Glenn Jobe: Tahoe's XC Pioneer and Coach

Glenn Jobe, pioneer in the Tahoe region

Glenn Jobe, pioneer in the Tahoe region

If you have ever XC skied over the past 30 years around Tahoe, CA there is a good chance Glenn Jobe had a hand in your experience. Perhaps his biggest impact was when he started and designed the trail systems for the XC ski areas at Tahoe Donner and Kirkwood. He spent years coaching skiers, and for the last seven years has run the biathlon program at the Auburn Ski Club Training Center on Donner Summit.

Jobe grew up near Alturas working on the family cattle ranch. At University of Nevada, Reno he competed in Nordic and alpine skiing. In 2002, he was inducted into the university’s athletic hall of fame. He did not take up XC skiing until his senior year. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I graduated. I was probably going to go back and be a rancher,” says Jobe. Then he went to Kirkwood for a race and discovered that the new resort was keen on getting a Nordic amenity. He started Kirkwood Cross Country that fall.

“While I was at Tahoe Donner from 1973 to 1984, the Nordic industry really changed. We went from snowshoe-packed trails to snowmobiles to snowcats,” says Jobe. They also went from classic only, to both classic and skate skiing. While running the ski area, Jobe also raced and at the National Championships in the spring of 1975, he met the biathlon coach, who invited him to a camp in Jackson Hole, WY. As soon as he tried biathlon, he was hooked.

Growing up on a ranch, Jobe was comfortable with firearms, so the combination of skiing and shooting was right up his alley. Fortunately, by that time he had married his wife, Edith, and she helped run the Nordic center while he was off training. “It only worked because of her support,” says Jobe. He raced in the 1978 and 1979 Biathlon World Championships, as well at the 1980 Olympics. “I did OK. I had a really good year before the Olympics, and I over trained. If I had better coaching, I would have done better but we didn’t really have coaches back then,” says Jobe. After his experience, he would spend much of his life coaching other XC skiers.

After winning the 20km biathlon event at the National Championship he then decided it was time to focus on the business at Kirkwood, remaining there for four more years. In 1984, he started a new XC center at Tahoe Donner. While he loved the beauty of Kirkwood, Truckee certainly had more potential for the growth of a ski area.

Before he would open Tahoe Donner, however, Jobe needed to make sure he could bring Euer Valley into the network of trails. Sitting on private land adjacent to Tahoe Donner, the land was perfect for XC skiing, but the Euer family had no obligation to let the ski area use it. Jobe’s cattle industry background made his conversations with John Euer more comfortable and, on a handshake, the trails in the valley became available to be used by Tahoe Donner.

At Tahoe Donner, Jobe went into partnership with Peter Werbil, who did the marketing, while Jobe designed a new trail system from scratch. To design the trails, he says, “I would go out with a snowcat, then try it skiing to see if it works.” The trails were designed to most efficiently use the snowcats and keep the easier trails near the lodge and the harder trails further out. “I did some trails I had to erase right away because they wouldn’t have worked. It helps if the snowcat drivers are skiers, but it was all new territory.”

Passion for coaching

Jobe, one of the west’s foremost biathlon coaches

Jobe, one of the west’s foremost biathlon coaches

Jobe was instrumental in growing the Far West Junior Nordic Program and also coached Truckee youngsters in XC skiing, helping develop the sport in the area to what it has become today. In 1992, Jobe decided that he’d had his fill of running XC centers and he became a real estate appraiser — but he still loved coaching. He coached on and off from the 1970s through 2005 for Far West Nordic, primarily out of the ASC Training Center. He still coaches several clinics every winter, but his real passion is coaching biathlon.

In 2008, Northstar’s Nordic center started a biathlon program and Jobe was hired to run it under the auspices of the ASC Training Center. After two years, the program moved to the ASC Training Center on Donner Summit where it resides today. Jobe now has 40 to 50 students in the program from youth to masters. “We have a really strong group right now. We had a skier in the Biathlon World Cup, and two juniors went to the Norway Youth Competition. It is really exciting, the only year-round biathlon program on the West Coast,” says Jobe.

Jobe lives in Sierraville and there he finds the best of both worlds. He gets to ride horses and do some cattle work on a neighbor’s ranch, and then he jumps in the car and takes the beautiful drive to Donner Summit to show the next generation of biathletes how it is done.

Don’t Go Out Like You’re Killing Snakes

As temperatures fail to climb above freezing and wind whips snow around the shooting range and course at Auburn Ski Club, a group of youngsters look at their coach, eyes and expressions indicating they don’t want to leave the warmth of the clubhouse.

“Well, biathlon’s a winter sport,” the coach says matter-of-factly to the students, and the group, knowing there’s no arguing with the longtime head of biathlon at the club, heads out into the conditions for that day’s practice.

Part of what athletes have come to know Jobe for is his laconic style, which is filled with one-liners that often leave students scratching their heads.

“When we go out to ski in between shooting intervals, he’ll be like, ‘Well, don’t go out like you’re killing snakes,’” said a racer, who sought out Jobe after watching biathlon during the 2014 Winter Olympics. “The first time I heard that I was like, so what does that mean?”

Jobe grew up on a ranch in Northern California, and it’s from that background that most of his sayings like, “ski like a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs” or “all over it like a wild soda,” come from.

“They come out and I don’t even think about it,” said Jobe. “It was real Western where I grew up. It’s just that kind of rural culture. We grew up ranching and riding and moving cattle. Those old timers that I grew up around, they had all these sayings, and some of them stuck.”

The work ethic instilled by growing up on a ranch stuck with Jobe as well. Those at the club would often try to beat him to practice early in the morning, but each time they pulled into the parking lot, Jobe would already be there, often in the dark with snow blowing sideways, shoveling out targets.

One racer commented, “Those winters where it would be dumping and snowing and you’d be looking at your phone to see if practice was canceled … and Glenn would’ve been up there since 5 o’clock in the morning.” He would be up there digging out the targets. They’re metal targets, so if they’re frozen they’re not going to work. He’d chip out each and every single target, so that he could have the range open at 7. He’d get them dug out and get them functioning. That work ethic and that capacity for hard work is phenomenal. It’s inspiring.He pushed us hard. We went up to his Alturas ranch a few times with him and we stayed up there, and he made us shovel ditches and do a lot of country boy style work … he was fun to be around.”

For nearly the past decade, Jobe has been a fixture at Auburn Ski Club, showing the area’s next generation of athletes the ropes.

Saying Goodbye

Following the final biathlon race of this past season at Auburn Ski Club, Jobe stepped down as director and coach, and while he’s officially retired, the longtime coach isn’t about to stop offering his insight and experience to those at the club.

“I’m retiring as the program director and head coach,” said Jobe. “But I’m going to continue on as a volunteer for Auburn Ski Club and the biathlon program.”

Following the season finale on March 24, dozens of the area’s top athletes and coaches turned out at the club to pay tribute to Jobe, capping off the year with a retirement ceremony for a local icon of the sport.

“When you’ve been somebody like Glenn who has influenced and enriched so many generations of athletes who are grown and gone, and now have their kids back in the program because of Glenn, you can’t retire,” said Auburn Ski Club Executive Director Bill Clark during the ceremony.

Clark’s prediction proved true. Just day’s after the ceremony, as new biathlon coach Brian Halligan took a small group of athletes to Vermont to compete in nationals, Jobe could be found at the club, giving instruction to the remaining members of the team. “He opened the range and was the coach at practice on the weekend. It just epitomizes Glenn … you’re coming out of retirement after four days. He’s still such an integral part of the program.”

