WHY JOIN CXC; Bill Pierce Has Your Answer

By: Peter Graves


Bill Pierce, CXC Skiing

CXC’s Team coach is a man on a mission, he want’s to help produce top flight skiing talent that will go on to make their mark in the future as a member of our national team and beyond. He knows that those goals and lofty performance objectives won’t come easy, but for those with the drive and determination, he knows that CXC can make it happen.

Recently, I talked with Bill about the CXC program, and how interested young athletes can turn their dreams to reality. Here’s a look at that interview.

PG:  Bill, thanks for taking the time. What do young skiers need to know about the CXC program?

BP: “Joining CXC is a unique and great opportunity! A new Olympic cycle is beginning and I see a new generation of young elites making choices to pursue this sport full time! Starting in these cycles is always exciting especially when an athlete and coach can have a vision to the future! CXC is and has been an awesome team and organization! It is so much more than just CXC Team and there is so much to do for growing our sport!”

PG: So Bill, what special things, unique things does CXC offer athletes?

BP: “This last season CXC and Rossignol started on a new relationship to build this sport and support the CXC Team. The first year was unbelievable support and education! Rossignol and staff are the best! With Rossignol, Toko, Start Poles, Bjorn Dahlie, Rudy Project and a few more to come I’m excited to introduce and get our athletes on the best equipment possible. We also have some of the best technology for progressing athletes. Getting athletes introduced and into our training and tracking programs is exciting!

The Central Region of skiing has awesome training venues and opportunities for both dry land and snow. The roller skiing in Hayward, where we are based, and also in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan has almost endless opportunities with the necessary terrain. The trail systems and waters also offer many different looking and unique training opportunities.”

PG: How complicated is it for a young skier to start thinking about taking the next step forward?

BP: ” For an athlete to improve and keep progressing is pretty simple. The most important factor is the relationships an athlete has to both the coach and the team. Communication of expectations, feelings, and thoughts is key to building a mutual trust that will progress an athlete to their planned goals. It also takes an understanding and acceptance of the needed time, patience, and commitment. One of the biggest issues in our sport, is that athletes quit too early. There are a lot of reasons for this and CXC is working on most of them, so that these athletes can work till their potential is realized and reached.”


PG: Can you please address what your coaching philosophy is Bill?

BP: “The training processes that we engage in must have a defined purpose. Individual passion comes from and is fired by the enjoyment of these processes. You also must have a vision and goals for these processes. Your goals, both individual and team, must be measurable and tracked. Each individual is encompassed by a mind, body, and spirit. Being balanced in all three will only enhance your enjoyment and success in this and any process in life.

There are only three ways to progress and get faster in this sport.  Physical training, perfecting technic, and possessing the best technical equipment are the three major factors.

There are many important sub factors in each and the bottom line is; the fittest athlete, with the highest skilled technical efficiency, who is on the best equipment….is the fastest. Time (lots of it), Patience (lots of it), and Commitment (lots of it) is what it takes to be the best.

At CXC Skiing our resources for planning and tracking your goals and progression are excellent. Each season early assessments of your base aerobic and strength fitness will be measured for annual periodization planning. We will also assess both through technology and art, the efficiency of your technique, looking both at your ability to apply power and glide. Poling force power can be assessed through advanced tools and the experienced eyes of our coaching staff. Some of the tools that CXC owns are:

·        Running treadmills

·        Roller ski treadmill

·        Double and single poling machines

·        Power pole measuring equipment

·        Instant video recording and feedback as you ski

·        VO2 and lactate measuring equipment and protocol

PG:  Thanks Bill for taking the time to explain how a skier can benefit from the program offerings of CXC, it looks like it is very well thought out, best of luck.

Professional Skiers Wanted!!


