Find Your “Marquette”

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.

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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!


Ten Days Before the Last CXC Open Camp, August 5-11 | Ironwood, (MI)

Summer is winding down, but the last CXC Open Camp is coming up fast! Join athletes from around the Central Region, August 5-11 in Ironwood, (MI) at the beautiful Wolverine Nordic Village, for one week of fun training.


The focus of this camp will include learning how to train effectively, health and wellness, and developing performance techniques to help guide athletes to the top of their potential.


Past camps have featured social activities, group adventures, dinners, and games. All athletes within the Central Division are encouraged to attend.

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 11.34.43 AMFor further information regarding the Summer Open Camp Series, contact Andy Keller, 612.590.1739.

Heat of the Summer

By: CXC Team athlete, Nichole Bathe

The second week of July I finished up the third week in my volume and intensity block, with July 18-24 being a much needed rest week. I was able to do a couple of races during the past three weeks, including my very first canoe only race.

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My dad and I teamed up for the 8 mile Wisconsin River race, my dad has raced this before, but it was a first for me. I typically paddle in lakes without sand bars…so I was a little surprised when I realized we were going to be needing to dodge sandbars the whole way down the Wisconsin River. I was also so impressed with some of the people who do this race or the longer ones, they are such amazing athletes who come from all over the Midwest. My Dad and I are pleased to report that we won the 8 mile race, with his expertise in navigating the river.

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During the past few weeks I was also able to do more running on some of my favorite trails in the Madison area. This week brings some testing and lots of resting! Happy training!


The Final U16 Camp of the Summer, August 5-7 | Ironwood (MI)

The final U16 Camp of the summer is almost here! This is the last chance to join skiers from all over the region, for a weekend camp filled with fun activities including: outdoor games, dry-land training, roller skiing and cross-training activities.

Participants will have an opportunity to train in Ironwood, (MI) at the Wolverine Nordic Village, August, 5-7.

Recruit a friend or teammate to join the August U16 Camp and CXC will give a CXC training shirt to both skiers.

*Simply send an email to Bruce Manske, once the friend has registered and CXC training shirts will be ordered. 


The intention of each camp is to inspire and excite youth to further pursue the next level of skiing, following the experiences gained at the Igor Legacy Camps and before joining the ranks of the CXC Junior Development Team.


For further information regarding the U16 Camps, contact Bruce Manske, 651.304.0647.


Less than Two Weeks before the July Igor Legacy Camp July, 29-31 | Alberta Lea, (MN)

The July Igor Legacy Camp, July 29-31, is fast approaching and there are still spots available to attend! This camp will not be one to miss, Myre-Big Island State Park near Alberta Lea, (MN) is a fun new location right out the back door of areas such as Rochester, Winona and La Crosse!

Athletes will receive an Igor Legacy Camp t-shirt and an Out There Nordic Sports water bottle signed by Rochester, MN local and U.S. Ski Team member Ian Torchia. 


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Ian Torchia with a signed Igor Legacy Camp t-shirt.

Participants will experience a weekend of fun outdoor games, dry-land training, roller skiing and cross training activities.

CXC programs for youth such as the Igor Legacy Camps, are what fuel the fire and build the pipeline for Olympic hopefuls such as Ian. The camps are focused around having fun and the the intention of each camp is to inspire and excite youth in Igor Badamshin’s honor, because his positive and playful approach to coaching has touched and inspired skiers of all ages.


An athlete works on agility at the 2016 June Igor Legacy Camp.

About Ian Torchia


Ian Torchia (bib 10) competing at the 2016 World Junior Championships in Rasnov, Romania.

Ian began skiing competitively as a sophomore in high school with the Rochester Nordic Ski Team. In just a few short years he has claimed a Junior National Championship title, joined the Northern Michigan University Ski Team and became one of the top American distance skiers at both the 2015 World Juniors in Almaty, Kazakhstan and the 2016 World Juniors in Rasnov, Romania.

Torchia has had several top results at U.S. Nationals and was named to the 2016 All-CCSA first team and earned first team All-American titles in the 10k freestyle and 20k classic events at the 2016 NCAAs in Steamboat Springs, CO. These outstanding efforts have landed Torchia on the U.S. Ski Team Development Team, for the 2016-2017 season.

The Igor Legacy Camps are made possible by: Central Cross Country Ski Association (CXC), Wisconsin Nordic Development Group, the American Birkebeiner Foundation, FinnSisu Ski Shop and Out There Nordic Sports.



For further information regarding the Igor Legacy Camps, contact Bruce Manske, 651.304.0647.


Wisconsin State High School Nordic Championships Changes Venue

By: Ken Schoville, Wisconsin State High School Nordic Championship’s Chief of Stadium


The Wisconsin Nordic Development Group (WNDG), in association with the American Birkebeiner Foundation, is pleased to announce the site for the 2017 Wisconsin High School Nordic Championship, will be hosted at the new Birkebeiner start located in Cable, (WI).

Over 400 high school and middle school skiers will converge for a weekend of racing February 11th through the 12th, 2017, to test their fitness and ski skills in a two day event that features an individual start and a pursuit race the following day.

The new venue features a wide start, designed to accommodate Birkebeiner waves, thus making for an open stadium with spectator friendly viewing. The 60 foot by 120 foot new heated building behind the start area, will be used for for a warming area and inside waxing, if needed. There is a timing/announcing building by the start line that will also provide for medical and volunteer needs as well as be a wonderful resource, that will add to the infrastructure of the site.

Chief of Competition, Ken Schoville, was wowed with the possibilities of the new site stating:

“This new opportunity is going to be an exciting step for the premier high school nordic event of our state. The board of the American Birkebeiner and Executive Director, Ben Popp, have been generous and enthusiastic about offering this new chapter in the high school championship history. As a group, WNDG is excited and looking forward to this new partnership with the Birkie. We are appreciative of their continued support for high school and youth skiing, by their open attitudes toward our event and through their scholarships and interest in the growth of the sport…”

“I have no doubt that this new start area will develop in the future and be on the “to ski” list of many Nordic skiers. As skiers come to check out the new start features, the venue will give them a hint of what the rush of adrenaline is like, when the waves of the Birkie take off. In aura and feel, this new development is positioned to become the “Lambeau Field” of Nordic skiing, frozen tundra and all,” said Schoville.

Birkie Executive Director, Ben Popp, welcomed the event with this observation:

“We are very excited to host the Wisconsin State meet, the next generation of amazing athletes!  The new Birkie venue in Cable will be a great location for hosting events with ample parking, warm space, wax areas, race office, great course and more.  I think the athletes, volunteers and spectators will have a great experience!”

Even in the heat of summer, excitement is building for the 36th running of the Wisconsin State High School Nordic Championships at the new Birkie start area in Cable.


LIVE Q&A with Caitlin Gregg | Sunday, July 10

Get a chance to ask 2010 Olympian, four-time American Birkebeiner winner and 2015 World Championship Bronze Medalist, Caitlin Gregg, questions LIVE through CXC’s Facebook, Sunday, July 10th at 12:30 pm EDT!

Ask Caitlin about training, her racing career, what her plans are for the upcoming season and more!

Post questions in the comments of Q&A post on CXC’s Twitter, Instagram or Facebook and Caitlin will be answering each question LIVE on Sunday! 


“Silver medalist Jessie Diggins and bronze medalist Caitlin Gregg at Falun 2015 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. (U.S. Ski Team – Tom Kelly)”