February 2023 Newsletter

P. O. Box 181
Salem, OR  97308

by Jeff Starr


Ten students and five mentors had a great day on Hoodoo’s Nordic tracks inspite of cloudy skies and blowing snow.  In the morning PSIA Nordic Instructors, Bev McDonald and Mike Armstrong, gave an excellent lesson on fundamentals of balance and body position as well as instruction and practice in diagonal stride, double poling, herringbone and snowplowing.  In the afternoon is was back in the tracks for practice and cruising.  By the end of the day the entire class skied the slope down to the lodge smoothly.  Thanks to everyone who participated and we hope to see you touring regularly for the rest of the ski season.


Recovery from 2020 Fires

Many Cascade roads and trails are still closed following the devasting wildfires of 2020.  The Willamette National Forest has recently produced a website detailing their efforts to restore damaged roads.  Here is their announcement of the Project with links to the website.

Story map for 2020 Fire Affected Road Risk Reduction project now available

Springfield, Ore., Jan. 17, 2023—The Willamette National Forest has developed and published an interactive story map to showcase the 2020 Fire Affected Road Risk Reduction Project progress. This interactive map will serve a resource to keep record of all project related information and the progress of any work that gets implemented.

The story map was created to increase understanding of the 2020 Fire Affected Road Risk Reduction Project’s purpose and implementation process on the Willamette National Forest. It includes text, visuals and maps of sites where the project will be done. All data that is recorded will be updated directly on the site for the public to stay informed of the latest updates. Although the 2020 fires impacted other public and private lands, this project is centered on Forest Service lands as one piece of the overall fire recovery to restore safe road access.

In what have become known as the “2020 Labor Day Fires,” the Holiday Farm, Beachie Creek, and Lionshead Fires burned approximately 571,435 acres of land across private, municipal, State, Tribal and Federal lands, including 176,000 acres of the Willamette National Forest. A historic windstorm on Monday, Sept. 7, 2020, caused these fires to rapidly spread west on the Willamette, Deschutes, and Mt. Hood National Forests, devastating communities and causing loss of property, life, and natural resources.

The story map is now available to the public and can be viewed at https://tinyurl.com/fm6b32w5. The maps include data that requires time to load so it may take a few minutes to load, please be patient. All links and resources related to project are included in the story map. Any additional information about the project can be accessed directly at https://tinyurl.com/3hrh6bwf.

Environmental Chemistry for Skiers by Frank Hoffman and Jim Todd

PFAS (per and poly-fluoroalkyl substances)?  PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene)?  What are these and what do they have to do with cross-country skiing? 

1.  PFAS are fluorinated compounds that are long lasting and have a number of desirable properties that have resulted in their use in a variety of products—from water-repellant clothing to fire retardant fabrics and high-performance ski wax. When incorporated with ski wax, PFAS make the wax more water repellant and more durable—both desirable for prolonged and improved glide in racing.

PFAS are known to be extremely hazardous to aquatic life, and they present hazards to human health as well. This is particularly true for ski techs who regularly hot-wax racing ski with high-fluoro waxes; but, since even lower-level exposure over time can result in bio-accumulation of these long half-life products (“Forever Chemicals”), probably none of us should be using them.

This link accesses EPA information on health risks and enforcement actions related to these compounds:  https://www.epa.gov/pfas/pfas-explained.

2.  Top-of-the-line cross-country ski waxes contained PFAS compounds to improve glide.  The EPA has cited Swix and other wax manufactures for selling waxes containing PFAS in violation of the Toxic Substances Control Act: Here’s another EPA article discussing the problem: https://www.epa.gov/system/files/documents/2022-01/pfasskiwax.pdf

3.  PTFE (Teflon) was used in Maxiglide and some other glide wax products.  It is believed to be less hazardous than PFAS compounds, but manufacturer and disposal of PTFE generates PFAS so there is still some environmental risk.

4  The International Ski Federation (FIS) has banned C8 fluorocarbons in all its skiing events:  https://www.fis-ski.com/en/international-ski-federation/news-multimedia/news/update-on-fis-fluorinated-ski-wax-ban, also https://skifederation.org/everything-you-need-to-know-about-fiss-recent-ban-on-fluorinated-waxes. Aside from direct hazard to ski techs and skiers, wax residue in snow eventually ends up in waterways.

5.  Swix, Maxiglide and other manufacturers now advertise their waxes as fluorocarbon-free.  End of story? Not quite.  Recreational skiers have much more limited exposure to wax compounds than racers and may never have used racing waxes with PFAS.  But any skier with old containers of Maxiglide, Swix F4 or similar products at least has some PTFE on hand.  There may be little risk in keeping these products, but it would be better for the environment to dispose of these products (properly) and switch to the newer, non-fluoro compounds.  Information about hazardous waste disposal can be found at:  https://www.co.marion.or.us/PW/ES/disposal/Pages/hhws.aspx.


