As the excitement of America’s recent Olympic cross country gold medal from Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall’s 2018 team sprint – continues to resonate, young athletes across the country are jumping into the sport with Olympic hopes and dreams of their own.
Capturing that excitement, and promoting growth, fun and development of junior cross country skiers, Central Cross Country Skiing’s fifth season of the Igor Legacy Camps attracted 70 U12 and U14 aged athletes this summer. In addition, numerous CXC clubs participated in the four camps this season, which are supported by dozens of, parents, volunteer coaches and the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation.
The four camps were designed to inspire and excite youth in honor of Igor Badamshin, and his positive and playful approach to coaching, which has touched and inspired skiers of all ages.
“The main goal of CXC’s Igor Camps is fun,” said CXC coach Joe Hagenmiller. “The camps also provide a great opportunity for kids to meet new Nordic friends, enjoy summer training with teammates, and continue to develop technique in an enjoyable, challenging and fulfilling life-long sport.”
Hot summer temperatures greeted 29 athletes at the first camp of the summer at Standing Rocks County Park between Stevens Point and Amherst, Wis., where the training focus was on learning roller skiing and ski technique skills, along with basic movement and agility. More than a dozen clubs were represented, which set the stage for additional club involvement throughout the remaining three camps.
“Throughout the summer, we had more than 20 clubs participate in the Igor Camps,” said CXC Executive Director Yuriy Gusev. “Which indicates not only excellent growth potential for the sport, but building upon Igor’s legacy of developing the next generation of participants, regardless of whether they chose to embark on a competitive path, or simply enjoy Nordic sports for fun and fitness.”
Another 29 athletes participated in July’s second Igor Legacy Camp in Duluth, Minn., where campers spent the weekend at Duluth’s College of St. Scholastica and participated in a range of activities – including roller skiing and hiking – designed to improve upon the fundamentals that are required for successful cross country skiing.
Central Minnesota’s Mora Vasaloppet Nordic Center hosted the third camp, where a small, but enthusiastic group enjoyed a weekend of roller skiing, hiking, stretching, and a visit to the Dala Horse in Mora, Minnesota.
The final camp of the season at Gogebic Community College in Ironwood, Mich. added a bit of an agility training twist, with the kids attempting to walk on water! Combined with pole hiking at Big Powderhorn Mountain, core training, stretching and skill development on roller skis, campers came away from the weekend with smiles, tired legs and full bellies following a trip to Joe’s Pasty Shop.
In addition to the support from the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation, the Igor Legacy Camps were also supported by the Wisconsin Nordic Development Group, numerous ski shops and Rudy Project, which provided raffle prizes for participants.