For The Love of Skiing

A History of the Igor Legacy Camps

Not only did Igor Badamshin love skiing, he had a gift for coaching young athletes and teaching them the joys of being outside. From his disciplined and structured background as a professional Nordic ski racer on the Russian National Team, Igor developed a passion for teaching others about ski technique and the pure simple fun of being active outdoors.

According to Bill Pierce, “Igor loved to get kids moving; and if they became proficient skiers, well then, all the better. His goal was not to be a great trainer and skier, it was about developing a love for being outside. You could often hear Igor’s Russian accent echo down the trail, keep moving, moving, moving…and have fun too.”

Igor died suddenly at the age of 47, while doing what he loved most; skiing on the Birkie Trail, near Seeley, WI. As a result of his untimely death, coaches and friends, including Jim Mullen, Steve Myrland, Yuriy Gusev, Bill Pierce, and Jake Barnes, along with the Wisconsin Nordic Development Group (WNDG) and Central Cross Country Skiing (CXC) pulled together an event and to honor their lost colleague: the Igor Legacy Camp, a ski camp for young athletes.

The first CXC Igor Legacy Camp took place in June 2014 at the Iola Winter Sports Club (IWSC). The camp format was designed to engage young athletes relatively new to Nordic skiing,  The weekend featured summer training activities, including roller skiing and technique, running, soccer, swimming, and strength training. The most important aspect of the camp is to meet new friends and have FUN! From Friday afternoon until Sunday afternoon, these athletes never stopped moving, except to eat and sleep.

Igor Legacy Camp, Iola, WI
Igor Legacy Camp, Iola, WI

Over 50 athletes ages 10-14 from across the Midwest participated in the first CXC Igor Legacy Camp. Unlike other junior camps, this camp was shorter in duration and a simple introduction to ski training. At this age, it is important for athletes to focus on refining and sharpening their skill development for general athletics.  As they get older, they will begin to focus more on sport specific athletic activities.  Along with skiing activities, games and socializing, several other learning opportunities took place over the two days:  Toko representative Mike Young presented a waxing clinic, three collegiate skiers: William Frielinghaus, Seth Mares and Tom Bye shared their personal ski and education experiences. 15 parents and club coaches also attended to help make the camp run smoothly.

Due to the success of the CXC Igor Legacy Camp in 2014, plans were immediately set to continue the coaching legacy of Igor Badamshin by adding additional camps throughout the Midwest during the 2015 summer.

Jake Barnes, IWSC head coach stated, “The first Igor Legacy Camp was a success, because young skiers from across the Midwest got together to work and play in an outdoor setting and learn about Nordic skiing from each other.”

Yuriy Gusev, CXC Executive Director, suggested three Igor Legacy Camps, each in a different state for the 2015 camp schedule. The plan quickly took shape, as the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation, FinnSisu Ski Shop, OutThere Nordic, GearWest Ski Shop joined the WNDG as camp sponsors, and a 2015 camp schedule became a reality.

Bemidji, MN Igor Legacy Camp

The 2015 CXC Igor Legacy Camp venues included:

WISCONSIN June 19-21, 2015 Iola Winter Sports Complex
MINNESOTA July 24-26,2015 Lake Bemidji State Park
MICHIGAN  August 7-9, 2015 Wolverine Nordic Village

The goal of each Igor Legacy Camp is designed to promote the growth and development of junior cross country ski racers. Another goal includes exposing young athletes to the fundamental building blocks required for high-level cross country ski racing.

Bruce Manske, CXC Sport Development Coordinator, and Igor Legacy Camp organizer proclaimed, “The athletes were excited, energized, and pumped-up about Nordic skiing from the moment they arrived at camp, until they were packed and headed homeward.”

Manske also noted that several athletes attended more than one camp this summer. Per Hanson, an athlete from Chippewa Valley Nordic, has attended all four CXC Igor Legacy Camps. The future for youth skiing opportunities in the Midwest is exciting and impressive, and as a result the CXC Igor Legacy Camp team is already making plans for the 2016 camp schedule.

Igor Badamshin made a huge impact on many kids during his short life – he promoted the FUN in sports. His legacy continues not just at camp, but EVERYDAY!  Join the excitement and make plans to attend the CXC Igor Legacy Camps planned for next summer. The camps are specifically designed for young athletes U12 (ages 10-11) and U14 (ages 12-13) interested in the sport of cross country skiing. The camps promote fitness, wellness, meeting new friend, and having fun. Club coaches and parents interested in Nordic skiing are also encouraged to attend the camps.

Ironwood, MI Igor Legacy Camp


Participants:  over 100 athletes, from 25 different ski teams came together as one big TEAM

Coaches:  over 30 coaches collaborated to help young athletes

Coach Kris Hanson’s agility courses:  both rollerski and dryland courses

Camp Presentations:  Meet Igor, Training Levels, and Teamwork

Evening Entertainment:  games, S’mores, ice cream cones, and poetry contests

Camp Venues:  each venue offered something special – swimming, bike trail, and hiking

Rollerskiing:  a positive first-time rollerski experience for many athletes

Camp Goals:  train together, plays games together, and to make new “ski” friends; and, to have FUN!


Northern Kettle Moraine Nordic

Bay Nordic

Lakeland Nordic

Chippewa Valley Nordic

Wausau Night Gliders

Ice Age Nordic

Iola Winter Sports Club

Peak Nordic

Hayward Middle School

MadNorSki Nordic

Blackhawk Nordic

Anwatin Nordic Ski Team – Loppet

Loppet Nordic Racing

St Croix Prep Academy Ski Club

Bemidji Middle School

Rochester Nordic Ski Team 

Fort Collins Nordic Ski Team

Trek North Nordic Ski Team

Barron Nordic Ski Team

Team Gogebic

St. Croix Valley Nordic Ski Club

Houghton Ski Tigers

OutThere Nordic

Looking ahead to this winter, the CXC Youth Cup program is heading into its second season of Nordic skiing events and races for young athletes.  Last season, the CXC Youth Cup drew over 90 young racers in U12 and U14 age groups to ten different events.  The 2015-2016 CXC Youth Cup strives to be even more festive and exciting for families and athletes.

If parents and coaches are interested in further coaching education, consider attending the CXC Coaches Conference on October 23-25, 2015 in Cable, WI.

Bruce Manske, CXC Sport Development Coordinator
Bruce Manske, CXC Sport Development Coordinator

If your community or club is interested in hosting a CXC Igor Legacy Camp next summer, contact Bruce Manske for more information:


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