Nordic Rocks in Schools Across the Country

Over 5,000 Midwest elementary aged children have recently tried skiing for the first time as part of their physical education classes this winter. 


Thanks to the generous support of the National Winter Sports Education Foundation and the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation, the CXC Nordic Rocks for Schools program continues to grow at a steady rate, including 95 schools in the Midwest, and over 40 schools across the country.

In four short seasons, the CXC Nordic Rocks for Schools program, along with the Knicker Nordic Ski Bumps program in Wausau, (WI) have made an impact on thousands of new skiers.

Your program is reaching 120 kids in a community that has an abundance of trails but a scarcity of use. When asked: 119 of these 120 kids had never been on cross-country skis. That all changes with Nordic Rocks. Outside next week!

– John Gravlin, The Top of Michigan Trails Council

There are over 3,500 elementary schools across Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan with an interest in teaching children the joy of winter sports.

With questions about the CXC “Nordic Rocks for Schools” program, please contact Bruce Manske.

Three Lakes School District Gets 30 Pairs of Skis Through Grant

One Northwoods school will branch out from the usual gym class activities by adding skiing to its curriculum. The Three Lakes School District received 30 pairs of skis after applying for a grant through American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation.


“It’s a lifelong activity that they can enjoy for the rest of their lives with their families,” said Three Lakes School District’s Athletic Director Charlie Volk.

The school found out it won the $1,500 to buy the skis in October. Volk expects to hold skiing lessons for students in third grade and up.

“Winter is here and it’s long, and if we don’t give [the kids] something to do during the winter then they spend a lot of time inside,” said Volk. “It’s just another way to get the kids outdoors and active.”


The school received the skis from the CXC Nordic Rocks for Schools Program. The skis will be shared between the Sugar Camp School District and the Three Lakes School District.


“Nordic Rocks” Skis in Over 100 Schools Across the Country

The CXC “Nordic Rocks for Schools” program, now in its 4th season, was developed to introduce new generations of children in kindergarten to 8th grade to the excitement found in the sport of cross country skiing.

During the first three “Nordic Rocks” seasons, over 10,000 children in 64 different Midwest schools participated in the program.


This year is special, not only will over 30 schools in the Midwest be getting skis, the program has partnered with the National Winter Sports Education Foundation and the United States Ski and Snowboard Association to enroll an additional 35 schools from California to Vermont into the program.

“It is truly exciting to see children experience skiing for the first time; and then telling their parents and siblings about the fun they had sliding, gliding, and playing on skis.” – commented Bruce Manske, CXC Community Olympic Program Director.

With the expansion of the “Nordic Rocks” program beyond the Midwest, 20,000 more children will experience the joys and benefits found in skiing with their friends and teachers during their school day.


CXC “Nordic Rocks for Schools” Program Locations



– Winterquist Elementary (Esko, MN)
– Otter Tail Nordic Ski Club (Fergus Falls, MN)
– Lake of the Woods Nordic Ski Club (Lake of the Woods, MN)
– Lake Harriett Community School (Minneapolis, MN)


– Summit Elementary School (La Crosse, WI)
– Longfellow Middle School (La Crosse, WI)
– Hurly School District (Hurly, WI)
– St. Margaret Mary Catholic School (Neenah, WI)
– Marengo Valley Elementary School (Ashland, WI)
– Washburn School District (Washburn, WI)
– Kettle Moraine School District (Wales, WI)
– Three Lakes School District (Three Lakes, WI)
– St. Marcus Lutheran School (Milwaukee, WI)
– Madison Waldorf School (Madison, WI)
– Holy Hills Ski Club


– VASA Ski Club (Traverse City, MI)
– Wakefield Elementary School (Wakefield, MI)
– Superior Hills Elementary (Marquette, MI)
– Houghton Elementary School (Houghton, MI)

With questions about the program, please reach out to Bruce Manske, CXC Olympic Community Development Program Director.


