Loppet TRAIL KIDS Coaches
Mary has raced in the Minnesota State High School meet, in the Junior Olympics for the Central Team, and for the Division I Nordic program at Middlebury College. Returning to Minnesota after years abroad has meant returning to skiing and training. Mary is a licensed teacher with experience teaching and coaching middle school kids. She coached cross-country and track and ran the ski club at middle school for four years. Last year, she was an assistant coach for the Southwest High School nordic team. She first discovered the benefits of Loppet Foundation training programs for herself, then enrolled her own kids in Loppet FAST KIDS programs. Coaching the Fast Kids program since 2013, she has had a great time watching how fast young athletes can learn to ski fast!
Julia (aka Jules, JC, or Curry) started skiing her sophomore year at Woodbury High School in Woodbury, MN. She skied for The College of Saint Scholastica in Duluth, MN from 2007-2011, and made a trip to Truckee, CA for Junior Nationals in 2009 as a 2nd year “Older Junior.”
Julia made her coaching debut as a volunteer assistant coach for the PWER Nordic Ski Team (Park, Woodbury, East Ridge) during the 2013/14 season. She was also an age-group coach for the 2014 Midwest Junior National Team in Stowe, Vermont. Julia is really looking forward to working with the stellar Loppet Nordic Racing athletes and other coaches!
Craig has pinned on a race bib several times a winter for 28 seasons straight, either competing as a high school athlete, collegiate skier or more recently as a recreational racer. Craig has a passion for coaching kids in the 9 – 13 year old age bracket. He has over 10 years of experience coaching this age bracket while coaching, MYSL, Silverski groups or the Loppet’s FAST KIDS program. This will be a new experience for Craig as this will be the first year he has coached this age bracket without one of his two girls, Hannah or Leah in his class.
Racing: Kim fell in love with Nordic skiing at a young age and was a ski racer for Roseville High school. After racing for Bemidji State Unviversity Nordic Ski Team from 1989 – 1993, Kim has enjoyed racing on Team Rossignol for the last twenty years. Some of her top performances include her third time first place podium win at the 2013 Noquemonen Ski marathon, 2013 Twin Cities Women Champion, and third place podium winner at the 2013 Classic American Birkebeiner. Kim took the position as Director of FAST KIDS in March of 2013. Her coaching experience includes:
- Minneapolis Ski Club Coach (1994-1999)
- MYSL Ski Coach (2003 – 2012)
- Cooper High School Coach (1997)
- Gear West Adult Ski Program Coach (2005)
- Loppet Nordic Adult, Junior, Fast Kids and Loppet Pillsbury Elementary Program coach (2006 – 2014)
- Currently the Armstrong High School Assistant Nordic Coach (2010 – 2014)
Education: Kim has a B.A. in Chemistry and Minor in Biology. She also earned her M.A.C.E. at Bethel Seminary.
Family: Kim has been married to Craig for twenty years and enjoys skiing with her daughters Leah and Hannah Rudd
Hobbies: Traveling, Camping, Mountain Bike racing, cooking, gardening and writing.
Craig started skiing at age 3. He grew up in Winona, Minnesota. While in Winona, he had his first coaching assignment while in 5th grade, worked at Valley Ski and Bike, and skied on the newly formed Winona High School ski team. In college, he skied on the Hamline University ski team. In 1985 he was the Kortelopet Champion. Since 2009, he has coached for the Edina High School Nordic Ski Team and is now Associate Head Coach. Craig is also active with the City of Lakes Loppet, currently associate chief of course. He enjoys designing and building ski trails. Craig is a Level 200 Certified USSA Coach.
Leslie Hale learned to nordic ski in the 1970s on wooden skis with cable bindings and snowmobile boots while her parents took long swigs of wine on the trail from cowhide flasks. She recovered from that experience and several times placed in the top 5 at the MN state ski meet and competed in Junior Nationals for the Central division. She went on to become an All- American xc runner at Brown University. After a hiatus of 25 years she returned to Nordic skiing, and the LNR coaching staff fixed her 80’s technique enough that she is now placing in the top 10 females in the Birkie classic race. She has raced the grueling 3 day Arctic Circle Race across Greenland 3 times, placing third female in 2014. Leslie believes in the importance of introducing kids to nordic skiing in a fun environment focusing on good technique and laying the groundwork for a lifetime of health and enjoyment of exercise. Leslie has a Master of Public Health degree with a specialty in Community Health Education.
