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Feb 18, 2013, 11:24 am

Another wonderful, exciting, fun-filled ski season- come and gone! Remember at that very first meeting… way back in October… when it was stated- that the “ski season is short & quick”?  2012/2013 started and ended in a way that every coach hopes for! THANK YOU skiers for making this year , one of the best ski teams ever! Next ski season is going to rock even more!


A recap of our last week….


Congratulations and a race well-done by our 5 State Meet qualifiers! With the undaunting presence of top skiers throughout the state of Minnesota, Sam, Emma G, Emma H, Reed & Anna J. held up and held on to ski their BEST RACE of the season! The State Meet is a “whole new race”, and you proved to your competitors, that you could handle it. Emma H. placed at 76th, Reed – 56th, Emma G. – 41st, and with “All State Honors” (top 25 in the state meet) recognition for skiers:  Anna J. – 21st, and Sam – 12th .  These five, along with many of our friends fom Section 7, (Duluth East, Ely, Marshall, CEC, Grand Rapids) really put on a show, and we are super proud to be a part of this incredibly strong group of teams.  Fantastic results! Great job skiers!





The Charlie Banks relays were held on Wednesday, with 37 teams participating. Our teams of 4 guys – Paul, Nate, Ryan & Spencer and gals- Christine, Dorthe, Lynnette and Stephanie all shared a lot of fun to end their official season of team racing. Nice job to all of you- this is always a pre- charge up for our skiers who don’t make the State Meet cut-off. The boys team finished at 21, while the girls placed their team at 33.



The JV / Junior High Championships were held the day before, on Tuesday, with many top finishes throughout our young team.   It was a beautiful day and everyone appreciated the trails at Spirit Mountain. Most of these skiers were brand new to that first day of practice, never being on skis before.  I just want to say… look how far you’ve come! Next season, will be 100% different (way EASIER!) with all the experience you have now. Smooth sailing (skiing)- come next November. Thanks to Bobbi L, for all your help on this day, and a huge shout-out to our Jr. High leader- Coach Mariah! Results speak for themselves. 

For detailed standings on the CB relays and JV / JH Championships, log onto www.boreal.org/~durfee. (Steve’s Timing.com)


One day left to own for our team:


Tuesday, Feb. 19: The final team get-to-gether! JH, JV, Varsity & the Jr. Nordic Club will all share one last day of ski fun. From 4-6 pm, we will have our “ride the chairlift”, ski to the shelter & hot dog / smore roast” day. BRING: your uniforms- ski racing suit, warm-up jacket & pants, and all sets of ski equipment. These will all be checked back in on this day.   If you plan to use team equipment until the snow melts, you may- just make arrangements with Ben or myself. Thanks to Jack Greenlee for being our “fireman” and setting up our fire / roasting sticks at the Laurentian shack!  (usual school tranpsortation is provided).



But, don’t let this all of this end your personal ski time! With the superb snow conditions, warmer temps, and increased daylight, you know my mantra… “THIS IS THE BEST TIME OF THE YEAR TO SKI!”   Keep up your training- it will only help your spring sport activity. Ski some new & old trails- Big Aspen – north of Virginia, Aurora Rec trails, Colby Lake Trails (Hoyt Lakes), Carey Lake (Hibbing).


On top of that, check out the race calendar and ski a few upcoming citizen races. The “PEPSI CHALLENGE” is in your own backyard, show your local support and ski this traditional race on Saturday, March 9th. For more info- check the race out at – http://www.pepsichallengeskirace.com/pepsi.php

Some other dates to put on your calendar:


  • Sunday, March 3- Ski Banquet, 5pm at the Biwabik Pavilion
  • Saturday, April 6- Spring Magazine Drive Fundraiser at the EarthFest in Mt. Iron.