Please renew your membership for the 2022-2023 season.  For only $20 you receive access to all the inside club news, and the satisfaction of supporting our efforts to promote and improve cross-country skiing for everyone.  You can download a renewal form at https://oncwillamette.org/membership.   Join us for a great season on the snow.


Under current COVID-19 safety guidelines it is possible to resume the club’s scheduled ski tours.  However, individual members should assess their risk carefully before deciding whether to ski with a group.  We are responsible for our own safety.  No one should participate in a club tour if they have symptoms that might indicate Coronavirus infection.  The Willamette Chapter will require everyone to be vaccinated to participate in club tours.  Tour leaders may require proof of vaccination.  Carpooling to the trailhead is an individual choice.  Those who carpool should wear a face covering as a precaution.  Tourers should maintain 6’ social distance at all times and wear face coverings when social distancing is not possible.

Guests are welcome on Willamette Chapter day tours.  Please contact the tour leader for details and to ensure the tour matches your interests and skill level.

We need more tour leaders for weekend tours; please step up and lead a tour to your favorite destination.  If you wish to lead a tour, suggest a tour destination or learn more about tour leading, contact Jim Todd (503x378x7003).  The tour schedule is sparse at present due to Holidays and uncertainties about early season snow conditions; more tours will be added as the season progresses.  Remember, impromptu tours are always an option.  If you yearn for a day on skis phone Jim or a skier on the roster emailed last month.  Connect with your fellow Club members and get out when it snows.

February 4, Saturday:  A Tour, an easy road tour or a return to Hoodoo’s Nordic Tracks—perfect for Ski School graduates.  Contact Jim Todd (503x378x7003).

February 4 or 5, Saturday or Sunday:  B Tour, date and location depending on weather conditions and group interest.  Contact Bob Young (503x621x6626‬).

February 11 or 12, Saturday or Sunday:  A Tour location depending on snow conditions and group interest.  Contact Jeff Starr (503x851x8403).

February 11, Saturday:  B Tour, Santiam Lake or Potato Hill traverse.  Contact Jim Todd (503x378x7003).

February 18 or 19, Saturday or Sunday:  B Tour, date and location depending on weather conditions and group interest.  Contact Bob Young (503x621x6626‬).

February 25, Saturday:  B Tour, Santiam Pass area, location depending on snow conditions and group interest.  Contact Jim Todd (503x378x7003).

February 26, Sunday:  A Tour, Trillium Lake or Pocket Creek on Mt. Hood.  Contact John Hortsch (503x507x5727).

March 4 or 5, Saturday or Sunday:  B Tour, date and location depending on weather conditions and group interest.  Contact Bob Young (503x621x6626‬).

March 5, Sunday:  A Tour, Santiam Pass, possibly even a day on Hoodoo’s tracks.  Contact Jeanne Miller (503x588x0473).

March 18, Saturday:  A or B Tour:  John Craig Ski Event at McKenzie Pass.  Ski to Windy Point or Dee Wright on groomed snow–check the “Ski Video Corner” below.  Put this one on your calendar; details will be in the March Newsletter.

Tour Ratings: A key to the Tour Rating codes: 

“Beginner” = Easy, short distances on flat or gentle slopes; appropriate for first time skiers.

“A” = Easy, distances up to 5 or 6 miles with a few slopes; basic skills are required; some of these may not be suitable for 1st time skiers. 

“B” = Intermediate or experienced; distances of 6 to 12 miles or possible elevation gains of 2000 feet; may include steeper sections; some downhill skills are required. 

“C” = Advanced, longer with greater elevation gains; includes both trails and off-trail with frequent steep terrain.

“D” = Expert, very difficult or long; possible backcountry travel and/or ski mountaineering. 


Why not break the shackles that bind you to the calendar this season?  Try a mid-week tour.  Contact one of the enthusiasts below and arrange an escape from routine.  If you want to be added to this list, send your phone and email to Jim Todd, and we’ll include it in the next Newsletter.   Likewise, contact Jim, if you want your name removed for this season.

