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 TRAIL KIDS programs. Coaching the TRAIL 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 TRAIL 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.
I grew up Nordic skiing with my family and was hooked after joining my high school ski team at Roseville. My passion for skiing took me to Bemidji State Unviversity where I competed on the Nordic Ski Team from 1989 – 1993. I have enjoyed racing on Team Rossignol for the last twenty years along with meeting people from all over the world. My second passion is mountain biking and new this year gravel biking! It has been a joy to coach youth ages 7-14 through all the TRAIL KIDS outdoor activities! In my spare time I enjoy biking and ski adventures with my husband Craig and daughters Leah and Hannah Rudd.
Kim took the position as Director of TRAIL KIDS in March of 2013. Her coaching experience includes:
- MYSL Ski Coach (2003 – 2012)
- Loppet Nordic Adult, Junior, TRAIL KIDS and Loppet Pillsbury Elementary Program coach (2006 – 2014)
- Currently the Armstrong High School Assistant Nordic Coach (2010 – 2018)
- BICP Level 1 and 2 Certified Coach
- USSA Nordic Level 100 ad 200 Certified Coach
- Top podium finishes in many mountain bike and ski races!
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.
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.
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 TRAIL 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 TRAIL KIDS organization.
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.
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.
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.
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 began his most important role in life, a father to his son Harrison. 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 a librarian with Highland Elementary in the Columbia Heights School district. This is his second 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.
A Wisconsin native most recently living in Alaska, Kim first fell in love with cycling when she discovered cyclocross in Anchorage. After being exposed to sand, mud and dirt, she wanted to explore more and found herself getting lost on single track. Mountain biking has been one of her favorite ways to play outdoors and get out with friends. New this year to instructing with the Loppet Foundation, Kim is excited to mentor and share her passion for mountain biking with others.
Laura started skiing at the age of 3 but didn’t fall in love with the sport until she joined the Rochester Nordic Ski Team in 7th grade. She is currently a student at the University of Minnesota where she studies statistics, economics and Italian. Outside of school she stays busy as the Vice-President of the Club Nordic Ski Team and is looking forward to teaching Trail Kids about another one of her passions, orienteering!
I have completed in orienteering for four years for Cretin-Derham Hall’s JROTC program. I am now attending Inver Hills Community College for my Registered Nursing degree and I will be moving to Colorado to finish my Bachelors in Nursing and Wilderness Emergency Medical Services training in two years. I love teaching and working with kids and sharing my knowledge about a sport I love. This is my first year with TRAIL KIDS and I couldn’t have picked a better organization to work with. In my free time I enjoy spending time on the water and taking in nature
John was an NCAA Division III varsity athlete (football and track and field) at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, but really found his way to silent sports through a housemate in Minneapolis who had graduated from Northern Michigan University, and introduced him to Nordic skiing and climbing. John helped revive the varsity Nordic program at Patrick Henry High School in 1999, and was head coach of that program for the next seven seasons. He has coached MYSL at Wirth from 2013 to the present. He is currently a high school English teacher at Thomas Edison High School in Northeast Minneapolis, where he helped to start and continues to lead the Edison Outdoor Club, involving students in year-round outdoor adventures. He is eager to share his passion for Nordic skiing — with a slight bias toward the classical technique.
Joe is an avid cyclist who has been riding and racing bikes as a lifestyle his entire life. While mountain biking is his favorite, his ridiculous collection of bikes ensures every surface and season is indeed bike season.
When Joe is not riding his bikes, he runs a family graphic design studio in Mpls called Duffy. He is also on Board of Directors at The Loppet Foundation. He and his team are responsible for all things branding at the Loppet.
Joe and his wife Regan and 2 daughters are all involved in Trail Kids. This is their second season coaching and as participants and absolutely love everything about it. Their favorite thing to do as a family is riding bikes which includes their 2 year old Viszla, Penny Lane. She might actually like biking the best out of all of them.
Coach Shane has been riding bikes for 41 years and currently lives in south west Minneapolis with his wife Erinn, son Oscar (7) and daughter Olivia (4). He is very excited to be involved with the Loppet Foundation and TRAIL KIDS. His current value for N is 10 (bikes needed = N + 1). Work days are spent downtown at Target corporation where he is a software engineer. Besides biking he also enjoys spending time with friends, golfing, nordic skiing, downhill skiing, snowboarding, hockey, and of course playing with his kids. His favorite quote about biking “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing” (Gene Oberpriller).
I’ve been biking (mountain biking/road biking) in various forms and fashions seriously since 1995 when I graduated college and moved back to my hometown of La Crosse, WI. To which this area has an outstanding abundance of high quality road riding and now, after years of building up the trail system, high quality mountain biking. As my riding has changed over the years and the racing becomes less, but the commuting more, I still have a great time when I’m on my bike. I’m new to TRAIL KIDS this spring, but hope that I can help the kids improve on their skills and help them have a good time and enjoy being on their bikes.
Steve was fortunate enough to have a velodrome in his hometown of Kenosha, WI and began racing there at 12 years of age. Racing in the velodrome lit the fire for what has become a lifelong pursuit of fun, friendship and competition on two wheels with this year marking 30 years of racing experience across many cycling disciplines. Steve is a firm believer that the bicycle is the optimal tool for exploratory missions far and wide; the speed of autos is too fast to process it all and you cannot get anywhere very quickly on foot. He and his wife Mollee live in Bloomington, MN with their frisky Alaskan Husky pup named Jojo, whom Steve is grooming to be a trail dog that can shred some dirt (or snow) and be a part of these off-road adventures. Having been fortunate to have many great coaches and mentors throughout his cycling years, Steve feels compelled to help spread the joy of cycling to future generations via a strong foundation in the skills and fundamentals required to pursue cycling as a lifelong passion.
David enjoys a wide variety of outdoor activities including: skiing, running, canoeing, mountain biking, orienteering, hunting and fishing. David enjoys both racing and training and loves to share his excitement and knowledge of these activities with others. David has coached the TRAIL KIDS program in skiing, orienteering and mountain bike programs since the fall of 2016. He especially enjoys how the group dynamics of TRAIL KIDS motivates young kids to learn and get active! David has a son Karl who loves being part of the TRAIL KIDS program, a daughter Kajsa who will hopefully join the program soon and is married to Josie who also loves participating and racing in a wide range of outdoor activities.
I fell in love with the sport of mountain biking over 20 years ago. In the early days I enjoyed racing in the Wisconsin Off Road Series and Chequamegon 40. Now, I love to just ride for fun. I enjoy the solitude of being alone with my bike in the woods and I also enjoy riding with my family (husband Scott and 2 kids ages 8 & 11). I’m passionate about helping kids (and adults) find an activity they love that gets them moving, but doesn’t feel like exercise. Biking has always been that activity for me. I also enjoy waterskiing, snowboarding, Nordic skiing and hiking.