2017 CXC Award Recipients

The CXC Awards Dinner recognized four of the central region’s outstanding ski community members at the inaugural CXC Congress weekend in Eau Clair, Wisconsin this past weekend.

The honored members of the ski community who have persistently committed their time to the sport of Cross Country Skiing each gave inspirational accounts of their experiences as participants of the ski culture in the central region.

Ben Popp, American Birkebenier Ski Foundation, Hayward (WI)

John Hugus was remembered for his commitment to skier development as Ben Popp, executive director of the American Birkebenier Ski Foundation (ABSF), was honored for his own leadership. Ben’s charismatic manner and general enthusiasm for skiing and the ski culture has been evident throughout his time at ABSF and did not slow as he accepted his Leadership award. Ben’s dedication to providing ski opportunities to skiers’ of the central region goes beyond the winter months and the famed Birkie with events and programming that instill the Birkie spirit everyday.


Kris Hansen, Stillwater Nordic Ski Team, Stillwater (MN)

The Igor Badamshin Coach of the Year came to a well deserving recipient from Stillwater (MN), – Kris Hansen. Kris’s lengthy list of statewide success with the Stillwater High School Girls Team has been a true testament of a coaching philosophy that works. Upon receiving the award Kris recalled the importance of core values of the Stillwater ski team (team work, respect for others, personal accountability and the love for the process) and how these values are part of the success Kris has witnessed over the past 20 years (including, but not limited to 16 of the last 20 Section Championships and 15 of the last 20 Conference Championships and, of course, fostering Jessie Diggins at the start of her skiing career).


Joe Kelsey, Cable (WI)

The Wayne Fish award was presented to Joe Kelsey of Cable, Wisconsin. Joe’s unyielding commitment to volunteering at events in the Cable area are fundamental to the central ski community at large. Joe, considered the ultimate “behind the scenes hero” is a man who arrives at a race venue before the sun rises and leaves well after the sun sets. Joe has volunteered at countless events including Junior Nationals, Junior National Qualifiers, IPC World Championships, IPC World Cups and the American Birkebeiner.


Ahvo Taipale, Finn Sisu, St. Paul (MN)

The recipient of the inaugural Lifetime Achievement award was Ahvo Taipale of Finn Sisu in St. Paul, Minnesota. Ahvo accepted the award from longtime friend and last year’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Dennis Kruse, who honored Ahvo for his consistent generosity and tireless talent in providing educational opportunities to anyone interested in cross country skiing. Ahvo, who has operated in numerous roles within the ski community since moving to the U.S. was recognized for his frequent contributions to the central region’s ski community that have allowed it to excel.

2017 CXC Awards Presentation and Dinner

The Central Cross Country Ski Association (CXC) will recognize community leaders and friends at the annual CXC Awards Presentation and Dinner as part of the 2017 CXC Congress.

Saturday, April 29th at 6:00 PM 
Metropolis Resort in Eau Claire (WI)


John Hugus Leadership Award
Ben Popp, American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation – Hayward (WI)

Igor Badamshin Coach of the Year Award
Kris Hansen, Stillwater Nordic Ski Team – Stillwater (MN)

Wayne Fish Volunteer of the Year Award
Joe Kelsey, Cable (WI)

Tony Wise Lifetime Achievement Award
Ahvo Taipale, Finn Sisu- St. Paul (MN)

Photo Credit: Joe Lazenby and lazenbyphoto.com

Awards will be presented by keynote speaker Kyle Bratrud.

Kyle, member of the CXC Team, is a great example of the successful path through the Midwest developmental pipeline. Kyle’s humble beginnings started as many young skiers’ do at the high schools level, then onto club and NCAA collegiate racing and now as a professional athlete where he has represented the United States at:

– 2013 Junior World Championships
– 2015 and 2016 U23 World Championships
– 2015 and 2017 World Championships and World Cups

“At the Central Cross Country Ski Association, we strive to provide the best programs for the continued growth and development of cross country skiing. We believe in fostering the principles of excellence, ethical conduct and fair play for participants of all ages and abilities from introductory experience to international excellence. To make this vision a reality, we depend on leaders at all levels of the development pipeline within our ski community, to believe it, support and promote our vision,” – commented Yuriy Gusev, CXC’s Executive and Athletic Director

  • Admission to the event is free. Dinner tickets are available to purchase for $25 per ticket. 
  • Visit CXC website for more information about CXC Congress.

Inaugural CXC Congress

April 28-30, Eau Claire (WI) – Central Cross Country Ski Association will host educational workshops for club leaders focused on fundraising, host sport committee meetings and recognize some of the organization’s top coaches, volunteers and community leaders at the Annual Awards Dinner.