In a sport where results can vary wildly, Jobe has been the consistent driving force behind the area’s biathletes, and though retired, will likely continue that role in some form or another. Jobe commented, “I just feel fortunate to have the opportunity since the mid-70s to coach and work with a great group of coaches, athletes, and families. It’s just been fun for me to stay involved in a sport that I have a passion for.”

Excerpted from stories in the Sierra Sun (Justin Scacco) and Tahoe Weekly (Tim Hauserman).

Telemark Skiing in the 1970s

The modern telemark invasion began in the 1970s

The modern telemark invasion began in the 1970s

In the 1970s, telemark skiers were called the free heelers, telemarketers, and the Lunatic Fringe. But these skiers performing the historical telemark turn down the slopes at alpine ski areas were seen as “the vanguard of the slopes” by many of their alpine skiing contemporaries for their ability and skill descending the runs at high speeds, in the moguls, and landing aerials on their cross country skis. But telemarkers were often heard commenting that they were only riding the lifts at alpine ski areas to improve their downhill skills for the backcountry. Some claimed “free the heel, free the mind” but many of them became intoxicated with riding the chairlifts rather than returning to getting their thrills in the backcountry.

Scotty McGee telemark skiing today

Scotty McGee telemark skiing today

These days, as alpine touring and backcountry skiing have become more popular, the telemark subculture may be a declining breed at the alpine ski areas, but there was a time when they were racing down through the gates and partying hard and celebrating their differences based on what was perceived as their retro ski techniques. They were dressed in wool pants or knickers with ear flapped knit hats with elongated tassles (designed by Vermonter Poppy Gall, a women’s entrepreneur, designer and currently a co-director of the Vermont Ski & Snowboard Museum).

Today, telemarkers, or what is left of this group are no longer counter culture, but in their heyday, telemark festivals, traveling clinics and workshops, and more were the brainchild of the North American Telemark Organization created in 1975 by Richard (Dickie) Hall of Waitsfield, Vermont. In 2017, Dickie Hall was inducted in the Vermont Ski Hall of Fame, which is a long way from his first time telemark skiing with a dozen others as a group at Pico Mountain, Vt. in 1974.

According to author David Goodman, who wrote an article about telemarking in Powder Magazine “the telemark turn was invented in 1868 by Sondre Norheim in the Telemark district of Norway. As alpine skiing and the associated techniques took over it was not until Rick Borkovic of Crested Butte, Colorado sparked a telemark revival and a number of Nordic skiers rediscovered the old technique.”

Dickie Hall in some tight places in the 1980s - the Telemark Guru & Evangelist

Dickie Hall in some tight places in the 1980s - the Telemark Guru & Evangelist

I found out about telemarking from the 1977 book “Skiing Cross Country” by Canadian Ned Baldwin while I was living in southern Vermont. Most of us regarded Steve Barnetts’s “Cross-Country Downhill” as the bible of telemarking as it covered downhill techniques in depth. As I improved, I got to know many of the telemarkers in the region comprised mostly of men but there were some women, too. We ran a race series, but beside the competition, it was really a clan of telemark skiers who met on scheduled dates at different ski areas. The local telemarker would often show us the hidden gems (now called glade runs) at the ski area. Some of the guys in the series who lived in Vermont included Peter K of Mountain Travelers in Rutland, Telemark Phil Pagano, who owned the Nordic Inn in Londonderry, Jeb Porter the stone wall builder who mastered “telecopters” in the air on telemark skis, and John Tidd, of the Mountain Meadows XC Area, who became a member of the PSIA Telemark Demo Team. These guys always beat me in the races but when Dickie Hall participated, he usually won.

As a racer I felt disadvantaged on my Trucker Light Edge skis, which were narrower and softer compared to the Rossignol Randonee skis, which handled the ruts and hardpack better and were used by most of the other skiers. Always blame the equipment. But Dickie’s motto “Ski Hard. Play Fair. Have Fun” was not so much about winning as it was about living, and spreading the telemark gospel.

Hall developed the North American Telemark Organization (NATO, according to Hall, it’s the peaceful one) to conduct workshops, training courses, expeditions, and festivals. He traveled as a telemark evangelist from his home in Waitsfield, Vt. and visited the states in the northeast, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Colorado, California, and Alaska among others. These NATO telemark events would feature instructional clinics for all ability levels, and equipment suppliers’ gear for demo use. Hall created the telemark ski school at Mad River Glen as one of the first in the US and he helped others to become telemark instructors across the country. Over the years, Hall estimates that he has introduced, instructed, or just shared his love of telemark skiing to about 40,000 people!

The North American Telemark Organization set group telemark turn record in 1980 at Mad River Glen

The North American Telemark Organization set group telemark turn record in 1980 at Mad River Glen

In 2015, NATO held its 40th and last telemark festival at Mad River Glen, which attracted about 200 participants, a far cry from the 13 attendees at the original Pico event. The races held at the festivals were usually the focus point at these events, but the “group telemark turn” was an activity we all shared together. The telemarkers in Colorado and Alaska would try and top the eastern telemarking crew of deplorables at Mad River Glen but it is believed that 128 eastern telemarkers in a group turn is the standing record.

Three-man telemark turn - Henry, RB Lohr, Tommy

Three-man telemark turn - Henry, RB Lohr, Tommy

Forty years later, I still have a welt on my thigh from a group telemark turn at Bromley Mountain. It happened with two other telemarking cronies. Our 3-man group held hands and the outside skiers each held three poles (taking the pair from the middle skier). During the descending turns the skiers build speed causing somewhat of a whiplash effect. Before we crashed to the snow, I remember the other outside guy was hanging on for life when he whipped the poles around the front of the group and nailed me on the thigh. Since that day, many a massage therapist has been thwarted by my thigh knot contusion.

At Mad River Glen, Dickie was a task master when it came to the group telemark. In Dickie’s mind, it was paramount that we link two telemark turns for the attempt to count. The photo in the 1984 NATO Eastern Telemark Festival Series poster (and used in many other NATO materials) exemplifies one of those record-breaking group telemark attempts. On the day of that photo (I was there) many of the telemarkers who were near the end of the line got whipped into a gully and it ended in a yard sale of significant proportion. No injuries, lots of laughs – indeed we played hard and had fun.

NATO is now defunct but Dickie Hall’s telemark videos are still available via email request at

Jackson Hole’s Personal Ski Pro

Scot McGee, ski pro posing in the sunshine under the Grand Tetons

Scot McGee, ski pro posing in the sunshine under the Grand Tetons

One of the best ways to enjoy skiing is to go on a guided outing – no thinking, just following and listening to tips and tales from an experienced professional. And it doesn’t matter if you are alpine skiing or Nordic skiing, a pro is a great way to go!

According to “Basic Illustrated Cross-Country Skiing” author Scott McGee, “The idea of hiring a ski pro is similar to hiring a CPA, stockbroker or hair stylist.” You want a ski pro who can show you the ropes from technique tips to revealing in-bounds or out-of-bounds terrain at ski areas, or experiences in the backcountry tailored for entry-level to advance skier ability.

McGee characterizes his services as the authentic local experience. As an experienced and certified ski pro, he can provide technique lessons at any level for people learning how to skate ski on the groomed ski trails to skills necessary for safe backcountry skiing. He serves skiers through his affiliations in Jackson Hole, Wyoming with Eco Tours and Exum Mountain Guides. He advises skiers ranging from cross country skiers, AT (alpine touring) skiers, alpine and telemark skiers to enjoy the outdoors in and around Jackson Hole and in the Grand Teton National Park.

