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      Noquemanon training underway

      The snowy forecast surely has winter enthusiasts excited, especially those training for the 15th annual Noquemanon Ski Marathon. The race is a little over a month away.

      Andrew LaCombe, a TV6 anchor and reporter, plans to take part in the 24-k Half Noque. He is getting some help from a local ski expert. Last week, he met up with Jenny Ryan at the Noquemanon Trail Network trail head in Forestville. Ryan helps coach the NMU cross country ski team and has been skiing her whole life.

      Andrew has skied off and on in his life but has minimal experience with skate-skiing. Balancing was a little tough at first, but that's to be expected when you are six feet and five inches tall.

      "Your poles are so long, all your extra levers are so much longer," explained Ryan. "So for you, it's definitely more of a challenge."

      We ditched the poles for a while--a training technique that will be useful in the coming weeks.

      "Back and forth, or on the flats and graduals, until you get more comfortable without the poles," Ryan said when detailing workout plans.

      The sometimes uneven snow wasn't helpful either.

      "We don't have a lot of snow, so there were a lot of little grass chunks sticking out and little branches here and there," Ryan said.

      Varying conditions are an exciting part of country skiing.

      "It can be really slow in deep snow, it can be fast and icy... makes it different every time you're out there," Ryan said.

      If getting on skis is not possible, Ryan said to keep up with cardio activities and find ways to work on balance.

      "One-legged jumps, some plyometrics, one leg, two leg, coordination drills," she said.

      The Noquemanon is planned for Saturday, January 26. The race courses stretch between Ishpeming and Marquette. Around 1,200 skiers are expected to participate in various events.

      Registration fees increase after December 31. For more information, visit