No matter if someone is a recreational skier, competitive “master blaster”, collegiate skier, or a World Cup racer, having equipment and skis that are fit appropriately to their needs is an important piece to fully enjoy the sport and/or being a successful, efficient skier.
An interview with CXC Super Fit store locations: Kevin Johnson (FinnSisu), John Hutchinson (Fontana Sports), Tom Kline (Bike Doctor Nordic Ski Shop) and Joe Rauscher (Joe’s Sports Shop).
With ski season just around the corner, now is the perfect time for skiers to evaluate their current skis or to get new skis tested and fit.
Through the collaboration of Central Cross Country Ski Association and four ski shops in Wisconsin and Minnesota, the annual CXC Super Fit events provide an opportunity for anyone to get their skis tested and fit.
The CXC Super Fit events bring CXC Team athletes and coaches to give advice and assistance in finding the best pair of skis for an individual.
“The weekend program allows the CXC Team to personally connect with the members of the Midwest ski community. Not only are we able to help fit the individual on the best equipment possible, we are able to communicate the mission of CXC Skiing and the programs we have. The ski community is close knit and more often than not, you will run into a familiar face out on the trails. Having these relationships that have been built through the CXC Super Fit program is a valuable part of our program.” Said CXC Team Head Coach, Andy Keller
“Getting your gear squared away before the snow flies is the easiest way to make your skiing faster and more enjoyable. We can look at everything from the bases of your skis to the straps on your poles. Thinking of a stone grind? We can see if your bases need it. Wondering whether to move or wedge your binding? We can tell you if it would help. We’ve been racing for years and have seen it all.” Explains CXC Team athlete and top Midwest marathon skier, Andy Brown
“As a skier and coach I think the number one reason people try and abandon cross country skiing is because of poor fitting and poor quality equipment. CXC Super Fit events are an excellent opportunity to ensure correct fitting equipment that will enable a skier to achieve their goals.” Says CXC Team athlete and a winner of 2015 Great Bear Chase Marathon, Chris Pappathopoulos.
Each location’s CXC Super Fit event happens on different weekends starting October 30 and ending November 15. We sat down with each store to get their insights and opinions on why the CXC Super Fit event is beneficial for skiers of all levels. Four locations host the CXC Super Fit weekend:
- FinnSisu in Minneapolis, MN,
- Fontana Sports in Madison, WI,
- Bicycle Doctor Nordic Ski Shop in Dousman, WI
- Joe’s Ski Shop in St. Paul, MN.
We sat down with each store to get their insights and opinions on why the CXC Super Fit event is beneficial for skiers of all levels.
Finn Sisu kicks off the first CXC Super Fit weekend, October 30- November 1. FinnSisu is run by Kevin Johnson and his other experienced staff including well known store owner Ahvo Taeple. Entering their 38th winter as a ski shop, one could say Kevin, Ahvo and his staff are experts when it comes to ski selection and fit for skiers. With the store’s focus mostly on race skis and catering to competitive racers, fitting skis perfectly to an athlete is very important because it allows them to get to know each athletes needs.
“What really sets us apart is that we have a high focus on customer service. We try to learn as much as we can and build relationships with our customers so we know how to help them instead of just guessing what they need. Knowing customers ability and experience level will help us know and understand what kind of equipment they need.” Explains Kevin.
Participating in the CXC Super Fit event brings together FinnSisu’s mission of having quality customer service and ski fitting while supporting CXC.
“Finn Sisu really values what CXC is doing as an organization and what they are doing for the Midwest. We feel having the CXC Super Fit here is a good way to support an organization who is doing a lot of things that are impacting skiing at all levels of the region. It is an important event for us to keep doing to continue that relationship.” Commented Kevin.
The following weekend, November 6-8, CXC travels down the road to Fontana Sports located in Madison, WI. John Hutchinson has had the shop since 1949, and prides itself in the store’s expertise, because everyone on the staff participates in the sports they sell, such as Nordic skiing and alpine skiing, snowshoeing, camping, fishing, kayaking and canoeing. Fontana Sports has participated in the CXC Super Fit event for the past 5 years.
“Being involved in the CXC Super Fit event brings connection to the CXC Team and CXC as an organization with top level expertize when it comes to equipment. Having the knowledge of CXC Athletes in the store during the event to hear what they have to say about the products and for them to work with employees and customers is a big benefit of getting involved with CXC Super Fit. The event also results in a big weekend for ski sales” comments John.
The Bike Doctor Nordic Ski Shop & Joe’s Ski Shop
The Bike Doctor Nordic Ski Shop in Dousman, WI and Joe’s Sport Shop in St. Paul, MN wrap up the final weekend of SuperFit on November, 13-15. Tom Kline of Bike Doc Nordic Ski Shop and Joe Rauscher of Joe’s Ski Shop have both been in business for many years and have participated in the CXC Super Fit events since the beginning. While Joe’s Ski Shop focuses on many outdoor sports besides skiing, the Bike Doctor Nordic Ski Shop focuses specifically on bikes and skis. Despite each store’s unique specialty of products, Tom and Joe both see the importance and benefits of getting involved in the CXC Super Fit event each year.
“The event is helpful for the consumer to have CXC Team athletes helping them out to fit skis and be there to talk to them about the equipment. I think the event is especially important because it builds confidence in the consumer, because they come in and see all of this knowledge in one spot, and now they are looking at skis for me. The Bike Doc sells a lot of skis that weekend, ski sales are usually better than any bike sale I have. CXC has helped the event become bigger each year especially through their marketing. CXC markets to different channels to get new customers that our store would have not had before. Having CXC here to do clinics and talks makes it more of a “happening” event.’ Explains Tom Kline – Bike Doctor Nordic Ski Shop
“During the CXC Super Fit event it is nice to be able to work and talk with CXC athletes about the equipment they are using for the season. Joe’s Ski Shop doesn’t get a lot of people like the CXC Team athletes coming into our shop. The reciprocal side is that the athletes get to work with high school racers who ask questions about equipment they don’t usually get to ask. Questions about waxing, ski camber, and technique. There are a lot of high school racers that come in with no idea what to get but the CXC Team athletes know how to direct them to what they need and what is going to work for them at their level without spending a ton of money.” Said Joe Rauscher – Joe’s Sports Shop.
Before the snow flies, stop in at a CXC Super Fit event location to get equipment fitted specifically to you! CXC is excited for the 7th annual CXC Super Fit season and is looking forward to helping skiers achieve their goals with equipment that fits them right!
Mary Kozloski is CXC’s Communication and Media Coordinator. Mary has a Bachelors degree from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay where she majored in Public Relations with a minor in Business Administration, competed as a member of UW-Grean Bay Nordic Ski Team and was team captain for two years.