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HUNTLY NORDIC SKI CLUB
www.nordicski.co.uk

NEWSLETTER No. 44
March 2014 OLYMPIC ISSUE
Clash snow days 2013/14 = 23 (7 good, 16 marginal) Editorial
The Olympics now over we can reflect on what were the best ever set of results by a British cross-country ski team in the Winter Games. Andrew Musgrave’s astonishing victory at the Norwegian Championships sparked off a bit of media frenzy with interviews with press, radio Posy Musgrave Andrew Musgrave & TV. One thing they seemed to have cottoned on to was: how did a small town/club like Huntly get four athletes to the Olympics? My reply was first of all that Posy, Callum, Andrew Callum Smith Andrew Young & Andrew primarily got there by their own talent, efforts, determination & sacrifices they were prepared to make along with the support of their families. What the club & the set-up at Huntly did was give them, & also numerous other young skiers, the opportunity to fulfil their talent. But why here? The root cause must be the presence of the best snow-holding forest in Scotland. It this fact that was the driving force for the establishment of the Ski Centre in 1992 by the now defunct Gordon District Council. And here we must recognise the support of the Forestry Commission in welcoming skiing in the forest. At least one of the athletes was introduced to the sport at a Ski Centre Open Day, otherwise he may have never tried the sport. After a period of being run by a management committee Aberdeenshire Council took the Centre into their direct control allowing the former management committee to form the club in 1998. This sensible division of labour allowed the club to concentrate on developing the sport while the Council worried about the practical management of the Centre. What has been very important is the close collaboration between Club, Centre & Council. It has proved an effective & beneficial partnership (despite some ups & downs). The Centre would not operate without the volunteer support of the Club & the Club would not function in its current form without the Centre as its base (home). One particular success of this partnership is the Huntly Junior Development Squad & all four Olympians (5 if you include PJ Barron who skied at the Vancouver Olympics) are graduates of the JDS. I believe the biggest factors in our success have been: • A willingness to work in partnership with others & enlist their support. • A willingness to make the best of the facilities we have – we didn’t always have a rollerski track yet somehow managed to have fun rollerski activities on postage stamp sized pieces of tarmac. • The willingness of members to support our activities whether coaching, race marshals, grooming the Clash trails or sweeping twigs off the track. • Having a large number of young skiers together means they can support & spur each other on. The Ski Centre & local forests enable them to train regularly & they can do this with support & guidance from the Club. By being members you have supported all this. However it isn’t just about competition, it is also about encouraging people of all ages to participate in a great activity. Last winter I bumped into a lad in his late 20s, out skiing with his mum in the Clash. I didn’t recognise him at first but he was a graduate of the JDS from many years ago & he still skis – I call that a success as well. Before I finish if I had to name one person most responsible for the accomplishment of our elite athletes, then without doubt it has to be British Head Coach & Team Leader at Sochi, Roy Young. Yes, Roy has benefitted from many other able coaches & officials & built on what has gone before, but more than anyone else he has worked out how you develop athletes &, equally important, prove to our governing bodies how talented they actually are. It has not just the success of one or two individual athletes that is remarkable but depth of talent that has & is being developed. Thanks to the numerous contributors to this bumper edition.

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RACING ROUNDUP Tour de Ski, 28 Dec 2013 - 5 Jan 2014
Andrew Musgrave was joined by sister Posy & Andrew Young for the Tour. It was only ever planned for Posy & Andrew Y to complete the first two or three stages while Andrew M, as always, intended battle through all 7 stages. All three had good opening prologues in Oberhof, in fact AM had a particularly good 17th place. Bad snow conditions meant the planned distance classic races were changed to skate sprints which suited our athletes well. Andrew M posted the 7th fastest time. The Tour moved to a far snowier Lenzerheide in Switzterland for a second set of skate sprints where all three recorded splendid results. Both Andrews qualified for the knock-out stages (AM 14th, AY 27th) & Posy only just missed out qualifying with her best ever 33rd place in a World Cup race. Posy retired from the Tour at this stage while both Andrews entered the 15km classic. Andrew M struggled a bit in this race & such is the team spirit Andrew Y asked if he should drop back to assist AM so he didn’t lose too much time but the coaches told him to ski on. Only AM carried for the final three stages of the Tour recording the best ever British result by finishing 27th overall & was an amazing 9th fastest up the final Alpe Chemis hill climb.

