Central Cross-country Skiing (CXC) is starting the summer with a bang, scheduling three elite training camps at their new home at Wisconsin’s fabled Telemark Resort.
Yuriy Gusev, CXC’s Executive and Athletic Director, said, “We’ve been looking for a training center for awhile.” While considering other training venues near Duluth and Wausau, WI, CXC kept coming back to Telemark and the Birkie area. Gusev cited the huge ski tradition in the Birkebeiner region, but noted challenges with existing infrastructure.
Closed last winter with financial problems, the resort changed hands in April. Steve Kaufman, president of the Telemark Resort, said he initially contacted CXC about twelve months ago. Kaufman said that he views CXC as one of the prime drivers in cross-country skiing in the Midwest.
“It makes a great partnership,” Kaufman said. “To me, it makes perfect sense.”
CXC’s goal is to provide a center where elite athletes and their coaches can reside while training. They’ll have strength, testing, recovery and residential facilities. Ultimately, CXC will be able to house athletes and their coaches at Telemark year-round. In all, CXC will occupy about to fifteen percent of Telemark’s 240,000 square feet.
“If we have the space, we can invite other teams,” Gusev said, and be more involved in the region.
In return for that space, Kaufman said, “There’s a minimal rent that CXC will be paying to cover overhead.”
Renovations to the resort were underway as CXC held its first training camp for elite athletes in May. According to Gusev, the Telemark resort is financing and doing most of the renovation, with CXC staff and local volunteers pitching in.
Kaufman said that both the strength training facilities and the residential units should be complete by July 1.
CXC head coach Jason Cork said that another of CXC’s goals is to make early season on-snow training available in an environment closer to sea level than West Yellowstone, MT. He hoped to have 2.5 – 5 k of snowmaking available, depending on the weather.
At present, a running treadmill with a VO2 cart and lactic threshold testing equipment comprise the capacity testing center. Jason Cork, elite athlete coach at CXC, said the long-term goal was to acquire a ski treadmill.
Residency qualifications are straightforward: one must be a member of CXC’s elite team.
“It would be a real advantage to have others to train with,” said CXC athlete Karl Nygren. “The rollerskiing and running around Telemark is excellent.”
CXC athlete Waylon Manske currently resides at Telemark. Responding to an email from FasterSkier, he wrote, “Living at Telemark has been awesome so far. Right now I’m the only athlete here but come June 6th more of the team will be moving in. I really enjoy how everything is so contained, there is no need to drive anywhere — I walk out the front door and I’m right on the Birkie and CAMBA trails, there are great roller skiing roads near by and a weight room right in the building. Also, the grocery store is just a short bike ride away and the pool, sauna, and hot tub are nice bonuses!
“When I lived in Duluth I had to focus on being a student and employee first and then ski. I’m excited to live and work in an environment where the workouts are allowed to become first priority. It’s easy to maintain a high training focus here and I am confident I will greatly improve as an athlete living and training at the Lodge under CXC’s guidance.”
Manske works at Telemark’s front desk, noting, “I’m allowed a lot of freedom working at the front desk. I set my hours based on training — I’ve even been allowed to take a workout break mid-day. I will also be aiding Telemark in social media marketing, graphic design, and website maintenance.”
In addition to rent, CXC athletes will give a limited number of private lessons to resort guests. Gusev expects CXC’s athletes in residence to attract people and help fill rooms for the resort. Kaufman agreed, saying that he expects Telemark Resort to reap benefits by CXC’s residency program.
“The benefit will be action. People drive people,” Kaufman said.