Youth Program November Updates

Author: Chris Kvam, RXCSF Youth Program Director

Note: If you missed the bio we published on Chris Kvam, our new Youth Program Director, you can read it HERE.

Hi Everyone!  It is getting colder! Time to think about cleaning storage wax off the skis and making sure our kids’ ski boots and clothes still fit! I am very excited to be involved in our Bill Koch program. As I said in my last update, I hope to foster an inclusive, fun, supportive environment that teaches kids of all abilities to love skiing. This will require a large amount of group support.  I hope that a few parents of our young skiers will participate as assistant coaches, that others will help manage the needs of our youngest skiers in cold weather, and others will help with snack/hot chocolate. To meet the needs of all our skiers, I envision flexible age/ability groups of roughly 4-6, 6-8, 8-10 and 10-12 year olds developing their skills and will need volunteer and coaching support to make that happen. Any prospective volunteers are encouraged to reach out to me via email at   Registration for this year’s season is now live on SkiReg at  Starting December 3, practices will consistently be held on Sundays from 2:00-3:30pm, location to be determined by 7pm the preceeding Friday evening.  Once the ball is rolling in December, we will have a group discussion about whether or not we will ski 12/24 and 12/31, or make an alternate plan for break week.  For any interested families, I will be leading a Rochester contingent to the NENSA Nordic Fest in Rikert, VT the weekend of March 2. Planning has also begun for the return of the RXCSF Nordic Fest. I am very excited for the season, and look forward to meeting you all.  Think Snow!

New RXCSF Youth Director

RXCSF is excited to welcome our next RXCSF Youth Skiing Director, Chris Kvam! A word from Chris:

My name is Chris Kvam, and I am very excited to be the next youth director of the Rochester Cross Country Ski Foundation’s Bill Koch program.  I am 43 years old, an avid skier, runner and cyclist, and resident of the Rochester area for the last 18 years.  I am a former Monroe County prosecutor and currently work in Rochester City Court.  I have two children, a 6 year old and a four month old.  Over the last three years, teaching and instilling a love of skiing in my 6 year old son has motivated me to commit to the growth and future of the youth xc ski program in Rochester. My fitness and ski background is not as impressive as some, but is an integral part of my lifestyle and informs how I hope to shape our Bill Koch program. I grew up skiing and participating in Bill Koch and participated in several Empire State Games in my teens. Youth skiing should be as inclusive and welcoming as possible, and fostering a fun environment that promotes a lifelong enjoyment of the sport is my first priority. I believe that Rochester has a unique opportunity to bring skiing to a lot of young people who may never have considered skiing before. I look forward to helping foster cross-country skiing in our region with all of you.

In the coming weeks we will plan two fall meetups, and work towards establishing a set schedule for youth practices this winter.  Ideally, we will divide participants into age groups and have enough coaches and parent volunteers to facilitate our young skiers’ development at every ability. If you are interested in volunteering or helping coach, please reach out via email at  

President’s Message – May Newsletter

Author: Jim Pippin, President, RXCSF

Looking back at the winter season we had this year and memories of local Nordic skiing are fleeting.  However, there were some great moments in the local youth racing calendar this year.  Jason Hettenbaugh shares some of the successes of Rochester Nordic youth skiers have had here locally, around the northeast and nationally.  Many of these young skiers learned to ski within the RXCSF Youth Program which is affiliated with the Bill Koch Ski League.  Currently, the RXCSF Board is looking for a new RXCSF Youth Coordinator to carry on the tradition of developing Rochester’s next generation of Nordic skiers.  We have several candidates who have shown some interest but, If you or any one you know may be interested, then please e-mail me at  We are hoping to get the new RXCSF Youth Coordinator in place in time to begin the RXCSF youth summer program at the end of June.

The RXCSF Board has a few off-season projects planned.  The first is to work on perfecting our Nordic Pulse app which I mentioned in our previous newsletter, so we can provide live tracking of grooming to augment our conditions page.  We are also coordinating with the NYSOPRHP to gain their approval to put up winter trail signage and conduct trail improvements at Harriet Hollister Spencer State Recreation Area.

I hope everyone enjoys their off season and is taking advantage of the nice weather to get out and enjoy the outdoors the rest of this spring and summer.  I look forward to reaching out to you in preparation for the next winter season in our fall newsletter.

Postseason Race Recap

Author: Jason Hettennabugh

Several Rochester area athletes qualified to compete at regional and national level competitions this season. Nationally, U.S.S.S. Junior Nationals is the pinnacle of junior racing. Junior Nationals bring athletes from across 10 divisions which span the U.S from New England to Alaska. This year’s competition took place at the storied trails of the Birch Hill Recreation Area in Fairbanks Alaska.