Norwegian Championships, Molde, 16-18 Jan 2014
With impeccable timing in the build-up to the Winter Olympics, Andrew Musgrave pulled off one of the most remarkable results ever by a British skier by winning the Norwegian Sprint Championships. In so doing he beat a former World Champion & the man who was to go on & win the Sochi Sprint title. Andrew had a very good Norwegian Championship with 6th place in the Skiathlon & 7th in the 15km Classic. And not to be ignored was Young’s 18th place in the sprint.

World Junior & U233 Championships, Val de Fiemme, 29 Jan-2 Feb 2014
The World Junior & U23 Championships at Val di Fiemme & a World Cup event at the nearby Toblach in Northern Italy acted as a pre-Olympic holding camp. Although bound for Sochi both Andrew Young & Callum were able sharpen their racing in the U23 championships. These experienced, major championship skiers were joined by Harry Nicholls & Duncan Gibb both skiing in their first major Championships. I’ll leave them give a flavour of their experiences.
Harry Nicholls: The World Junior Championships was a great experience. Our first base in Italy was at an altitude of 1750m and some mountains nearby at 4500m! I’ve Harry & Duncan negotiate a tricky corner in style never been at this altitude in my life, it was a very strange feeling training at this height, heart rate acts differently and it takes longer to recover. It was great being with and training alongside the senior squad some of whom were going onto the Olympics the following week. Week two, we moved to Val di Fiemme where the World Junior Championships where being hosted. The sprint loop was a tough course full of steep up hills and fast technical down hills, not to mention the condition, mashed up corners seeing the effect of the previous U23 races and the 100 competitors in my race too. The ski conditions for the sprint race were perfect, a hard piste, sunshine and fast skis. I knew that I had trained hard enough in the run up to the World Juniors and felt fit and well going into the 1.4km freestyle sprint. My competitor number was called out I skied up to the start gate, the countdown began, tension mounting – knowing that I was about to push my body through hell! It was really tough; it helped having Roy Young spur me on shouting GO-GO-GO! The final summit was gruelling and the relief at finishing was huge. I scored my personal best sprint FIS points. Three days later the 10k classic. I felt comfortable warming up for the race, I tested my skis...not enough grip - back to the wax room to get more wax added... I was told they would be taken to the start line, so I continued warming up on my training skis. Ten minutes to go I headed to the start line took off my kit and looked for my skis – No skis there! (On euro sport you can see my running about in a panic) 1 minute until start.... still no sign of my race skis. I had no choice but to approach the start line on my training skis when 30 seconds from the start my race skis turn up. I quickly got them on and just made it back to the start line before it's my turn to start the 10k (not in the best frame of mind). I set off at a hard pace, I tell myself "I've got some good glide"! I reached the first hill, the first test for the grip wax, as I took my first kick on the uphill I stumbled... the grip was on my skis wasn't working for the skis and I knew then it was going to be a difficult race, demanding more energy and drive. I fell at the bottom of one of the steep downhill’s and winded myself the first race I have ever fallen in and lost a good 20 seconds. I felt disappointed as I usually perform better in distance than in sprint however that day the classic race didn't go well, but even so, I was really pleased to get personal best