Again, my THANKS to all of you parents and skiers for your contributions during the season! We have one of the finest and most dedicated booster clubs anywhere; you all step up and lend a hand when asked- either by me, or by the staff at Giant’s Ridge! Our athletic directors and transportation people also get a nod-it isn’t easy to keep up with our schedule! Jim James, Kyle Thoreson & Kerry Bidle, (A.D.’s) along with Bob Judnick, Brian Chapman and Brown Transportation, can rest now after weekly and sometimes daily - emails & phone calls…. THANKS also to these behind the scenes ski lovers: John Filander for being our go-to-guy in with our grooming needs, (along with being the Granola Bar guy), Todd Roswold for providing us with expert tracks and perfect corduroy, Ron Kutsi is our never –tiring team photographer, Pepsi Deb Maki, for putting on such great races – the ME Invite & the Section 7 meet.   Big KUDO’s to the coaches that make everything come together: Tony Norland, Jack Jeffery, Josh & Mariah Peterson, and Ass’t coach Ben Croft.  You all know – what it is like- to coach a ski team!  I appreciate what you all bring to the Mesabi East / Virginia / Eveleth-Gilbert program. It was a fantastic ski season!!


See you on the trails.



Feb 10, 2013, 12:05 pm


At the Section 7 race, our team showed up and showed everyone, that the skiers of ME / VA / E-G know how to ski! My expectations were met and all of you should be very proud of your ski performance! Congratulations to all of you - for giving your all, and leaving nothing on the course for a perfect ending to the 2012/13 ski season!  


More congrats to our 5 team members who qualified for the 2013 State Nordic Ski Meet on Thursday!!

Sam Johnson – 2nd, Reed Melicher- 10th, Anna Johnson- 4th

                     Emma Greenlee-7th, & Emma Hafdahl- 12th




To add to that, we had a bonus of both the boys and girls teams placing 3rd overall – out of 11 teams! This is a nice, solid position for our teams. (for this year anyway!) 



T-shirts , Spaghetti, and the Post-Race celebration dinner- all go hand in hand, thanks to our Booster Club president Peggy Giese, and to all the other parents who baked, cooked, worked the start / finish lines, and lent a hand with all of our Section preparations. Thank you to all- this team could not have the success (or fun) without your support!


To top off a wonderful week, I can announce that our Section teams, both boys and girls once again won the “GOLD” Academic Award (sponsored by the MNHSCA) for the 2012 / 2013 ski season. To achieve this, I I submit all 14 GPA’s and secure an average. Congrats, to the boys for their study skills - they came out with a 3.86 total, and the girls were right there too, with a 3.75 GPA. Way to “SKI SMART” (in the classroom)!  We will get an engraved plate to add to the 2012/13 award.


Not to forget- Another CONGRATS to the skiers from M.E. for their upcoming duties of homecoming royalty! Sam Johnson, Wolfie Blee, and Hailee Jofs will all be representing their school , as they promote “SNOBALL” week.


We’re not quite done yet, as this week encounters the accumulation of all of our team members in a variety of ways…  


Mon. Feb. 11:


-          Practice for those skiing in the State Meet & Charlie Banks Relays.


-           JV / JH Championships at Spirit Mountain in Duluth, 1pm. THANK YOU to Bobbi Lesar

      & Chad for being “coaches of the day” for this event. If any other parent(s) would like

 to ride the bus, there is room. Bus leaves ME at 9:30.  Coach Ben will take over once the bus arrives.  Bring money for the MCDonald's stop on the way home.

** Back-up plan in case of another weather issue- this race will be held on Tuesday, same time, same place. Check back & watch emails for more details. Skier start list will be posted on the ski meet line-up page. **


Tues. Feb. 12:


-          Practice for State Meet & Charlie Banks relays skiers.

-       Jr. Nordic Club


Wed. Feb. 13:


-          Pep Fest at Mesabi East- 8:15 am for all ME / VA / E-G ski team members.  The VA & E-G skiers have always come over for this, (a bus has been provided in the past) and it is just a short (15 min) assembly, where I get to – yep- brag about this great team! We have always had the whole team there- JH, JV, Varsity & managers, as I recognize all of our team members to the M.E. student body & staff. Please wear your team jacketsState skiers also bring your medals.  This is the coaches moment to SHOW ALL of YOU OFF!! Watch your emails, this website for the transportation details.


-          Charlie Banks Relays, 1 pm at Giant’s Ridge. 4 guys & 4 gal skiers will make up 2 teams of classic and skate to race a 3k loop. 40 teams partake in this event, it is another avenue to the State Meet, so find your fast twitch tempo to ski this quick course.   Skiers are listed on the line-up page.  