Committee Meetings:

– Midwest Junior Committee
– Great Lakes Junior Committee
– Central Collegiate Ski Assn.

– WI Nordic Ski League
– CXC Youth Committee
– CXC Popular Events Committee

CXC CONGRESS: Schedule / Presenters / Registration

CXC Congress is scheduled to take place April 28-30, with special guests in attendance. All presentations and meetings will take place at the Metropolis Resort, Eau Claire (WI), free to attend and open to the public.

* CXC Congress Packet and tickets to Awards Dinner can be purchased online.

CXC Congress is an opportunity for organizational partners, coaches and officials to evaluate and plan for the coming season.



3:00 PM – Effective Fundraising Presentation: Donors & Stewardship
4:00 PM – Effective Fundraising Presentation: Grant Writing
5:00 PM – Effective Fundraising Presentation: Special Events
6:00 PM – Organizing Capital Campaign (Round Table Discussion)

8:00 AM – Presentation: Club Development and Key Elements of Successful Clubs
10:00 AM – Midwest Junior Committee Meeting
12:00 PM – Lunch
1:00 PM – Youth Committee Meeting (Learn to Train phase)
1:00 PM – Central Collegiate Ski Association (CCSA) Meeting
2:30 PM – Trail Kids Meeting
3:00 PM – Popular Events Committee Meeting
3:00 PM – Officials and Technical Delegate (TD) Intro/Q&A
3:00 PM – CXC/USSA Technique Clinic (accepted for Level 100 Coaches Certification)
3:00 PM – Youth Committee Meeting (FUNdamentals and Active Start phases)
6:00 PM – Awards Dinner

8:00 AM – Popular Event Committee Meeting
8:00 AM – Great Lakes Junior Committee Meeting
10:00 AM – WI Skiwerx Award
10:00 AM – WI Nordic Ski League Meeting
12:00 PM – Lunch




Midwest Junior National Qualifier Schedule and Midwest Committee Bylaw Changes Review

The Midwest Junior National Team athletes will be selected based on the results of the Junior National Qualifier (JNQ) races. The distance and discipline of the JNQs will reflect the format of the Junior National Nordic Ski Championship races.




This past spring there were several changes made to the Midwest Junior Committee Bylaws that will effect the upcoming season of the Junior National Qualifiers. These changes include pre-qualification, U14’s racing up, points scoring and a classic wax restriction.


There will be an opportunity to review this season’s race schedule, and discuss new rules at the Midwest Junior Coaches Social held during the 2016 CXC/Wayne Fish Coaches Certification and Conference on Friday, October 21 at 8 pm (Lakewoods Resort, Cable, WI). Meeting is open to all coaches!

Questions? Let us know.



Coaches Certification and Conference – One Month Away!

The 5th annual CXC/Wayne Fish Coaches Certification and Conference presented by Podiumwear is just one month away! Join fellow coaches from around the nation to collaborate and learn new coaching practices through the Level 100 or 200 certification and/or through the conference.

When: October 21-23

Where: Lakewoods Resort, Cable, (WI)

There are two new keynote speakers this year that will be presenting at the conference, Bjorn Ilsemann, Head Junior Coach at IL Heming, Norway and Rebecca Rick, USSA Sports Dietitian.

Ilsemann will be presenting the Norwegian Training Model and Philosophy, a strength training session as well as a ski technique training session. Rebecca Rick will be presenting about general nutrition – facts and fallacy as well as performance nutrition.




The focus of the Level 100 certification, presented by Dr. Jim Mullen, MD at Marshfield Clinic and Head Junior Coach of the Lakeland Nordic Ski Team, is for coaches to learn the fundamentals for effective coaching in cross country skiing and to demonstrate basic knowledge in these areas.

Level 200 certification, presented by Bryan Fish, U.S. Ski Team Development Coach, focuses primarily on physiology and training methods for developing cross country skiers, while giving coaches more tools to effectively prepare their athletes for competition.


The second annual Chairman’s Award Dinner will happen in conjunction with the Coaches Conference, Saturday, October 22nd. The dinner recognizes and honors individuals who have contributed so much to the sport of cross country skiing.

The awards presented include the Igor Badamshin Coach of the Year Award, Wayne Fish Volunteer of the Year Award and the John Hugus Leadership Award.

These awards are named after individuals who exemplified the energy, persistence, passion and commitment to carry out a vision to better the sport of cross country skiing.

Anyone can attend the reception and dinner. Invites are complementary to anyone attending the conference and certification.