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distance FIS points for this 10k at the World Junior Championships and can definitely say overall it was a great experience. Duncan Gibb: During the first week, we trained in Misurina, along with the senior squad who were preparing for their races at Sochi and the World cup. It was great spending time with all the team, the atmosphere was electric and everyone was really excited and hyped-up, whilst being surrounded by snow covered mountains gave the whole thing a surreal feeling. We had a couple of days to get used to being on snow at an altitude of 1750 m, before the hard interval-style training sessions began. We moved to Val di Fiemme on Monday 27th Jan where we attended the opening ceremony of the World Junior and Under 23 championships. It was quite a spectacle, with participants from so many different nations; there was a flag procession, light show, live music and fireworks. This was my first opportunity to represent my country at such a ceremony and it felt great to be part of it all. The following morning it was back to training and race preparations. We competed in the 1.5km sprint, on the 29th Jan. I also was given my very first drugs test as part of a random selection to ensure the team was competing fairly which was another new experience to me. On Sunday 2nd Feb we took part in the 10km Classic race, with around 100 other competitors. I started off 7th from the start gate, we are sent off at 30 second intervals and although the snow was quite wet I went out hard in order to catch the competitors ahead of me. I caught up with my team mate Harry Nicholls at the 2.5km mark and we skied the rest of the race together. I finished in 32:27mins, 5:50 mins behind the winner, a Russian called Roman Kaygodorov. I was 1 of only 3 sixteen year olds competing in the Junior World championships and really appreciated the opportunity to be part of such an amazing event. I’ve had lots of support from Alex Standen, who as well as coaching me for the past year, has been putting in his own training to compete in the World Cup. At my level, we don’t receive funding from any official bodies, so all the trips we go on have to be paid for by our parents. I get lots of help and encouragement from all the members of the Huntly Nordic Ski Club and the training from the volunteer coaches is fantastic, they’re like another family.

Winter Olympic Games, Sochi, 2014

“Some days you ski fast others you ski like a tranquillised badger” Four Huntly skiers were selected to represent Great Britain at the Sochi Winter Olympic Games: Andrew & Posy Musgrave, Callum Smith & Andrew Young. It is right we should celebrate their achievement but we should also take time recognise the efforts made by several other athletes from all parts of the UK in their own quests for Olympic selection. They may not have been successful this time but they have all contributed to the British Squad & its successes in recent years. "I had to overcome a lot of adversity just to get to the start line. I don't think anyone else would have survived sharing a room with Muzzy for 3 weeks and got the results I did"

The Games are too huge for me to summarise in this newsletter so I am just going to list their results, maybe make the odd comment & draw on quotes from the athletes. Men’s30km Skiathlon: Callum Smith 62nd, Men’s Sprint FT: Andrew M 27th, Andrew Y 42nd, Callum 62nd. Ladies Sprint FT: Posy 42nd. Men’s 15km Classic: Andrew Y 37th, Andrew M 44th, Callum 67th Ladies 10km Classic: Posy 66th. Men’s Team Sprint: AM & AY unfortunately a medical condition forced Andrew Y to pull up. Men’s 50km FT: Andrew M 53rd.

“Sochi was an interesting experience. The cross-country venue was a really good. Wide trails, plenty of snow, and races with the temperature 15 degrees above freezing.”

"I was really pleased with my 15k classic. I felt I managed to ski as best I can, I had fantastic skis and I really enjoyed myself throughout the race. It was a hot day and I wasn't expecting such a good result, so it was a pleasant surprise to get splits that I was just outside the top 30 during the race."

Supporters in Huntly gather to cheer our skiers on.

4 These are by far the best set of results by a British cross-country ski team at "I was really pleased with my 15k classic. I the Olympics. You always have to be careful comparing past results with felt I managed to ski as best I can, I had current results & space precludes me from going into the nitty-gritty. Simply fantastic skis and I really enjoyed myself stated Andrew M’s 27th (4.5% behind winner) is the highest placing a British throughout the race. It was a hot day and I male cross-country skier has ever finished. At first glance Posy’s 42nd doesn’t wasn't expecting such a good result, so it appear as good as Ros Coats’ 36th place from Sarajevo 1984. And without was a pleasant surprise to get splits that I wishing to devalue Ros’ result (she was the best Brit at that time) she was 36th was just outside the top 30 during the race." out of a field of 39 & 15.6% behind the winner’s time whereas Posy was 42nd out of 67 & only 7.4% behind. For the record Andrew Y’s 5.9% & Callum’s 10.5%, also in the Sprint, were their best results & if we ignore the Andrew M’s results from Vancouver & Sochi, then this would have put them both to the top of the Olympic leader board (previous men’s best 10.8% by John Spotswood in Calgary 1988). And before I wind up this riveting statistical analysis I just want to point out a couple of other excellent results: Andrew Young’s 7.8% behind in the 15km classic & although Andrew Musgrave may not consider it one of his better races he was only 9.6% behind those flying Russians Legkov/Vylegahanin/Chernousov in the fastest ever Olympic 50km. “Callum (Watson of Australia) disappeared out of sight briefly as we descended prior to the final climb before quickly reappearing as I rounded the tight corner and found him wrapped round the barriers on the outside of the track (He was OK, the same corner claimed several other victims including three skiers in the final). The final climb is like nothing else I have ever seen on another sprint track, I nearly fell over on the way into the stadium as my legs were so full of lactate from it.”