-          State Meet skiers- practice, 4pm. Ski / Wax. Coaches meeting: 4:30-6pm.


-    State Meet Banquet, Awards, Video presentation- 6:00-7:30 pm in the Chalet. Skiers & Coaches are pre-paid. Parents if you’d like to attend, remaining tickets go on sale ( $17.00 each) between 5:30-6:00 pm, and sold on a first come basis.  ** 2012-13 State Meet apparel will also be on sale, get it early before they run out. **


Thursday, Feb. 14:


-          State Meet: Girls’ 5K Freestyle- 10:00 am, Boys- 11:00am. Girls 5K Classic Pursuit- 1:30 pm, Boys 5K – 2:30 pm.   Awards to follow.


-          After the race: Hot – tub, pool action at the Lodge for the ME / VA / E-G team. $ 5.00 per person.



Tues. Feb. 19: Our final team gathering – JH, JV, Varsity, 4-6 pm at Giant’s Ridge. Annual “ride the chairlift, ski to the shelter & hot dog / smore roast” day.   Uniforms, jackets, pants and equipment will also be returned on this day.


Sunday, March 3: End of Season banquet. 5 pm, at the Biwabik Pavilion. (Rescheduled from Feb. 24) more details to come.



That’s the rest of the season!   It went way to fast!! Seems like yesterday, that we were heading off to West Yellowstone…  


One final note for the week....


GOOD LUCK to the JH & JV skiers at the CHAMPIONSHIPS!


GOOD LUCK to our STATE MEET skiers- and enjoy your week of fun times!


Feb 3, 2013, 7:23 pm

THIRD PLACE on the PODIUM for both Varsity teams on Saturday!  We'll take it, but keep our sights on second! A very exciting day for our guys & gals at the Cook County Ski Invitational.  We had several new skiers take part in the first half of the pursuit race, along with many top 15 finishes also in our Jr. High division. Everyone put in a tremendous effort on an (not - so- easy) and longer than usual course. Think of it as another piece of our speed play for this week's Section Race and the upcoming JH / JV Championships.  Check out the results at: www.boreal.org/~durfee. Our Section Team is listed on the team line-up page.



 We only have 2 weeks left on our ski team calendar! It gets kind of crazy & busy with all the end of the season events, but we’ll stay on top of our ski game in every which way!


Here is a glimpse of our upcoming schedule…


Monday 2/4 & Tuesday 2/5: Varsity / JV Skate & Classic practice. Bring both sets of everything. Section courses will be skied. JH – Skate practice. Jr. Nordic Club. Bring your money for your Section 7 T-shirt.


Wed. 2/6: Section Team – wax. Skate practice for JV /JH.  TEAM DINNER for all ski team members during practice in the sports dorm.


Thursday 2/7: SECTION 7 MEET, 10:00 am. Skiers need to be at GR at 8:00. Team camp will be in the Lodge’s Fitness Center. All other skiers need a note from your parents in order to be excused from school if you want to attend the meet.


Friday 2/8: V/JV/JH practice (last regular JH practice, until the Feb. 19th gathering)  


Monday 2/11: JV / JH Championships at Spirit Mtn. 1:00 pm. Skate Race.  Practice for everyone else at GR, 4-6 pm.


Tuesday 2/12: V/ JV practice for those skiing Charlie Bank’s Relay’s & the State Meet. Jr. Nordic Club.


Wednesday 2/13: Charlie Bank’s Relays, Giant’s Ridge. 2 teams of 4 boys, 4 girls. State Meet Banquet, 6pm.


Thursday 2/14: STATE MEET, 10:00 am, Giant’s Ridge. HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!  


Tuesday 2/19: last official ski team get-to-gether. Annual “ride the chairlift, ski to the shelter, & hot dog roast” day. Equipment and uniform turn in day also. Last Jr. Nordic Club



Sunday 2/24: Team Banquet, 5 pm, Biwabik Pavilion. More info to come.



We are looking forward to the above timeline, knowing that our team has come a long way, and excited to see what the tournament results will bring!








