CXC Marathon Cup: first two legs complete

The Marathon Cup is off and running with the first two legs complete and the City of Lakes Loppet and Mora Vasaloppet quickly approaching.

Points standings are available here:

In the 2 classic races, racers have faced different challenges, with Seeley having cold temps and a delayed start and the Noquemanon having icy conditions after warm temps friday and colder weather rolling in overnight. Racers will get a reprieve from kick waxing now as the next three races are Freestyle.

Caitlin Gregg, in her quest to win another Birkie, is off to a hot start with dominating performances in the Seeley Hills Classic and the Noquemanon. Her husband Brian had a strong race at Seeley Hills for the win and then sat out the Noquemanon, where his CXC Ski Team teammate Kyle Bratrud carried the torch for the win.

In the series scoring, Caitlin is running away on the women’s side, but will not compete in the CXC Marathon Cup again until the Birkie. On the men’s side, Thomas Kendrick has a narrow lead over perennial favorite Chri s Pappathopoulos and somewhat new commer David Joda. Look for these races to get interesting.

Up next is the City of Lakes Loppet, where Matt Liebsch is a skier to watch for the men on his hometown course. On the women’s side, expect strong competition from a number of LNR LEMONS and other top 10 ranked women like Bonnie Weiskopf and Marit Sonnesyn.

Ski Racer & Weekend Warrior Update

We hope you, our membership, are staying warm during this holiday deep freeze and still able to enjoy some skiing. Hopefully, we will see above 0 temps for a whole day and night soon. For those of you not living in International Falls, MN take solace in the relative warmth you have. Let’s hope the New Year brings us fantastic skiing conditions in all corners of our region from Pennsylvania to the Dakotas.


Supporters, Parents and Spectators

We would like to remind you that at ski races the courses are usually closed to you skiing on them while the races are going on.  Please respect the training each of the racers has put in to prepare for race day and refrain from skiing on the courses while the race is in progress.  Being on foot to the side of the race course encouraging racers is welcome by all.  Bring all the cowbells you want.  Celebrate the race!!!  Do it right.

Two really important reminders for you:

  • Do not skate ski on a classic race trail with “best line tracks”.  Each race organization who prepares “best line tracks” has taken significant time to groom the race trails to give the racers a quality track, skating, even carefully over the course degrades the tracks.
  • Do not ski backwards on a race trail.  Those racing should not have to dodge spectators skiing at them.  Follow these two reminders and we should have better competition conditions.

For those of you supporting our athletes, a huge thank you to you!!!  As you are cheering, remember what the race is about, the racers on the course challenging themselves.  If you remember these things, it will help our race organizers give spectators more freedom to access the courses to cheer and reduce the need to tightly control race courses with a high security presence.



As we ease into 2018, we hope that many of you are enjoying some training for the CXC Marathon Cup and World Masters.

The World Masters, MWC2018 is coming to the the USA and the Central Region. For those of you over 30, this is a great chance to challenge yourself while having a great time in the Twin Cities in less than a month.

Here is some more information about the opportunity:

  • This the first Masters World Cup to be held in the USA since 2008, and it’ll be probably another decade before it returns.
  • Registation is open only until January 6. 
  • There is NO qualification process. The only requirement is joining American XC Skiers (via  which will provide benefits every master skier will enjoy all the way until Fall 2018 (so it’s a killer deal!).
  • Yes, there really are ALL abilities of skiers doing the MWC just like the Birkie. Everyone really is welcome.
  • You can register for any three races offered for your age/gender group. Some folks can do a full slate in just 2 days!
  • For serious racers, you simply can’t claim you’ve done it all in XC skiing until you’ve been part of Masters World Cup events. Unlike the Birkie or other Midwest marathons, this is going toe-to-toe with just the best guys nationally and internationally in your age group.
  •  For casual skiers, the MWC offers a chance to be part of a big international celebration without hassles. The starts are civilized, you meet skiers just like yourself from around the world, the distances give you lots of different experiences. You will be amazed how much fun this will be!



