Sixty-five high school Nordic skiers from teams across Michigan and Wisconsin converged on Houghton, Michigan for the Third Annual Keweenaw Christmas Camp from December 27 to 29. The training camp was held at the Swedetown Ski Trails in Calumet and the Michigan Tech Ski Trails in Houghton.
High school and middle school ski racers were coached on their classic and skating technique over the three-day camp, met skiers from other teams in the Midwest, and finished with an exciting 4 x 3km relay race. Mike Young, camp organizer and Copper Country Nordic coach, said "The Copper Country is an ideal place to hold a training camp because the snow is so reliable and the trails are among the best in the country. We started offering the holiday camp in 2003 to bring together cross country skiing teens from the region." He commented that the teens really enjoy skiing with other people their own age and learning new ski drills from other coaches.
Each team provided coaches to a pool that also included Michigan Tech Nordic Ski Team coach Joe Haggenmiller, Finlandia University's coach Christopher Schmidt, and University of Vermont and Ski Tiger alumna Emily Klemp formerly of nearby Laurium. Young added, "The skiers really value the time and one-on-one attention they get from the coaches. We are continually amazed by the huge improvements some skiers make in the space of only three days." The camp serves as the athlete's final training boost before the regular racing season hits.
Participants included many of the top skiers in the Great Lakes District of the US Ski and Snowboard Association. The USSA 2006 Junior National Championships will be held in Houghton from March 3 to 11 at the Michigan Tech Trails and hosted by the Copper Country Ski Tigers. Young expects to see several local athletes competing in the week-long series of races come March.
Start of the 4 x 3K Relay