Embrace Our Climate With Cross-Country Skiing

By: Bill Kirsch, Lowell Elementary School – Waukesha, WI

What are some ideas for health and fitness during the winter months in Wisconsin? At Lowell Elementary in Waukesha we have experienced an awesome journey into the great activity of cross-country skiing. Besides my personal interest in the sport of Nordic skiing, there are so many health benefits associated with this activity:

1. Full body workout
2. Burn many calories
3. Cardio exercise/Improve endurance
4. Relieve stress
5. Functional/Cross training
6. Connect with nature


Lowell was extremely fortunate to have established a strong relationship with the Central Cross Country Ski Association (CXC) and the ‘Nordic Rocks!’ for Schools Program. The CXC developed and released the ‘Nordic Rocks!’ program for elementary and middle school aged students as a way to promote and increase the awareness and interest of Nordic Skiing among youth. The program is designed to create a three-way partnership between schools, their communities, and CXC.


All students in grades 1st-5th were able to experience Nordic skiing. Staff outings were also offered and well attended. The skis provided by CXC are incredibly simple to use as the bindings easily clip onto the student’s boots. There are no poles so the students really learn the proper diagonal stride. Day 1 on the skis involves viewing a short video, learning to put on the skis, and practicing in the gym (Yes, right on the gym floor!). On day 2 and all subsequent days we come in the gym, clip on the skis, and zoom down the hallway and out the doors for tons of skiing fun. I strongly recommend that you try to expose your students to this wonderful outdoor winter activity.


Day 1:

  • Warm-up: jump rope five minutes
  • Introduce Care of Cross Country Skis (Ski Association $3K investment -$100/pair)
  • Show Video
  • Explain/show how to keep skis straight

Stand on bindings and slide around gym. Practice keeping feet DOWN/Sliding. Demonstrate how to put on shoe/boot.

1. Make it big – open everything up
2. Like a buckle on your pants

Loosen everything to take skis off.


Day 2:

Review video again.
Buckle up!



CXC Athlete Living the Dream

Some dream of being a world champion in their sport, but claiming the title for the third consecutive time became a reality for Kendall Gretsch, at the ITU Paratriathlon World Championships in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, July 24, 2016. Gretsch is a Madison, (WI) resident who trains with the CXC Para-Nordic Team during the off season as another way to prepare for her triathlons.

“It was so amazing to win my third world championship, especially knowing the races are going to get more and more competitive each year.” Said Kendall Gretsch.


Kendall Gretsch crossing the finish line to claim the World Champion title for the third time. Photo courtesy of Janos M. Schmidt/ITU Media, triathlon.org.

At World Championships, Gretsch competed in a 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike, and a 5-Kilometer run course where Gretsch proved once again that she is a force to be reckoned with among the PT1/wheelchair women. Gretsch dominated the competition, finishing over 5 minutes and 30 seconds ahead of silver medalist Lizzie Tench of Great Britain and Spain’s Eva Moral Pedrero who grabbed the bronze medal.

Gretsch’s first official year competing in triathlons was in 2014 when her winning streak began and there are no signs of her slowing down.

Gretsch grew up swimming with her neighborhood and high schools teams, but it wasn’t until college when she got involved in adaptive sports and triathlons. Gretsch joined the triathlon team Dare2tri, which has a big emphasis on youth programs and provides adaptive equipment and coaching to kids of all ages.

“Sports was such an important part of my childhood, so I know how important this is.” Recalled Gretsch. “I’ve seen how participating in triathlon and other adaptive sports can build a kid’s sense of confidence, especially when they are able to race side by side with their peers.”

With Gretsch’s determination and hard work along with the accessibility to programs such as Dare2tri, Kendall has accelerated in her sport in just three years and making it to the big stage at World Championships.

