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


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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.


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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.


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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



Noquemanon Ski Marathon – the second stop on the CXC Avant Techno Marathon Cup Series

The CXC Avant Techno Marathon Cup Series will continue with the City of Lakes Loppet in Minneapolis, MN on February 4th.

SCHEDULE OF LOPPET EVENTS (all races at Wirth Park)

• Finn Sisu Sprints: Friday 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
• Hoigaard’s Classic Marathon: Saturday 9 a.m.
• Columbia Sportswear Skate Marathon: Sunday 9 a.m.

** CXC will be providing race wax services for CXC Master Team skiers, and to skiers who either won or purchased wax support certificates. CXC Race Wax Service will include HF race wax and Top Coats; plus, kick wax application. Skis will be ready at the START area before each race.


Rain and warm weather leading up to the second stop on the CXC Maraton Cup race series – the Noquemanon Ski Marathon in Marquette MI did not stop race organizers and volunteers from hosting the event for the 19th consecutive year. Race distances were shortened, however, the 50k turned to a 31k while the half marathon (24k) was altered to 23k.

CXC Elite team member Kyle Bratrud preserved his champion title, winning the 31k Classic event coming to the finish line with a time of 1:31:35.3.

“The 2017 Noquemanon was a great opportunity for me to get a longer workout in. The beautiful race course was complimented nicely by a dumping of fresh snow the night before the race which made for some serious trail blazing for me at the front. That being said, I got a great workout in and was fortunate enough to win my second Noque in a row, so I have no complaints,” said Bratrud.

The race was close between Kyle and second place finisher Chris Pappathopoulous, who took second by a mere 1.1 seconds. Rounding out the podium in the men’s classic 31k was Norther Michigan University skier Frederik Schwencke with a time of 1:31:46.3.

In the men’s freestyle division, Zachary Nelson took first in another close race just 1.4 seconds ahead of Zach Varty with a time of 1:30.53.6.

The 31k classic title on the women’s side went to Isabella Howden (1:44:38.6) crossing the finish line just 11.2 seconds ahead of CXC Elite Team member Felicia Gesior, and Rebecca Davis rounding out the top three.

In the women’s freestyle 31k, Jenna Dickinson took home a win with a time of 1:44:14.9, followed by Vicki Asmus in second and Lindsey Kriete in third.

Andy Liebner took home the 23k classic title with an astonishing lead of nearly 9 minutes ahead of second place finisher Mike Wiitala and third place Jeremy Steele. Liebner completed in the course in 1:17:50.0.


Classic 23k women’s winner was Joan Rundman who completed the course in 1:33:36.8 followed by Amelia Schankwitz and Molly Stewart.

The freestyle 23k title went to local Marquette skier Daniel Dehlin with a finishing time of 1:03:35.6, nearly three minutes ahead of Kevin Tarras and Marquette high school senior Ethan Hall.

On the women’s side, Lindsey Dehlin took the 23K freestyle title with a time of 1:07:07.1 making a couples sweep for the Dehlin family. Hanna Torvi and Jan Haase took second and third respectively.

CXC Avant Techno Marathon Cup – After Seeley Hills Classic

The CXC Avant Techno Marathon Cup series kicked off this past weekend at the Seeley Hills Classic. Over 240 competitors raced in either the 42km and 22km events, some hoping to complete their first ski marathon while others raced their way to complete the first of six marathons this season with their sights on the overall 2017 CXC Marathon Cup title.

Conditions were favorable for everyone who came out to the Northern Wisconsin including overall winner Matt Liebsch who won the 42km Classic with a time of 1:50:08. Krystof Kopal (1:50:26) came to the finish line for a close second followed by third place finisher Thomas Kendrick with a time of 01:54:30.



Matt Liebsch (right)

Leaders in the 42km female category were Isabella Howden (02:14:20) followed by Elaine Nelson just over one minute behind. Rounding out the podium was Kim Rudd with a time of 02:17:37.

Overall winners for the 22km Classic where Andre Tilman (0:54:15) Leif Hanson (0:54:23) and Mitchell Miller (54:35).

Women podiums for the 22km classic were earned by Kelly Skillicorn (01:01:14), followed very closely by Rachel Elvester (01:01:38) and third place finisher Zoe Reker (01:03:37).

The next stop in the 2017 CXC Avant Tecno Marathon Cup will be the Noquemanon Ski Marathon Saturday, January 28th.