Callum

Muzzy

“I was caught by team mate Andrew Young on our final lap which either meant I was pulling a parachute or he was flying, Thomas ran alongside us to tell Andrew he was in 32nd so I realised it was mostly the latter.” On not finding the rest of Team GB for the closing ceremony…”we didn’t find them and ended up marching into the packed stadium with Kazakhstan. Despite being handed Kazakh flags to wave, a couple of things prevented us from blending in, namely our navy blue jackets in a sea of yellow and mint green.”

Youngy

Posy

Although all four athletes have the perfect right to be critical of their performances, or parts of them, they should remember they are the best ever.

La Foulee Blanche, Jan 2014 by Rick Newman
Three of our young skiers, Fergus Newman, Oliver Newman and Beth Maclean travelled to France in January to participate in the La Foulee Blanche, a hugely popular cross-country occasion in the Dauphine calendar and now in its 36th year. This week long event at Autrans in the Vercors Massif attracts thousands of participants, from beginners to elite skiers, and tiny tots up to octogenarians. Our racers flew in on the Thursday for the main races on the Saturday and Sunday. Our ski party were somewhat winging it with Rick travelling as parent, guardian, coach, and worryingly also as the waxer. Karen Clugnet, a skiing friend from the Chartreuse kindly fixed our comfortable accommodation and JeanFrancois Clugnet saved our bacon from certain Klister death. Their son James is part of BNDS and was also participating.

5 Friday was acclimatisation for our racers finding their feet, reviewing snow conditions and endeavouring to familiarise themselves with the course which we didn’t achieve until 5pm having met up with James Clugnet after he’d finished his sprint event . Ours were too young to participate. Saturday was Classic Race day and it started inauspiciously as Rick bedded the car down in slushy snow on one of the track/road crossings where he shouldn’t have been but was making his morning boulangerie run. He needed 4 bulky Dauphinoise to extract the car, not before he put Oliver in the driving seat and tried to push himself. Fergus arrived too late having got lost and run about 3 miles. It could almost have been a scene from Mr Bean’s Holiday. That mild panic and slight rush slightly set the tone for the morning. We met up with our waxing friends and quickly got stuck into Klister but it became clear that with so many skis to prepare race warm ups had to be done in trainers and on their own initiative and then elbow their way to a useful position on the Start hopefully with skis. It was good experience for them. It was a Mass Start with maybe a thousand skiers tiered according to distance – 25km, 10km then 5 km at the back. Coach Alex Fergus, Beth & Oliver Standen had decreed they race the 5k for sprint training purposes, endurance follows as they get older, and all duly delivered fabulous race results. Oliver won the 5k sporting the drooly mouthed Sundsby look as he came over the line while Fergus came third and promptly threw up and Beth came 3rd lady in her class. Of course we were all thrilled…the French clubs perhaps less so! Both boys had the pleasure of being interviewed by an over-excited commentator and it was wonderful for them to be the reason to hang around for the medal ceremony amongst all the race winners. Oliver won a pair of Salomon skis and Fergus a pair of Ski-go poles. Congratulations to them both. During the afternoon and to remove lactate and engage skate legs the Clugnets took us off up the valley to show off more of what is clearly an incredibly extensive region for cross-country skiing. From ‘Jean Babois’ we skied along perfect wide pisted forest trails, up some challenging climbs and past biathlon ranges and with the prospect of reward. In due course we skied up to Le Refuge de Geve, once a hole-up for French Resistance fighters but for us a warm cosy mountain restaurant with welcome mulled wine and hot chocolate. Sunday skate race day morning arrived with the distraction of how to deal with a noxious gas leak in the building. Then with that behind us our racers trotted down to race area for warm-up and preparation, we were conveniently accommodated a quarter mile away. La Foulee Blanche is the culmination freestyle event with thousands of participants and again a chaotic mass start. Ours were on the 5k line but behind all those doing the 42 and 20 and 10kms. Fergus had a pole basket removed by another skier and completed his race with one pole. His ‘coach’ was too absorbed by this great long cavalcade of skiers heading out up the valley to be sensibly positioned to support his athletes! Understandably local clubs needed their own on the podium for the newspaper reports and drafted in a number of their local racers who might otherwise have done the 10km and in the event Oliver and Fergus finished very respectable 5th and 7th in the 5km. Beth finished a very creditable 7th lady in the 10km and that was out of 170 participants. We wrapped up the occasion with a quick packed lunch, into the car, back to Lyon Airport and home. Autrans is a charming mountain village with superb cross-country facilities and infra-structure, we would highly recommend it. Enviable cross country ski centre equipped for hundreds of skiers of all ages and abilities, tourist information, café bar, race preparation areas, multitude of changing rooms and within walking distance of village centre with its classic French establishments. The area seems to hold its snow and sits above Grenoble where the temperature had been 13degrees at 7pm as we drove through on our arrival. www.lafouleeblanche.com www.autrans.com/en/winter/ski/cross-country-ski/ski-de-fond.htm