Weekday skiers:

Bill Caldwell 503x385x6494   wbcaldwell1 at q dot com

Chuck Daellenbach 541x928x4256 daellenbachc at comcast dot net

Frank Hoffman 541x475x0185 hh_tex at msn dot com

Denise Hughes 435x828x2273 salemhughes at gmai dot com

Bianca Klar 503x949x9089 bianchiklar at yahoo dot com

Bill Nelson 503x576x1278 bnelson at pacificomm dot net

Mark Olson 503x559x0728 mark at olson dot us

Foxie Proctor 503x581x0207 foxieproctor at comcast dot net

Denise Sanders 503x859x4597 dsander at wvi dot com

Jeff Starr 503x851x8403 jeffstarr3 at gmail dot com

Jim Todd 503x378x7003 toddwac18 at gmail dot com

Jerry Vessello 503x931x6344‬ jvess at comcast dot net

Craig Wojcik 503x931x2705‬ ccwojcik09 at comcast dot net

Pam Wojcik 971x312x3984 pjwojcik09 at comcast dot net

Bob Young 503x621x6626 arch.byoung at gmail dot com


January 10, Tuesday:  Island Junction Shelter by Frank Hoffman (slightly edited)

I made a late evening/early morning decision to ski at the pass today. 26F, windy, overcast at Ray Benson at 9 am. Several inches new snow with still-visible tracks; some light snow mid-day. No mountain views. Lower trees and branches were heavily snow-loaded creating many arc trees—I cut a dozen or more. I had lunch at the shelter and saw two couples on the South Loop as I returned. This route (red line on the map) is about the shortest to Island Jct—2.8 mi. 

1/10/2023:  Island Junction Shelter by Frank Hoffman

January 16, 2023, MLK Day Ski, or the MacGyver Outing. by Bob Young

January 16 looked like a reasonable day to get out on the snow for a first trip this year to the north side of Santiam Pass.  The morning was partially sunny with only a light breeze and Lisa, Bianca, Howard, and I climbed up to the PCT above Booth Lake.  We caught a few nice views and started skiing down the ridge line towards Square Lake.  This can be a fun gentle downhill run with plenty of opportunities to practice turns.  The snow became inconsistent with spots of heavier and stickier snow and some spots of soft crust which make things tricky.  We decided that further decent on the slopes dropping into Square Lake was not worth the climb back out so after a pleasant lunch break and the beginning of afternoon light snow and descending clouds we headed back.  I was using my 3 pin Rossignol BC boots that had a partial delamination at the right toe last year.  Rossignol suggested G-flex epoxy for a “temporary” repair.  That fix seems to be holding very well.  Unfortunately, one fall backwards and the left boot decided to totally delaminate from the sole while we are still a good 2 ½ miles out there.  Never underestimate the value of duct tape.  I carry Gorilla tape which is a heavier material and had enough hold to secure the toe but not the heel.  I usually have a baggy of paracord pieces in my pack but that had migrated to my summer trail work old pack.  Fortunately, Bianca also had duct tape.  The other useful repair material is the web belt and plastic buckle I use for hiking and skiing.  Paracord would have worked better since it would fit between the sole tread pattern but the belt worked adequately, though keeping my pants up became another challenge.  I tried to use the left ski for glide only and sought gentler terrain to avoid any more falls.  I didn’t succeed in avoiding falls but the repairs held and got me back with only minor delays.  So check your 10 essentials and add a few more for good measure.  You never know when you will need them.   

Description: C:\Users\Genice Rabe\Desktop\Documents\Nordic Ski Club\February 2023 Newsletter\IMG_6171.JPG
Description: C:\Users\Genice Rabe\Desktop\Documents\Nordic Ski Club\February 2023 Newsletter\IMG_2806.JPG

                                                                                                                                                             Photos by Bob Young

January 20, Friday:  Lava Lake

Bill, Bob, Frank and Peggy found mixed snow conditions skiing from Big Springs SnoPark down through the old growth trees to Lava Lake.  The lake was dry for some easy cruising and a comfortable lunch stop in the sunshine.  The next plan is to set up a car shuttle at Lava Lake SnoPark and enjoy a traverse between the two snow parks.  Stay tuned.

1/20/2023:  Lava Lake by Bill Nelson

January 21, Saturday:  North Blowout/Island Junction Loop by Jeff Starr

Jim, Jeff, Jeanne, and Mark headed out for a fantastic day of excellent conditions for smooth gliding.  The forecast called for strong winds and an incoming storm so the group elected to start out of Ray Benson SnoPark where we’d have a bit more shelter from the incoming storm.  The day started wonderfully with clear skies and ideal conditions as we followed the North Loop to Blowout shelter.  Due to the quick pace of the group, we were able to take a short detour to explore an off track route along one of the many road cuts added from the recent timber clearing project.  Off track skiing was very good with forgiving snow that made breaking trail and downhill glides easy.  

Once at North Blowout Shelter, Jim pioneered a new route down the Blowout from the shelter to the Circle Lake trail that was impressive in both its simplicity and terrain.  I believe it is likely the shortest way to connect up from the North Blowout Shelter to the Circle Lake Trail if headed to Island Junction Shelter.  By the time we had reached the Island Junction Shelter, the storm had blown in at full force and we were all glad we opted to ski out of Ray Benson rather than north of the pass.

