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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!  















Practice, GRYSL volunteering, Korkki Meet
Jan 1, 2013, 12:58 pm

Happy New Year Skiers!


It’s been a great holiday break session with our team practices, with lots of folks putting their time in at Giant’s Ridge. Our ski trip to Maplelag consisted of many kilometers on trails and lakes-all in a superb setting - with a return date in Dec. 2013 already on the books!



Thanks to all the adults- Coach Ben, Debbie, Jeff, Keith, Jack & Sandy who joined the team trip and for all the help you provided!


Mother Nature is still on our side, and allowing us to follow our meet schedule as of now….


Team pics are here, and our team jackets should be arriving this week.


The volunteer sign-up sheet for the Giant's Ridge Youth Ski League is posted on the bulletin board. Skier's: pick your Sunday's on when you can assist with this important club. Wear your team jacket when helping out.



After school practices will resume on Wed. Jan. 2 at 4pm, with Classical skiing.


The Korkki Nordic Ski race is still on for Thursday, Jan. 3rd. This is a wonderful “old school classic” race, with a narrow trail system set deep in the pines located near Two Harbors.  We haven’t been to Korkki in a few years due to snow problems, so many of our skiers will get to experience a totally different & unique race format. The race starts at 1pm. Check the line-up page for more info.  ** leave Mesabi East at 9:00 am (instead of 9:30 am), VA - 9:30 am, E-G - 9:45 am. **


Friday - 1/4: practice.

Saturday - 1/5: practice for V/JV. “Technique by Jack ” Noon start. Classical.  


Let's keep rollin' - guys & gals- Varsity, JV, Jr.High & our 16 super skier Newbies!









Dec 24, 2012, 11:14 am


Hello ski fans! 


The ski trip to Maplelag Nordic Ski Center for this weekend is ON!


They received 2 inches of snow on Monday, and the trail reports are- very good skiing.  We’ll take that and the predicted snow flurries on Friday & Saturday. 


 ** We have had some skiers cancel, so if anyone is interested- Varsity, JV, Junior High or first year skiers – come join the fun!  **


We will be leaving Mesabi East at 8:00 am on Saturday & Virginia High School at 8:30 am. We are staying 2 days & 2 nights, returning on the afternoon of Monday, Dec. 31.  The cost is 65.00 for both days/nights, 6 meals, and ski pass, per skier.  The booster club is picking up the rest of the tab.


 Bring:  a sleeping bag, pillow, all ski equipment, ski clothing, swimsuit, SNACKs, Gatorade, etc.   


We will be  skiing lots of trails (64k), hot tubbing in the State’s largest hot-tub, taking sauna’s & steam rooms, movies & even ice-skating.  This is all available.  Here is their website for more info. http://www.maplelag.com/ 



** If you haven’t signed up, and want to go, let me know asap. **  I will base our numbers on the current sign –up list (with a deduction for those skiers who have talked to me about not going). 


Let it snow! 


Cheri Johnson 

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

229-2413, 750-7904, kcj@frontiernet.net











We are back to some great training and wonderful ski conditions these past few days.  


Saturday's - "technique by Jack" session proved more than helpful- our Varsity skiers said it was fun to boot!  (thank you Jack)   Let's keep all the improvments on track and we'll have no problem placing where we need to be.  Front page results are good, and we've done that, but now it's time to reach higher.  Top 15 for all Varsity can be done!!   The rest of the clan took off and completed the "Gold Trail"  - a 15k course of despicable ups... along with the thrill of glorious downs.  My challenge to all of you during this break- to tackle the GOLD- and discover one of my favorite trail's...  


 Ryan & Josh looking forward to the GOLD descent and.. finish!



SKIER'S - we are very fortunate to have fantastic skiing conditions at Giant's Ridge. With the frosty trees, it is a winter wonderland!  For the little amount of snowfall that we have received, the grooomers are working some magic and providing us with incredible snow conditions.  Grab a teammate and put in the extra's!!  Your competitors are out there too..! 


The MAPLELAG ski trip scheduled for Dec. 29/30 is looking bleak.  Their ski reports are: thin snow, lake skiing, etc.  Not what we are looking for at this time of the year.   A couple of options that are being tossed around- a trip to Ironwood, Michigan to ski the ABR / Wolverine Trails- either the weekend or a day trip. This area got an early xmas gift of much needed snow, and the trail system is a ton of fun to ski.   The Maplelag folks will keep our deposit to use at another date..  Stay tuned, we will take off for ...   somewhere. 