Marathon Cup Season Opener

Presented by AVANT Techno

The Seeley Hills Classic 42km and 22km races will kick off the 2017 CXC Marathon Cup Season, Saturday January 14th.

Races start at 10:00 AM at the OO warming building on the Birkie Trail.


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.

Register as a 2016-17 CXC Supporter member.

Two final winners will be honored with high prestige upon receiving the coveted CXC Marathon Cup overall title along with monetary rewards granted at each race. Other top finishers will also become eligible for the Masters Fantasy Camp and individual rewards at each race in the series.





2017 CXC Marathon Cup Series

Presented by AVANT Techno

Join the competitive spirit this winter to showcase your training preparations, endurance, strength and determination by registering as a competitor in the 2017 CXC Marathon Cup!

The series begins with the Seely Hills Classic 42km race on January 14, 2017.


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

No registration required to earn individual CXC Marathon Cup 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!

Register as a 2016-17 CXC Supporter member.

Two final winners will be honored with high prestige upon receiving the coveted CXC Marathon Cup overall title along with monetary rewards granted at each race. Other top finishers will also become eligible for the Masters Fantasy Camp and individual rewards at each race in the series.




Announcing Inaugural CXC Marathon Cup Winners

Six marathon events across three states, with grueling courses, made up the inaugural CXC Marathon Cup series.


Natalia Naryshkina after Claiming the Vasaloppet 58k Freestyle Victory.

Weekend after weekend skiers were challenged not only by the length and terrain of each marathon, but everything in between, including: frigid and warm temperatures, challenging snow conditions, and the fatigue of skiing six marathons in a little over two months.


Chris Pappathopoulos Skiing to a Third Place Finish in the Noquemanon 50k Classic.

With strength, determination and endless endurance, two skiers persevered through the challenges of the marathon series to claim the coveted CXC Marathon Cup overall title, CXC Team athletes Chris Pappathopoulos and Natalia Naryshkina.

The inaugural year of the CXC Marathon Cup could not have been possible, without the hundreds of event organizers who worked hard to run these great events. We want to recognize them for their efforts and crown these events with the CXC Marathon Cup Event Awards which include: Best Overall Event, Best Grooming, Most Heroic Effort, Best Website and Most Scenic Course.


Chris Pappathopoulos, CXC Marathon Cup Overall Winner.

“The marathon season was a whirlwind of eight marathons, one sprint, and one 24K skiathlon in 9 weekends.” Said Chris Pappathopoulos. “Achieving my goal of winning the CXC Marathon Cup involved practicing what I preach to my athletes, set a goal and make a plan to achieve the goal. Then adjust the plan as necessary for the unexpected circumstances that arise. Being a working dad there were plenty of deviations from the training I wanted to do this year. These challenges just provided opportunity to focus on what I had control over and not worry about the other things.”


A Podium Sweep by the CXC Men’s Team at the City of Lake Loppet 42k Classic.

Pappathopoulos had an outstanding season and was the only athlete who competed in all of the CXC Marathon Cup races, which earned him the Viking Award. Five podium finishes and a victory in the 42k Hoigaard’s Classic Marathon which was part of the City of Lakes Loppet, Minne Tour highlighted his season.

Looking back at Pappathopoulos’ results in the CXC Marathon Cup Season:

42k Seeley Hills Classic: Fourth

Noquemanon 50k Classic: Third

City of Lakes Loppet/Minne Tour: Sprints 25th, 42k Classic first, 42k Skate second.

Vasaloppet USA 58k Freestyle: Third

Birkie 51k Skate: 42nd

The Great Bear Chase 50k Skiathlon: Second

“Winning the CXC Marathon Cup boiled down to three things: training, recovery and equipment. Skiers are made in the summer. I log a lot of long workouts in the summer and fall to adapt to racing a marathon almost every weekend. Recovery is the aspect of training and competing that gets far less attention than it should. Often times recovery is one of the hardest things for someone who loves training and races. I’ll admit I may have taken some liberties from sound recovery practice with activities like the Night Noque, but it was worth it.”


Chris Pappathopoulos set his goal high in the beginning of the season and successfully achieved it!

“Finally, skiing is an equipment sport. Everyday there is an opportunity to test something whether it be wax, skis, pole length, different feeds etc. Much of this doesn’t cost anything. I put a lot of effort into dialing in my Rossignol skis with Boulder Nordic Sport grinds that complemented the skis and Start poles.”

Naryshkina dominated several of the CXC Marathon Cup events this season, earning five victories and seven podium finishes.