Telemark guru, Scott McGee on the slopes at Jackson Hole Resort. Jonathan Selkowitz photo

Telemark guru, Scott McGee on the slopes at Jackson Hole Resort. Jonathan Selkowitz photo

Alpine and telemark skiers can follow McGee on or off trails at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and while his services don’t include rental equipment and lift passes, he can facilitate whatever is needed. His backcountry ski tours in the national park or surrounding areas are provided via Exum Mountain Guides. McGee says, “The guide can demystify avalanche awareness, snow pack assessment and forecasting, route finding, technique efficiency, best snow and terrain locations and of course, safety.

Avalanche awareness in the backcountry is important

Avalanche awareness in the backcountry is important

On his Eco Tour Adventures, skiers can learn about natural history, winter ecology, snow science, plant/animal adaptations, and safe interaction with the environment. McGee also offers Jackson Hole trip planning tips at

Taking advice from a ski pro removes all the guesswork in your ski outings, so give it a try. A great example of a ski pro is Scott McGee, who has been a PSIA Nordic Team Coach, Senior Manager for Nordic, Guides and Training at Jackson Hole Mountain Sports School and Ski School Director at Snow King Resort. He's been deeply involved in skiing and outdoor education since his college days, when he first instructed XC skiing and supervised the telemark programs for the Dartmouth Outing Club. He's a PSIA certified Level 3 instructor and taught skiing and guided in the Wasatch and Teton ranges for resorts, colleges, private outfitters, and his own business. For more info or trip planning tips, contact Scott McGee at

US Women Win Olympic Gold!

Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall after the Olympic Gold Medal was won in the Women's Cross Country Team Sprint Freestyle Race (Daily Caller)

Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall after the Olympic Gold Medal was won in the Women's Cross Country Team Sprint Freestyle Race (Daily Caller)

In the 2018 Olympic Women's Team Sprint Freestyle Cross Country Ski race, Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins made American Olympic history and won the gold medal in Pyeongchang, South Korea. They defeated Norwegian and Swedish superstar two-women teams as Diggins overtook the race leaders stretching over the finish line. The members of the US Women’s Cross Country Ski Team have reached the World Cup podium dozens of times in the last few years but this was the first Olympic medal by the American women in cross country skiing, and the first Olympic medal for Americans in the sport since Bill Koch won silver in 1976, and the FIRST OLYMPIC GOLD for Americans in cross country skiing.

After the race was over, Kikkan ran over to hug Jessie who was laying on the snow asking her teammate, "Oh my gosh, did we just win the Olympics?" In an NBC interview, Jessie stated, "The team events mean so much to us.  I came down that hill behind the other two girls tactically to get the draft, get the slingshot - those last 100 meters I dug really, really deep." While looking at Kikkan, Jessie commented "This was the last time we are going to do this together and I wanted to make it a good one." The 7.5 km race was Kikkan's 17th career Olympic event and the other 16 ended without a medal.  She commented, "The history has motivated us. I always believed deep down it was possible, but to save it for my last Olympic race - it's crazy but the best ending I could have asked for."

And by the way, announcer Peter Graves, who is known as "the voice of cross country ski racing"  and Chad Salmela called the race and down the stretch it was one of the epic and exciting sports calls of all time! They should be given gold medals in the announcer category.

The book about the Making of the US Women's Cross Country Ski Team

The book about the Making of the US Women's Cross Country Ski Team

In the recently published “World Class: The Making of the US Women’s Cross Country Ski Team” by Peggy Shinn, the history of the team was described and the team camaraderie was exemplified throughout the pages. The sisterhood of the team was referenced by Jessie in post race comments when she said the members of the team were like a family including the coaches, wax technicians, and other support staff. We all pushed each other all year long. Diggins, the 26 year old from Afton, MN grew up idolizing Randall. "Watching her do her leg so well and getting us into a position where we were going to win a medal, I thought, ok we're going to try to make it a gold one. I just had a lot of belief going into that last lap."

How it Could Impact Cross Country Skiing

In the “World Class” book there is an explanation about the weight on Kikkan Randall in her four prior Olympics because she had been the either the lone team member or the team leader. The hopes and expectations are culminated by extreme publicity associated with winning an Olympic medal, which in today’s world is off the charts. For example, in the  morning of the race, the coverage of the Olympic medal was on NBC, ESPN, and every other TV outlet, Sports Illustrated, LA Times, NY Post, USAToday, NY Times,, Mnpls Tribune,, and so on. A victory would mean much more time will be invested in promoting cross country skiing and this would result in more team sponsors, more funding of the team, and a US Ski Team official stated, "We're going to see it grow now, for sure." What could be more wholesome than the fitness and outdoors associated with cross country skiing?

Jessie shouts after reaching the finish line in victory

Jessie shouts after reaching the finish line in victory

Last year, Kikkan became a mother and after a year off she decided to set a goal to win a medal at the 2018 Olympics to show that women can give birth and return to being active and physical. And if it could be in a team event, all the better. The team concept has developed and  it has become the most significant aspect of the American Women’s Cross Country Ski Team. This team with their unique striped socks and face glitter has even impacted the other teams in the world as the motivation associated with being part of a team is better understood. The Norwegians and Swedes commented that they were very happy for the Americans and that they were worth this gold medal.

Jessie Diggins has commented about the poster of Bill Koch on her wall. In 1976, he was the first and only American cross country ski medal winner (Nordic Combined is a different discipline than cross country skiing) and he also won a World Cup cross country ski championship in 1982. When asked how she felt about the fact that many kids across America would now have posters of her on their walls, Jessie embarrassingly replied, “I really haven't thought that far ahead, I'm just thinking about today and the accomplishment for the team.”

After being informed that the NBC TV staff was watching the end of the race and screaming for the American women, Kikkan replied "The perfect ending and a dream come true. We always hoped to create that reaction for cross country skiing!"

Tony Wise Museum of the American Birkebeiner

Tony Wise Museum of the American Birkebeiner

Tony Wise Museum of the American Birkebeiner

Each February ten thousand or more cross country (XC) skiers gather in Wisconsin to take part in North America’s largest and greatest ski race, the American Birkebeiner. Considered an iconic world-class sporting event, for over 40-years the Birkie has been held and to commemorate the legacy of the race and inspire future generations, the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation (ABSF) created the Tony Wise Museum of the American Birkebeiner in August 2016 in Hayward, WI.

The American Birkebeiner ski race was the vision of Hayward native Tony Wise, who discovered skiing as a soldier serving in Germany in World War II. After the war, Wise brought his concept home to found Telemark Ski Area, near Cable, WI, and later evolved the concept into a XC ski race through the north woods of Wisconsin. The race was first run in 1973 from Hayward and ended in Cable, WI, but since 1993 the race has traveled north to south from the north woods of Cable to Main Street in Hayward, WI.

The American Birkebeiner was patterned after the Birkebeiner Rennet ski race held each year in the forests of Norway. Wise’s vision shaped a community, a sport and brought the world together with the founding of the Worldloppet, an international sports federation of cross-country skiing marathons.

The Tony Wise Museum of the American Birkebeiner will transport you back to the origins of the American Birkebeiner through lively, state-of-the-art exhibits hands-on activities, a three-dimensional Birkie Trail model, electronic race scrapbook, numerous race artifacts, and memorabilia. Visitors will find a compendium of historic race film, photographs, and view oral history stories as told by founding skiers, longtime volunteers, and past Birkie staff. With something for all ages, youth can reenact the Birkebeiner legend by donning historic replica costumes in front of a diorama of the Norwegian mountains.

The Birkebeiner races are popularly celebrated for having escorted the two-year-old Haakon Haakonsson, an heir to the Norwegian throne, to safety from Østerdalen to Trondheim, a long and perilous journey through the treacherous mountains and forests of Norway. Their determination is commemorated each year at the American Birkebeiner Ski Marathon as skiers recreate their courageous journey.

