to keep me upright, but skiing the American Birkebiner was great!

I can’t wait to do it again.

Birkie  Results


The Snö Maker

For Immediate Release

CXC Introduces The Snö Maker


The Future of Skiing is Here.

Skiers all around the world are frustrated with the warm temperatures and the lack of snowfall over the past few years. Dizzy from skiing around 1km loops on manmade snow, our engineers here at CXC have been working around the clock using state of the art equipment to develop the first skier portable snow machine, The Snö Maker. Using all natural elements, no GMO’s, and zero carbon emissions, The Snö Maker blows a thin strip of snow right in front of each ski.

Sno Maker

The Snö Maker

Our Secret.

This revolutionary approach uses liquid hydrogen. Rather than carrying around an entire water molecule, we simply carry the hydrogen and pull the oxygen from the atmosphere allowing for a weight savings of over 900% as compared to traditional water systems. Hydrogen has an excellent safety record, with only one minor German incident in 1937. It is all natural and non-carcinogenic. Even Jerry Brown, Governor of California, has given our machine his gold seal of approval.

How Does it Work?

Conventional snow making requires air temperatures below freezing. This limits skiing to only when the weather cooperates. With our patented dual purpose water and power generation fuel cell unit, hydrogen reacts with oxygen to generate electricity and water which then passes through our Kjølerom© where a refrigerant and fan work together to freeze and propel the snow forward. One simply fills their drinkbelt tank with the liquid hydrogen and goes skiing. Initial results are promising with 10% more snow production than our simulations predicted.

From Our Lab to Your Trails

With the Holiday Season upon us, we have moved from the design and testing phase to full production. There was a small mishap involving a research assistant, but they were considered expendable and easily replaced by another “volunteer.” Progress has continued and The Snö Maker will be in stores across the country by January 2016.

With the release of this innovative new product, our friends at Toko have agreed to develop a brand new line of waxes specially designed for the conditions produced by the Snö Maker.


1st working prototype at CXC Labs


100 meters of skiing requires just 40 liters of liquid hydrogen. Skiing at a 3:20 pace only takes 2000 horsepower to freeze the water. Expected system weight is less than 10,000kg. CXC is not liable for fires, explosions or any property damage and bodily injury, including death and dismemberment, resulting from the use of The Snö Maker. Do not attempt to modify the The Snö Maker as this will void the warranty and may result in accidental suborbital skier launch. The Snö Maker should be stored in a cool dry place, with the standard safety procedures of an ammunition bunker.  

Don’t wait! Pre-order you very own Snö Maker today at your local ski shop.


(Special Thanks to Co-Author and Inventor Andy Brown for helping to prepare this press release)

For more articles like this and to support the mission of CXC, please consider donating to our year end Fundly campaign.  We proudly spread passion for skiing and aim to inspire athletes across the Midwest. With your donation we can spread the love even further. To elementary schools, adaptive athletes, master skiers, disabled veterans and your neighbor down the street. Simply follow the link below, click on the “I want to spread the love” (a.k.a. “Donate”) button, fill out the required information, and feel great for the rest of the day knowing you helped put a smile on at least two people’s faces! 

CXC Team Athletes Fundly Campaign 

October: A month to learn from


Fall Keweenaw Road

Holy Crap! Where has the month of October gone? Reflecting back on the past four weeks I feel a little bit like Pocahontas during colors of the wind. This has been by far the warmest, driest, most colorful and most pleasant fall for training in the Keweenaw since I moved here 6 years ago.

The opening act for this month was the annual Copper Harbor ski. This 24 mile ski meanders along the shore of Lake Superior offering views of bays, sand dunes, rock outcroppings and best of all, treats from the Jam Pot.


Annual Copper Harbor Ski #followthehuskies

This year the weather was wonderful allowing us to see all of Lake Superior’s beauty with perfect clarity. Unfortunately, I was so caught up with my to-do list for the weekend that that’s all I could think about.

The next week, the smack down happened. Only a couple days later, life grabbed me by the shirt collar and body slammed me into the floor. This happens every so often when things get so busy I forget to take care of the little things, like washing my hands before each meal and not drinking enough water.


Chasing Sunrises, Location: Portage Lake

Feeling like I was hit by a train, constantly trying to keep up with my runny nose, I knew I would have to take some unplanned time off. Unfortunately as soon as I started feeling human again, school decided it was time to build a mountain of homework so high that Everest looked like Panorama Point (Nebraska’s high point). It’s these busy weeks that bring out a renewed appreciation for skiing. It gets me outside, lets me chase sunrises, enjoy the fall weather and gain mental clarity, all while making progress towards bigger goals.


Crystal clear waterfalls, snow and my kind of Red Carpet

With the summit of Homework Mountain in sight, the biggest lesson and reminder October has provided is; no matter how busy you may seem, never forget to make pit stops throughout the day to take care of yourself and appreciate what you have. Opportunities are presented to us each day, but if we’re not ready for them they’ll fly by faster than Kikkan Randal in a skate sprint. With so much of my everyday life geared towards making Future Alice better than Present Alice, it’s far too easy to put on the blinders.