Besides Masters World Cup, get fired up and challenge yourself to a few CXC Marathon Cup races, or all 6.

The CXC Marathon Cup starts Jan 13th at the Seeley Hills Classic, continues with the Noquemanon Jan 27th, the City of Lakes Skate Loppet Feb 4th on Super Bowl weekend, the Mora Vasaloppet Feb. 10th, the Birkie Feb 24th, and culminates at the Great Bear Chase Mar 10.


If you make it to a CXC Marathon Cup Race, do not hesitate to say hello to the CXC staff on site. If you want to join a training group, the CXC Masters Team still has openings.

CXC Marathon Cup Kicks off Its Third Season

The CXC Marathon Cup presented by Avant Techno is one of the most grueling cross-country race series in North America and is set to kick off its third season.


Seeley Hills 42K Classic / Seeley (WI)
January 13, 2018

The 2018 series is split between classic and skate racing, with two classic races, three skate weekends, and one skiathlon weekend; with the races divided equally between the three states, two races in Michigan, two in Wisconsin, and two in Minnesota.

Top 200 individuals in each age group in each race score points. Points ranking updated and posted after each event.

There are four basic competition categories: Overall, Age-Indexed Overall, Age Class, and Team/Club with the winners battling for a total purse prize of $60,000 between the six events.



All event participants are included in the age group rankings which are posted a few days after each event.

As you compare your position with your competition, consider purchasing a CXC SUPPORTER MEMBERSHIP and help support skiing and ski racing in the Midwest.


CXC Marathon Cup Standings Announced

Final Point Rankings Released

With the conclusion of the CXC Marathon Cup Series presented by AVANT Techo, come the final point rankings.

After an unseasonable warm winter with questionable snow, the grand finale weekend proved a relative success at the UP Health System Great Bear Chase Ski Marathon in Calumet, MI.

The Series which includes races within each of the three main central states (Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota) is sanctioned and scored by Central Cross Country Ski Association.

The Marathon Cup Series awards four competition categories, Individual Overall, Individual Age-Indexed overall, Individual Age Class and Team.



Matt Liebsch
Chris Pappathopoulos
Krystof Kopal


Isabella Howden
Felicia Gesior
Alice Flanders




Matt Liebsch
Michael Mandli
Chris Pappathopoulos


Isabella Howden
Felicia Gesior
Jan Guenther



MEN 0-29

– Kristof Kopal

– Kieran Jones

– David Joda

MEN 30-39

-Matt Liebsch

-Chris Pappathopoulos

-Daniel Luoma

MEN 40-49

– Jacob Kjome

– Terrence Maag

– Eric Brandt

MEN 50-59

– Ray Johnson

– Piotr Bednarski

– Allen Hanson

MEN 60-69

– Michael Mandli

– Terry Tansey

– Randal Bladel

MEN 70 +

-Donn Christensen

-Ernie Brumbaugh

-Charles Duede

WOMEN 0-29

– Isabella Howden

– Felicia Gesior

– Alice Flanders

WOMEN 30-39

-Nicole Harvey

– Kathleen Dewahl

– Elaine Nelson

WOMEN 40-49

– Sherry Martin

– Kim Rudd

– Bonnie Weiskopf Albrecht

WOMEN 50-59

– Jan Guenther

– Leslie Hale

– Sandra Pera

WOMEN 60-69

– Melissa Behr

– Maddie McAlister

– Carol Markham-Cousins

“Despite all of the weather related challenges thrown at event organizers and volunteers this year, it was great to see the Avant Tecno CXC Marathon Cup grow and mature.

The level of competition definitely increased with more appearances from skiers with World Cup and World Championship experience, as well as college skiers and skiers coming down from Canada.

Fortunately the ability of some events to hold races on man made snow has grown dramatically in just the last year allowing for safe and competitive races where previously they might have been canceled or held on much less than ideal courses.

Due to the commitment of the Midwest skiing community the future looks bright for the series regardless of what Mother Nature has in store.”