Podiumwear Custom Sports Apparel

Podiumwear is proud to support the CXC Coaches Education series. We were started as a company designed to make coaches lives easier, so they could spend their time coaching and not managing clothing orders. Supporting skiing has been a part of our mission since our founding, whether through support of CXC and the NNF, or working with elite athletes like Jessie Diggins. We strive to be the best at all aspects of custom uniforms for high school and club teams.

The CXC coaches education is the best at continuing coaches training, and we are happy to play a small part in their programming,” said Reid Lutter.



Yuriy Gusev, CXC Athletic Director

For further information or details regarding the  Coaches Conference, contact Yuriy Gusev.



Coaches Symposium at 2016 REG Camp | Training Philosophy, Skier Development, Central Region Topics

The Coaches Symposium at the Central (CXC) Regional Elite Group (REG) Camp in Marquette (MI) is open to coaches of all levels and is free to attend. The Symposium gives coaches an opportunity to share best practices and collaborate about topics including:

Training Philosophy, Skier Development, Communication Strategies and Central Region Topics.

When: Saturday July 9th, from 12p.m. to 3p.m.
Where:Superior Dome, 1401 Presque Isle Ave. Marquette, MI, Room B101

Coaches interested in attending should RSVP to Yuriy Gusev



Bryan Fish (Juniors/U23/Seniors) – U.S. Ski Team Development Coach

Sten Fjeldheim (College) – Head Coach of Northern Michigan University Ski Team

Andy Keller (Post-College/Junior) – Head Coach of CXC Team

Scott Putman (WI/Junior) – Head Coach of Ashwaubenon Nordic Ski Team

Chris Harvey and Piotr Bednarski (MN/Junior) – LNR Coaches


Each presenting coach will have 10 minutes to speak on Training Philosophy.

12pm-1pm: Training Philosophy

a. Training Hours 

i. Annual, Month to Month and Block Break Down

ii. By Age

iii. By Level

b. Training Philosophy

i. Training Mode

ii. Intensity

iii. Strength

1pm-2pm: Skier Development and Communication Strategies

a. Targeting Athletes that are outside JNQ Pipeline

i. Contacting and Getting information to individuals

ii. Education on national training and Racing opportunities

b. Regional Camp Pipeline 

i.  Making a clear pathway for athletes and parents to follow and know what camps they should be looking to do and where they go as they progress and grow up.

2pm-3pm: Central Region Topics 

a. State of Regional Elite Group Camp

i. Qualification Criteria

ii. Camp Strengths and Weaknesses

b. Junior National Qualifier Race Handbook and Guide Update

i. Progress Report and Input

c. JNQ Race Calendar Discussion

i. Race Distance working for both College and Junior Committee


Yuriy Gusev, CXC Athletic Director

For further information or details regarding the  Coaches Symposium, contact Yuriy Gusev.



Save The Date! Coaches ‘Round Table’ Discussion at REG & Coaches Conference

Coaches are the backbone of the CXC and USSA development pipeline, providing leadership to athletes through USSA Club programs.

In addition to the great benefits that come with a CXC/USSA Certified Coaches Membership, for the second year, CXC is offering complimentary Birkie entries to 2016/2017 certified Level 100 and 200 coaches, with support of the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation.



Save the Date!

Coaches ‘Round Table’ Discussion at the Central (CXC) Regional Elite Group (REG) Camp

When: Saturday July 9th at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Lobby of Meyland Hall on Northern Michigan University Campus

Topics covered at this meeting will include:

  • Current state of Central REG (REG qualification criteria review; Areas for improvement)
  • Discussion on regional skier development and looking at the direction our region is heading
  • Update on Junior National Qualifier Race Organization Guide/Handbook progress (Andy Keller, Joe Haggenmiller)
  • Review of Regional Racing Calendar (College and JNQ)
  • Open Discussion

2016 CXC/Wayne Fish Coaches Certification and Conference


When: October 21-23, 2016
Where: Lakewoods Resort, Cable (WI)

Keynote Speakers:

  • Bryan Fish, U.S. Ski Team Development Coach
  • Dr. Jim Mullen, MD at the Marshfield Clinic and Head Junior Coach at Lakeland Nordic Ski Team
  • Jonathan Stone, First Aid and CPR Instructor
  • Bjorn Ilsemann, Head Junior Coach at IL Heming, Norway
  • Rebecca Rick, USSA Sports Dietitian
  • Andy Keller and Karmen Whitham, Level 100 Technique Clinicians



Yuriy Gusev, CXC Athletic Director

For further information or details regarding the CXC Coaches Membership structure or the events, please feel free to contact Yuriy Gusev.