- Motivated athletes wanting to inspire to athletic excellence and realize their DREAM.
- Must be willing to be a part of the TEAM that is building and expanding the sport of Cross Country Skiing in the Central Region.
- Must have a purpose that is fired by a passion.
- Must have a commitment to goals, team, and community.
- Must be willing to give, learn, and grow as an individual and athlete.
- Must commit to finding your ultimate potential within.

With one Olympic cycle ending and a new one beginning, now is the time to create your new vision and goals, make your plans, and start to realize your DREAM!!  With every Olympic cycle that passes, a new generation of athletes step into the process of achieving their full potential. Don’t miss the opportunity to pursue your heart and DREAMS! Get ready to discover your maximum potential.

Learn more and apply today, – find out if dreams do come true!

Just 5 days left to reach our goal!

Dear Friends,

OUR CXC thermometer is growing, and we are getting closer to reaching our year-end goal of $40,000 by December 31, but we’re not there yet and there isn’t much time left.


Just how important is this milestone? Well consider this… with your help, we can introduce children of all backgrounds to a lifelong activity like Nordic skiing and use our sport as a tool to develop essential life values such as excellence, friendship and respect. These values will apply on the snowy playground behind the school, in a first ski race, in academics, back at home and in life. With the help of our sport we can and will grow leaders in our communities that value and promote a healthy lifestyle and joy of winter!

At CXC our goal is to have a complete pyramid of athlete development, whether the top of the pyramid is an Olympic dream or simply enjoying winter on skis. And we are close to our goal with your help. Our elite athletes are truly an inspiration for our children. 35 athletes have been part of the CXC Team since 2007 and all of them are giving back to the sport in their communities as true ambassadors of the sport.

In this final update, I would like to share with you some notes we have received by e-mail and on our fundraising page:

“Very grateful for all that CXC has done for me and US skiing. Let’s get more people on skis and enjoying winter.” – Brian Gregg, Team Gregg and CXC Team alumni.

“Because of CXC Adaptive Program, I fulfilled a dream!” – Brian Stewart, veteran and Adaptive Birkie skier

“This program is amazing. Not just for skiing but for life. My results have brought me to levels where I can train with teams and Olympic athletes of different sports.” – CXC Academy member

“Our daughter came home and was really sad to be home which means she had a transformational experience. In the end it wasn’t about the results, she was not feeling great so didn’t ski to her potential but it didn’t matter, it was about the shared experience with other great kids and coaches. She met some great new friends and will have memories for a lifetime.” – parent of a junior skier from U16 (J2) NENSA Championships.

“It was truly a fantastic event. We had a great time and do look forward to the next event!!!  We are happy to be a part of these events!!  Thanks again!!” – volunteer from the 2013 IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup in Cable , WI

This is a time filled with progress and excitement. Will you join us by making a gift before December 31 to help reach the $40,000 goal? Any amount does make a difference.

I sincerely hope you will – because a donation of any amount will help us meet this important goal and will help insure inspired lives for the future! We wish you all the joy the Holiday Season can bring.

Yuriy Gusev
Executive & Athletic Director
Central Cross Country Ski Association
Community Olympic Development Program

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CXC Raises $21,341; But More Still Needed

Dear Friends,

Thanks to all of you we are half way through our fundraising campaign and with your support we have raised to date $21,341 towards our goal of $40,000! All of us at CXC are deeply appreciative.

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In this note, I would like to share with you an update about our CXC Adaptive Program. The CXC Adaptive Program provides opportunities to participate in the sport and offer equipment to individuals with physical disabilities and visual impairment or blindness of all ages and abilities. Just last year CXC introduced over 300 individuals (children, adults and veterans) to Nordic skiing and provided over 700 hours in programming. There is a huge need, now.

Here’s a really gratifying quote.

“Brenden has really enjoyed his first year of cross country skiing thanks to Dr. Nemeth, Yuriy, Duncan and all of the volunteers of CXC. CXC has helped Brenden to achieve a consistent fitness program, socialization and introduction to a sport that can be done throughout his lifetime.