Many memorabilia items were gifted to the museum from the family of Tony Wise, past Birkie champions, founding skiers, citizen skiers, and from gracious donors far and wide. Without their support the museum would not have been made possible. To make a donation click Tony Wise Museum.

Who Is Tony Wise?

Tony Wise was a visionary and tireless promoter of northern Wisconsin, who upon returning from World War II, started Telemark Ski Resort in 1947 and operated the Cable, WI area lodge through 1984.

In 1973, Wise founded the American Birkebeiner XC ski race from Hayward to Cable, WI. Wise, formed the Worldloppet, an international sports federation of XC skiing marathons. The federation was founded in 1978 in Uppsala, Sweden with a goal of promoting the sport of XC skiing through various ski races around the world. Only one and the best race from a country can be a member of Worldloppet. Today, the Worldloppet unites 20 races from all over the world.

Wise lost the Telemark Ski Resort through bankruptcy in 1984 and when he tried to retain his rights to the American Birkebeiner ski race, the court ruled against him. In 1984, members of the Cable and Hayward communities stepped forward to form the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation (ABSF) to continue the popular ski race. The ABSF continues its strong governance of the race today. But Wise was instrumental in establishing the legendary Birkebeiner Trail system. Today, the Birkie Trail recreational system spans over 100 kilometers from Bayfield to Sawyer County in northern WI. In 1975, in recognition of founding the American Birkebeiner; spreading Norwegian culture and traditions; and strengthening ties between Norway and the United States, Wise was awarded the St. Olav Medal by King Olav V of Norway. He was honored with an audience with King Olav at the Royal Palace in Oslo in 1977.

In 1988, Wise was inducted into the United States Ski Hall of Fame. Tony Wise passed away on April 6, 1995 in Hayward, WI but his legacy lives on.

Allison Slavick, who is the Museum Planner said “One of our goals is to inspire people, and not just cross country ski racers.” The centerpiece of the museum is a three-dimensional map, about the size of a pool table on which visitors can see the lay of the land and use a push-button system to light up the race courses. The museum is at 10527 Main Street in Hayward, WI and is open from Monday – Saturday.

Breckenridge Nordic Center's Gene & Therese Dayton - The Heart of Cross Country Skiing

According to a story in the Summit Daily News, late this summer, the longtime operators of the Frisco Nordic Center and Breckenridge Nordic Center, Gene and Therese Dayton announced they were stepping back from day-to-day operations at the Frisco location to focus on Breckenridge. Therese Dayton and her husband Gene have overseen just about everything that happens at both centers for nearly 50 years.

Therese Dayton wants Summit County to know that she and her husband aren’t going away anytime soon.  “For us, in our hearts, when you’re getting stuck with the behind-the-scenes and administrative work, people don’t see us and know what we do,” Therese said on Nov. 3, the first day of snowmaking at the Breckenridge center after a woefully warm October. “I’d love to be more a part of the nine-to-four Nordic center, but I haven’t been able to because I’m on the computer late into the night.”

Now, for the first time in decades, the Daytons get to kick back and relax — but only a little. After passing daily operations of the Frisco Center to Jim Galanes, a fellow Summit local and former member of the U.S. Ski Team, the Daytons decided to focus wholeheartedly on the Breckenridge Center and its signature community events: Nordic ski lessons, cross-country ski tours, the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center with the Breckebeiner 60K and the Summit Nordic Ski Club with the annual Summit County Nordic Ski Swap.

The Ski Swap

In the past, the ski swap was spread between the Frisco lodge and brand-new Breckenridge lodge. It was confusing for newcomers, Therese said. This year’s event runs daily from Nov. 11 to Nov. 22 at only the Breckenridge Nordic Center, hopefully clearing up confusion and raising even more money for its benefactors: the local Nordic ski club and other youth programs.

The swap started because cross country skiing was just a small segment of the county-wide system of skiing. They realized then that the market segments were not being covered such as classic, skate, backcountry touring, and now snowshoe, which is a big segment of the market.

The center is known for the children’s program, where someone can get a boot and come back to get a larger size when the child outgrows the gear in February. If a skier wants to go from classic to backcountry skiing, they can bring back the gear, get store credit and use that credit to upgrade their gear. There is not charge to get into the swap or to sell equipment. Therese commented, “We feel we have enough gear through rentals and our demo program and everything else. We try to have snow ready for the swap too, so people can get out on the gear.”

Leaving Frisco Nordic Center

Regarding the decision to leave Frisco Nordic Center, Therese commented, “It’s a great transition. We want to make sure things go well with the client base and the trail systems that Gene has hand built, in many ways, with shovels and hand tools and all of that. We’ve maintained the Gold Rush (Nordic race in its 46th season) while we were there, and the town now has the right resources — departments that never existed before, like the recreation department and the tubing hill with snowmaking equipment — so this was a great time for us and for them."

Therese said, “I’m just getting the first glimpses, but right now we’re only opening one ski area, where in the past we were doing two and even three areas. Right now we just have more time to focus on events.”

They'll be doing more learn-to-ski programs at Breckenridge this year and more guided trips with groups. The lessons and the snowshoe trips are done with one to three people, and those will grow with the walking historic tours where they talk about the flora, the fauna, the foxes, the moose, and so on. The center is on the edge of the Cucumber Gulch Preserve, the town-owned wetland teeming with wildlife.

Gene added “The Cucumber area is incredible. It’s a true peat bog over 10,000 (vertical) feet, and it doesn’t happen like that anywhere else. It’s probably the most studied wetland in the country. It has to be monitored by biologists, but once there’s two feet of snow we can access the area.

We call it Beaver Meadows and we have a special use permit for Peaks 6 and 7, and with more than 1,400 acres, we’re still working on a master plan for trails in the area.”

The Daytons say they’ll focus on new trails for uphill-downhill events. The concept is to give people a way to break into ski racing without just entering a race to see how they do. There are also huts on the trail that need daily maintenance including the Hallelujah Hut, which probably has the oldest mining history of any building in Breckenridge. It’s called the “retort house” — the place where miners would come to melt down their ore — and the whole thing was redone almost 16 years ago.

Therese said, “It’s about being more hands on with everything we’re doing. You can end up in the office on a computer, and that’s necessary, but it’s not our first love. We’re trying to remember how Gene and I met. We had a Norwegian ski instructor who put on “Ski For Light,” an international program with national and regional programs to help people with visibility and mobility issues to get on skis. That’s how we met: I was coming to work with the BOEC and met him through that program. It’s about working with others, helping bring more people into Nordic skiing.”

When the Daytons got the permit for the Breckenridge Nordic Center site they wanted a ski area that could move horizontally across the valley. They formerly had a ski area at Whatley Ranch (now Red Tail Ranch), where they developed trails around Gold Hill, which is an elk breeding area and it became the (Breckenridge) golf course. They were going to make it like European skiing, with grooming from Breckenridge to the golf course, then the golf course to Gold Hill, then from there to the Frisco Center. They did a few races in the past that linked them all and the dream was to have restaurants and businesses connecting the Tenmile Range.

They groom the trails year-round. In the summer they groom to grow grass, because if you can mow the grass in the fall you have a better surface for the snow to compact. “We really need moisture, precipitation, and if we have these very warm days like we’ve been getting, the base won’t be the best. It’ll melt from the top down. We’re just waiting on the weather.”

The Breckenridge Center is in the woods and Therese said, “It can be windy in town or on the mountain, but our trails are heavily wooded with a legend forest. It’s not quite a true old-growth forest — it’s 50 years younger than the age they use for that designation — but these are very thick woods, these enchanted forest woods, and kids really love that.”