Embrace Our Climate With Cross-Country Skiing

By: Bill Kirsch, Lowell Elementary School – Waukesha, WI

What are some ideas for health and fitness during the winter months in Wisconsin? At Lowell Elementary in Waukesha we have experienced an awesome journey into the great activity of cross-country skiing. Besides my personal interest in the sport of Nordic skiing, there are so many health benefits associated with this activity:

1. Full body workout
2. Burn many calories
3. Cardio exercise/Improve endurance
4. Relieve stress
5. Functional/Cross training
6. Connect with nature


Lowell was extremely fortunate to have established a strong relationship with the Central Cross Country Ski Association (CXC) and the ‘Nordic Rocks!’ for Schools Program. The CXC developed and released the ‘Nordic Rocks!’ program for elementary and middle school aged students as a way to promote and increase the awareness and interest of Nordic Skiing among youth. The program is designed to create a three-way partnership between schools, their communities, and CXC.


All students in grades 1st-5th were able to experience Nordic skiing. Staff outings were also offered and well attended. The skis provided by CXC are incredibly simple to use as the bindings easily clip onto the student’s boots. There are no poles so the students really learn the proper diagonal stride. Day 1 on the skis involves viewing a short video, learning to put on the skis, and practicing in the gym (Yes, right on the gym floor!). On day 2 and all subsequent days we come in the gym, clip on the skis, and zoom down the hallway and out the doors for tons of skiing fun. I strongly recommend that you try to expose your students to this wonderful outdoor winter activity.


Day 1:

  • Warm-up: jump rope five minutes
  • Introduce Care of Cross Country Skis (Ski Association $3K investment -$100/pair)
  • Show Video
  • Explain/show how to keep skis straight

Stand on bindings and slide around gym. Practice keeping feet DOWN/Sliding. Demonstrate how to put on shoe/boot.

1. Make it big – open everything up
2. Like a buckle on your pants

Loosen everything to take skis off.


Day 2:

Review video again.
Buckle up!



CXC ‘Nordic Rocks’ for Schools Program – Annual Report


The “Nordic Rocks” for Schools Program was developed to introduce a new generation of children in kindergarten thru 6th grade to the excitement found in the sport of cross-country skiing. The “Nordic Rocks” program is an opportunity for students to experience Nordic skiing during the school day, with their teachers and classmates, and to learn the wellness benefits associated with exercise and outdoor winter fun.

The “Nordic Rocks” program is a three-way partnership between selected schools, communities, and Central Cross Country Skiing (CXC) that creates an opportunity to teach skiing during the school day: physical education classes, recess, and after-school programs. Students are able to ski directly behind their school, on any surface covered with a minimum of two inches of snow. CXC will assist each “Nordic Rocks” school with a skiing curriculum and resources, teaching support, and cross-country skiing equipment.

The “Nordic Rocks” program is a clear pathway for families, schools, and communities to further advance in the sport of cross-country skiing. Besides skiing, this program aims to connect students with history and science, while teaching them about Midwest Scandinavian heritage and sports. The curriculum is easy to follow and offers teachers learning ideas with both indoor and outdoor activities. The equipment includes cross-county skis, with easy to use step-in bindings; the equipment is easy to use, store, and maintain. CXC will help to contact and assigns volunteer skiers to assist teachers as needed, make visits to each school to assure success, and help to organize an end-of-season ski festival.