Over the last year we have seen improvements in his skiing abilities and his desire to better himself. He has and continues to gain advice from a variety of elite coaches and athletes. Best of all, Brenden is having fun!”

- commented Jenn and Kerry Ojibway, parents of 13 year-old sit-ski participant

Here is another very meaningful one.

“I lost my vision in Iraq while I was on tour there in 2008. I was on a convoy operation just north of Bagdad in May when my vehicle was struck by an IED and it took my vision. I lost a good friend who was sitting right next to me. I picked up skiing after my injury. I love Nordic skiing because I feel free. It’s amazing just to be outside and enjoy wilderness. CXC has done a lot for me. Individuals that work there have big hearts and dedication. They got me involved in the sport, provided equipment, teach me technique and basics of training. Paralympic biathlon is what I’m pursuing right now.”

- said Steve Baskis, veteran and CXC Para Nordic Team member.

You get the idea…this program is changing lives in very powerful ways. But, to do this we need your help, more than ever.

We need your support to continue our efforts with the CXC Adaptive Program! Any amount will help and with a $100 donation or more you will get a special gift from Team USA – “SOCHI” mittens. Every contribution no mater great or small is deeply appreciated.

Together we can make a difference. Winter belongs to everyone!

Yuriy Gusev
Executive & Athletic Director
Central Cross Country Ski Association
Community Olympic Development Program


Rossland Rossi Racing


After cold skiing and cancelled races in Bozemen, I was excited to get up to Canada for 2 more races before Nationals.  The NorAm in Rossland, BC promised a strong field, tough races and a great opportunity to hone my race fitness.

20131214_133156First up, in Rossland, was a skate sprint.  I much prefer classic sprinting but have been working hard to improve my skating.  The West Yellowstone skate sprint felt sloppy and slow, so I tried to focus on good technique and quick snappy movements in Rossland.  Overall, I felt much better with the result.  Qualification went well and positioned me nicely for the heats.  The heats were crazy.   I managed to stay on my feet,  avoid multiple crashes, and close hard each heat to finish the day in 10th.


Temps hovered ominously around freezing that night and  race morning it was 32F.   It was some of the trickiest kick waxing I have seen.  Kick wax too cold and there was not enough grip for Rosslannd’s newly completed, hilly course.  Go to warm, however, so you can kick up all the hills and skis were starting to ice.  Icing occurs when snow sticks to the kick zone and does not release, starting a  snow ball effect under foot.  This causes severe drag.  Given the tricky conditions I reached into my ski bag and picked my Rossignol R-Grip with a BNS C3.3 grind .  The R-grip is a waxless ski with a specialized kick zone material.  The kick zone is simply sanded to raise little hairs from the ski.  The skis worked very well and gave me good kick and glide without any icing.  They were a great ski to have in my quiver when things got tricky and everyone was scrambling.


Denver airport knows how to handle skis

To best prepare for Nationals, I decided to stay out west at elevation.  I flew into Denver this evening and am excited to be back training in Colorado.

West Yellowstone Rewind

By:  Peter Graves


Dmitrey Ozerski 1st in the Distance Classic Race in Bozeman, MT

The West Yellowstone camp and early season races have been the exciting opening to the racing scene in the US for years now. Athletes, coaches and teams flock to this beautiful spot, not far from Bozeman to get a jump of the season. And in this season where there is so much on the line in terms of performance goals CXC was there in force.

Today we had a chance to catch up with CXC Sports Manager Andrew Poffenberger to get an interesting overview on how things transpired out West.


Not a bad office in Bozeman, MT

The CXC Team—no stranger to travel, hit the road on November 18th from the Twin Cities with four athletes and a pair of coaches who were overseeing the able body athletes on the trip, included among them are Karl Nygren, Dmitrey Ozerskiy (Moscow,RU), Eric Wolcott and Tom Bye (post grad).