Youth Programs

Gene always had a heart for youth and getting youth into the wilderness. He found there’s a lot of grant money for people with developmental disabilities, so for us, we feel it’s the same with sports or athletics — we can bring them together. If you can give children a lifetime sport before they turn 18 years old, it can really help them. That’s why our passion is for people and children.

Each year, there’s a segment of the market that’s brand-new. The beauty of cross-country is that you can do this out your back door. We’d love to have people come in for lessons and training or anything else, to find the glide they need for the sport, but you can do it anywhere. That’s the heart of the sport — efficiency of glide. Over time it’s a great workout, but when you fine-tune that glide you just feel incredible.

I think the true joys of Nordic are getting into the backcountry, but you need those skills first. We have facilities, we have trained staff, we have rest huts, we have the right equipment, and we hope this gives people the opportunity to really get into the sport. The swap fits into that too, and this helps your child or anyone else who’s new stick with the right gear, the right size, so they enjoy the experience through the years. They can then join teams, get scholarships, travel to wonderful countries with beautiful people.”

Therese added, “I’ve really enjoyed my opportunity to travel, and there are opportunities through sport to build character, experience — a different kind of learning. Not everyone learns the same way. The outdoors is a classroom. It’s where Gene got his start when he was studying for his master’s degree in outdoor education, when he was studying the growth of outdoor skiing. That’s how he discovered Nordic: no one out here was doing Nordic back then, other than some guys in the backcountry, and he wanted to get into it. He was dragging a track setter behind him back then, and he’s still out there checking the snowmaking guns to this day.”

David Ingemie - Driving Force in the Snowsports Industry

Retiring Snowsports Industries America (SIA) president David Ingemie was presented with the 30th Annual BEWI Award at a luncheon in his honor on Nov. 13 at the Seaport World Trade Center on Boston Harbor as the Ski & Snowboard Expo got underway.

Bernie Weichsel, president, BEWI Productions, called Ingemie "an iconic figure in the U.S and international snowsports business," noting that he had headed up SIA for over 30 years (actually 39 years). SIA is the association of snow sport product suppliers that runs the annual member-owned Snow Show in Denver. Annually, ski retailers place orders with product suppliers for 80-90% of the wholesale sales for the year at the Snow Show. The organization also collaborates with all components of the snow sports industry with the goal of promoting the growth and development of snow sports and conducted research for many aspects of the business.

In making the presentation before more than 150 ski industry leaders, Weichsel said, "David has been an innovator in snowsports marketing and market research. He has worked steadfastly to expand participation in and sales throughout all aspects of snowsports. Our industry is that much better thanks to the tremendous contributions David has made to it."

The native New Englander, from Fitchburg, Mass., began his career in his hometown, working at a local ski shop and later at Wachusett in Princeton where he was named marketing director in 1969.

In accepting the award, Ingemie credited his success to his work with a wide variety of snowsports industry people and organizations. "I'm very lucky to be standing here and have the attention, but if it wasn't for all of us in the room and all the people I've worked with, none if this would happen. I'm just kinda the lucky guy at the top that gets the credit for it. I'm fortunate enough to have perspective to see 360 degrees."

Ingemie strongly believed in the value of market research to guide product and program development in the ski industry, demonstrating how such research could guide both the trade association and its members in how best to react to market and demographic changes over the decades. He conceived or conducted various programs to increase snow sports participation with titles such as the "Ski It to Believe It!" Campaign, "Let's Go Skiing, America!" Subaru Deduct-a-Ski, "Inside Skiing" school assembly program, and so on.

He was among the first industry leaders to not only embrace snowboarding but to place it on par with alpine skiing in promoting and growing the snowsports market. He was involved with the early development of snowboarding from "Share a Chair" program to garner snowboard acceptance at ski areas, to the development of the USSA Grand Prix program that still provides the highway for snowboarders to get into the Olympics, and the Mountain Dew Snowboard Festival that introduced snowboarding to thousands at ski areas across the country in the middle 1990s.

Ingemie likewise placed great value on the role of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing developing committees to create marketing programs such as Cross Country Close to Home and Winter Trails. He always included these snow sports segments in the world of snowsports marketing and supported efforts to organize the retailers, product suppliers, and area operators to work together.

Ingemie was also awarded the NSAA Carson White Golden Quill Award at the NSAA Convention in May of 2015 and was nominated for a NASJA Lifetime Achievement Award. Following the 2016 SIA Snow Show in January, he'll work on a legacy project for SIA. The industry will indeed miss Ingemie's positive energy and drive to popularize snow sports. Reposted from by Martha Wilson and embellished by editor Roger Lohr, (former SIA employee hired by David Ingemie in 1986).

Johannes von Trapp, Originator of the Nordic Ski Center

If there was an American Cross Country Ski Hall of Fame, Johannes von Trapp would be one of the surefire inductees. The famous story of the von Trapp family is well known - their escape from Austria in the beginning of World War II and the Broadway and Hollywood songs such as Edelweiss, My Favorite Things, and Do Re Mi. In November of 2014, Johannes von Trapp spoke at a luncheon of Nordic ski area operators and one could tell they looked at him as their living history. He grew up with 9 siblings as the last born in the original von Trapp family and he is also known as the proprietor, who opened Trapp Family Lodge, the first commercial Nordic ski area in 1968.

In 1938 just before World War II, the Baron and Baroness von Trapp left all their possessions and estate near Salzburg, Austria. With nine children and one on the way, they fled Austria and were granted asylum in the US. That child on the way was Johannes, who was born in 1939 and now is the president of the modern day Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, VT.

Arriving in the US with only four dollars, the family settled in Philadelphia and through their music turned a family hobby into a profession as the Trapp Family Singers. In 1942, they bought a small farmhouse in Stowe, Vermont because the landscape reminded them of home. They rented out rooms at their farmhouse to skiers and ran the Trapp Family Music Camp.

Johannes commented that they were too poor to pay to use the ski lifts in Stowe, so they skied up and down in the woods around the farm. He attended Dartmouth College and upon returning to Stowe, he later operated the lodge. He started the ski area out of his barn, renting cross country skis, and giving ski lessons to become the first commercial cross country ski resort in the world. He had hired his first staff person, Per Sorlie, an ex-navy man from Norway, who had great enthusiasm for cross country skiing and who had a brother who wholesaled cross country ski equipment from Norway.

They would pack the trail in the early morning, rented and sold Nordic skis, and taught ski lessons. Johannes stated that he grossed $8,000 that first year in the cross country ski business and he doubled the revenue in the following year. The original concept was a way to attract guests to fill the rooms at lodge.

He always thought that the business would involve backcountry skiing as the key element and today he still hopes that backcountry will grow and become a more noticeable part of the Nordic ski scene. He commented about the "violent contrast" in product development that has become "plastic, nylon, and form fitting," citing the Americanization of Nordic skiing…but he does admit that the new equipment and clothing have great virtues and he has come full circle embracing the high tech that has been incorporated into the sport and business.

Johannes answered a question about grooming as he reminisced about the first snow machine he bought for $50 to pack the trails. They built many different weighted boxes with skis on the bottom to drag behind he snowmobile and set tracks on the trails.

In the early 1970s, the lodge included a riding stable but the horses impacted the trails too much so horseback riding was discontinued. Johannes cited a recent survey taken by UVM students at Trapp Family Lodge that revealed the skiers mostly cared about the track quality. But he still believes in the psychic benefits of being outdoors and he loves how the sport has taken off.