Great Attitudes, Cook County, T-Shirts, Warmer Schedule!
Jan 27, 2013, 12:59 pm



The CC ski meet has been changed to Saturday, Feb. 2 with a start time of 11:00 am. 

Bus leaves the Mesabi East pool parking lot at 7:00 am.  VA / E-G skiers need to provide their own transportation to Mesabi East on this day.  We will not be driving to VA / E-G for any pick-ups / drop-offs.  We should arrive back at Mesabi East around 7:00 pm.  More info on the ski line -up page.  The start list will be posted on Friday.




Way to prove yourselves guys & gals at the Duluth East Invite on Friday! For our Varsity folks, it was the first Pursuit race of the season. This format consists of doing two 5k races- the first race being a skate race. Where you finish in this race determines your starting position for the second race- a 5k classic. Congrats to all of our skiers at all levels- varsity, junior varsity and junior high! We don’t have a huge team, but we do have the right skiers to make it work….


My biggest compliment though, goes out to all of our skiers, for showing and giving their 100 % in their personal race, along with giving their 110 % + for demonstrating their positive and caring attitudes as a team!


Results can be found at: http://www.boreal.org/~durfee/duluth_east_pursuit_1_25_13.pdf (Steve’s Timing.com)



Dedicated ( & warmer !) training this week, will precede our next ski meet – which is the Cook County Invitational in Grand Marias.


This again is a pursuit race for our Varsity skiers, and a classic race for JV & Junior High.

This ski meet is also the one where the Eveleth-Gilbert & Virginia skiers come to Mesabi East to board the bus. The bus will be in the pool parking lot, load time is 6:30 am, leave time is 6:45 am. I will check with the VA transportation to see if Bob will provide a bus. (I don’t remember if we have asked for this before) If that isn’t a plan, hopefully some carpooling can be utilized for this day. We will arrive back at Mesabi East between 7 and 8pm.  


The Section 7 T-Shirt design is a wrap, and pre-orders will be taken at practice.  Two shirt options are available: Gray long sleeve ($ 20.00) or gray short sleeve ($ 15.00) Order by Thursday, Jan. 31.   The top part of the design is the front of the shirt, the bottom of the design is the back of the shirt.   Deer River will be added, Hibbing will be taken off. 



 Here is what we have going on this week Jan. 28-Feb. 1.


Monday / Tuesday: Skate practice. Working on the Silver trails with speed and tempo, along with transitions.  Captains Awards.

Wednesday: Classic ski.

Thursday: Classic ski – section course & Wax; Jr. Nordic Club session.

Friday: Cook County Ski Meet. All skiers board the bus at Mesabi East, 6:30 am.  

Super Team, Smart Skiing, GRYSL, Jr. Nordic Club & Schedule
Jan 20, 2013, 1:20 pm


COLD ????

Wed. Jan. 23: -6 balmy degrees....


YES it was fresh out on the trails today..... and an eye-opener for many skiers on our team, at how S... L...O...W.... the snow is at these temperatures. 

Didn't need kick, didn't have glide, and no-one was standing around bsing ..... Wink 

But it was good to have the team back together, if even if it was - just trudging along on our skis!  You guys are TOUGH!!  Check out the frosty get-ups! 


Bring on the sun-block and sunglasses,  tomorrow we're skiing with a high of.. an intense 2 degrees!








Due to the continuing extreme cold weather and windchills, ski practice is cancelled for today, Tuesday, January 22. 

I encourage everyone to visit their school’s fitness center to get some sort of indoor workout in if possible. 

See you on Wednesday. 

Stay warm! 

Cheri Johnson

Coach, ME / VA / E-G  Nordic Ski Team

229-2413, 750-7904





Where has the season gone? It seems like we were just starting out … with 39 skiers…   (all accounted for yet!)   …dry land training…. equipment fitting.... waiting for snow...technique sessions….girls' team sleepovers... endurance plans…waiting for more snow....bus rides… ski meets…. holiday practice….ski trips… &… new team friends from the schools of Mesabi East, Virginia & Eveleth-Gilbert.


