Thank You and BETRAYAL?

Thank you for all of your kind words for me. I appreciate and love you and I know you are supporting me.

I somewhat reluctantly went to the NYSSRA Championship Relays on Sunday and I had a great time. That is weird part about the issues I am having, I knew I would have a great time doing what I love to do, but something was tugging at me, convincing me not to even try. It is hard, it’s like being both rational and uncontrollably irrational at the same time, yet you rationally know you when you are being irrational but you can’t stop being irrational and the rational you is overwhelmed. Anyway, I am getting treatment and I am getting better, it’s a day-to-day thing. Thanks again for your support.

What I did see on Sunday was that the camaraderie of the New York Nordic Ski community, especially my Peru Nordic comrades, is something really special, and unfortunately unique. Thank you to all who came to race at GORE on Sunday. When I was there I saw a group of people that really LOVE skiing AND ski RACING… What I feel is that this is basically a group of people that is getting left behind.

I feel betrayed. I feel betrayed by Van Ho and USSA.

Does anyone else feel BETRAYED by Mt Van Ho? I hate to say it. It is my all-time favorite place to be, but right now, it’s the last place I want to go. I don’t feel betrayed by the groomers or the day-to-day staff. I feel betrayed by ORDA and those who are supposed to be on our side when it comes to supporting Nordic Skiing at all levels.

Do I feel betrayed because they cancelled the Executive Disorder gig at the last minute… Yeah, Probably. That sucked… we only had that date booked for 2 months.

Do I feel betrayed because they “postponed” the loppet in an effort to save certain trails for the Junior Nationals… maybe. Even though the conditions were not ideal and the forecast was iffy, they could have held the Loppet. I don’t really fault them for postponing, but it seems transparent that they only did it to “save” the homologated loops for the JNs… the skiers that really matter.

Do I feel betrayed because they moved the NYSSRA Championships to save certain trails… again, yeah. This was definitely an effort on Van Ho’s part to “save” the homologated loops for JNs. The NYSSRA champs were scheduled on non-competition days and we could have even had our events on the courses they were saving. I mean, NYSSRA pays the fees to host races at Van Ho, it’s not like Van Ho gives it away for free. Instead they just said “you’re not welcome here, because you’re not good enough, maybe Gore will host you.” At least, that’s how it feels.

Now, I know in hindsight, the conditions at Van Ho would have made all of the above difficult anyway. And the block of ice that is the Homologated trails is unusable. However, when these events were postponed and moved that was not the case. Van Ho was dealt the perfect storm of shitty conditions, and had to use what was probably plan “C” and go to the jumps.

However, that unfortunate weather doesn’t take away the bad taste of betrayal.

It is clear that the message is… unless you are affiliated with USSA, you don’t count.

I know that NYSSRA has battled this for years. I was president of NYSSRA and had served on the executive board for years. We embraced the idea of getting local clubs to get as many people as possible excited about ski racing. Our club, Peru Nordic, was built on this ideal. We have always been about “adults can play, too” and it doesn’t have to “be about the children” in order to have merit. Peru Nordic gets it. HURT gets it. Saratoga Biathlon gets it. ADK Vauhti/Glenville Hills gets it. Most of the clubs get it. NYSSRA gets it. They just support racing… at all levels. USSA and NYSEF don’t get it. They seem to be about “elites only!” And that sucks.

I feel like the U$$A is basically just a money grabbing organization, sucking money from potential elite skiers and couldn’t give a shit about Masters and non-elite nordic skiing. To me this seems like a stupid plan because a) masters have the income to buy skiing shit and b) masters that love skiing will probably take their kids skiing. and c) how else does anyone learn to love ski racing except by experiencing racing and enjoying themselves. NYSSRA ski clubs have been great at this grass roots effort, but USSA offers no support. Van Ho even used to have Sunday races that were just “fun runs” and were light-hearted and fun-spirited… I mean look at the USSA Harry Eldridge Races. They were burdened by high fees and formats that are only conducive to elite junior and senior racers (and the occasional Jacked up old man!)

The reality is that there are NOT a lot of us nordic skiers, and even fewer who want to RACE. Pushing us non-elite, masters and ski racing enthusiasts to the side because we are not good enough is detrimental to the sport.

On the bright side, maybe climate change has made all of this irrelevant.

Thank you for reading.



Hey Harvester, What’s Up?