The lodge occupancy has increased over the years and acquiring the nearby land (Trapp Family owns 90% of the trail property) was important to maintain the trails. The lodge history included the fire in 1980 and rebuilding in 1983. In 2000, Trapp added 24,000 square feet of meeting space and accommodations to the lodge and four years later the first villas adjacent to the lodge were completed and sold.

Johannes' son Sam became vice president of the operation in 2007 adding mountain bike trails in the summer and snowmaking in the winter. In 2008, Trapp Family Lodge celebrated its 40th anniversary and was covered in the NY Times, on ABC World News and created its first television advertisement. In 2010, Trapp Lager beer was introduced on the property and a new facility will be opened in 2015 in Massachusetts to greatly expand the brewery operation.

Johannes von Trapp is one of the American cross country skiing forefathers, who will be recognized for his vision of cross country skiing and his connection to a world famous family story.


John Frado on the Mount Rushmore of U.S. Cross Country Skiing

John Frado, who passed away in June of 2012, contributed to the sport of cross country (XC) skiing as one of the forefathers of commercial XC ski resorts and areas as a planner, consultant, and leader within the industry. He was one of the earliest XC ski area operators at Northfield Mountain in Northfield, MA and he helped develop the Nordic ski patrol and professional instructors on a national stage. And Frado consulted for many of the largest and most successful XC ski areas in the U.S.

Frado founded what was to become the Cross Country Ski Areas Association and gave presentations at most of the association's conferences and meetings between the late 1980's until 2011 to educate other ski area operators about significant facility, trail, program, and business design that led to the development and increase in sophistication of the XC ski area business.

The great value that John Frado has brought to the cross country ski world with regard to the quality and maturation of the industry should be recognized by the snow sports world. He was a leader in the XC ski industry and is an excellent example of a "snow sports builder." The XC ski industry is indebted to his contributions.

Along with 15 other ski area operators, John Frado joined Joe Pete Wilson in 1977 founding what is now the Cross Country Ski Areas Association. He served as vice president for many terms and continued to be elected to the Board even after leaving Northfield Mountain, the ski area he designed and operated for 17 years in Massachusetts to pursue work as an independent consultant and trail designer.

John's talent for trail design was officially recognized when Northfield Mountain's trails were placed into the National Recreation Trail database, a designation reserved for exemplary trails and made by the US Secretary of the Interior.

John put his background in emergency services and firefighting to good use while helping to create the Nordic division of the National Ski Patrol. He authored the "Ski & Toboggan Manual" for the Nordic Division and became a Senior Patroller when all testing was done at alpine ski areas (skiing an alpine slope on skinny wooden skis with 3-pin bindings, wearing a loaded backpack and all the while pulling a toboggan loaded with a "patient"). The ski patrol at Northfield Mountain was the first to be registered at a Touring Center (aka XC ski area or Nordic Ski center).

Johannes Von Trapp of Trapp Family Lodge is credited with putting John on cross country skis in the early 70's. The two shared an educational background in forestry and land management. John was a strong advocate of ski instruction supporting professional certification and empowering his staff and volunteer patrollers at Northfield Mountain to give away passes for group lessons. He laughed about being given "a beginner lesson" from Olympic coach, John Caldwell just months after getting on skis, while they tried to standardize a lesson for Eastern Professional Ski Touring Instructors-EPSTI, the forerunner of PSIA-Nordic. John truly believed lessons were an investment in return customers.

Frado joined forces with Jonathan Wiesel and worked under the name Nordic Group International. He's left his mark on Nordic centers across North America. His clients are a who's who of the industry including: Gatineau Park, Hardwood Hills, Lone Mountain Ranch, Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center, Devil's Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa, Tahoe Cross Country, the Nordic centers in Breckenridge and Frisco, Latigo Ranch, Telluride Nordic Association, and Dartmouth College, among many others.

John's love of humor and his passion for quality were the perfect combination for being a steward of the recreational experience. He advocated for memorable, fun trail names and spoke on the subject at CCSAA conventions.

John was connected for decades with moose and one could say it was his totem. His Nordic Group International office was filled with moose memorabilia, his farm tractor was named Moose, and he used moose for his email and license plate. John was officially given the nickname Crazymoose at Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center after surviving a run-in with a moose, breaking his finger in the process. He designed and supervised construction of the Great Glen trails and lodge and was the assistant director for its initial ski season.

In recognition of John Frado's contributions to the snow sports industry, the association asked ski area members to name or rename a trail Crazy Moose (or some version of Crazymoose Corner, Crazymoose Climb, Crazymoose Crawl, etc.)…trails in his name are a fitting remembrance of John Frado as one of the most significant personalities in the history of the U.S. cross country skiing community. (This article was mostly written by Chris Frado, wife of John Frado and CCSAA president ).

Howard Peterson of Soldier Hollow Announces Retirement

In a story in the, Howard Peterson announced his retirement from Soldier Hollow in Midway, UT, where he was the executive director of the Soldier Hollow Legacy Foundation and an original advocate for Salt Lake City hosting the 2002 Olympic & Paralympic Games.

Peterson pushed for the XC ski and biathlon venue that would become Soldier Hollow to be made a permanent one with a lasting legacy. The venue's operation was transferred to the legacy foundation as a community and recreational fixture in the Heber Valley as a training and competition destination for XC skiers.

A Maine native, Peterson retired after a long history in the snow sports community. He began in 1974 as ski director at Bretton Woods resort in NH and moved west to work for the US Ski Association in 1978. He also was instrumental in developing what has become the Cross Country Ski Areas Association. His 13-year tenure as USSA executive director saw the reuniting of the US Ski Team with USSA in Park City, UT. He helped elevate freestyle skiing to Olympic medals status and chaired the FIS Advertising Committee.

Along with a first class XC ski facility, Peterson established a full-service tubing hill at Soldier Hollow (with snowmaking) to build the venue's revenue and customer base serving more than 420,000 tubers in the last decade and a half. More than 91,000 Utah youth have tried skiing through the foundation's programming. Soldier Hollow is also the home of the world's foremost Sheepdog Championships and other significant Heber Valley events.

Soldier Hollow, which was the Utah site of all of the Nordic skiing events at the 2002 Olympics has an 11,000 square foot lodge built with recycled timbers as construction materials for building beams, columns, perlins, siding, interior roof, baseboard, and casing. Approximately 90 percent of the wood used in the lodge was salvaged from a 1902 railroad trestle that once crossed the Great Salt Lake. The bridge was no longer used in the 1950's and a wood reclamation project extracted the materials from under the water.

Tom Kelly, vice president of communications for the US ski & Snowboard Association gives Peterson credit for convincing the US Olympic Committee to choose American Olympic bid cities based in part on their ability to create "legacy" athletic venues. "He has impacted the entire region with a tourist attraction that is remarkable and when you look at the numbers of kids that he had introduced to XC skiing, it's huge."


In 2018 at the CCSAA Conference held at Snow Mountain Ranch, CO, Peterson and his sister Susan (post-humously) were presented with the Cross Country Ski Areas Association's Founder Award for their lifetime of support for the sport and the organization.

Dave Carter of Carter's Cross Country to be Inducted to Maine Ski Hall of Fame

According to an article in the Oxford Hills Sun Journal, Dave Carter, who passed away earlier this year, is one of eight skiers being inducted into the Maine Ski Hall of Fame in the fall. Carter was 65 when he passed away in early March after a battle with cancer.

Hall of fame director Dave Irons said Carter, who will be inducted at a banquet at Lost Valley in Auburn on Oct. 24, was a pioneer in the field. His wife, Anne, will accept the award on his behalf, Irons said.