From Island Junction Shelter the group headed back via Circle Lake and Claypool Butte trails.  As the wind was blowing at 20+ mph and the snow was coating our clothing and glasses, we made quick time back to the parking lot and were done skiing before 2pm.  We likely skied approximately 7 miles due to excellent snow and broken trails.  

1/21/2023:  NBO to Circle Lake Trail route by Jeff Starr

January 31, Tuesday:  Big Springs/Lava Lake Traverse by Frank Hoffman

Bill Nelson, Peggy Mansfield, John Hortsch and Frank Hoffman met at Lava Lake SnoPark and left a vehicle there. At Big Springs SnoPark, we found overcast, calm and 19°, with about an inch of recent snow on a solid to icy base; this held true on the Lava Lake east trail down to Lava Lake. After lunch in a noticeably warm sun, we skied across the south end of Lava Lake using the point where three large firs joined the south skyline of Browder Ridge to keep us on course to the Lava Lake west trail. All went well until the last 30 feet to the shore, where we encountered a water-filled moat containing a network of loosely interlacing buckbrush partially topped with a foot of snow. This feature extended far in both directions. Gingerly testing suggested the lattice was skiable, with care to not allow ski tips to get trapped by the brush. All made it safely to shore. The Lava Lake West trail was a steep old road that had essentially become an eroded streambed with frozen banks; its vigorous water flow helped explain the existence of the moat. This road/streambed continued .4 mi to the Lava Lake Loop, which had better conditions. At the SnoPark, the consensus was that the trip had been a success, that it had started as an A tour but ended as a B, that another couple of feet of snow could have been quite helpful, and that we were most pleased to see our car at the Lava Lake SnoPark. 5.1 miles, elev. loss 388, gain 162 feet.

1/31/23:  Lava Lake East Trail by Frank Hoffman

1/31/23:  Lava Lake West Trail by Frank Hoffman


The Willamette Chapter has an active volunteer program assisting the Forest Service with ski trail clearing and marking; shelter construction and maintenance; and firewood stocking.  Thank you volunteers!  If you have questions about out volunteer projects or would like to join one, contact Mark Olson (503x559x0728) or Jim Todd (503x378x7003).

The Deschutes and Willamette National Forests do
essential work keeping our ski trails open, marked and
signed through the winter; but they are desperately short
of winter recreation staff. We can help them
use their limited resources efficiently by sending a Trail Report whenever we ski the marked trails. “Cascade Volunteers” records volunteer activity
and reports directly to Forest Service offices. You can access their Trail Report form at:  https://cascadevols.org/usfs-work-report/.  (Note:  the form requires a trail number, but our ski trails are not numbered; just enter any number in the “Trail Number” field, then describe the trail in the “Trail Name” field).  You can also report your observations by sending an email to Jim Todd:  toddwac18 at gmail dot com.


        The Willamette Chapter will not sell Sno-Park permits in the absence of our regular monthly meetings.  Sno-Park permits may be purchased online at the Oregon DMV: https://dmv2u.oregon.gov/eServices/_/.  Annual permits purchased directly from DMV cost $25—no handling fee.  The process takes only a few minutes and includes a downloadable copy you can print and use immediately while waiting for your permit to arrive in the mail.  Buy a permit and support Sno-Park plowing.


Here is a preview of the John Craig Ski Event—beyond beautiful on a sunny day.


The Newsletter now includes an Announcement Section. There members can post ski related items for sale, cross-country related questions, inquiries about conditions and suggestions for ski trips. Please send your announcements to Bob, Jim or Denise for inclusion in the Newsletter. Another good place for these items is on the website, ONCWillamette.org

1.  Hot Waxing your skis?  Jim and Bob have placed a bulk order for Swix Universal Glide Wax.  They are offering 180g blocks to interested skiers for only $14.  This is less than half the price of temperature calibrated waxes and should be satisfactory for all but the most serious XC racer.  Contact Jim (503x378x7003) or Bob (503x621x6626) if you wish to purchase wax.  Your tips and tails will thank you and you will ski smoother and easier.

2.  Salem Summit Co., our local mountain shop, is now selling cross-country skis and boots in addition to renting them.  They have the Salomon Snowscape 7, a good general purpose touring ski.  If you are searching for new boards, this is the same ski they rent so you could try before you buy.  


         Available                            President

         Jeanne Miller                      Vice President

         Bob Young                          Treasurer & Membership

         Denise Sanders                    Webmeister

         Genice Rabe                        Newsletter Editor

         Jim Todd                             Day Tour Chair

         David Forkner                     ONC State Board Rep & Board Member

         Pam Wojcik                     Overnight Trip Coordinator & Board Member  

         Mark Olson                     Volunteer Coordinator & Board Member  

         Christine Young                  Board Member

         Available                        Board Member

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