Rose Glen Elementary   Waukesha, WI        Jamie Mosley PE Teacher
Lowell Elementary          Waukesha, WI       Bill Kirsch PE Teacher
Eastside Elementary       Sun Prairie, WI      Brenda Hemenway/M. Carpenter PE Teachers
Creekside Elementary    Sun Prairie, WI       Alison Anderson/Megan Scullin PE Teachers
Lincoln Elementary         Madison, WI          Claire Seguin Science Teacher
Lodi Elementary             Lodi, WI                 Nancy Rabensdorf PE Teacher
Waunakee Intermediate Waunakee, WI        Jason Cole/Mike Minter PE Teachers
Prairie Elementary          Waunakee, WI        Deb Endres/Janice Henn PE Teacher/Principal
Greenland Elementary    Oconomowoc, WI  Carrie Furey PE Teacher
Merton Intermediate       Merton, WI             Matt Promeray PE Teacher
Merton Primary               Merton, WI            Wendy Monson/Sarah Luberda PE Teachers
Dyer Intermediate           Burlington, WI       Adam Cook PE Teacher
Cresent Elementary        Rhinelander, WI     Kris Michlig PE Teacher
Pelican Elementary         Rhinelander, WI     Daniel Millot PE Teacher
Central Elementary         Rhinelander, WI     Charles Volk/Mike Preul PE Teacher/Coach
Tainter Elementary          Rice Lake, WI       Jennifer Jensen PE Teacher
Birchwood Elementary   Birchwood, WI      Jaclyn Beise PE Teacher
Hayward Intermediate    Hayward, WI         David Lee PE Teacher
Horace May Elementary Bemidji, MN          Zach McDermott/Jon Shorter After-School/Teacher
Glenbrook Elementary    Pulaski, WI           Dennis Bogacz PE Teacher
Amherst Elementary       Amherst, WI         Mike Toelle/Natalie Ousund After-school/Teacher
South Ridge School        Culver, MN          Mariah Jeske PE Teacher
Big Fork School              Big Fork, MN       Sarah Stone/Jerry Kaczor Parent/PE Teacher
Hill City School                Hill City, MN        Dawn Fairchild/Brian Burman PE Teachers

IMG_5138 copy-XL.jpg


McDill Elementary              Stevens Point, WI   Courtney Vaughan PE Teacher
Westside Elementary         Sun Prairie, WI        Ken Mielke/Steve Borgman PE Teachers
Royal Oaks Elementary      Sun Prairie, WI        Heather Lutes/Brad Lutes PE Teachers
Drummond Elementary      Drummond, WI       Travis Nevala/John Knight PE Teacher/Prin.
CV Montessori School       Eau Claire, WI         Shelly Peters/Bart Steffen Parent/PE Teacher
Robbins Elementary           Eau Claire, WI         Nikki Mueller/Alan Hudacek Parent/PE Teacher
Norrie/Sleight Elementary   Ironwood, MI          Paulette Niemi/Cecilia Aho Parent/PE Teacher
St. Joseph School              Stratford, WI          Sally Wenzel / Diana Meyer Parent/PE Teacher
Hayward Primary                Hayward, WI         Janna Wade PE Teacher
St. Mary’s School               Burlington, WI        Diane Wiemer/Loretta Jackson PE Teacher/Prin.
Jefferson Elementary          Winona, MN           Will Oberton Live Well Winona
Bluff View Montessori         Winona, MN           Will Oberton Live Well Winona
Ridgeway Com. School      Winona, MN           Jodi Dansingburg School Coordinator
Copper Country Ski Tigers Houghton, MI         Jonathon Stone/Michael Young Coaches
Afton Lakeland Elementary Lakeland, MN         Kevin Burgess/Kyle Kane PE Teacher/Prin.
Valley Crossing Elementary Woodbury, MN       Amy Schroeder/Lela Olson PE Teacher/Prin.
Nativity Catholic School      Rhinelander, WI      Charil Reis/Terri Germain Coach/PE Teacher
Badger Rock Middle School Madison, WI         Tim Bubon / Cari Hauge PE Teachers
Oaklawn Elementary           Oshkosh, WI          Steve Eiasen Parent
Prairie Elementary               Waukesha, WI       Randy Booth PE Teacher
Rosebud Boys & Girls Club Rosebud, SD        Sarah O’Neil Supervisor
James Parker Middle School Edinboro, PA      Bob Santos PE Teacher
Andy Newell Program        Utah (1)/VT(4)         Dick Coe NWSEF


Grant Elementary
Riverview Elementary
Hawthorne Hills Elementary
South Mountain Elementary
Thomas Jefferson Elementary
Stettin Elementary