In addition, four members of the CXC Para Nordic Team attending the West Yellowstone camp and following that went directly to Canmore, Canada for the first IPC World Cup races. Those skiers included star Augusto “Goose” Perez, Travis Dodson, Aaron Pike and Steve Baskis.

Upon arrival in West Yellowstone the snow was marginal, but wonderfully and seemingly on-call, the first night the snow arrived, as in six to eight inches, a provided a fine first full day of training. “The skiing could not have been better, the mornings were cold, and the classic tracks set up perfectly, while the afternoon’s warmed into the 20’s and the trails were ideal for skating”, explained Coach Poffenberger.


The “complete” team (without jr. devo team)

‘The Freestyle sprint race was a mixed bag for our athletes.  Some had a rough morning in the qualifier, but Dmitrey and Eric moved on the quarters.  Eric took the lead from the gun in his heat, but faded after the last climb.  Dmitrey moved through the heats. As the sun hit the snow the wax techs found the day’s winning combination.  His skis were lightning.  Unfortunately, during the A Final, Dmitrey lost his footing and fell hard on his tailbone.  He skied in after the fall to 6th place,” noted Poffenberger.


Sit-ski biathlete, Augusto “Goose” Perez

The 15km Freestyle distance race demonstrated solid results from all of our CXC athletes.

During the CXC training camp in West Yellowstone, it was clear that CXC embraces nordic skiing at all levels.  With the exception of our Junior Development program (which was at a camp in the UP), all of CXC’s programs were present and skiing together. From Masters team members, CXC Team athletes, Para Nordic athletes they were all working hard on the trails.  In a sport that the USOC has identified as needing inclusion and accessibility, CXC was the most complete club present.  “That was the most remarkable part of the trip for me”, said the coach.

Andrew praised the camp on many levels but also took the time to stress how important it is for the top athletes in the program. “From a technical standpoint, the camp was very important for our elite athletes.  We managed to hold a three-week long training and race intensive camp at altitude without anyone getting sick.  That almost never happens”, he explained.  As most know, going out West is vital as skiers have a very good chance of getting on snow the week of Thanksgiving. The early altitude is also a necessity with US Nationals taking place in Soldier Hollow coming up in early January, at the site of the cross-country and biathlon events of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.


When all the teams traveled down valley to Bozeman, it was cold, bitter cold. “We left for Bozeman, MT on December 4th to prepare for the Bozeman Super Tour races and the temps plummeted and the skiing was slow.  With temps in the morning nearing -25*F the sprint race was canceled.  After three delays, the temps managed to rise to legal race condition levels on Sunday.  The slow snow made it easy for the wax techs and our skis were kicking well uphill, and passing other skiers on the downhills. It was a great sign for us”, Andrew told me.

Due to the frigid conditions, the sprint race was was cancelled.

Then it was time for the Classic 15km event that proved a good one for CXC skiers.

Again, Andrew recalled… “We started the race with great skis, the CXC Team was in good position near the front of the pack.  With the slow conditions the group stayed tight during the first 15km.  After the race, other competitors joked that the first lap was a “warm-up”.  Even with the slow pace, Karl and Dmitrey managed to remain near the front of the pack, anticipating attacks and being vigilant.

The pace accelerated during the second lap, dwindling the lead pack to a group of no more than 12.  Karl and Dmitrey countered early moves by other racers.

Finally, during the third lap, Dmitrey made a move with two hills remaining.  By the time he entered the stadium, he had a 6 second lead.  This proved to be just enough.  Perhaps it was lost in translation, but Dmitrey thought the finish line was 100m closer than it actually was.  He managed to hold off the second place racer for the win.”

At the end of the long but satisfying camp and some very promising performances, the CXC coach felt more than good about the camp and the races, but better still, more than pleased by the direction things seem to be going. That’s a very good sign.

Veteran ski coach, broadcaster and journalist Peter Graves, who was once the chairman of the Central XC Committee, and worked at both Telemark and Giants Ridge, will be providing regular reports this season, exclusively for CXC fans. He will be an Olympic PA announcer in Sochi, his 9th Games.