SKI PRACTICE over the holiday is mainly for the Varsity / JV skiers, but I will be available at GR after these sessions, so if any of our junior high or first year skiers want to come out for some additional training, just let me know and we'll hook up. (after 12:30 pm) JH / new skiers: if you can't get to GR, just get out- anywhere- your local golf courses are a good place to ski.  Work on the basics.  BALANCE- is number one on the check list.  The more time on skis, the faster skier you'll become.


 Check the ski calendar for the times and days.  Dress warm, the forecast predicts cold weather and bring your gear- clothes & equipment to the TIMING BUILDING.  We will be meeting there for our practice sessions this week. 


Results from the Duluth East Holiday relays in Ely last week are posted at www.boreal.org/~durfee.  A good showing by lots of our young skiers, and a recovery of sorts for lots of our veteran skiers who have been down and out with the (crud). 


Remember to put SNOW on top of your wishlist and Merry Christmas! 





Training Updates, Captain's Awards, Ski Meet, Christmas Party, Maplelag
Dec 16, 2012, 7:12 pm

(12/18 update)








As they say in the world of hockey-  let’s be-  FULL STRENGTH this week! 


Continue to bring both pairs of boots on a daily basis - classic & skate - as this uncertain weather makes for short notice change ups with our daily practices and ski meets. 


Along with that, here is a list of other important (continues) ….


Continue to be flexible.

Continue to have great attitudes.

Continue to reach out and make new team friends.

Continue your dedicated listening and learning - from us coaches.

Continue to get your rest, eat right and do your schoolwork.  

Continue to smile when you ski! 


Last week’s Captain’s Ski Meet Awards went like this:


Anna J. –  “Superstar” skier title for accomplishing a personal goal and a surprising 6th place.

Josh J. – otherwise known as (Double J), got the “Can’t be Stopped” award, & a 1st place JH finish.

Lynette- - got a best “Funny Face” award.  Check with the team for a full description on that one!

Sam T.-  is cherishing the title for “Most Fashionable Technique”.  Fall. Stop. Put on hat. Adjust hat. Go. 


These awards are presented in good fun and typically at our next practice following a ski meet. .. 


And a big shout-out to our new official unofficial JR HIGH COACH - MARIAH PETERSON!  We are excited to add an experienced and committed coach to our staff! 



Now on to the serious side of skiing…


Our training will start to pick up the pace, with a few days off over the holiday.  The calendar has been updated, please take note of the changes for days, times, etc. during Christmas break.  A special “Jack” ski clinic has also been added.  Our ski season is short & fast, with our Section meet on Feb. 7, followed by the State Meet on Feb. 14.  


Thursdays’ ski meet set for Spirit Mtn in Duluth is questionable – if it will be held there - or not.  Stay tuned.


Friday is our annual Christmas Ski & Pizza Party.  Our team captains are doing a fine job at lining up that event.   The T-SHIRT game will be held, so dig up a fun / crazy shirt that you want someone else to receive. 


Our trip to Maplelag Ski Resort (Dec. 29/30) is still on our radar, but they also need snow.   For those of you who have signed up, please bring your money to practice this week.  The cost - $ 65.00 includes 2 days / nights of skiing, 6 meals, transportation, ski passes.  Maplelag is located in Calloway, MN. (near Detroit Lakes)  ** If they don’t receive snow, we will implement our back-up “no snow plan” **   We will be taking two vehicles of skiers, and hope to have an extra car / van to carry most of our ski equipment. 

If you have any questions about this trip, give me a call at home – after 6:30.


The Jr. Nordic Ski Club is going into production at the ME / VA / E-G schools.  Download a flyer if you need info for someone, and if you know of any skiers in 5th or 6th grade who want to join, tell them to register with their school's community education department.  Once a week sessions at Giant's Ridge, for 8 weeks, on Thursdays during our practice time.  Same transportation as the team.  Josh Peterson will be coaching this club. First club meets on Thursday, Jan. 10th. 


Let it SNOW! 



NO ski meet on Sat. 12/15 for our TEAM
Dec 14, 2012, 8:50 pm

Hello everyone,


Due to a high number of sick skiers, (and recent recuperating sick skiers) our team has pulled out of tomorrow’s ski meet.  


So… hunker down for a quiet weekend of rest and come back Monday- healthy, happy & strong!


We’ll be hitting it hard next week- to ski fast for Thursday’s meet.