John Marshall Elementary
Hewitt Texas Elementary
Maine School Elementary
Lincoln Elementary
Franklin (Boys and Girls Club)

NOTE: Ski Bumps is administrated by the Knicker Nordic Ski Club; Dave Hugus and John Burke

IMG_5137 copy-XL.jpg

Iola Winter Sports Complex (1) Iola, WI Jake Barnes, Nordic Coach
Ridgeway Community School (1) Winona, MN Jodi Dansingburg, School Coordinator
Aldo Leopold Nature Center (1) Monona, WI Virginia Wiggen, Director
Tamarack Nature Center (2) White Bear Lake, MN Shannon Stewart, Director
Lowell Elementary (1) Waukesha, WI Bill Kirsch, PE Teacher
Waunakee Intermediate (2) Waunakee, WI Jase Cole, PE Teacher
Minneapolis VA (2) One given to Tamarack; one given to Ridgeway
Bruce Manske, CXC (1) Mountain Board with chair and poles
Bruce Manske, CXC (3) Sit Skis that need work – given to BethAnn Chamberlain
Bruce Manske, CXC (2) Sit Skis from Scott Wilson – given to BethAnn Chamberlain

Merton Primary Merton, WI Wendy Monson/Sarah Luberda PE Teachers
Prairie Elementary Waukesha, WI Randy Booth PE Teacher
Eastside Elementary Sun Prairie, WI Brenda Hemenway/M. Carpenter PE Teachers

5 2 21 2013-XL.jpg

2013-2014 Between 450-500 pairs of skis; plus 30 storage bins, 18 books, and many stickers
2014-2015 Between 450-500 pairs; plus 60 storage bins, 22 books, 44 posters, and many stickers
2015-2016 Between 700-850 pairs; plus 75 storage bins, 30 books, 50 posters, and many stickers

ALL Nordic Rocks for Schools MN, WI, MI, SD, VT, UT, PA Upon Enrollment
Book Distribution = 66 one per school; two given as door prizes CXC Marathon Cup
Live-Well-Winona Janneka Sobeck, Winona, MN October 2015
Cardinal Heights Upper Middle School Trish Easley, Sun Prairie, WI October 2014
* Current Inventory = 8

IMG_5111 copy-XL.jpg

Program History: 3 years
Schools Enrolled: 63
Students / Skiers 12,500
School Days on Skis: 550
States: 7 WI, MN, MI, PA, SD, UT, VT
Skis: 1,800 pairs
Sit Skis: 10
CXC Miles Traveled: 21,000
CXC Staff Hours: 2,750


“The Nordic Rocks program is an absolutely awesome program for our students and staff.”
Lowell Elementary – Waukesha, WI

“The Nordic Rocks ski equipment is a great addition to our school, plus it is easy to use and maintain. Most of our students have never been on skis before, and would not have had the opportunity to try it out without this program.”
Tainter Elementary – Rice Lake, WI

“The new ski bindings were wonderful. The kids loved exploring with the skis. The ski unit is always a Merton favorite!”
Merton Primary – Merton, WI

“We were very excited to be a part of the program, and looking forward to a month long unit next winter.”
Valley Cross Community School – Woodbury, MN

“The CXC Nordic Rocks for Schools program is a great program to implement in a school setting. I will be looking for more volunteers for next years to create an even bigger impact in our school and community next winter.”
L.L. Wright Elementary – Ironwood, MI