During Gretsch’s success in triathlons, she continued to explore other adaptive sports as well. Kendall began working with CXC’s Para-Nordic program where she tried sit-skiing. After nearly two years of learning, Gretsch caught on quickly and is now hoping to ramp up her training in skiing to start competing this winter.

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Kendall on the roller ski treadmill at the CXC Center of Excellence in Madison, (WI).

“Everyone knows what a positive impact sports can have, and that’s just as important for kids with disabilities.” Explains Gretsch. “Without adaptive sports programs, competing in sports wouldn’t be possible for a lot of kids.”


Kids trying out sit-skis at a Badgers Adapt Clinic hosted by the CXC Adaptive Program.

Gretsch is an inspiration to many, as she continues to work hard and chase her dreams.

CXC’s third annual Eriksen Bike Drawing fundraiser, going on now through October 3rd, supports the CXC Adaptive Program for youth with physical disabilities and visual impairments. Over 50 tickets have already been sold in just two weeks. Support adaptive youth through a purchase of a ticket to win a custom designed, hand crafted Eriksen titanium road frame. PURCHASE A TICKET! 



First Masters Camp of the Season!

CXC’s first Open Masters/Citizen Technique Camp of the season is coming up in less than two weeks! Join CXC Team head coach, Andy Keller and Egor Akimov, CXC Sports Development and Education Director, along with fellow Masters skiers, August 26-28 in Cable, (WI)!



During the days at the camp participants work on agility, balance, dry-land training, ski imitation, roller skiing and then receive video analysis. This is also a great opportunity to learn about training, technique, racing, recovery and more.


A fair amount of the work is drills and skills that break down technique to individual movements, to help skiers understand what they must work on to improve.


Yuriy Gusev, CXC Athletic Director

For further information or details regarding the  CXC Masters Camp, contact Yuriy Gusev.


Eriksen Bike Drawing

Since CXC’s inaugural Eriksen Bike Drawing fundraiser two years ago, the impact has been profound. CXC has had the opportunity to introduce the sport of cross country skiing to kids with physical disabilities and visual impairments at events and schools.

The fundraiser has also helped adaptive athletes reach their goals of athletic excellence through the CXC Adaptive Program. Athletes like Mia Zutter are an inspiration to many and has remained persistent in chasing her dreams.



Mia Zutter performing a VO2 Max test at the CXC Center of Excellence in Madison, WI.

“Being a CXC Adaptive Skier has taught me to expand my comfort zone. It has given me independence that no other sports offer as a visually impaired athlete. This independence has also given me confidence not only as a skier but also in running.” Said Mia Zutter, CXC Adaptive Athlete.

After two years of hard work and training, Mia Zutter competed in the Wisconsin State High School Nordic Championships as well as Junior National Qualifiers and was named to the 2016-2017 U.S. Paralympic Nordic Skiing Development Team.


Mia skiing at Mt. Telemark in Cable, WI with guide Karen Manske.

“Without CXC exposing me to so many cool opportunities, such as skiing in West Yellowstone my first year in the sport, I would definitely not have known what sports could offer me as a visually impaired athlete.” Said Mia.

Tickets are on sale now until October 3rd, 2016 or until the 200 tickets are sold out! Support to win a custom designed, hand crafted Eriksen titanium road frame! Support adaptive youth through a purchase of a ticket to win a custom designed, hand crafted Eriksen titanium road frame!


Have questions?  Let us know.

Citizen Skier Camps, Schedules and Details

Join CXC coaches and fellow Masters skiers for our focused technique training camps. Whether Masters are looking to get in shape for the winter race season, improve technique or just enjoy the camaraderie, the Masters Camps are a great opportunity for everyone!

A fair amount of the work is drills and skills that break down technique to individual movements, which helps skiers understand what they must work on the most to improve.