I am the Harvester of Sorrow.   I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s not been much activity from me at the Evil Empire Blog recently, and not much ski activity from me either.  Well… the real truth is I am not that into racing right now.  Actually, I still like racing, I am not into training… I have been battling some physical, mental and emotional demons which have cut into my enthusiasm for the NYSSRA Scene.  I have been battling anxiety and depression over the last few years, and it has taken a lot out of me.  I have shifted most of my mojo to other outlets like artwork and music to help me deal with things.  As I work this out, I am still skiing, just stepping back from the race scene for a while.  I still LOVE skiing, in fact today I skied for a solid 2 hours on amazing conditions and it felt great!  I am planning to do the Loppet, and probably the NYSSRA Champs.  And of course I love the weekly get-togethers at Gauntlet Stadium.

Anyway,  I am confident the NORDIQUES will stay STRONG!!!!  We are still racing every Wednesday at Mt Van Ho! And conditions have been great.  NYSSRA races are still worthwhile and I hope enthusiasm within the Evil Empire remains high.   As I fade into the background for a while, look to the Hand of Doom to lead the charge.  He has been skiing strong, much stronger than I have, for the last few years, and his enthusiasm is still high.  I officially pass the torch to Chris Rose as official Evil Skitanic Uber-Overlord through the rest of this season.


Jim “Harvester of Sorrow” Kobak


Best in METAL 2016… The Soundtrack to the ski season!

It’s that time of year… snow has fallen.  The first race is under our belts.  War Ensembles are in full swing.  And, the Harvester of Sorrow reviews the best in METAL from the calendar year. Get this in your ipod and be ready to shred the snow. MEMFOS!

11.  Executive Disorder: Hail to the Chief

Finally, an historically accurate thrash/crossover/punk/metal band!  You want songs about presidents and American History?  Check out Executive Disorder (plus they feature Peru Nordic’s Harvester of Sorrow and Hand of Doom!)  Best Tracks: Thanks Obama, Exhuming Zachary Taylor, Great Bull Moose.

10.  Ringworm: Snake Church

Doomy blackened thrashy crust metal from Cleveland.  Rust-belt metal at it’s best. Best Tracks: Brotherhood of the Midnight Sun, Snake Church, Innocent Blood, Angel of War.

9.  METALLICA: Hardwired to Self Destruct

METALLICA is BACK!  I really like this album, although in typical New- Metallica fashion, the songs tend to be needlessly long.  However, they have produced some really good thrash songs and some new classics.  A strong return from the Mighty METALLICA. PS the Hand of Doom thinks they suck.. such a d*ck.  Best Tracks: Spit out the Bone, Hardwired, Atlas Rise, Moth to Flame.

8. Plot Sickens: Plot Sickens

A great crossover/thrash release from this Seattle-based band.  If this doesn’t bring you back to the golden age of crossover (a.k.a. the late 80’s) then you have no soul. It’ll stick in your craw and ruin your mind.  Best Tracks: Angels on the Cross, Cesspool of Sorrow, To the Fires,The Plot Sickens

7.  Megadeth: Dystopia

Another triumphant return-to-form album by Mustaine and co.  Heavy and thrashy and rockin’. Best Tracks:Dystopia, The Threat is Real, Lying in State.

6.  Exmortus: Ride Forth

Ripping Thrash Metal with incredible guitar histrionics. A truly impressive band that absolutely SHREDS!!! Saw them live twice in 2016 and I am still blown away.  Best Tracks:  Relentless, For the Horde, Speed of the Strike

5. Confused: Behind Closed Doors

Old-school thrash/crossover.  Sounds like what you always thought Suicidal Tendencies was supposed to sound like.  A great collection of hard, fast, unforgiving punk-crossover- thrash.  Best tracks: Jane had an Abortion, Violence, No More Wars

4. Amon Amarth: Jomsviking

Everyone’s favorite Swedish Death Metal band has released a concept album.  Guess what it’s about?  If you guessed “vikings” then you’re right!!! Best Tracks: First Kill, Raise your Horns, The Way of Vikings.

3. Nervosa: Agony

A female thrash power trio from Sao Paulo Brazil.  Nervosa truly rips.  Definitely heavily influenced by German thrash titans Destruction, these ladies deliver uncompromising brutality.    Best Tracks:  Hostages, Intolerance Means War, Arrogance

2. GOJIRA: Magma

The Mighty GOJIRA has returned with another super-heavy environmentally conscious take on Death Metal.   Yet, somehow their tracks are brutal with catchy hooks.  I mean holy sh*t, is there anything catchier than the riff to “Stranded?” Saw them at Metropolis in Montreal and they devastated the place.  Best Tracks: Silvera, Stranded, the Cell

1.TESTAMENT: Brotherhood of the Snake

TESTAMENT have delivered a smoking piece of in-your-face thrash metal of death of the world! This album is incredible from top to bottom.  Testament continues to sound fresh even while sounding the same (how does that work?) Best Tracks: The Pale King, Brotherhood of the Snake, Centuries of Suffering.