The Power Within the Common Egg Yolk

Interview with Karl Nygren, CXC Elite Team

Karl_2‘I am not big into supplements but I have really liked how I have felt training the past few weeks taking Vector450. Vector450 contains Muno-IgY, an egg yolk-based IgY protein which has been closely studied and documented for maintaining a strong immune system. Having an optimal immune system can lead to improved stamina along with increased anaerobic power and decreased submaximal heart rate, shorter exercise recovery times and faster muscle repair while supporting the body’s natural process of inflammatory balance.’

What got you into XC ski racing?

I’m from Minnesota and skiing is very popular here.  I skied all through high school. After high school I pursued it more seriously when I went to the University of Colorado in Boulder.  While on their XC race team I earned a Bachelor’s degree majoring in math and minoring in chemistry.  However I decided to first pursue skiing even further and joined Central Cross Country (CXC) Skiing Association racing team.  I have been racing with CXC ever since. This year looks to be one of my best.

What does the future hold for a bright guy like you after ski racing?

When my ski racing career is over I’m considering med school or grad school in engineering.

What does typical training look like for you?

REG-Testing-001-412x550Right now, training is my main focus – 6 days a week.  I break up training activities, for example, I did a 3.5 hour run this morning. I also do a lot of intervals.  Today for example I went hard for thirteen minutes and then rested for three and did that four times.  Different length intervals make up the large majority of training. Shorter ones are faster and longer ones a little bit slower.  As the year progresses I go to shorter and faster intervals.

What made training at Canmore different than what you did at the Soldier’s Hollow training camp in Park City Utah the week before?  (Canmore is a high altitude ski resort just west of Calgary and for a week in October top racers came the US and Canada to put the final touches on their training before the season begins).

They both were great, Utah was getting used to the higher attitude and we did lots of hikes and long roller skiing session up the mountain roads near Snowbird. In Canmore I did an intensity block which is really tough.  I do a lot of back to back shorter faster intervals at a higher altitude.  Plus Canmore does a really cool thing, they haul out real snow which they have stored through the summer and lay it down into a 2 KM track…we call it ‘Frozen Thunder’.

Recovery – how do you quantify and measure it?

Index-Vector450-AdRecovery is something I find really hard to quantify and measure.  I really can’t quantify it beyond the fact that training has been really good this fall.  With the Canmore “type” of training I can typically expect to feel fatigue and worn out but I felt good and training went really well.  I was excited for that.  I have been on Vector450 since September 15th and it seems to make a big difference in my recovery.  I’m in the best shape I’ve been and feel really excited for the winter and winning some races.

Illnesses, we all hate getting sick but how is it a factor from your perspective?

So far I haven’t had an illness and therefor it hasn’t been a factor this year and that’s been nice.  Knowing that it is antibodies binding to germs makes me think Vector450 has taken away the anxiety of getting sick. I think that even by taking away the anxiety of getting sick you decrease your chances of catching something – you can work yourself into frenzy and make yourself sick by worrying about getting ill.

Have you raced yet this year since you started taking Vector450?

I haven’t had any races since I’ve started taking Vector450.  The first on snow race will be this Thanksgiving at Yellowstone Montana and I’m really excited and looking forward to it as my form and performance has been coming along well. I am thrilled with my energy levels and ability to push day-in-day out.  I am doing negative splits on daily workouts and comprehensive negative splits on the training period.  Pushing the pace and building the race form is feeling great!

How much do you take?

I usually take two every day and take an additional capsule after a really hard work out.

What is your nutrition like and do you take any other supplements?

My nutrition has been the same as last year. I focus on eating high quality food – lots of colors and fresh produce.  I don’t really pay attention to percentages of carbohydrates and fats that I take in.  I take what appeals to me and looks right. As for supplements, I don’t take anything else other than an iron supplement. I feel I get plenty of vitamins and minerals through my diet.