IMG_5113 copy-XL.jpg

North Lakeland Elementary         Manitowish Waters, WI
MHTL Elementary                        Minocqua, WI
VASA Ski Club                             Traverse City, MI
Superiorland Ski Club                   Marquette, MI               Karmen Whitham Coach
Ski Cats Program                         Marquette, MI               Karmen Whitham Coach
Superior Hills Elementary             Marquette, MI                Karmen Whitham Coach
Hurly Elementary                          Hurly, WI
Houghton Elementary                  Houghton, MI
Lakeside Elementary                   Oshkosh, WI
Green Meadow Elementary         Oshkosh, WI
Great Lakes Elementary              Superior, WI
Lester Park Elementary               Duluth, MN
Park Side Elementary                  Marshall, MN
Schoolcraft Charter School        Bemidji, MN
Lac Courte Oreillis                      Hayward, WI
Spooner Elementary                  Spooner, WI
ALL Winona Area Schools         Winona, WI
ALL Sun Prairie Schools            Sun Prairie, WI
Holy Rosary School                   Medford, WI                      Sally Wenzel/Sue Conn Parent/PE Teacher
CXC Nordic Rocks for YMCA Program / CXC Nordic Rocks for Parks Program
CXC Nordic Rocks for Schools – ALL schools in the Midwest with skis in schools
CXC Nordic Rocks for Schools – ALL Midwest clubs, parks, organizations with skis


Orchard Ridge Elementary          Madison, WI 2012-2013                     Pilot Program
Van Hise Elementary                   Madison, WI 2012-2013                     Pilot Program
Gompers Elementary                  Madison, WI 2012-2013                     Pilot Program
John Muir Elementary                 Madison, WI 2012-2013                     Pilot Program
Park Brook Elementary               Minneapolis, MN 2013-2014               LNR Program
Whittier Elementary                     Minneapolis, MN 2013-2014               LNR Program
Lucy Laney Elementary               Minneapolis, MN 2013-2014               LNR Program
Bethune Elementary                    Minneapolis, MN 2013-2014               LNR Program
Elizabeth Hall Elementary            Minneapolis, MN 2013-2014                LNR Program
Nelly Stone Johnson Elementary Minneapolis, MN 2013-2014                LNR Program
Oak Park Elementary                  Stillwater, MN 2014-2015                     Mike Mustar, PE Teacher

IMG_5134 copy-XL



June – July 2015                             Order Skis and Supplies
August – September 2015               Identify Interested Schools; repair “older” equipment
October – November 2015              Equipment Delivery and Teacher Training
December 2015 – January 2016      Program Implementation
February – March 2016                    End-of Season Ski Festival Implementation
April 2016                                        Program Reporting and Evaluation




Central Cross Country Skiing:
• Provide participating schools with a full class set of step-in Nordic skis and storage bins
• Provide participating schools with a detailed age-appropriate lesson plans
• Connect participating schools with a mentorship club for added support and guidance
• Connect participating schools with volunteers from community clubs and organizations
• Provide guidance for activities and events; including, a final ski celebration session at the end of winter

Participating Schools:
• Weather permitting, PE teachers or school coordinators will implement the “Nordic Rocks” program, with a goal to have each student on skis a minimum of 5 to 8 sessions per year during PE classes, recess, and/or after school programs
• Weather permitting, PE teachers or school coordinators, along with CXC will implement a fun end-of-season event that celebrates Nordic skiing and winter fun
• As needed, PE teachers will meet with club / community partners for training sessions
• Participating schools will securely store the skis and equipment supplied by the “Nordic Rocks” program
• Participating schools will document and report their activities and events related to the program

Partner / Community Organization:
• Provide mentors / volunteers to assist participating school’s PE instructors and staff with program needs
• Provide an introduction to families interested in area teams and clubs outside the school setting
• Provide assistance related to equipment needs, program implementation, and/or instructional help
• Provide financial support to help keep the “Nordic Rocks” for Schools Program sustainable



Bruce Manske, CXC Sport Development Coordinator

The CXC ‘Nordic Rocks’ for Schools Program  Annual Report was written by CXC Sport Development Coordinator, Bruce Manske. For questions regarding the program contact Bruce.


Turn Your K’s into a Prize!

Have you been keeping track of kilometers skied this winter either through the ‘Nordic Rocks’ website or a printed  ‘Nordic Rocks’ training log? If so, it’s about time to count it all up and send in to get a special prize!


Head over to and look for submission instructions in Step #3.

The response to the Nordic Rocks program was amazing. I was hoping this program would provide a little extra motivation for the kiddos to ski outside of our club meetings but I did not expect it to make such a strong impression. Thank you! The kids have already started planning for next year!