He co-owned Carter's X-C Ski Center with wife, with stores in Oxford and Bethel, for over 35 years. Together, they started the Oxford Hills Nordic Ski Club in 1981 with the community helping them build trails at their farm.

In January, Irons notified the Bethel native that he had been chosen by the selection committee, fearing if he waited, it would be too late. After learning of the award, Carter told the Bethel Citizen a few weeks later that it was his dream to get as many people on skis as possible.

Carter's crowning achievement in the field, Irons said, was passing on his passion to get others, especially children, to take up the sport. To this end, he began an after-school program in School District 17 that ran from 1985 to 2005. Close to 100 children participated in the program each winter.

David Carter of Carter's Cross Country, in Bethel and Oxford, Maine had a positive attitude and was still skiing the week prior to his passing. He is survived by his wife Anne and 3 daughters. The Carter family runs two trailheads, operates a lodge, and a retail shop. They were instrumental in the creation of the new non-profit operation Bethel Outdoor Center to operate the trails of the now defunct Sunday River Inn operation.

Dave Carter had more than 40 years experience XC skiing. He started on the Gould Academy XC ski team and went on to compete on the U. Maine XC ski team. Dave was hired to start the Sunday River Ski Touring Center and he was one of 4 Mainers, who helped start the Jackson Ski Touring Center, in Jackson, NH.

He also worked to promote more back-country skiing. "If you're an alpine skier, you'll like our hills. We have elevation," he said. "But if you're not, we have flat, too." Dave was a farm boy and serious XC skier. He had said that Anne was the first girlfriend, who didn't leave after he took her cross country skiing. They skied and bushwacked almost 10 miles uphill and back. It was her first time on skis. They have 3 daughters who help in the business as well. "They cross country skied the day after they walked," Dave had said. They also have 2 granddaughters, who are the 8th generation of Carters in the area.

Carter had been focused on keeping the business green, since before it was a popular phrase. The lodge is built of wood which was cut on their land by the Carter brothers, and custom milled. All the windows and doors were furnished by their cousin (at Western Maine Supply). The lodge was economically designed by Dave. The rental cabins are "off-grid". Even the new trail groomer has been optimized so that it uses 1/6 the amount of fuel that the old groomer used, to reduce the carbon footprint. The lodge and cabins are also heated with wood that comes from the property. The wax room at the lodge is a passive-solar greenhouse.

The XC ski industry will miss one of its true luminaries.

Meet Kikkan Randall - American Woman Cross Country Skiing World Cup Champ

U.S. Ski Team member Kikkan Randall made history as the first American woman to win the FIS Cross Country Skiing World Cup sprint title. The 29-yearold native of Anchorage, Alaska, clinched the title in mid-March with an 11th place finish in Drammen, Norway. spoke with Randall to find out more about the woman who reached this pinnacle. See the photos from Aimee Berg and the US Olympic Committee at Kikkan Randall takes Manhattan.

Kikkan is the first American male or female to win a World Cup season title in xc skiing in 30 years. Bill Koch was the last American to reach such heights in the sport in 1982.  Randall maintained consistency all season in sprint events, scoring several podium finishes and two victories. 

As a 15-time US National Champion and a 3-time Olympian, Randall validated a major milestone in her career, hoisting the hard-earned Joska crystal globe she was awarded as the FIS Cross Country World Cup sprint champion at the season finale in Falun, Sweden.

Newest TV spot 8/24/13 about Kikkan Randall from Utah's KUSA:

Sprint races have time trials where each contestant skis the course in interval starts. The fastest sixteen skiers advance to elimination rounds. The first two skiers in each of the eliminations move on to the semi-final races, which consist of two heats of four athletes each. The medal sprint is one race with the top two skiers from each semi-final heat.

Randall opened the season with two straight wins and clinched the title with one race remaining. She commented, “It's been an incredible season. It has been really fun and challenging. I feel like this is the perfect cap to end it.”

Actually her tour in Europe ended after receiving the award. She had a 4th place finish in the Red Bull NordiX competition where she raced a skiercross course with jumps, banked turns, and uphills against other Nordic ski racers vying for the finish line.” Kikkan proclaimed the NordiX “really cool” and thought that it could attract young people to xc skiing in the US because of the high intensity level of action in the race.

Chris Grover, US Cross Country Team Head Coach, said, “It’s been a long road leading to a crystal globe for Kikkan. She has been part of the U.S. Ski Team since 2000. During this time, she has been systematic and incredibly professional in her approach to training, racing, and living. She is now reaping the benefits of many years of hard work and her success should serve as a model for what can be accomplished with a bit of talent, a ton of hard work, and a positive outlook. We are all so proud of her.”

So who is Kikkan Randall? She’s the niece of two former Olympians and she was nicknamed “Kikkanimal” by her high school running teammates in Anchorage because she was always pushing them to do more and try harder. For some of the financial support needed to compete, Kikkan secured some Alaskan-based sponsors including Subway, an automobile dealership group, and various health businesses.

As a role model Kikkan visits elementary schools to talk with kids about working to attain their dreams and being active everyday. Proclaimed as a “Get Activist” she inspires kids to lead a healthy lifestyle in the “Healthy Futures” program. She also encourages female athletes in the “Fast and Female” programs. And now when she speaks to groups, she has the World Cup globe for show-and-tell, too.

Randall is dedicated to expand the popularity of cross country skiing in the US. After winning the World Cup title, she spoke with USA Today, NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, and other major media about her accomplishment and to spread the gospel that cross country skiing can be enjoyed at any level.

Randall’s record of American firsts in xc skiing includes first World Cup women’s podium, first World Cup women’s victory, first World Championship women’s medal, first Olympic women’s top ten and first World Cup Overall women’s discipline leader. In the 2010 Winter Olympics she placed eighth in the women’s sprint, the best ever American women’s finish and she participated in the 2014 Winter Olympics. Congratulations!

Kikkan Randall Sponsored by Kashi

It was announced that US Olympic hopeful XC sprint cross country skier Kikkan Randall will be officially sponsored by Kashi for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Kikkan Randall is the world cup cross country ski champion. Kashi products (cereal, crackers, bars, etc.) are natural, minimally processed and free of highly refined sugar, artificial additives and preservatives. The Kashi brand is a subsidiary of the Kellogg Company. The Kashi intention is to spread the word that living a healthy, positive lifestyle begins with eating right, and the Kashi marketing director commented. "We're passionate about the power of positive eating and we really found a perfect partner in Kikkan."


Randall endorsed Kashi products, "They provide me with the right nutrients to give me energy for my workouts. I believe in living a healthy and active lifestyle and one of my goals is to inspire others to do the same, which involves eating positively so they can pursue the things they love." recognizes this sponsorship as a great thing for cross country skiing. Kikkan Randall is the first American cross country skier to garner such a bigtime sponsorship and she is a great hope to popularize cross country skiing to a higher level.

US Nordic Combined Team Winners Talk with

The Winter Olympics were first held in 1924 and 86 years passed before the US had a gold medalist cross country skier standing on a podium at the famous quadrennial competition. Bill Demong of Vermontville, NY was the man to attain the gold amongst a team destined to gather hardware in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. In past games, American cross country skiers have had as much promise, but they have not delivered as expected, until the 2010 US Nordic Combined Team stepped up to the podium with individual gold and silver medals and a team silver medal. Johnny Spillane, Bill Demong, and Todd Lodwick had previously won world championships (Demong in 2009) and were internationally ranked 8th, 10th, and 13th respectively in the Nordic Combined World Cup standings last February.