There you have it… 2016 was a great year for METAL. Looking forward to another face-melting sonic assault in 2017!!! SKI AND DESTROY

BEAST RISING! Patch Sprint training begins Wednesday April 6

Beast2016The annual Patch Sprint BEAST (Best Ever Awesomest Sprint Training) Series begins this Wednesday, April 6.  The series takes participants on a weekly jaunt through parts of the Patch Sprint Course, finishing up with a post-workout tailgate potluck party after each event.

The theme for this year’s BEAST is “Swing States,” participants should come to each event ready to sway the voters and rally the super-delegates with scrumptious regional cuisine. representing each of the following important States:

April 6: New Hampshire. Meet at the 1812 Homestead in Willsboro at 5:30. Run the nature trails and head up Rattlesnake. Tailgate featuring cuisine from the great state of New Hampshire.

April 13: Ohio.Meet at the 1812 Homestead in Willsboro at 5:30. The annual Tax-Day 5 k from the 1812 Homestead to the Sugarloaf logging header. Followed by a potluck featuring cuisine from the great state of Ohio

April 20: Wisconsin. Meet at the Southern Poko trailhead at 5:30.First trip up the mighty POKO! Followed by potluck tailgaiting featuring cuisine from the great state of Wisconsin.

April 27: Iowa.  Meet at the 1812 Homestead in Willsboro at 5:30.Time to do the Bare/Snake Duo. Followed by potluck tailgating featuring cuisine from the great State of Iowa.

May 4: Colorado. Meet at the 1812 Homestead in Willsboro at 5:30.Run to the summit of Sugarloaf, then descend via the “back side!” followed by potluck tailgate cuisine from the great State of Colorado.

May 11: Nevada.  Meet at the 1812 Homestead in Willsboro at 5:30. Back to Rattlesnake! Followed by Potluck Tailgating featuring cuisine from the great State of Nevada.

May 18:  The Dirty South! Meet at the Southern Poko trailhead at 5:30.Another trip up the Poko loop followed by a tailgate potluck featuring cuisine from your favorite evangelical christian red state!

The Answer: Hydrogen-Powered-Hover-Skis promise to save New York’s failing ski clubs.

April 1.  Breaking News… As you can imagine, the recent Winter has led to an all-time low in skier performance in New York State.  “The data analysis doesn’t lie… Our clubs are failing our skiers,” announced governor Andrew Cuomo, “thus, It  is imperative that I intervene and mandate some kind of threatening unobtainable goal for our ski clubs in the best interest of New York State’s skiers.”   With this crisis in skiing looming, a collaborative STE(A)M(e)R effort spearheaded by Nordic Skiing PBL Commissioner Johann King, will provide a platform for ski clubs to meet their APPSkiR AYP performance goals. Clubs will be mandated to purchase a spectacular new innovative product produced by Pearson, Inc.

silly ski

Pearson has assembled a group of expert non-skiing ski experts to determine that it is not lack of snow that affects skier performance, it is lack of quality collaborative 21st-century experiences developed by ski clubs on limited snow that most likely causes skier failure and drop-out.  To fix this, Pearson has developed a hydrogen-infused completely fit-bit app-ed, hydrogen powered “hover ski” that effectively measures and tracks a skiers performance during the ski season.  Johann King explained, “this is cutting-edge nano-gallium-hyperdrive technology, no club should even attempt to ski or race without this aid.  A ski club that does not track it’s skiers’ data using this product will ultimately be failing the skiers, our state and the nation. And, that club should be shut-down to be restructured by our Pearson’s consultant team and its skiers should be given vouchers to join non-failing clubs.”

The future looks bright!


It’s Over! (wait… did it really even start????) Connie is your 2016 Viking Helmet Warrior World Champion

SAM_2956She did it!!! She showed up on the last day of the year!!!! SKIED AND DESTROYED!!!!!

SAM_2951It’s supposed to be 60° F on Wednesday and the only snow anywhere is at the Ski Jumps (and that’s only just because the USCSA Nationals will be there this week).  A hearty group of Peru Nordiques turned out for the annual Viking Helmet “Finale” on Sunday March 6.

SAM_2952The highlight of the day was Chris “Hand of Doom” Rose’s Nordic Feats of Strength Exhibition.  Rose one-skated (V2), two-skated (V2 alternate) and Double Poled the entire Jumps course from bottom to top.  For the uninitiated, that’s like 666′ of climbing each lap!!!  In spite of his efforts, he could not regain enough ground on smiling Connie to clinch the Helmet.

Valhalla awaits!…  I hear the Wooly Bear Caterpillars are already getting fired up for next year… which will be EPIC! Guaranteed.  Anyone want to go Mountain Biking at the chasm this week?

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