CXC Congress Brings Together Regional Leaders

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (May 6, 2019) – Clubs and leaders from around the Central Region came together for a weekend of collaboration at the Central Cross Country Skiing’s CXC Congress April 25-28 in Eau Claire. The four days of meetings and workshops were highlighted by the presentation of awards to regional coaches and officials.

2019 CXC Coangress
Photo Credit: John R Nelson

In one of the key Congress decisions, CXC’s governance was updated with an overall CXC Sport Committee being formed.

The new Sport Committee will have general oversight, support role for the region and play an advisory role to the CXC Board of Directors. The Committee will assist in the development and supervision of programs for competitor development, improvement to the integrated CXC/U.S. Ski & Snowboard pathway, assisting with questions concerning cross country competitions and coordinating the scheduling of local, state, regional and national events together with CXC and U.S. Ski & Snowboard staff.

As a part of its meeting, the CXC Sport Committee examined a concept to move Wisconsin into the Great Lakes Division to create greater balance between Great Lakes and Midwest. The committee approved the move, which will now be sent to the CXC Board of Directors and U.S. Ski & Snowboard Cross Country Committee for final approval at its meeting in mid-May.

The scheduling meeting covered a range of topics from waxing to event calendars.

An initial discussion was held regarding adding a third Super Junior National Qualifying weekend within the CXC Cup. (Super JNQs are those weekends where more than one race constituency gets together and competes, whether it is Midwest and Great Lakes racing together, or one of the divisions and the Central Collegiate Ski Association.) More research will be done before calendar finalization. Details are available in meeting notes.

The Midwest Junior Subcommittee reviewed impact of last year’s competition trips including NENSA Championships, U.S. Junior Nationals and Canadian Championships. Midwest had a very strong presence at Junior Nationals, finishing third.

The subcommittee approved a draft schedule, reworked some of its operating procedures and updated officers. There was also discussion on the CXC Rollerski Cup and Regional Elite Development program. The group was also updated on new SafeSport requirements. More details are available in meeting notes.

The Great Lakes Division Junior Subcommittee discussed the transition to include Wisconsin in the division. It also elected new officers and updated its policies and procedures. The Junior National Qualifier schedule was discussed with additional work to be done prior to finalization. More details are available in meeting notes.

A series of workshops provided attendees with insider information to help regional clubs deliver better programs to athletes.

New CXC Development Director T.J. Holsen, a veteran fundraiser, oversaw a fundraising roundtable. His presentation focused on four key elements of raising money. First was a strong organizational case statement. Secondly, the three ‘W’s’ that good board members should be expected to provide to a club: wealth, wisdom and work. Thirdly, the three ‘A’s’ including ability (wealth to make a gift), affinity (personal connection to your cause) and access (can you get a meeting with this person?). And, finally, the basic principles of making the ask. The workshop was well attended and prompted a lively discussion among participating club leaders.

Justin Beckwith of NENSA shared ideas from New England’s highly successful Bill Koch League programing. It led to a discussion on youth programming in Central Region, including the rapidly growing Nordic Rocks program.

In a separate workshop, Beckwith shared his experience working with different wax service staffs. He has worked with team New England for many years and has recently stepped up his game, joining the US Ski Team at the World Junior Championships as their head of Kick Wax. In relaying his time at the wax bench, he reviewed waxing protocols as well as the state of U.S. results at FIS Nordic Junior Worlds and U23 Worlds.

Justin Beckwith of NENSA

With snowmaking becoming increasingly important, Ben Siefert of HKD was on hand for a workshop and private consultation.

HKD is a leader in snowmaking, both for alpine and Nordic venues. Snowmaking is now a vital piece for many Central Region clubs.

The Wisconsin Nordic Ski League and Central Collegiate Ski Association also held their independent spring business meetings at the Congress.

Friday each state (MI,WI, & MN) developed one goal and action items to achieve it as a part of regional strategic planning session.

Minnesota’s goal was to improve collaboration between HS programs and CXC clubs. Wisconsin’s goal is to move more athletes from the HS system into the CXC pathway.  Michigan’s goal is to develop a HS Invitational in the Sault Ste. Marie area to make a central location for their clubs to race and incorporate the Sault Canada clubs and athletes.

The Youth Subcommittee met and worked on organizational structure of the subcommittee.

The key initiative is to develop subcommittee operational procedures, define voting members and their roles.

The Popular Events Committee met and shared ideas on increasing participation across all events.

Discussion centered on ways to increase ‘first time’ participation in ski events – particularly the current CXC Marathon Cup events. The barriers to participation were discussed and it was agreed that an invitation from a current participant friend would be the best incentive for new participants. The committee recommended that all Marathon Cup events adopt a ‘bring a buddy’ registration option. More details are available in meeting notes.

Longtime U.S. Ski & Snowboard spokesperson and former American Birkebeiner PR chief Tom Kelly gave an insightful presentation on the history of cross country ski racing in Central Region.

Tom spoke in depth on the role Tony Wise and Telemark had on the sport, as well as the importance of the 1985 World Cup at Giants Ridge. Organized skiing got its start in Central Region with the formation of the National Ski Association in Ishpeming, Mich. in 1905, with the first U.S. Cross Country Championships in Ashland, Wis. in 1907.

Four longtime Central Region volunteers were honored with the CXC Awards on Saturday.

Two-time Olympian Kevin Brochman was honored with the Igor Badamshin Coaching Excellence Award for his work with the Minneapolis Ski Club this past year, specifically the success of Mara McCollor. Ted Theyerl was recognized with the John Hugus Community Leadership Award for his strong work within CXC, pioneering his Chippewa Valley Nordic Ski Team and for extending his knowledge across the region. The Wayne Fish Volunteer Service Award went to Jim Tervo, a consummate official and trail designer for his tireless service to the sport. Finally, Minnesota’s Jack Jeffery was honored with the prestigious Tony Wise Lifetime Achievement Award for decades of support for athletes and fellow race organizers around the Midwest.

The 2020 CXC Congress is tentatively set for April 17-19 in Eau Claire.

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