– Elisabeth Kulakowski, Nordic Rocks club leader in Corinth, VT.


“Nordic Rocks” is a collaboration with its National Partner, National Winter Sports Education Foundation, as well as five ski regions. The program is designed to be a fun interactive way for kids to set goals and keep track of their training in a training log on the website or through a printed log.

Last Season in Numbers


Carson Williams of Boulder, CO was the top individual who skied an impressive 662 K, which is equivalent to completing almost 13 and a half American Birkebeiner races!


The leading state with the most kilometers skied at 1,367.7 K!


The leading region with an enormous 1,948.45 K; that’s skiing almost halfway across the United States!


The leading region with an enormous 1,948.45 K; that’s skiing almost halfway across the United States!


The region with the highest average of kilometers skied per person at 13.89 K


The Ski for K’s Program is not just for Nordic skiers! Individuals who participate in alpine skiing, snowboarding, jumping and nordic combined as well as adaptive skiing can also log their k’s with the Ski for K’s conversion chart to help all skiers keep track of different activities throughout the winter.



Skis for schools: Regional cross-country ski club donates to Ridgeway

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 12.02.53 PM

By: Marcia Ratliff, Feb. 19, 2016 / Winona Daily News 

RIDGEWAY, Minn. — Undeterred by wind and slush, kindergartners and first-graders at Ridgeway Community School took to their snow-covered playground Friday morning for P.E. class.

But before they went outside, they got strapped into colorful kid-sized cross-country skis, with help from teachers and parent volunteers.

The skis were donated to the school through Nordic Rocks For Schools, an educational program run by the Central Cross Country Ski Association, or CXC. Funds come from the local CXC Masters Team in Winona, an adult ski club that supports the CXC competition team.

Ridgeway, Jefferson and Bluffview schools each got a set of skis this year, but Bruce Manske, development coach with CXC, said the goal is to eventually get a set at all the elementary schools in Winona.

The Nordic Rocks program, in its third year in the region, is aimed at generating excitement about the sport of cross-country skiing among youngsters.

As winter stretches on, kids can get complacent and prefer to sit inside, Manske said. Nordic skiing, with its emphasis on balance, flexibility, and strong muscles, is another way for kids to be active outdoors.

“The main thing is it’s an outside winter activity for kids and families,” he said. “If they find a game or activity that they truly enjoy, getting outside can’t be beat.”

Mary Cappel, physical education teacher at Jefferson, said the skis have been a hit so far with her students. Nordic Rocks’ motto is that if you can do it in boots, you can do it on skis, with no groomed trails or poles required. Two inches of snow, and you’re in business.

“It’s really low-key, just to get the kids on the skis and seeing what it feels like,” she said. “It really is opening a door for them.”

Back at Ridgeway, school coordinator Jodi Dansingburg was near the gym door helping student Caidence Tullius strap her skis on.

Dansingburg said the school has had an afterschool ski club for about 10 years, using trails on a neighboring farm, as part of their focus on lifetime fitness activities.

But before they got the Nordic Rocks skis, they didn’t have many skis small enough for the younger kids. They also got a sit-ski through the program, for a student with disabilities.

“It’s nice to get them started, get them exposed to it in the younger grades,” Dansingburg said.

Which isn’t to say everybody gets it right away.

Tullius, who looked down as Dansingburg tightened the binding around her boot, said she’d given skiing a fair shot.

“I tried — not yesterday but the day before. It didn’t go that good.”

Dansingburg chuckled and sent Tullius outside, where physical education teacher Dusty Larson and several parent volunteers were helping the young skiers get up after their frequent tumbles.

Larson reminded them how to get back up on skis: lay on your back with your skis parallel, then roll over to one side.

“We watched a video about that,” he said. “They’re having fun with it, so that’s the main thing.”

Behind Larson, student Damian Felfen scrambled up a snow mound on his skis, using his gloves for traction.

Asked what he thought of skiing, he said, “It’s crazy!”