Bryan Cook was born in Rhinelander, Wisconson in 1983 and began skiing at the age of two. Cook credits his family as the most influential force in his shaping his ski career, including his parents and four siblings who raced with him every year in the Badger State Games.
Under the coaching of Sten Fjeldheim and Jenny Ryan at Northern Michigan University, Cook skied to a 3rd place finish at his final NCAAs and was named twice to the World Junior Team and once to the U23 World championship Team.
Cook is currently skiing for the CXC Elite Team and has his sights on the 2010 Olympics. He plans to ski for as long as he lives and hopes to “give back to the skiing community more than they have so generously given [him].” When Cook is not skiing, he enjoys road and mountain biking, cyclocross, and following “the best team in football,” the Green Bay Packers.
Birthdate: June 2, 1983
Hometown: Rhinelander, WI
Current Residence: Marquette, MI
Ski Club: CXC Elite Team
Weight: 170 lbs.
Best Results: Several top 15 finishes at U.S. Nationals, a 3rd place finish at my final NCAAs, as well as being a two-time World Junior team member and one time U23 World championship team member are my most memorable
Sponsors: CXC Elite Team sponsors including Salomon skis, boots, and bindings; Toko wax and apparel; and One Way poles while on the trails.
When did you start ski racing, and what were some highlights of your young skiing career?
I started skiing with my parents and older brother around the age of two. The highlights were definitely skiing with my family at Minocqua Winter Park. My parent’s would ski longer so the rest of my family would end up playing around the lodge while we waited for them. The Badger State Games were also a huge highlight, as every year everyone in my family raced.
Who has been the most influential person for you, whether as a skier or a person?
My parent’s and family have been the most influential as a person and a skier. A very close second would have to be my NMU coaches Sten Fjeldheim and Jenny Ryan, as well as all my NMU teammates.
Where is your favorite place to ski, where is your favorite place to race, what is your favorite part of the season, what are your favorite ski conditions?
Anywhere in Marquette, MI would be my favorite place to ski and race. We have about seven different ski trails within 30 minutes of downtown Marquette. We always have great snow and extra blue classic skiing would be my favorite ski conditions.
What drives you to succeed at the highest possible level, and what are your long-term goals as a skier?
The CXC Elite Team and I have goals for the 2010 Olympics. I would also like to ski for as long as I live, and I hope to give back to the skiing community more than they have so generously given me. These are what drive me to succeed.
What are your favorite race formats/distances, and do you try to specialize for these events?
I enjoy all different formats and distances because that is what makes skiing so unique. We have the opportunity to compete in sprint races as well as 50km races without having to train for each too specifically.
What are your overall goals for this season?
This season I would like to be very competitive in every distance throughout the entire year. I would also like to get my first taste of the World Cup.
Do you have any consistent training partners? Do you prefer training alone or with others?
At CXC we have training camps just about every two weeks throughout the year. When I am at home, I have the NMU team to train with which I find much more enjoyable than training alone.
What is your favorite on snow workout and favorite dryland workout?
Any workout that involves classic skiing on extra blue would be my favorite on snow workout. As far as dryland workouts, I would have to say any over distance run at Pictured Rocks, in Munising, MI, ended by surfing the waves in Lake Superior.
What do you enjoy doing besides skiing?
I recently started competing in the Upper Peninsula Cyclocross series up in Marquette and Houghton. I also enjoy road and mountain biking along with following the best team in football—the Green Bay Packers. An occasional bare footing run at home in Rhinelander with my brother is always awesome.
In terms of employment, are you a 100% full-time athlete, or do you have another job besides training/racing? If so, what do you do?
I work at Farmer Q’s Market in Marquette, MI for Tom and Susan Brian. They are definitely the best employers I could ask for. They allow me flexible hours as well as the ability to leave and come back when I need to for training camps. The “Q” specializes in fresh Michigan produce as well as anything you need for cooking.
How long do you think you will ski at the elite level? What do you see yourself doing after you finish your ski career?
I will try to ski at the elite level for as long as I can. After I finish my career I would like to stay involved in the sport and give back to the supporters of skiing that have helped our sport grow these last few years. I would also like to help support developing athletes strive for their goals in the future. I have currently helped start a project for this purpose and will continue to build on this the next few years. To find out more information check out www.xcskialliance.com.
Do you or did you ever attend college? How did you make that decision?
I graduated from Northern Michigan University with a degree in International Studies and a German minor. Skiing for Sten Fjeldheim and Jenny Ryan made the decision unbelievably easy.
Do you enjoy racing/competing in other sports during the offseason? Did you play other sports as a kid? What are some of your favorite non-skiing competitions?
You can count me in for almost any kind of race during the offseason, because I like competing year-round. I usually stick to road, mountain, and cyclocross racing. As a kid, I loved to play soccer, baseball, and basketball.
What do you do with any spare time at training camps or on race trips?
First, I usually find the best coffee shop in town for my afternoon coffee. Other than that just hanging out and reading, I follow cycling, soccer, and the Packers pretty religiously.
What does your diet consist of? Do you have a favorite pre-race dinner and breakfast?
I try to eat a variety of foods, but my favorite food has to be pizza. My pre-race meal has to involve coffee, but other than that I do not really have any rituals.
What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
My family and I lived in Germany for two years when I was in 3rd and 4th grade. My dad works for Wausau Paper and he was sent to Dusseldorf, Germany to help set up customer relations so the whole family went. I also have three brothers, Chris, Tim, and Jeff, and one sister, Tanya.
How do you spend your weeks off?
I usually hang out in Marquette where you can pretty much do anything you want. Run, bike, ski, surf, sail, rock climb, and anything else you can think of to do outdoors.
What is the best race or workout you have ever done?
I will never forget the 30km skate race in Sweden I did at World Juniors in 2003. It snowed about 6 inches during the mass-start race, and I barely crossed the finish line before my legs gave out and an old, Swedish volunteer laughed at me because I could not stand up.
What race events are in your plan for this season, and which race are you are looking forward to the most?
I will be racing all the Super Tours and probably the American Birkiebeiner if I am in the Midwest.
What else do you want to say?
Thanks for the interview, and I hope to see everyone out on the trails.