What’s Your Gear? Cross Country Skiing

If you’ve ever cross-country skied at Mt. Spokane, chances are you’ve skied in the tracks of a local legend. She might not get much name recognition around town, but on the mountain’s Langlauf course, Deb Bauer’s name is synonymous with champion.

She has raced nationally, and internationally at the Master’s World Championship in Lake Placid in 1998, “I was on the winning relay team.” She’s also won our local Langlauf race fourteen times in eighteen years. Not bad for a girl from back East who only started in the sport after moving here in her 20s.

Winning Langlauf is a family affair for the Bauers-Deb’s husband took first overall on the men’s side four times, her nephew took that title last year, and her brother- and sister-in-law have each topped the competition in their respective age brackets.

“I’m lucky because I’ve always had faster skiers, just within my family, to help me push myself.”

This year, Bauer is nursing a shoulder injury that might keep her out of Langlauf (at least, out of contention for the overall women’s title), but her love of the sport is undaunted, and her gear collection continues to grow.

SKIS: Any serious racer has a couple pairs of skis, but a family of serious racers? “We have a basement full of skis. Between my husband and me we probably have fifty pairs of skis,” says Bauer. For Langlauf she prefers a pair of Fischer skis. “You want a fairly soft camber ski to make sure you get good kick. At Mt. Spokane, there’s a lot of hills, so you need something that’s gonna get you up there.”

On race day, “we wax two or three pair and then glide test them. Then we pick the ones that are gliding the fastest and put on the kick wax,” says Bauer.

POLES: Infinity. “Our whole family uses them.”

BOOTS: Solomon Combi boot, like the ones used in the Olympic Pursuit event. “It comes a little higher up [on the calf]. I’ve always used an old skate boot for a classic boot because I like the stability on the down hill,” says Bauer.

WAX: Solda. “My husband is a waxing fanatic, always trying new things. We always have very fast skis-it’s something I’ve come to rely on. We spend a lot of time waxing in the basement.”

SOCKS: Smartwool.

RACING ATTIRE: A lycra bodysuit with a polypropylene shirt underneath. “For the race itself you want to dress fairly light because you warm up so fast on the hills.” Bauer is excited about her new bodysuit, the CW-X Insulator. “It has criss-cross bands on the thighs to hold your muscles and keep you warmer.”

She’ll wear a warm-up jacket or a Swix warm-up suit while getting ready for the race.

GLASSES: Rudy Projects from Fitness Fanatics, or “Rico makes a nice one.”

GLOVES: Swix-“I like my hands warm, so I’ll usually use a thicker glove.”

HAT: “My husband and I have so many hats, but a race over in Methow gives out a hat every year, made by Swix, and I usually wear that one.”

ACCESSORIES: “In the race, we really tone it down, but for training I’ll usually carry a little extra kick wax and a pork[used for waxing on the go],” says Bauer. She’ll also carry a canteen: “it sits really nice on your back and it’s insulated.” During longer races, she’ll mix Hammer gels with water and drink it on the go. “Sometimes if you stop to take a drink you’ll drop off the pack and never get back in.”

Don’t miss your chance to catch the Bauer family in action at Langlauf this month with Deb probably on the sidelines. “At races where someone in the family isn’t racing, they’ll be stationed out on the course with refreshments,” says Bauer, who likely will have to wait to debut her new racing suit in McCall for the World Master’s races next year.

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