Piotr Bednarski has been coaching at a high level for more than 20 years. He has coached at the college level and he is coached national and internationally successful athletes. His Go!Training program has produced some of the region’s and country’s best skiers for years. He looks forward to bringing his experience and expertise to a new challenge in growing Loppet Nordic Racing.
Jake’s first adventures on skis began in the backyard of his family’s Minneapolis home at age three. Jake ski raced for Minnehaha Academy during high school and will be skiing for St. Olaf College. Jake enjoys skiing and biking with his two brothers, Luke and Nate, as well as fishing and epic ping-pong matches. Jake aims to complete twenty Birkebeiners by age forty
Rich Ryan began his ski life in the river hills of Burnsville. He competed in high school and college (UMD, UMM), and on some days in the present. He has coached skiing at MYSL Hyland. He also coaches soccer, running, swimming and photography. He has two kids 9 & 11, and gardens when the soil is workable.
Paul Choudoir has spent almost all of his winters skiing in the backwoods of Wisconsin. Paul competed for the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. He was a team captain and helped coach a youth ski league in the Green Bay area. Paul currently works at Boulder Nordic Sport in Bloomington, MN.
Drew Carlson spent half of his grade school skiing; joining White Bear’s team in the 7th grade, he has been eagerly welcoming winters ever since. In college he joined the Nordic Club at the University of Minnesota, and has been busy tallying up citizen races with favorites including Birkie (of course) and Seeley. He is excited to share his passion for skiing with the awesome FAST KIDS this winter!
Janna is a passionate ride of any and all kinds of bicycles. From the earliest days of riding her 1970’s Schwinn Lil’ Chik with the banana seat around her neighborhood, she has known the joy and zen of riding. Sixteen or so years ago, she was introduced to mountain biking and fell in love with the peace and beauty of riding on dirt. She has been racing mountain bikes ever since.
When coaching mountain biking, she focuses on two things: safety and cultivating the pure joy of flowing through the woods on a bike. Through her coaching, she aspires to inspire kids to create a healthy lifestyle centered around positivity and a lifelong love of outdoor fitness.
Paul Krawczyk has been avid outdoor enthusiasts his whole life. Paul has raced mountain bike for over 28 years in a variety of different formats from 24 hour races to tandem racing with his wife. When he is not riding he is stomping around Theo-Wirth with his family or enjoying their urban home. Originally a Wisconsin native Paul has lived and loved Minneapolis for the last 25 years and is excited to teach and work with the Fast kids organization.
Pete Moran is a math teacher at Lakeville North HS. He skied in high school at Southwest followed by St Mary’s in college. His coaching background includes: Irondale High School, Minneapolis Ski Club, Saukko Ski Club, and Loppet FAST KIDS. Pete’s son Aidan, who is in the pictured trailer, is now skiing in FAST KIDS.
Gretchen started ski racing when she was in seventh grade at Stillwater Area High School and skied through college, racing for St. Olaf. She was All-American at USCSA Nationals three of her four years at St. Olaf. Gretchen helped coach at Minnesota Youth Ski League Marine-O’Brien her last two years of high school. She loves skiing, being outdoors and hanging out with kids and she’s really excited to be joining FAST KIDS this ski season.
Mike’s was introduced to Nordic skiing on the agriculture fields and golf courses of West Michigan as a 5 year old on wooden skis with cable bindings and snow boots. Although he was led astray for a few years by the lure of Alpine Skiing and playing Lacrosse at the college level (briefly), he eventually saw the light and returned to this great sport as a way to break up his training as a competitive cyclist (mountain and road). Mike has a number of years of experience coaching youth skiing in Fairbanks, AK (where he learned how cold is too cold for any ski wax!), Seattle, WA and now with LNR where all 3 of his children participate to some degree.