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Other Racing News
Finn Loughlane was Huntly’s sole representative at the British Championships in Ruhpolding. Just returning to competitive skiing after a bit of a break & trying to fit it in with his University studies Finn had a very creditable 20th place in the Men’s 10km FT Mass Start. Sarah Young & Callum Smith represented GB at the World Universiade Games at Lago di Tesero in Italy in December 2013. Sarah had a busy time racing in the Skiathlon, Sprints & 5km FT while Callum just entered the 10km Ft. Both had good results in this early season competition.

Telemark Racing
Anna Morrissey, captain of the British Telemark Team, has had a busy winter on the telemark race circuit. Here she gives a brief explanation of the discipline.
There are three different telemark races; a sprint, classic and the parallel sprint. Each race consists of GS gates, a jump, a rap and a skate section. There is a penalty system that ensures that each turn is done in telemark, you can receive a one second penalty at each gate. The jump is also judged, there is a line over which you must land to avoid a three second penalty and if you land in telemark you avoid a further one second penalty. The rap is a built up rounded wall that is designed to kill most of your speed as you go round it and head into the skating section. The skate section makes up about one third of the total time of the race so it is very important! The Sprint race is a shorter race, roughly one minute long and the Classic can be anything from three to four minutes. The parallel sprint is a head to head, knock out race which is new in the past couple of years. I am having a fantastic time on my season and I am skiing much better than last season. I have really noticed the difference committing more time to my skiing, rather than trying to do both university and training. My training at Huntly over summer obviously paid off too, thank you for all the help! I had two months training with the German Team in Stubai in October and November at the start of the season. Since then there have been a lot of races so I have been travelling around competing, though I have been mostly based near Tignes. I am off to Meribel to compete at the Inter Services next week before heading to America for the fourth World Cup. I am really excited to go to America as I have never skied there! I am staying for a few extra days after the races to visit some different resorts too. Go to http://amorrisseytelemark.wordpress.com for her latest news.