Looking Back on Naryshkina’s Marathon Cup season:


Natalia Naryshkina at the top of the podium after the City of Lakes Loppet 42k Classic Race.

42k Seeley Hills Classic: First

Noquemanon 50k Classic: First

City of Lakes Loppet/Minne Tour: Sprints first, 42k classic first, 42k Skate, second.

Vasaloppet USA 58k Freestyle: First

The Great Bear Chase 50k Skiathlon: Second


Natalia Naryshkina skiing to a first place finish in the City of Lake Loppet 42k Classic Race


Natalia Naryshkina claimed the 50k Noquemanon Classic Victory, CXC Team athlete Alice Flanders was third.

The final points have been updated for each category: Overall Champions, Overall Age-Indexed Champions and Age Group Champions.

Don’t forget about all of the great prizes for the Overall Age-Indexed Champions as well as the Age Group Champions!

Age-Indexed Champions:

1st Place – CXC Gold Membership – $5,000 value

2nd Place – CXC Silver Membership – $2,500 value

3rd Place – CXC Bronze Membership – $1,000 value

Top Three Men’s Overall Age-Index: 

1st: Chris Pappathopoulos

2nd: Michael Mandli

3rd: Nick Power

Top Three Women’s Overall Age-Index: 

1st: Natalia Naryshkina

2nd: Jan Guenther

3rd: Alice Flanders

First, second and third place in each age class receive an exclusive invitation to a Masters Fantasy Camp, October 7-9 2016 in Cable, WI (more details to come)!!

Participants will enjoy three days of structured training, complemented with technique sessions and video analysis by professional coaching and Birkie winners. Experience an environment as it would be at the National Team camp!

Men’s Top Three Overall Age Class 

0-29: Nick Power, Andrew Brown, Alex Vanias

30-39: Chris Pappathopoulos, Matt Liebsch, Craig Cardinal

40-49: Craig Stolen, John Munger, Adam Swank

50-59: Milan Baic, Drew Holbrook, Thomas Krenz

60-69: Michael Mandli, Duncan McLean, Jonathan Schupp

70+: Charles Duede, Peter Dorsen, Donn Christensen

Women’s Top Three Overall Age Class 

0-29: Alice Flanders, Rosie Frankowski, Ingrid Leask

30-39: Natalia Naryshkina, Erica Ohearn, Caitlin Gregg

40-49: Kim Rudd, Melissa Lewis, Kim Hughes

50-59: Jan Guenther, Sandra Pera, Joan Rundman

60-69: Karen Manske, Ann Pollock, Margaret Meincke

70+: Elizabeth Schluter, Ethel Morse, Judith Karshna

CXC Marathon Cup Event Awards

Marathon Cup Event Awards categories include:

Best Overall Event

 The Great Bear Chase

Best Grooming

Seeley Hills Classic (Grooming provided by: American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation)

Most Heroic Effort

Mora Vasaloppet

Best Website 


Most Scenic Course


CXC Marathon Cup Committee Meeting (Hayward, WI) | April 22-24

Although the inaugural CXC Marathon Cup series wrapped up only a few weeks ago after the Great Bear Chase in Calumet, MI, it’s already time to start planning for the 2017 CXC Marathon Cup series!

CXC wants to open the invitation to any event organizer who would like to attend the CXC Marathon Cup Committee Meeting, April 22-24 in Hayward, WI, hosted by the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation.

The meeting’s agenda will be focused around the CXC Marathon Cup, sharing best practices in cross country ski event operations, marketing and promotions. All event organizers are encouraged to attend, no matter if your event is big or small!


Weekend Schedule:

Friday, April 22 – Arrival and road bike ride.
Saturday, April 23 – Meetings followed by a mountain bike ride.
Sunday, April 24 – Meetings and departure after lunch.

Tentative Agenda:

1. CXC Marathon Committee formation and selection of the committee chairman
2. 2016-2017 CXC Marathon Cup Schedule
3. 2017-2018 CXC Marathon Cup Schedule Draft
4. Point system review and potential changes to increase participation
5. Attracting new clubs and teams to participate
6. Promoting inclusion of masters membership categories to youth/junior local club and teams
7. Sponsorship – sharing best practices
8. Race promotion techniques
9. Trail grooming for racing
10. Comp entries – sharing best practices
11. Open Discussion

*For further information regarding the CXC Marathon Cup Committee Meeting, contact Yuriy Gusev or call 608.334.6814