– Chris Pappathopoulos BNS 


CXC Marathon Cup Final Stop

Things are looking good for the 2017 Great Bear Chase, – the final stop in the CXC Marathon Cup series. The Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula had 20″ of snow between February 23-26, and the Swedetown Trails have a base of more than two feet.

Registration continues, with another price increase coming March 5.


Presented by Avant Techno, the Cup encompasses six most prominent marathons in the Midwest (MN, WI, MI) into one unified competition.

Contenders of the series will race in six marathons split between two classic, two skate and one skiathlon weekend and one weekend with back-to-back classic and skate races. All Marathon Cup participants are automatically scored in age group, overall and age-index overall categories.

No registration required to earn individual points. Anyone participating in a Cup race is automatically scored for the overall, age-indexed, and age-group awards. However, registration is encouraged; help support skiing and ski racing in the Central division!

Marathon Cup After 4th Stop

MORA, MINNESOTA – Another unseasonably warm marathon complete with a lot of artificial snow. The 58K freestyle event was close relative to the previous marathons this season in the men’s categotry.

Matthew Liebsch completed the course in 2:03:12.15 maintaining his spot at the top of the podium. Second place went to Andrew Brown with a time of 2:06:05.32 and Cory Ellertson rounded out top three by fractions of a second with a time of 2:06:05.53.

For the 58k women’s race Alice Flanders won with a time of 2:18:29.58 followed by Canadian Isabella Howden with 2:22:31.67 and Jan Guenther in third not far behind (2:22:45.84).

In the 35k Freestyle men top three were separates by mere seconds. Paul Olson took the lead in by less than one second (1:07:13.24) ahead of Nathan Porath (1:07:14.04) who was a second ahead of Joseph Martin (1:07:15.27).

On the women’s side, Laura Cattaneo took the lead in 1:14:16.62, just two seconds behind was Ashley Herman in 1:14:18.83 and third was Margie Nelson in a time a 1:16:12.93

The 42k Classic men’s division title this weekend went to Steven Scoles (1:55:01.41) A close second went to Evan Pengelly completing the course in 1:55:05.68. Third went to Justin Pavlish (1:56:37.91).

On the women’s side Kathleen DeWahl completed the course in 2:08:17.85, Josie Nilsson took second in 2:11:36.87 and Kate Ellis took a close third in 2:12:08:16.


Saturday, March 11, 2017 Great Bear Chase Ski Marathon, Calumet, MI


City of Lakes Loppet – the third stop on the CXC Avant Techno Marathon Cup Series


Photo Credit:

THEODORE WIRTH PARK, in Minneapolis, MN was packed with ski enthusiast for the City of Lakes Loppet.

Event organizers did a fantastic job in creating a course that would hold the 226 racers who came out for the Hoigaard’s Classical Marathon. The lack of natural snow did not stop skiers from completing the hilly 32km course, which was 5 laps around the 6km man-made loop.


Photo Credit:

In the men’s event, Matthew Liebsch (Orono, MN) 1:14:05 took the lead by over two minutes to second place finisher Chris Pappathopoulos from Sun Prairie, WI (1:16:09). Rounding out the podium was Krystof Kopal (Marquette, MI) with a time of 1:17:17.


Photo Credit:

On the women’s side with an astonishing lead was CXC elite team winner Felicia Gesior of Marquette, MI finshing the course in 1:28:51, nearly seven minutes ahead of Canadian skier Isabella Howden (Barrie, ON) 1:35:49. Kelly Skillicorn of Winona, MN skied to her third place podium in a time of 1:36:20.

With just three more races in the series, this weekend marked the halfway point in the CXC Marathon Cup point standing.

The series will continue with the last three races, including the highly anticipated American Birkebeiner just about two weeks away.


Saturday, February 11, 2017 Vasaloppet USA 58km Freestyle, Mora MN
Saturday, February 25, 2017 American Birkebeiner, Hayward WI
Saturday, March 11, 2017 Great Bear Chase Ski Marathon, Calumet, MI