By: CXC Team athlete, Kyle Bratrud
For my blog this month, I thought I would take a second to write about the new home base for the CXC Team and also my home for the last six years, Marquette, Michigan. Marquette is also the current home to the Marquette Training Group (MTG). MTG is the only “club” to have a man on each of the last four distance podiums at US Nationals.
When I decided to attend Northern Michigan University back in 2011, I was very skeptical of this small town. Much of that came from the fact that my entire life, I had lived in the wonderful city of Eden Prairie, Minnesota and venturing into small towns had always brought about a rather eerie feeling. Over the last five years, I have absolutely fallen in love with Marquette.
To begin, I realized that while small, compared to the suburbs of Minneapolis, Marquette is full of life and actually has many of the same stores and resources that the cities provide. The trail system in Marquette has been the major selling point for me. There are numerous ski, bike, and running trails at the tip of our fingers here and it is extremely easy to go out and train for hours without thinking twice about it.
The second reason I like Marquette has to do with the NMU ski team, particularly the men. Throughout my college career and now beyond it, we have grown together both as competitors and friends and the bond we have up here is something special. Some of my fondest memories in Marquette come from the guy’s nights we have at the ski house.
The third reason I love Marquette has to do with the weather. While this reason has been tested a bit this week with the warm and humid weather, the cool refreshing lake is never far away. The falls are beautiful and the winters are full of snow which makes this place a skiing paradise for anyone like me who loves to ski. Last year was a “bad” winter and we still had amazing skiing, although a little later than usual.
My final reason for why I love this place is a given, but I thought I should mention it anyways. Marquette is awesome because Sten Fjeldheim, MNU Ski Team head coach, lives here. Sten is the reason I chose to come to NMU back in 2011 and he is the reason I am still skiing now. The hard working attitude and competitive nature we have formed through MTG all revolves around Sten’s attitude. At the end of the day, I am happiest when I am training with the boys in Marquette. The group we have here and the memories we are making along the way, will be with me forever. This is my home. I really encourage everyone who is passionate about something to find your “Marquette”. Stratton Mountain School (SMS) and Alaska Pacific University Nordic Ski Center (APU) are other great examples of groups of passionate people living the good life alongside one another, as they try to better themselves towards a common goal. Positive environments harbor success and happiness!