News & Stories

Ugh! The Erg!

Camper Alexia Ballard grits her teeth and poles down hard!

Making its debut appearance at Loppet Adventure Camp this week was a ski erg. This contraption, a double pole machine that calculates the wattage produced as you ski, is essential for high level athletes, but a special treat for most other skiers. “The greatest thing about the double pole machine is that you can ski even in the summer,” said Brian Gregg who brought the machine out of his basement to camp. Gregg said he does interval workouts on the erg about three times a week.

While campers shied away from the contraption at first, the counselors were eager to try. “Awesome!” they shouted as they ran from lunch to give it a whirl. Soon the campers were intrigued and started lining up to see how many watts they could produce. “Slip your hands in here just like you were putting on ski poles,” instructed Gregg. Wearing ski boots and helmets, the kids gripped the handles and braced themselves as they began turning over their strokes. 100, 150, 200 plus watts- the numbers climbed. These kids were putting the hammer down!

Watching the watts. Jacob Rochelle-Share takes it to 200!

“What are the numbers for?” asked a curious kid in the crowd. “It’s the number of watts you are producing,” said Gregg. “You could light a light bulb with that!” Many of the kids could light three to four light bulbs with their efforts- but not much more beyond that. “You usually reach your peak after the first seven seconds. The rest is trying to maintain that,” said Gregg.

“The erg has been fun because it strips down the elements of skiing to be nothing but power. Kids love competing for power,” said Camp director Allie Rykken. 

Gregg is hoping that introducing the kids to fun ski training like the erg will also serve to wet their appetites for roller skiing. “Some of these kids have never been on skis before so roller skiing can seem kind of scary. This gives them a safe way to get excited about skiing- and more enthusiasm to put on the helmets and wheels.”

On Friday Loppet Adventure Camp with hold it’s first official “Erg-off”… uff da!