With less than 3 weeks to go to the Section, JV / JH Championship races, our team has seen some outstanding progress, and is sure to encompass more in the upcoming ski meets.   Many of our skiers have moved around on our team, whether to a Varsity / JV class, or just to a different group within practice.  EVERYONE is skiing well, and it is exciting to see!! (kudos to our 16 newbie’s!) Keep up the great practice attendance, keep putting in those extra’s-(that I drone on about)- and you’ll turn the corner with your skiing, sooner than later. Along the same note, our “super managers” (Wolfie & Julia),are always there when we need to get it done- in the wax shop, at the meets, taking splits at practice, etc.  Thanks to them and to our “can’t race right now skiers” - (Kaitlyn & Juliana) for lending a hand with Coach Mariah’s group.  Captain's- Simon, Seth, Sam, Emma H, & Stephanie are also noted to the weekly roll call of leadership and fun.  “TEAMWORK” is definitely happening, in all ways possible!


It was an exciting day for our ski guys & ski gals yesterday at the Ely / Proctor / Marshall Classic Invite.

Our training is paying off, as the results are very convincing that-we can provide some disturbance within the section! Check out the standings at:  http://www.boreal.org/~durfee/proctor-ely-marshall_cl_1_19_13.pdf. (Steve’s Timing)



This time of the season is when we need to really concentrate on lots of: REST, GOOD NUTRITION, FLUIDS, TIME MANAGEMENT, SMART SKIING – (Nordic, alpine, boarding) etc. to stay healthy and strong.   At this stage, with our terrific race outcomes, we can’t afford to lose anyone from the team due to illness or injury.



The Giant’s Ridge Youth Ski League is very appreciative of your help. Remember to sign up for your favorite Sunday. Two sessions (one hour each) are listed within the team’s lettering guidelines.


Recently, our Jr. Nordic Club welcomed 5 new members to the scene- Anna, Sarah, Andrew, Kaden, & John, along with Coach Josh, to our Thursday practices. These young skiers are lots of fun, and taking everything in with their weekly sessions. 



Here is a look at this week's schedule:


MONDAY -1/21: practice cancelled due to extreme cold temps/wind-chill.

TUESDAY – 1/22 -THURS. 1/24: practice as usual. Speed / Continuous Pursuit / Technique / Wax

FRIDAY- 1/25: Duluth East Pursuit Race. Pursuit for Varsity. Regular Races for JV / JH. Line-ups posted later in the week.



Bring extra layers for Tues / Wed practices- it will still be c..o..l..d..!





Invite= Done. Results= Posted. Changes= got them too.
Jan 13, 2013, 9:25 pm

Another Mesabi East Invite wrapped up! 


All of our skier’s raced very well given the icy & (dicy!) conditions. The course was certainly tougher than the trails, but it was a race none the less. All in all, the race added another component to our training plan. Results are at this website: http://my2.raceresult.com.   (SuperiorTiming.com)


Front page sports sections are always a bonus for nordic skiing, and one of our skier gals- Stephanie Madzey – got her picture in Sunday’s Mesabi Daily News.

Nice looking double pole release too!




  My THANKS goes out to all of the ski parents & skiers who contributed so many hours to our team- on & off the trail for this big weekend! The spaghetti feed went off without a hitch, (thanks Peggy, Erika & Norma) and everywhere I turned, there were ski parents & alumni skiers outside at all the various check points needed to run a successful race.  The yummy food and snacks were also a hit - THANKS to those who provided such a nice spread of soups, fruit, cheese, crackers, coffee & cocoa. And... the skier posters were outstanding, thanks to all of our ski friends who shared the day with us!


I hope everyone is warmed up by now…  again, THANK YOU so much for your support!!


Make sure you check out the photo gallery too.  New pictures will be posted from the CEC & ME Invites.  My thanks always- to one of our biggest fans on the course- Ron Kutsi. 


The never ending changes, in the sport of Nordic Skiing, continues….




  • The Proctor Invite scheduled for Tuesday has been cancelled due to poor snow conditions. Instead, we will get a full week of solid training in. 
  • The Marshall Sprints are also cancelled due to their unskiiable trails.
  • ON FOR SATURDAY 1/19!   The newly listed, banned together schools of ELY, PROCTOR & MARSHALL CLASSIC SKI MEET. Racing begins at 11:00am. Check the ski meet line-up page for the current info. Start list will be posted later in the week.