Representing the greater Rochester area and Team Mid-Atlantic were Gordon Fagan, Braden Bellizzi, Reid Smith, Emelia Jordan and Molly Heinzelman. Athletes competed in three individual events: a freestyle sprint, classic individual, and freestyle mass start. It was an amazing opportunity to travel to such an iconic venue and location all while racing the best junior athletes in the U.S. Looking forward to the 2024 Junior National Championship which will be held in Lake Placid NY. Results, replays and other info from this year’s championship can be found at:

Regionally, the Eastern High School Championships offers athletes an opportunity similar to Junior Nationals but on a regional stage. Athletes represent their state at this competition. 5 states including NY, NH, ME, MA, and VT compete. Representing the greater Rochester area and Team NY were Gabrielle Spyra, Marianne Spyra, Jenna Stainken, Sydney Frank, Drew Larsen, Paul Pippin, Henry Burke, Andrew Cole, Dillon Frank, Nathaniel Burke, and Amer Armbruster. This year’s competition took place at the Rikert Touring center in Middlebury VT. These athletes were able to use this year’s EHSC event to learn and hopefully motivate each other to represent team Mid-Atlantic next year at Junior Nationals! Results can be found at:

Local juniors now set their sights on summer training and next year’s ski season. As the saying goes, “skiers are made in June, July and August” so find a group of like-minded athletes and spend some time on roller skis this summer. 

President’s Message -February

It has been a very frustrating winter so far with our first measurable snow coming the last week of January.  Harriet Hollister Spencer State Recreation Area has been the only park we have been able to groom for some decent skiing.  Hopefully we can get enough of a base soon so we can get a good base for the rest of the parks into March.

Be careful when winds are picking up while you are out at any of our venues.  There have been several downed trees at Mendon Ponds Park and Harriet Hollister Spencer State Recreation Area.  We are working with Monroe County Parks and New York State Parks to get these cleared out as we groom.  RXCSF is only allowed to hand clear.  We are not permitted to use chain saws so there is some coordination needed for larger downed trees to be removed. I encourage everyone to be cognizant of the weather conditions and forecast while out skiing – be safe.

Zak Burke, our IT Specialist, provides an article this month about a new app our groomers will be testing and trying out called Nordic Pulse.  We hope this will help supplement the conditions page to get more up to date and live tracking of our grooming.  In addition to the trail signage, improving our trail conditions, trail conditions updates is a priority goal resulting from our 2021 Spring Survey.

In a separate article, Darren Leach, our Grooming Coordinator, provides an update on some equipment purchases and an alluring call to become a groomer.  Please consider becoming a groomer.

If you would like to support RXCSF this season, please go to our website here to make a tax-deductible donation.  As always, thank you to everyone who has supported RXCSF.  I look forward to getting out on our groomed trails soon.  Please reach out to me if you have any questions, concerns, or comments.

Jim Pippin

President, RXCSF

Live Conditions Updates: Nordic Pulse

Author: Zak Burke, RXCSF IT Specialist

We are pleased to announce that RXCSF is partnering with Nordic Pulse to improve the effectiveness, timeliness, and accuracy of our grooming reports. Nordic Pulse is a two-part system with a phone-based app for groomers to record their progress, and a website that displays maps synchronized to the phone-app to show up-to-date maps of trail conditions. We hope the situation will be win-win for groomers and skiers alike: groomers won’t have to spend as much time updating conditions pages after hours spent out in the cold on the trails because the app tracks their progress and updates the report automatically, and skiers will be able to learn exactly which trails were groomed and when. 

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Grooming Updates

Author: Darren Leach, RXCSF Grooming Coordinator

Hello RXCSF friends,

I hope you all are doing well and are all having a wonderful start to the new year despite our lack of snow this winter season. At this point in the season, I was hoping that I would be able to talk about how much grooming our team has done and the conditions of the parks. Even though that is currently not the case, there is still some time left to the season. All hope is not lost. Hang in there!

I have some important matters that I would like to share with you all.

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President’s Message – December Newsletter

Author: Jim Pippin

Snow!!! It’s finally here. I hope everyone has enjoyed some skiing since our first snow on Thanksgiving weekend. I know there isn’t much around currently, but I was just at Harriet Hollister Spencer State Recreation Area this morning and there was enough to do some classic skiing. Just to confirm for everyone, late season hunting is not allowed at Harriet Hollister Spencer State Recreation Area. So get out there and enjoy the snow.

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