With this lesson sitting in the front of my mind, the remainder of this month has been spent stopping at apple trees for a snack during OD’s, playing in the leaves and taking water breaks in the middle of pine forests or next to waterfalls. It’s been spent soaking up every wonderful reminder of how lucky we are to have the world as our training ground. As excited as I am for the snow to come, I know that I still have a lot of work to do before I’m ready for it. I want to be prepared when the snow flies, so with that I’m off to a run. See you on the trails!

Upcoming Event: CXC Superfit at Finn Sisu:  October 30th-November 2nd

Exercising on the Fly

Since the fourth of July, I’ve taken a hiatus from the office and spent some time relaxing, training and traveling to the coast to spend time with family.

It all started with a much needed trip to Houghton. Being back in the U.P. and having the Lake Superior breeze provide a gentle tail wind along the shoreline was a much needed change. Getting enough training during a weekend in the U.P never seems to be a problem, mostly because playing in the woods tends to be synonymous with exercise. Chasing friends on mountain bikes, rollerskiing through covered roads and running away from mosquitoes is definitely training log worthy!

OD on the rolling hills near Hayward. #BirkieTraining

OD on the rolling hills near Hayward. #BirkieTraining

The next stop during the hiatus was Hayward, WI for R.E.G. Clocking an average of four hours a day, it was really nice to purely focus on skiing. Having the opportunity to work along side the R.E.G. kids with Bryan Fish was a treat and reignited a spark of motivation I hadn’t noticed was missing. Unfortunately I had to leave a little early, but not without a bucket list of things to work on for the rest of the summer!

Then it was off to the airport for a quick stay in Oregon’s wine country. This is also when sneaking in time to exercise became a bit more challenging. Thankfully my family has grown accustomed to my disappearing acts and sometimes even offer to come along on morning runs! Here are some tricks I’ve learned over the years to help stay active while on the road.


Beautiful country road in Oregon

1. Bring your running shoes.

For many it’s a no-brainer. One time I intentionally brought a pair of shoes I thought could double as both running shoes and light weight walking around shoes. The run was painful and walking wasn’t much better. Never again will running shoes be left at home.

2. Look around for regional trails

Lots of cities have these, and even though they may not be very long they are generally pretty safe. They also tend to have maps and clear signage at intersections which helps prevent getting lost.


Topping off the day with some big scoops.

3. Convince anyone and everyone you can to come along! 

The simple question “Does anyone want to go on a short easy run tomorrow?” can make sneaking in some training a heck of a lot easier. It always surprises me how many people are willing to wake up a little early to go on a short jog. As long as you’re willing to take it easy and get ice cream afterwards, an impromptu training partner doesn’t seem hard to find.

4. Beware of wild animals, especially the domesticated kind.

“Beware of Dog” signs should really say, “SPRINT NOW!” When training in a new place, it is super important to be aware of your surroundings. Charging moose or barking dog, both will likely give a great adrenaline rush, although it’s probably not the safest way to get into L5.


Colorful and delicious breakfast in Portland

5. Eat quality food and not too much

This is a good general rule for everyday life, but I’ve found it to be especially important when traveling. It’s really easy to start feeling like a greasy mess while on the road but eating quality food can help delay this. Plus, you’re on vacation! What better time to treat yourself to a fancy restaurant.

6. Use Jet Lag to your advantage

Being stuck two time-zones east of your current location can be the perfect opportunity to sneak in an OD before anyone else gets out of bed. Plus, if you’re able to get your hours in early, you don’t have to worry about it for the rest of the day.


I promise I’m an adult…. sometimes…

7. Sit at the kid’s table

Turns out playing with the kids can be a great strength workout. Piggy Back rides become squats. Being a human jungle gym turns bicep curls into child’s play. (Literally.) Plus it’s a ton of fun!


This rollerski made possible by Miss Rachel. Thanks bunches!

8. Borrow equipment if possible.

Know someone in the area? Give them a call! Maybe they’ll be nice enough to let you borrow their rollerskis. Bike rentals are available in almost every major city, perhaps this is a good chance to meet up and get a tour of the city. I’ve never tried, but my guess is that TSA wouldn’t be too happy to see ski poles as a carry-on item.

9. Don’t get so caught up in your training log that you forget to be on vacation.

It’s vacation, take some time for yourself and enjoy the time you have away from home. The hours will come if their supposed to. Hours in a training log can always be made up. Visiting with family and friends while exploring someplace are experiences that are a lot harder to get back. So, have some fun! Talk to the people you don’t get to see often and have a vacation that’s truly an escape from day to day life.


“D” River, the shortest river in the world. Yes this is the entire thing.