Most of the trails are intact at GR, so we will be back in the woods for Monday’s practice- which will be CLASSICAL technique.


Let’s keep the cold weather, but bring on the snow !




Mesabi East Inivte UPDATE....
Jan 11, 2013, 9:58 am


ME Invite / Spaghetti Feed Update # 2  (noon- Friday, 1/11)


RACE WILL BE HELD !!    Laughing


        Not sure of the course.    Two options:   1) Trails or 2) Alpine hill (like last year)


-          Waxing:  3:00 pm today at Giant’s Ridge


-          No skiing today.


-          Spaghetti Feed:  As planned by the organizers.  Eat as a team between 5-5:30.  



See everyone later! 

Cheri J.




Good Morning skiers & parents,


An update as of 9:00 am, Friday, Jan. 11th.


-          ME Invite: no final decision has been made yet.  Rain / Snow / Travel…    Race organizers are looking at all options at this point.

-          Waxing: we’ll have to wait and see what the road conditions are like for this afternoon to get to the Ridge.

-          Spaghetti feed : meatballs are made, Pavilion is set –up. Worst case scenario, (the feed / meet is off- due to all weather related issues) we freeze the sauce / meatballs for a fundraiser during / after our ski season; give to Pepsi Challenge Race; etc.


Please stay tuned to your emails / website.


Cheri Johnson

Coach, ME / VA / E-G Nordic Ski Team

229-2413, 750-7904





Get Ready & Get Going!
Jan 5, 2013, 9:08 pm


January brings into play the “GUTS” of the season, as the kids know I refer too.    



Up until now, we have worked on: building our base for endurance & stamina, instilling technique (over & over, and we’ll keep perfecting it), and racing to determine our strengths and weaknesses. Next up, we’ll be adding the speed role to our skiers practices for a bit more intensity on the race course.  



Results from Korkki look good and as we all know- it is a unique ski trail system and a ton of fun to ski. Racing on the other hand, with today’s equipment, (compared to the wooden skis back in the day…) brings another aspect to:  intact equipment, staying upright, and skiing safely. All ok, except for one broken pole… Check out the results at www.boreal.org/~durfee, and check out some of our gal skiers in their retro spandex race suits in the photo gallery. 



Captain Awards for this meet were presented at Friday’s practice, courtesy of Capt'n Simon.  


Isaac Krog:  Best Attitude for day! 

Megan Williams: Best Attitude for her very first ski race! (a 4k to boot!)  

Spencer Krog: Best Win! Spencer easily won the JV 6k. 

Reid Lesar: Best for being wild & crazy and... skiing a good race. 



Saturday’s Technique with Jack was beneficial for several of our V / JV skiers (and this coach) as they acknowledged the necessary skills, to accessorize their own ski performance. THANK YOU JACK!  


Remember to sign up for the Giant's Ridge Youth Ski League.  1 hour for 2 Sundays. These young skiers look up to you! Wear your team jacket when helping out.



Our upcoming schedule will consist of: 


Monday, Wed, Thursday: V/JV - Training for ME Invite – skate & classic- depending on what race V/JV skiers are committed to. All others – ski practice with Coach Mariah.  Wednesday:  Team Jackets will be handed out.   Thursday: First Jr. Nordic Ski Club session!


Tuesday: CEC Invitational at Pine Valley in Cloquet for V,JV, JH & new skiers. Note a change in departure time: Bus leaves ME at 8:00 am, VA- 8:30, E-G- 8:40. Skate race. See ski meet line-up page for more details.


Friday: V/JV- ski & wax. All others: Spaghetti Feed Fundraiser at the Biwabik Pavilion. Eat as a team around 5:30. Remember your dessert duty- pan of bars or cookies, cupcakes, etc for the feed.  


Saturday: V / JV - Mesabi East Invite at Giant’s Ridge, 10:00 am.  Classic skiers arrive at the Ridge at 8:00 am. Skate skiers - 11:30. See meet-line up page for details.

JH & first year skiers- come out to support your teammates and see what this big ski race (1200+ ski racers) is all about!   


Ski with your heart, and ski as much as possible.. but be rested and on top of your game for Saturday.


This week will be crazy busy, and super fun!  















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