TAKE THE TRAIN TO THE TRAILS! Cross Country Skiing in Oslo by Ian Frampton
"We are thinking of a quick trip to the Nordmark. Can anyone recommend a good location / accommodation easy to get to from Oslo Gardermoen?" A recent request for information about skiing in the Oslo area brought-in a flurry (pardon ski-related pun) of comments and advice. Some-time Oslo resident Ian Frampton collates the feedback: The Nordmarka is a huge cross country ski wilderness area to the north of Oslo. Sandwiched between the city and the international airport, there are over 2000 kilometres of trails in the area and most are prepared, notes Dick Sowden in his response. He points out that the trails can be quite challenging, with steeper hills and tighter bends than you get in the resort areas. Although almost everything in Norway is horribly expensive (don’t even get me started on the price of beer…), skiing (alpine or cross-country) doesn’t have to be, in a nation where (literally) everyone skiis… Getting there: Gardermoen is the main airport served by the national carriers, with the advantage of fast transport links by train (Flytoget – Airport Train) or bus (Flybussen – Airport bus) to downtown Oslo some 40km away. Torp (90 minutes to the west) and Rygge (an hour to the south) are served by low cost airlines including Ryanair and Norwegian. Both have regular bus connections to Oslo (Flybussekspressen), and you can pay by credit card on the bus. Staying there: All the respondents recommended staying in downtown Oslo if you are skiing in the Nordmarka. Dick suggested the Hotel Bristol, an elegant old-style hotel with sumptuous mahogany everywhere. For budget hotels, expect to pay around £60.00 per night for an advanced-booked twin room in a basic (though comfortable and effortlessly chic contemporary style) hotel such as the Anker Hotel (though avoid the noisy hostel next door) or the AIR BnB, recommended by Claudia Zeiske.

7 Getting to Ski: The great joy of skiing in Oslo is that you take the train (T-Bane – tunnel train) directly to the trails. Line 1 to the terminal station Frognerseteren takes you right to the head of the trail; you can head out for days on wellgroomed tracks, or if you prefer, follow the route alongside the mad toboggan route (the Korketrekken) back down the mountain to Midstuen, one of the intermediate stations, and then take the train back up – no herringbone style required! As Dick points out, public transport in Oslo is cheap (“250 NOK for a week’s train pass anywhere in the Oslo system; only 170 NOK for an old pensioner like myself!” – where 10 NOK = £1.00). It’s also fabulously efficient in a Scandi style. If you would rather spend a day alpine skiing, get off Line 1 at the penultimate station (Voksenkollen) and there will be a free transfer bus waiting to take you to the alpine ski centre at Tryvann (www.tryvann.no), about five minutes away. Costs: Ski hire from the alpine centre at Tryvann is about £40.00 per day for the total alpine kit, or £25.00 for crosscountry. A one-day lift pass for the ten or so graded slopes at Tryvann is around £45.00; cheaper per diem if you go for longer. A tip from canny Norwegians is to make up your packed lunch (Matpakke) at the smorgasbord-style hotel buffet breakfast. Some hotels now officially frown on the practice (or will charge extra); though most turn a blind eye if you are discreet. Alternatively, as Dick notes, there are a lot of cafés in the forest and within a 10km range there are at least a dozen places where you can get food and drink. Oslo is a good place to buy ski gear – especially for children: since every single Norwegian child has skis, the costs are much lower than in the UK. You can buy a Skipakke – including boots, poles, bindings and skis – for less than £200.00 from the fabulous XXL Store close to Oslo Central Station, or from the many Sporthuset outdoor shops. A top-tip is to make a quick expeditionary trip to Oslo in September. It’s too early to ski that far south, but all the local schools host a weekend Loppemarked, a fabulous bring-and-buy sale where you can pick up second hand ski gear for next-to-nothing. If you miss that, the Ski Exchange shop in Bekkestua (Line 2 on the T-Bane followed by a ten minute walk) sells second hand gear for children for cheap; or you can exchange for outgrown gear from last season for a few Kroner. Just don’t take a (ruinously expensive) taxi to get there! If you’re thinking of a trip to Norway and need any more info on skiing in Oslo, Sjusjøen or Lillehammer, do contact me via email at ianframpton@mac.com. Ha en god tour!

THE CLASH 2013/14
This is going to be a quick one with what may turn out to be the worst snow season in the last 10 years there is little to report. It is a rare season when we don’t manage to hold at least one on-snow event but unfortunately this is one of them. The snow record speaks for itself, only 23 ski days & 20 of those being marginal. The previous worst snow year 2006/07 had 27 ski days but 21 were good skiing days which made the pain of that winter more bearable. This winter has seen few good ski days & even some of those weren’t that great. I always quote an average of 45 skiing days each winter – well actual over the past 10 years it is more like 60.