August 26-28 / Technique Camp / Cable (WI) – SCHEDULE 

September 21-25 / Altitude Training Camp / Park City (UT) – SCHEDULE

October 7-9 / Technique Camp / Cable (WI) – SCHEDULE

*NEW! November 9-15 / On-snow Training & Technique Camp / Fairbanks (AK) – SCHEDULE

December 30 – January 1 / New Year’s Training Camp / Cable (WI) – SCHEDULE

*Note: The ‘CXC Experience’ truck will be present all of the Cable, (WI) camps. Interested participants will be able to preform ski walking MaxVO2 test to determine training intensity levels and efficiency. Also, interested participants can perform a time trial (classic or skate) on Sunday morning instead of a technique workout. Video will be taken during the time trial for technique analysis.

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During the days at the camp participants work on agility, balance, dry-land training, ski imitation, skiing on snow or roller skiing and then receive video analysis. The camp is also a great opportunity to learn about training, technique, racing, recovery and more.


Yuriy Gusev, CXC Athletic Director

For further information or details regarding the  CXC Masters Camps, contact Yuriy Gusev.


CXC Spotlight: Cross-Country Ski Training – Uncrunched

Come spring after a season of racing, or during the mid-summer grind of training, starting the same old training plan or workouts can become a bit monotonous year after year.

Fortunately, Central Cross Country Ski Association has just the program that shares all of its training tips, tricks and secrets by providing training plans for all types of skiers. Now, for the ninth consecutive year, CXC Academy is proving to be a valuable tool for athletes and coaches around the nation and even the world!


“After the CXC Team’s great results throughout the years, we were looking for ways to share our experiences and expertise with coaches and skiers. Many coaches started to invite us to visit their clubs, but with busy camp and race schedules, it was not possible. So CXC came up with the idea to create an online resource to share the latest information with coaches and athletes,” recalls Yuriy Gusev, CXC Executive Director.

CXC Academy was created with contributions from Bryan Fish, 2007 CXC Team head coach (Currently the U.S. Ski Team Development Coach), Yuriy Gusev, CXC Executive Director, and the CXC Team athletes. Resulting in training plans for novice, intermediate and expert skiers, along with videos created and organized into a web based library.

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Currently, all CXC coaches and athletes continue to contribute content to CXC Academy as well as the program’s advisors such as Bryan Fish, Steve Myrland, Performance and Conditioning Coach and Jim Mullen, Rehabilitation Specialist.

“CXC Academy is a membership based program designed for anyone from entry level skiers, looking to become a more efficient skier, to citizen racers, to junior skiers hoping to qualify for Junior Nationals, as well as all levels of coaches and instructors,” said Gusev.

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Membership Levels

The program offers a variety of membership levels for skiers including a monthly subscription, an annual subscription, and a VIP membership which includes access to camps and race support.

A training year through CXC Academy is broken into four week periods starting each week on a Monday and concluding on Sunday. There are 13 training periods with 28 days in each period. Each month CXC publishes new training plans designed for each level. We suggest members plan to commit to at least four training sessions a week to ensure the training goals are met.

“In addition to training plans, CXC Academy offers monthly ski-specific strength workout videos and has an extensive video library with ski technique videos, training and recovery tips, equipment demonstrations and wax room videos, where members learn to prepare and maintain skis. There are new offerings in each category every month!” explains Gusev.


Personal Coaching

The newest CXC Academy membership enhancement is the Personal Coaching option. Through CXC’s Personal Coaching membership, skiers have access to monthly training evaluation and adjustment, e-mail communication with the assigned coach, weekly phone calls with the coach, a personalized training plan and logging workouts through Training Peaks software and much more!


Whether a skier is a beginner looking to finish their first 5k, a Master skier training for a big ski event, or simply looking to improve overall strength and fitness, CXC Academy has a training program to meet any goal!

11954769_989801947729212_4788688529913211022_nEriksen Road Bike Drawing

Help support CXC’s Adaptive Program for children with physical disabilities and visual impairments, with your ticket purchase to win a custom Eriksen Road Bike! – PURCHASE A TICKET!