Johnny Spillane broke the ice with a silver medal in the first competition for the team at the new facility built for the games outside of Whistler, British Columbia. He appeared to have the gold in hand but he was caught from behind by a Frenchman with only 4 tenths of one second remaining to the finish line. The French guy was born in the USA and lives in Missoula, MT. It was also tough luck for American Todd Lodwick, who led that race for 95 percent of the time and then ended up in 4th. His comment, "Fourth place sucks." American Bill Demong, who started in 24th position after his jump, made it back to finish in sixth place. Add it all up and the Americans had three finishers in the top six and things bode well for the team competition in Nordic Combined later in the week. Spillane commented, "I spent too much energy catching the racer ahead, who it turned out was already dead on his skis." Spillane said that he was so spent that he didn't even remember entering the stadium or being passed. "Obviously, you want to win the gold, but what counted was that I was satisfied with my performance." He also spoke about "added pressure in the team competition compared to the individual races because it is more for country and your teammates."

Spillane and his wife had a baby girl last July and he also had a knee operation in the summer. The baby and the rehabilitation will slow his getting back into the competitive fray until late January. He realizes that with a baby that "it will be tougher to be on the road so much and hard to keep motivated this year."

Bill Demong is a goal and plan oriented fellow and after the Olympics he took a couple of weeks reflecting and decided to "enjoy and continue success with the team and individually and try to defend my championships."

Demong's story is made for TV. After winning the gold in Vancouver in the Nordic Combined big jump, he proposed marriage to his girlfriend and then was selected by the US Olympic Team athletes to carry the flag in the closing ceremonies. "It was a whirlwind of a few days but a perfect ending to a perfect Olympics," commented Demong about the "pretty hectic and exciting" time immediately following his triumphs. But why no Wheaties box cover? Demong said "those things are predetermined before the games even start."

A few years back his career was hanging in the balance after a serious accident in a swimming pool. "Fracturing my skull was the turning point in my career as it gave me a year off to recuperate and redefine why I wanted to ski and what I wanted to get out of it. I like to get my angry out and chase people." And then in the 2009 World Championships in the team competition, Demong made headlines for misplacing his racing bib amidst his racing outfit. The US team was disqualified in that competition but his teammates were quick to forgive him. After the incident, he not only went out and won the big jump world championship, but later in the month he took gold at the King's Cup in Vikersund, Norway, which is considered one of the highest honors in Nordic Combined competition.

Do Olympic Athletes Turn those Medals into Cash?
The Nordic Combined Olympic medal winners have been very busy since the Vancouver games. Both Spillane and Demong spoke of their trip to army bases in Iraq and they've done plenty of fund raisers to help various causes and ski programs. Spillane said, "It was so busy for 3-4 months and now it is calming down. For sure you make money, but it is not six figures." He commented that "it is a small window and there are not as many opportunities as I thought. The ski team helps with training but does not line much up financially" for these athletes and it sounds like there was very little lined up in advance.

Demong also said there were more opportunities after winning Olympic gold but he pointed to the nonfinancial opportunities that are very meaningful such as supporting a renovation of Dewey Mountain where he grew up skiing, and developing a new company. He wants to take advantage of "new venues that were opened up so he can build something long term and make a difference." Both skiers spoke of their development work with younger skiers as "giving back to the sport."

There was some sniping at the Olympics about the weather advantage for some of the jumpers in Nordic Combined events and upon being asked about it Demong commented, "It seems that at every event the weather causes whining, but it evens out. The best skiers usually win." And it also seems that Bill Demong taking an individual gold medal and a team silver medal was indeed the best Nordic Combined skier at the Vancouver games. Congratulations!

Canadian Olympian Chandra Crawford - Developer of Fast and Female

In a story published in The Globe and Mail, Canadian gold-medal Olympian in cross country skiing, Chandra Crawford has entered the MBA program at the University of Calgary's Haskayne School of Business. Ms. Crawford, who won gold in cross-country skiing at the 2006 Turin Games and seven World Cup medals (two of them gold) in her 14-year skiing career, saw the MBA program as a way to hone her social entrepreneurship expertise as founder of Fast and Female, which is an international program to develop initiatives that will entice more girls to get into and stay in sports.

Chandra set up the non-profit Fast and Female organization in 2005 to encourage girls and women aged 9 to 19 to stick with competitive sports instead of bowing out, as many do, in their teens. The hope, she says, "is that 25 years from now, girls will stay in sports through their teens and we will have a big pool to draw on for Olympic sports."

The Fast and Female organization offers day camps and other opportunities for participants – nearly 9,000 in Canada, the United States and other countries to rub shoulders with Olympic and other elite women athletes.

Prior to the official start of school, Chandra submitted her first assignment – an assessment of their own businesses – that gave her insights into her organization. "If we can create a strong business in terms of Fast and Female, then it will continue to serve girls into the future," Chandra said.

The Fast and Female program cites that girls have 1.3 million fewer opportunities to play high school sports than boys have. Lack of physical education in schools and limited opportunities to play sports in both high school and college mean girls have to look elsewhere for sports –which may not exist or may cost more money. Often there is an additional lack of access to adequate playing facilities near their homes that makes it more difficult for girls to engage in sports.

Despite recent progress, discrimination based on the real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity of female athletes persists. Girls in sports may experience bullying, social isolation, negative performance evaluations, or the loss of their starting position. During socially fragile adolescence, the fear of being tagged "gay" is strong enough to push many girls out of the game.

As girls grow up, the quality level of their sports experience may decline. The facilities are not as good as the boys' venues and the playing times may not be optimal. The availability of quality, trained coaches may be lacking in their community or these coaches may be more focused on the boys' programs that have more money for training. Equipment and even uniforms aren't funded for many girls' programs at the same levels as boys so their ability to grow and enjoy the sport is diminished. In short, sports just aren't "fun" any more.

School sports budgets are being slashed every day. Fewer opportunities within schools mean families must pay to play in private programs while also footing the bill for expensive coaches, equipment and out-of-pocket travel requirements.

Today's girls are bombarded with images of external beauty, not those of confident, strong female athletic role models. To some girls, fitting within the mold that they are constantly told to stay in is more important than standing out. Peer pressure can be hard for girls at any age; when that pressure isn't offset with strong encouragement to participate in sports and healthy physical activity, the results may lead girls to drop out altogether.

Fast and Female works to develop initiatives that will entice more girls to get into and stay in sports. Programs developed are centered on experience-based programming and informational and educational programming.

National Fast and Female Summits: The Fast and Female Summits offer girls, parents and coaches an ultimate day of inspiration and education to help boost girls' involvement and participation in all sports. Led by illustrious female Olympians, Summit events involve activities to stimulate the minds, bodies and souls of aspiring champions. The programming also includes sessions for parents and coaches by leading sports, nutrition, physiology and psychology experts.

Regional Fast and Female Champ Chats: Regional Fast and Female Champ Chats are sport-specific, half day events led by female Olympians and focused on female youth between ages 9 to 19 years old. Each Champ Chat includes an active component plus an inspirational presentation by the lead female ambassador.

Customized Fast and Female Training Clinics: Fast and Female also offers customized training clinics and camps for clubs or teams and works with the team coaches to develop the most inspiring and effective camp for girls. A network of experts in the realm of physiology, nutrition and psychology across the country, clubs and teams can create novel experiences for their athletes.


The Fast and Female Resource Centre is where many useful links concerning female athlete specific content is posted. The Resources Centre has the latest information on psychology, nutrition, physiology, coaching, and parenting of the female athlete.

Fast and Female TV has many short clips and interviews featuring a variety of individuals who contribute to telling the powerful and positive stories concerning girls in sports. The Fast and Female newsletter is published monthly to keep girls informed on the latest and greatest things concerning Fast and Female and girls in sports!

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