Saturday's Ski Meet - moved to SNOWFLAKE in Duluth
Dec 13, 2012, 9:49 am

**  Due to the lack of skiiable snow in Ely, the meet scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 15th will now be held in Duluth, at Snowflake Nordic Center. **



This will be a SKATE race.



Bus departure times have changed.  We will leave Mesabi East at 7:30 am, Virginia at 8:00 am, and Eveleth at 8:10 am. We will stop to eat.  We should arrive back around 6 pm.


Week 5 of Nordic Ski Training & Racing... & FRESH SNOW!
Dec 9, 2012, 8:37 pm

 A full week of training is ahead, with a focus back to Classical technique for the upcoming Ely Invitational on Saturday, along with a return plan to ski the wonderful trails at Giant's Ridge.


Good job to all skiers at Mt. Itasca!  Fifteen teams throughout Section 7 & Section 8 were present for the 2012 ski race debut.  For our first race performance, we skied well. The girls team placed 4th , a mere 7 points behind Grand Rapids, and only 11 points behind 2nd place team- Ely. The boys team started their season with a 5th place finish. The JV & JH skiers had many top 10 finishes also, while many of our new skiers found out what ski racing was all about.


We know what we have to do- to get where we want to be!


The quote of the day – from sixth & seventh graders- Isaac & Ian: “ We skied so much before the race, all of our wax wore off!”   I believed these two boys were on their skis from the time the bus pulled into the parking lot, till their race start…



See all the results at www.boreal.org/~durfee (aka: Steve’s Timing). Put this link on your favorites, as Steve Deschene and his wife (& dog Cedar) out of Grand Marias conduct all the timing for our Section 7 races.


Our 2012/13 team captain’s were presented with a showy applause and dorky ceremony at Friday’s practice.

Seth & Simon Holmes, Sam Johnson, Emma Hafdahl and Stephanie Madzey all stepped up to take on this important team role.  Good things to come on all fronts, starting with the return of our “captain awards” at Monday’s practice.



** Team Pictures **  this Thursday.  Pick up forms from practice. Wear your Flame or Black Team jacket, team hat / headband, and black ski bottoms. 


Keep up the great work ethic, and we’ll keep moving forward.



Dec 2, 2012, 10:57 pm


Dec. 7th

SNOW UPDATE!  click on links:  Big Snowmaker Moving in for Sunday December 7, 2012 Winter Storm Watches were going up Friday morning as a major winter storm was expected to make it's way across the region starting Saturday night and into Sunday. As of 6 am Friday, the path was predicted to run from SW Minnesota up through NE Minnesota and parts of northern Wisconsin. However, it is a big system and much of the region is expected to see some snowfall. Snowfall amounts could exceed 6 inches, perhaps over 12 inches for select points, by Monday. The exact path may very well change over the next 24 hours so stay tuned... Related: Regional Winter Storm Statements Paul Douglas Weather Blog Updraft Weather Blog






GOOD NEWS / BAD NEWS WEEK ... hopefully short lived (bad news)


What a great week of skiing we encountered last week! NICE snow & GROOMED trails- it doesn't get any better than that for the last week of November! With that comes a huge shout-out to the new head maintenance guy at Giant's Ridge - DAVE from Lutsen! The skiing was perfect- THANK YOU to DAVE and his staff of groomers.


Other good news-


  • Lots of rave reviews from the girls’ team first ski season sleep-over. THANKS so much to the Hafdahl’s for their warm hospitality!


  • Donated ski equipment has been finding another purpose with our new skiers. THANKS to many parents & alumni skiers who have found a re-use for their out-grown / no-longer used boots, skis and poles. A receipt for tax purposes will be mailed out to you.


  • Our stock wax system set-up is now complete. THANK YOU to MN Concrete Design.   The team appreciates your donation of shelving and bins!


  • The first ski meet of the season is this Saturday, Dec. 8th in Coleraine.  Skate race for V,JV, JH. Classic race for new skiers who are ready to race.   All ski team members will go to this race, whether racing or cheering on your teammates.     


Ok, so now the not so good news….


1) Practice on Monday, Dec. 3: Bring your RUNNING SHOES. (& your ski boots). Just in case. It might rain. We hope not. End of that story.


2) Forms : are still missing, please get them in to me asap.


Clearance Slips: Wolfie, Simon, Reid L, Julianna, Erinn, Taylor, Nya, Hailee.

Medical Consent forms: Julia, Emma G, Seth, Simon, Rachel, Ried L, Nya, Paul, Macy, Ryan, Ian, Monica, Katie, Sam T, Megan, Erinn, Sean, Taylor.


We are looking good on the trails!



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