Rick takes the snowmobile for its first outing

We still might get some late season days but generally any snow late in the season doesn’t last too long but Colin miller was able to grab one such fleeting day on the 4th April. However let’s look positively to the future & the opportunities that may be revealed by the new Clash Windfarm roads. I’ll let Colin explain…… BEYOND THE CLASH by Colin Miller
At exactly midday on 27th January 2014, probably for the first time, a skier’s tracks linked the Clash trails with the newly built road system serving the Clashindarroch Wind Farm. Although the snow depth was by no means generous, there was enough to negotiate the heathery forest ride which was now intersected abruptly by the stony banks of the new highway. With the raw new construction, and the wide swathe through the trees, this could have been Alaska in the early days of the pipeline road to the North Slope. After AMEC’s withdrawal from a previous windfarm proposal, which would have severely impacted the best part of the Haute Route trail (and to which the Club lodged an objection), Vattenfall’s scheme stops short of the established ski trails. The closest turbine will stand on the north edge of the remarkable glacial meltwater channel of Three Burnshead How. 110 metres high to the blade tip, the turbine will be visible and almost certainly audible from the Clash trails, but adequate tree cover has been retained between the trails and the turbine site. Care has been taken to prevent the juniper-clad sides of the How being affected by construction works on the turbine base.

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The road system for the windfarm is truly massive, amounting to some 19 ml (31 km) of unbound (crushed stoned rather than tarmac) highway, much of it 5-7 metres wide, plus associated banking and drainage works, all designed to accommodate access by vehicles carrying the turbine components. About half of the system comprises upgraded preexisting roads. As the raven flies, the system stretches over 7 ml (12 km) north to the A920 Huntly-Dufftown road, with a series of loops and offshoots serving the 18 turbines clustered at the southern end of the Clashindarroch ridge. One spur road leads to two turbine sites on Cloichedubh Hill. Newly rolled and of immense width it offered great potential for skating technique, even on the scant inch or two of snow available. (No such competence was exhibited on the day in question). A feature of skiing these roads is that very little snow is required, whereas the typical Clashindarroch off-piste terrain requires at least half a metre of snow to negotiate the ubiquitous tussocks and deep heather. Consequently one can cruise the roads and enjoy the sweeping views in relaxed style. It has to be said that the road on Cloichedubh Hill has changed the immediate landscape considerably from its appearance when participants on the Secret Clash tour sheltered under one of the characteristic tors (or “Cloiche Dubh”) during a wet blizzard in March 2011. The road and one of the turbine bases skirts very close to that particular tor and exposes some of the other rock features, notably an enormous glacial erratic which must have been carried along in the ice like a gigantic football, before being dumped on the scoured ground surface and subsequently partially engulfed in peat. Ironically, this winter’s weather pattern provided plenty of wind prior to completion of the windfarm, and virtually no snow to allow an off-piste exploration of the area. However, the planning application for the windfarm recognised the value of Clashindarroch for trail-based recreational activities.

New Members
Welcome to Eliza Lee. And also Rod Campbell & Sue Taylor who hopefully will have made use of Ian’s article about skiing near Oslo.

Huntly Summer Events.
• • • • • Sat 31st May – The Huntly Sprints FT Sun 1st Jun – Clashindarroch Hill Climb CT Sat 7th Jun – Ming Summer Run/Bike event & BNDS Fundraiser Ceilidh organised by Rick Newman richardnewman@clara.co.uk Sat 6th Sept – Huntly Rollerski Championships FT Sun 7th Sept – Huntly 3-Lap Challenge & Team Sprints FT

The Olympics didn’t finish with the closing ceremony in Sochi. There was one final medal presentation. Andrew Young hands out real Sochi chocolate medals at the After-School Ski Club

These kids couldn’t reach to touch the top of Andrew’s ski poles – I can remember he was this small!!!!
CLUB SPONSORS:

Thank you Frank for bringing the medals all the way from Russia

Correspondence to: Peter Thorn West Craigton Cottage, Kennethmont, Huntly, Aberdeenshire AB54 4QP Email: huntlynordicsc@yahoo.co.uk