Central Cross Country Skiing was honored Thursday (May 3) by U.S. Ski & Snowboard for its work to introduce youth to the healthful outdoor sport of cross country skiing. CXC’s popular Nordic Rocks for Schools program received U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s prestigious Russell Wilder Award which is presented annually to recognize the most outstanding effort in America in focusing the interest of youth on skiing.
Nordic Rocks, now in its fifth year, is a program conceived by Central Cross Country Skiing to bring cross country skiing into elementary schools across the Central Region (Midwest and Great Lakes). Past winter programs have introduced children in 123 schools to the sport with more than 18,000 youth trying cross country skiing – 50% of them for the very first time. Since the program’s inception over 5,000 pairs of skis have made their way to children. Most notably, an amazing 25% of those trying the sport for the first time then go on to join a local program to continue their newfound love of cross country skiing.
CXC became the 60th individual or organization to receive the Wilder Award, which dates back to 1955 and has honored a wide range of passionate recipients in the past. It was presented during the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Congress in Park City, Utah.
“It’s our goal at Central Cross Country Skiing to give every child an opportunity to try cross country skiing,” said CXC President Yuriy Gusev in accepting the award.
The program is overseen by CXC’s Community Olympic Development Program Director Bruce Manske. A key part of Manske’s focus on youth and club development in the Midwest is continued growth of the Nordic Rocks program into more schools.
“Nordic Rocks brings smiles to kids when they get on skis and feel the sense of gliding across the snow,” said Manske, who also assists with running CXC’s regional camps and junior development program.
The Nordic Rocks for Schools program was developed to introduce a new generation of children in kindergarten through sixth grade to the excitement found in the sport of cross country skiing. The program provides elementary and middle school students an opportunity to experience cross country skiing during the school day, with their teachers and classmates.
Thanks to a three-way partnership between selected schools, CXC and community organizations, the program allows teachers to teach skiing during physical education classes, recess and in after-school programs. CXC assists each Nordic Rocks school with an easy-to-follow skiing curriculum and resources, teaching support and cross country skiing equipment.
The program has been funded by CXC along with support from the National Winter Sports Educational Foundation (NWSEF), American Birkebeiner Ski Educational Foundation and other local organizations and individuals.
Schools interested in bringing Nordic Rocks to their community can find more information at: