Nordic Nation

Compiled and Edited by Allison Slavick

Oct 05, 2014

Cross country skiers from all over the country will once again be making their way to Ironwood, Michigan in January for the 6th Annual SISU Ski Fest on Saturday, January 10, with Snowshoe races on SUNDAY January, 11th at Milje's Trails in Wakefield, MI. The top finishers of the Combined ski/snowshoe events will be awarded a special combined trophy. Check in at as details become available.

Gogebic and Iron Counties, Michigan envision a training center for Olympic Nordic skiing with teams of athletes from around the world practicing ski jumping and cross country skiing. The centerpiece would be Copper Peak where thousands of visitors watch year round international competitions on the newly restored artificial slide. This is the new vision of the Copper Peak community. New artificial surfaces would allow year round jumping. There is international interest in Copper Peak hosting future world championships. It would be the largest summer ski jump in the world and host the FIS Summer Grand Prix World Championship, possibly as early as 2016. Such a complex would host the best ski jumpers in the world including the world's best women jumpers: the USA Women's Ski Jumping Team. The last time a world record jump was set in the United States was in 1913 on Ironwood's Curry Hill. 

Preparations for the largest gathering of international athletes since Sochi 2014 continue with the launch of the volunteer program for Cable 2015, including a video aimed at attracting recruits.

Organizers of the 2015 IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships taking place in Cable, Wisconsin, USA, from January 22 - February 1, have launched their volunteer program aimed at recruiting the multitude of helpers needed to host such a prestigious international event.

The volunteer program allows individuals and groups to participate in the World Championships by helping to fill key roles and provides them with a behind the scenes glimpse into a major international competition. Depending on the length of service, volunteers can receive meals and accommodation along with complimentary merchandise.

The IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships will need between 350-400 volunteers over the 12 days of the event. Volunteer opportunities include helping with the start and finish line areas, course patrol, biathlon range, press services, security and crowd control, stadium set-up, race administration, medical and much more. Opportunities include both inside and outside spaces.

To sign up as a volunteer for Cable 2015 go to:

Cable 2015 is expected to gather around 150 athletes from 20 countries less than one year after the most successful Paralympic Winter Games ever took place in Sochi, Russia.

More information can be found at or contact James Bolen, Chief of Event Support at: or 715.798.3977.


The Soldier Hollow Legacy Foundation (SHLF) has announced the hiring of Richard Hodges as its new Executive Director effective July 1, 2014. Hodges will oversee the execution of the foundation’s strategy to build upon its current financial stability and continue building to regain its place as the premier cross-country ski and biathlon venue in North America and become a year-round tourism and event magnet for the Heber Valley.

“Richard brings to this position a contagious passion for Nordic sports,” said Brian Olsen, newly-elected Chairman of the Board and 2006 Olympian. “He brings a compelling vision for re-invigorating the venue’s facilities, its programming, and its ties with the Heber Valley community.”

A past member of the foundation’s Board of Directors, Hodges has 10 years of experience as the volunteer President of The Utah Nordic Alliance (TUNA), the largest cross-country ski organization in Utah. In that position, he grew the organization’s membership, event participation, and revenues, and assisted smaller ski clubs with becoming financially stable.

Hodges has stated that his immediate priorities are to listen to the ideas and feedback of the foundation’s many stakeholders, from employees to long-time Soldier Hollow users. “I very much look forward to working with local business and community leaders in Midway and Heber Valley to help expand Soldier Hollow’s presence and profile,” said Hodges.

With sport central to the foundation’s mission, Hodges looks to build deeper and even stronger ties with regional and national sports organizations, such as the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association and the U.S. Biathlon Association. The goal is to ensure that the venue is contributing to the athlete development pipelines of these sports by recruiting and developing new talent and providing a world-class training and competition venue for elite athletes.

Outside of the ski world, Hodges has been in the transportation sector as an accomplished project manager, economist, and, most recently, private consultant. He has worked for and in support of government entities such as the Utah Transit Authority, which will serve him well leading a foundation holding the concession contract with the State of Utah to operate the Soldier Hollow venue: “Our long-term partnership with Utah State Parks ensures that together we provide great opportunities for the community,” he said.

Having worked as an event volunteer and advisor to the Salt Lake Organizing Committee since the early days of what would later become Soldier Hollow, Hodges experience with the venue runs deep. The foundation’s first and current Executive Director, Howard Peterson, will remain as a consultant through September providing Hodges with continuity and expert advice after having served in the position for more than a decade. “I am honored and privileged to have the opportunity to work with Soldier Hollow’s world-class staff to carry forward the Olympic and sport legacy that Howard has built,” concluded Hodges.

Italy’s Marcialonga organizing committee gave Nordic sports lovers and fans a chance to collect a bib to the 42nd running of the popular cross country race scheduled for January 25, 2015. Registration the official website sold out the thousands of tickets available in just ten minutes. The 7,500 athletes entry limit was reached in a record time and thousands of so-called ‘bisons’ from around the world will ski the next Marcialonga in the Italian Dolomites, with  two confirmed courses – a 70k classic technique from Moena to Cavalese and 45k classic from Moena to Predazzo. The race is part of the Worldloppet series and FIS Marathon Cup and Ski Classics series. For more information visit

The 2014 U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association Awards have been announced:

USSA Club of the Year Awards
Cross Country Club of the Year Award - Stratton Mountain School & T2 Team
Jumping/Nordic Combined Club of the Year Award - Nordic Ski Association of Anchorage

Bud and Mary Little Award – Chris Grover
Presented in recognition of service to the International Ski Federation or U.S. Olympic Committee
Known more as head coach for the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team, Chris Grover (Ketchum, ID) is playing an increasingly vital role behind the scenes within the International Ski Federation. As the Chairman of the FIS Cross Country Sub-Committee for World and Continental Cups, he is a difference maker for the sport worldwide. Grover has spent over 15 years in service with the U.S. cross country program as a visionary, program designer administrator, bridge builder and leader.

Buddy Werner Award – Liz Stephen
Presented to an outstanding USSA athlete who demonstrated leadership and good sportsmanship.
A rising star on the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team, Liz Stephen (E. Montpelier, VT) is a source of inspiration and energy with her non-selfish enthusiasm a key to the success of the women’s team. This past season, Stephen rallied fundraising on her own to help support a physical therapist for the team. And she’s a frequent visit to schools and a leader of the Fast and Female movement, inspiring young girls about sport.

Cross Country Domestic Coach of the Year Award – Patrick Weaver
Former national team member and now Univ. of Vermont Coach Patrick Weaver (Burlington, VT) has a long history of success with athletes at every level. This past season his UVM cross country team athletes had top results in the U.S. junior and senior championships, as well as NCAA Championships, and placed six athletes onto the Junior Worlds and U23 World Championships team.

Cross Country International Coach of the Year Award – Gus Kaeding
Under the leadership of Coach Gus Kaeding (Stratton Mountain, VT), Stratton Mountain School – T2 continues to produce outstanding talent and serve as a development ‘factory’ with strong results at all levels of the development spectrum. This past season Stratton qualified four athletes to the 2014 Olympic Team with two athletes earning World Cup podiums.

Jumping/Nordic Combined International Coach of the Year Award – Greg Poirier
Greg Poirier (Heber City, UT) has been a key player in ski jumping and nordic combined for decades. He worked in Canada at the CODP in Calgary, ran the National Sports Foundation and was a leader with the Park City Nordic Ski Club. Poirier has changed many lives in the sport and given so much back to the sport he loves. As a longtime coach with the U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team, he has impacted elite athletes at the top level of the sport and played a vital role in moving athletes through the development pipeline.

Jumping/Nordic Combined Domestic Coach of the Year Award – Blake Hughes
Blake Hughes (Park City, UT) was a ski jumper at the development National team level before he began to coach with the Park City Nordic Ski Club under the mentorship of Alan Alborn. His passion for the sport has led him to helping both the Park City Nordic Ski Club at a developmental level as well as a development coach with the USA Ski Jumping program. Hughes traveled all around the world from Norway, Japan, New York and Alaska this winter, going above and beyond to support both organizations he works for and his development role, including coach the Junior Nationals team sprint champions.

Cross Country Club of the Year – Stratton Mountain School and T2 Team
Under the leadership of Coach Gus Kaeding, Stratton Mountain School – T2 continues to produce outstanding talent and serve as a development ‘factory’ with strong results at all levels of the development spectrum. This past season Stratton qualified four athletes to the 2014 Olympic Team with two athletes earning World Cup podiums.

Jumping/Nordic Combined Club of the Year – Nordic Ski Association of Anchorage
The Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage is a long-time leading USSA nordic ski club. It organized and hosted a successful ski jumping/nordic combined Junior National Championship. The club acquired a $1,000,000 grant from the State of Alaska to make significant improvements to their Nordic facilities, including the installation of summer ski jump surfaces (plastic) on all three jumps at the Karl Eid Ski Jumping Center. Anchorage also hosted the first USSA revised Ski Jumping Coaches' Education Seminar in November.

Cross Country Athlete of the Year - Kikkan Randall
With three World Cup wins and five podiums, Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, AK) forged her way to an unprecedented third straight FIS World Cup sprint title. Her success has continued to lift her U.S. Ski Team teammates to new levels including another World Cup podium in a team event this past season.

Nordic Combined Athlete of the Year - Taylor Fletcher
Taylor Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) has consistently risen to the top of the World Cup scene with impressive results, often crossing the finish with the fastest cross country time. Fletcher earned his best career Olympic result in Sochi, finishing 20th on the large hill, in addition to regularly posting top ten cross country finishes on the World Cup circuit. He also claimed silver at the 2014 U.S. Ski Jumping Championships in Lake Placid. At 23, Fletcher is anticipated to be a challenger in PyeongChang and beyond.

Ski Jumping Athlete of the Year - Sarah Hendrickson
After sustaining a serious knee injury in August 2013, reigning World Champion Sarah Hendrickson (Park City, UT) thought her dream of competing in women’s ski jumping’s Olympic debut was over. From the first day after her ACL/MCL reconstruction surgery, Hendrickson battled against the odds and held her head high, committing to an intense training and physical therapy regimen. In January, she was not only selected to represent the USA in Sochi, but also became the first-ever woman to compete in the Olympic Winter Games in the sport of ski jumping with start number one.



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