TJ grew up in the hotbed of Minnesota Nordic skiing in the 1970’s, Marine on St. Croix, where he started playing hockey and skied to school. In 1989 he began coaching juniors in Park City, Utah. After moving back to Minnesota he coached high school for 3 years and then founded the Saukko Ski Club in 1996 to 2005. During this time, he also coached on the Midwest Junior National Team for 7 years. In 2005 he took time off from coaching to earn his Masters in Education and has been a middle school teacher for 21 years. His favorite thing to do is to climb mountains and telemark ski down.
Hannah was pulled in a bucket behind skis even before she had her first snoopy skis. Starting off in the French MYSL program and then going through the Maple Grove ski team she was always running or skiing around. During her high school career she had the privilege of being on the Midwest Junior National team numerous years. Getting to race in California, Alaska and Utah. She then continued on to race for St. Cloud State University as well as lead her own Maple Grove summer training group. Now that she is back in Minneapolis she has been coaching with Gear West and racing with Fulton Brewery. She is so excited to get to be able to be a part of the FAST KIDS program this year, and to help the next generation reach their goals and enjoy this life long sport!
Nate has been ski racing since he was in middle school. He competed in the state meet three times and received all state recognition his senior year. After high school he skied for Saint John’s University and raced several marathons. Nate is very passionate about training the next generation of skiers. He has been teaching skiing for several years and works with youth in outdoor education when not skiing.
Greg is a former high school state track champion (200m and 400m) and college track athlete (NDSU) turned road and mountain biker. He is the assistant coach and team mechanic for the Armstrong High School Cycle Club and is new to the Trail Kids program this year. He enjoys working with new and experience riders and helping them develop into into skilled, controlled and confident riders and racers.
Greg makes his living the the music industry and enjoys various outdoor adventures with his wife Sara and sons Calvin and Quinn.
Steve rediscovered his love of riding bikes after a shoulder injury kept him out of the kayak for a year. Since then, he has raced bikes in all types of formats and conditions, from 24 hour solo races in the Sonoran desert of Arizona, to 135 mile races on the Arrowhead trail in Northern Minnesota in the dead of winter. This August, he will compete in his 10th (and final?) Leadville 100, in Leadville, Colorado. He prefers riding single track, gravel roads, and snow to pavement. He is excited about the opportunity with LNR to help kids get out and enjoy all that trails have to offer.
Rosalie hails from Cornish, NH and started skiing in high school where she joined the Ford Sayre club team her sophomore year. During her time at Dartmouth College, she participated in both the Nordic and Cycling teams, and escaped campus a few days each week to coach BKL at her home ski club–which she saw as the best study break out there. Post-college, she coached full-time at Soldier Hollow in Utah. Rosalie loves coaching technique in fun, creative ways, and building long-lasting relationships with the kids she coaches. In her spare time, you can find her mountain biking, writing, dancing, doing yoga, and hosting potlucks. After ditching her Eastern roots, and giving the West a fair shot, she is so excited to be in the Nordic-rich Midwest and take part in the Minneapolis skiing scene!
Cory has started skiing in high school and immediately found a love for the sport. He is currently a student at the University of Minnesota where he is studying business and marketing education. Winters are filled with competing for the UMN club ski team, coaching at Armstrong, and waxing skis. Cory had a blast working with both Trail Kids and LNR juniors this past summer, and is excited to get back on snow this winter!
Guido is a former professional road cyclist. He started racing when he was 16 years old but has been riding bikes since he was two. He is the 4th generation of cyclists in his family with a few World Medalists in it. He represented the Argentinian National Team in his junior years and after that he spent most of his career racing for different teams in United States. After he stopped racing as a professional, he worked as an Assistant Director of a Professional Men’s Team. Guido is new to the Trail Kids program this year and he is very excited with the opportunity to share his passion for the sports with the kids.
Aaron has been working with kids in a variety of youth development roles over the last 10 years, including classroom teaching, coaching, and mentoring. Most recently he spent this fall as an assistant coach for the Minnetonka Mountain Bike Team. He loves being outdoors and inspiring youth to develop a passion for living an active lifestyle.
When not mountain biking he typically spends his time road cycling, rock climbing, fly fishing, and snowboarding in the winter months. In his professional life he works as an educator in the Robbinsdale School District.
This is his first year working with the Loppet Foundation and he is very excited to instruct, coach, and mentor youth to discover a passion for the outdoors and reach their full potential.