Now beginning its sixth season, Central Cross Country Skiing and the Nordic Rocks Program remains true to its mission: to introduce a new generation of children in first to eighth grades to the excitement found in the sport of cross country skiing.
The dream began with John Hugus, an avid cross country skier and the founder of the Knicker Nordic Ski Club in Wausau, Wisconsin. Hugus initially proposed his program idea to the Wausau School District and the City of Wausau Park and Recreation Committee under the name, Knicker Nordic Ski Bumps. Hugus intended to groom trails at the schools, and add mogul style, ski bumps, to further excite the children.
The program was a success, resulting in Nordic Rocks for Schools, a school-based program designed to get elementary students outside to learn the health and exercise benefits associated with cross country skiing.
John Hugus passed away in 2013 after a courageous 17-year battle with Multiple Myeloma. His wit and humor has touched many skiers young and old; and, his vision, for outdoor fun and adventures is what has kept his ski bumps dream alive and well.
The Nordic Rocks program continues to provide a pathway for families and communities to further advance in the sport of cross country skiing, and develop a culture of skiing in their community. Besides skiing, these programs aim to connect students with history and science, while teaching them about Midwestern Scandinavian heritage and sports.
The Nordic Rocks program has grown into three distinct divisions: Nordic Rocks for Schools, Nordic Rocks for Parks and Clubs, and Nordic Rocks for Retail Stores — the vision is the same — to grow the sport of cross country skiing.
Nordic Rocks for Schools
The CXC Nordic Rocks for Schools program is a three-way partnership between selected schools, community organizations, and CXC. This unique partnership creates an opportunity to teach and experience skiing during school: physical education class, recess, and after-school programs. Students are able to ski alongside their school, with their friends and teachers, on any surface covered with a minimum of two inches of snow. CXC assists each Nordic Rocks school with a skiing curriculum and resources, teaching support, and cross country skiing equipment.
Nordic Rocks for Parks and Clubs
Thanks to the input from current Nordic Rocks schools, and their interest in furthering student skills progressions, becoming involved in Nordic events, and the forming ski clubs, the Nordic Rocks for Parks and Clubs became a reality. CXC has developed two sizes of introductory cross country skis, with snowshoe style bindings, along with adjustable poles, to give participants of all ages and abilities an easy way to try cross country skiing in their communities. In many communities, park activity coordinators and club leaders organize events and lessons for those interested in getting started in the sport.
Nordic Rocks for Retail Stores
The next Nordic Rocks phase was a natural step for CXC. The Nordic Rocks for Retail Stores program was developed to form a connecting bond between schools, parks, clubs, and retail stores that will foster a culture of skiing in every community throughout the country. The Nordic Rocks equipment is now available for purchase from local ski shops and sports stores, at a very affordable price point, to help introduce families and communities to the benefits of cross country skiing in settings other than their local schools, – such as their own backyards, parks, and area ski trails.
In five short seasons, the CXC Nordic Rocks program has made an impact on over 60,000 new skiers. The future looks bright. There are over 3,500 elementary schools across Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan with an interest in teaching children the joy of winter sports; and, youth ski clubs, are popping up across the country to give youngsters an opportunity to ski outside of school, to further develop as athletes, and become lifelong outdoor enthusiasts.