Chicagoland Rollerski Clinic and Party

Presented by Central Cross Country Skiing and American Birkebeiner

Birkie champion and World Cup level racer Matt Liebsch will join CXC’s certified coaching staff for a two hour dry-land and rollerski technique clinic. Then relax, mingle, and get the latest from Matt, Birkie-guy Ben Popp, and CXC’s Yuriy Gusev: Equipment Update, What’s New at the Birkie, Changing the Culture of Cross Country Skiing.

Skiers of all ages and skill levels are welcome to participate, from beginners to advanced. Demo rollerskis will be available to participants upon request.

Whether you’re looking to improve your performance at next year’s Birkie, brush-up on your technique with tips from a Pro, or are totally new to rollerskiing—this clinic is for you!

Saturday, October 26
3.00pm – 5:00pm Roller Ski Clinic (choice of classic or skate technique)
5:00pm – 6:30pm Cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and Update from Matt, Ben, & Yuriy

Marcus and Michelle Thymian’s Home
49 Hawthorne Lane, Barrington, IL 60010



Questions? Call 608-294-0433 or email



Matt Liebsch – Pioneer Midwest, 2009 Birkie Champion

Liebsch is well known in Nordic circles, both from his elite racing success and his knowledge and expertise with respect to Nordic skis. In the past two decades, Minnesota native Matt Liebsch has risen from the ranks of Minnesota High School cross country ski racing to become one of Central Cross Country Skiing’s most recognized figures. He’s had success as an athlete, working his way up to World Cup and World Championships teams, he’s become a highly-regarded ski guru, a successful coach, and all while balancing his own family of five.

By 2009 Matt was chasing FIS points to qualify for the 2010 Olympics. That January he hit the podium at U.S. Championships and got his first World Cup start, finishing 34th in the pre-Olympic 30k pursuit at Whistler Olympic Park. But on Birkie race morning that year, the CXC technicians handed him some great skis. “It was one of those days as an athlete where you feel that if your skis are in the ballpark, you’re going to hit it out,” he recalled. “I told (teammate) Andre Watt that morning, ‘I’m going to win this thing.’

And he did!

Ben Popp – Executive Director, American Birkebeiner

Originally from northern Wisconsin, Ben has been involved in American Birkebeiner events since the late 1970s. Born and raised in Phillips Wisconsin, Ben attended St. Olaf College as an undergraduate, and then received his masters degree in Education from St. Thomas University in St. Paul MN. Ben has coached Nordic skiing and soccer at Carleton College, St. Marys University. Ben has owned and operated Endurance Athlete Training Systems, as well as started the non-profit SISU Foundation before starting work at the ABSF. “Having grown up participating in North America’s greatest ski race, I’m honored to be part of the ABSF team and continue the tradition of excellence, hosting quality events and getting people involved in an outdoor lifestyle. My family and I love being a part of the Northwoods community.”

Yuriy Gusev – Executive Director, Central Cross Country Skiing (CXC)

Executive Director Yuriy Gusev is a passionate cross country skier whose vision has brought great vibrancy to CXC programs since its formation in 2005. His leadership has established Central Cross Country Skiing as a very proactive regional governance organization offering programs in cross country, biathlon and adaptive skiing.

Yuriy skied his first Birkie in 2002, motivating him to move to Madison. In 2005 he started the Madison Winter Festival, including the Capitol Sprints races around the State Capitol Building. The festival has attracted thousands to winter sports since its inception.

Yuriy is a level 200 certified coach with a bachelor’s degree in cross country ski coaching and physical education with a minor in sports medicine.

In addition to his role at CXC, Yuriy has served on the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Cross Country Sport Committee since 2007 and has been a member of the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation since 2012. He also serves on the Madison Nordic Ski Club and National Nordic Foundation boards. Under his leadership, CXC has been frequently recognized by U.S. Ski & Snowboard and U.S. Paralympics.

Dan LaBlanc – Nordic Rocks Program Director, Central Cross Country Skiing (CXC)

Dan LaBlanc brings an extensive career resume to CXC including over 30 years experience in business management including ownership of Kettle Moraine Adventure Company in Jefferson, Wis. He has experience as a coach or instructor in a wide range of youth sports, including cross country skiing with the Peak Nordic Ski Club in Delafield, Wis., alpine skiing, mountain biking and youth soccer. He has extensive certification as a Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) cross country instructor including level 3 and National Academy. He skied his first American Birkebeiner in 1981.

One of LaBlanc’s responsibilities is supporting and growing the Nordic Rocks program in place at over 150 schools around the midwest, and expanding the program to new markets. He will also grow communications with youth clubs and programs around the region to provide support for their own local initiatives.

LaBlanc works out of the CXC Center of Excellence office and training center in Madison, Wis.

Dan LaBlanc

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