CXC Makes a Move at Telemark

FasterSkierJune 6, 20119

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.”

Brian Gregg racing for CXC in 2011

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.


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  • Tim Kelley

    June 7, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    This sounds like the resurrection of the Telemark Academy. Anyone remember that program? It was a ski racing program based at the Telemark Resort in the late 70’s / early 80’s. Good to see that the Telemark Resort has risen from its financial challenges and that it is once again a home to elite ski racers.

  • nordic_dave

    June 8, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Tim, it’s a very good partnership between CXC and Telemark, and certainly a very positive development for our sport. CXC however as an organization goes far beyond this in it’s scope and capacity. I can tell you being a part of the CXC family has been a great experience. One example has been the great connection and interaction between generations, i.e. CXC Masters, CXC Elite and CXC Juniors. Another aspect is how they promote our sport through it’s “superfit” programs through partnership with various retailers in the Twin Cities. They have various programs and activities through out the Midwest from Chicago to Duluth, I can go on but I think you probably get it.

    I actually dare to dream that CXC could someday pull off building a ski tunnel at a place like Telemark. That would be something of great value to this area of thousands of enthusiastic nordic skiers that don’t have the snow season that you or I have in our back yards.

    Cheers, Dave

  • Tim Kelley

    June 8, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    Dave, Even though I never lived in the mid-west, I always considered Telemark to have a “magical” aura to it whenever I ski raced there. I even have a poster hanging in my office of the “1978 Gitchi Gami Games – Telemark, Wisconsin USA – First FIS World Cup Cross Country Ski Race – December 20-21”. Telemark deserves to be a mecca of US xc skiing.

    Here is a quiz question for fasterskier readers. Who was the ski coach of Telemark Academy in the late 70’s / early 80’s?

  • T.Eastman

    June 8, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    A certain Peter Davis…

    … he did the classic Birkie this year!

  • nordic_dave

    June 8, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    Gitchi gumi?

    I’ll bet Rick Halling has some stories to tell…

  • kwikgren

    June 8, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    I think that the snowmaking would really help solidify Telemark as a world class ski training venue. I’ve done a lot of skiing on skinny skis (skating gear) at alpine ski areas over the years partly for ski training and especially because I love skiing the big hills on ultra-light gear, and have often thought that if you could unravel the ski runs of man-made frozen corduroy into a longer, less steep course, you would have the envy of most local cross country ski areas. I’m not a big fan of ski tunnels, but I have thought that the twin cities might have enough interest to be able to support one, so there you go. Of course another good thing is that the U.P. is not that far away.

  • Rick Halling

    June 8, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    Yes Dave, I do have some fun stories of those days. They would include meeting President Carter’s infamous redneck brother Billy. For some reason the organizers thought he would make an excellent celebrity host. The stories would also include interesting antics of the Norwegians who were a lot less disciplined in the 70’s than they are now. Definitely something we should discuss at West Yellowstone next Thanksgiving.
    Rick Halling
    Atomic Ski

  • kjnordic

    June 9, 2011 at 12:00 am

    Rick and Dave, sign me up for a place at the table in West Yellowstone for this conversation. I love hearing older ski stories which will (or have already) become lore. -Kevin (aka KJ) Johnson

  • kwikgren

    June 9, 2011 at 7:22 am

    Here’s a story nobody wants to hear. I almost never skied my first Birkie. In September about 26 or so years ago, I was in Duluth for one of the early incarnations of the Northshore inline skate race. It was there that I met Tony Wise. He convinced my buddy and I that we should ski his race that he was trying to organize at Giant’s Ridge instead of the Birkie on the same day. We promised him that we would ski his race, but we were kind of hungover at the time. Unfortunately (or fortunately) it never happened and I ended up skiing the Birkie that next year and 23 of the next 25 years for that matter. For me I’m thinking that might be enough. Been there, done that. It also seems to be getting a little too crowded and expensive for me. Don’t get me wrong, I think big money skiing is great for putting cross country skiing on the economic map and killing those ugly $20 bill and granola bar cliche’s. Truthfully, however, some of my most fun skiing has been back in the bush or on snowmachine trails when no one else is around. So maybe I am part of the problem. Still, build it and they will come. But I think the priority needs to be the quality skiing more than the five star amenities. Telemark has most of the ingredients, like fabulous trails and convenient (to the cities) location. Snow, however, is still the key ingredient and high quality snowmaking would definitely help. I felt kind of sorry for Tony back then (those evil banks), but I also thought that if he had built Telemark just 50 or 100 miles further up into the snowbelt (Ironwood, Porkies, Trimountain, Calumet, Copper Harbor) he would never have to worry about snow for the Birkie and could probably hold the race in mid March. Yes, history…

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