Race Team

Cross Country Ski Headquarters wins second consecutive Michigan Cup Title

Fri, Apr  4, 2014  – Written by Tom Rzeznich


Team Cross Country Ski Headquarters (XCHQ) earned its sixth Michigan Cup win Sunday, March 9 at the 2014 Michigan Cup Relays, held on their home trails. The conditions were quite possibly the best they have ever been for this almost-springtime race, and skiers enjoyed fast, plentiful snow without any rain, bare spots, or sunburn! It was a record turnout for the Relays, too; just under 170 skiers participated in this annual grand finale of races, whose course featured the Manitou and Rolling Hills trails on XCHQ trail system.

The team won the 18-race series championship for the second consecutive year, and the sixth time in the 31 year history of the series. Says Team Captain, Frank Rynalski:

“We finished the season on a high note by winning the overall MI Cup award, and also an un-expected 2nd place finish in the Brumbaugh Cup competition had the team pumped!!! Throughout the season, team XCHQ had a strong presence at most of the races with some great team and individual performances. We pulled together for another impressive team showing at the Relays, along with the fastest overall relay team. I am very proud and thankful of the efforts put forth from all the XCHQ team members who helped contribute to another great racing season. The team is looking forward to another exciting race season.”

The 152-member race team fielded a record 20 three-skier teams in this year’s Michigan Cup Relays, some traveling in from as far away as Minnesota!


Relay Race Recap

As usual, the six divisions in this year’s race were determined by the combined ages of the three team members on each relay team, one who skied the course classic style and two who skied it skate style. Male, female and co-ed teams were split into classes under 164 years and 165 years and over.

XCHQ’s Alex Smith Team, made up of Alex Smith, Phil Tosteson, and Ryan Halstead, were the overall male winners, taking first place in the Men 164 and under class with the fastest time of the day at 0:57:15. Second in Men 164 and under went to HH/CCSS’s Sexy Sweepers, Ryan Harris, Bob Smith and Steve Seager, and third went to Vasa’s West Guys, Sean Brownell, Jacob Dean and Andrew Dyke of Traverse City.

Overall female winners, with a time of 1:08:53, were HH/CCSS’s Hens and Chick, which included Ann, Kaitlyn Patterson, and Brenda Carlson, who raced in the Female 164 and under class. Second in Female 164 and under was Vasa’s Sister Chicks and Mom, Jesi Schaub, and her daughters Heidi and Emma, and third went to Vasa’s Babes in Boas, Jennifer Brown, Judy Vajda and Susan Vigland.

In the Male 165 and over, GRNST’s team Bear Bottoms, including Randy Bladel, Don Camp and Stephen Smigiel took first with a time of 1:00:27 (second overall). Second was Vasa’s Curt Peterson Team, Curt Peterson, Glenn Goodman and Cliff Onthank, and third was team Nordic Ski Racer’s Nordic Vortex, Allen Sorgenfrei, Doug Cornell and Ken Dawson.

In the Female 165 and over first place went to Foxy Females, Amy Kostrzewa, Linda Allen and Karen Dawson, of Nordic Ski Racer, who came in 32nd overall with a time of 1:28:53. Second was Like Fine Wine, Marnie Sutter, Barb Beauregard and Melinda Mitchell of Vasa, and third was Snow Turtles, Lynne Frye, Christine Fowler and Barb Slovinsky of XCHQ.

In Co-ed 164 and under, first place and the overall co-ed win went to Darn Kanolies, Larry Kanaby, Cheryl Darnton, and Mariah Frye Colie of XCHQ. Their time, which was 1:05:02, was ninth overall. Slippery When Wet, Laura Webb, Craig Webb and Randy Smith of Vasa were second, and third went to Canada Eh?, Laura Thibodeau, Alex Lake and Dave Lomas, who came all the way from Canada!

The Co-ed 165 and over race was won by CCR, Christine Seager, Cris Jones and Robin Luce of HH/CCSS with a time of 1:14:16 (21st overall). Second was Good Ol Boys & 1 Queen, Carrie Orbain, Hap Wright and Tom Sutter of Vasa, and third went to Big Three, Dale Ernst, Linda Weeks, and Bob Eastley of XCHQ.

Great to see so many of the MI Cup teams represented in the top 3 for each division! Thanks to all the volunteers and staff who helped make it a great event, and to all the skiers who participated for keeping it fun.

About Team XC Ski HQ:

The Cross Country Ski Headquarters Team is not only a force to be reckoned with in the Michigan Cup Race Series, but is also composed of the most fun-loving, friendly and passionate XC skiers you could imagine. Our team is made up of men and women of all ages, from junior skiers to racers who are still going strong into their 80’s. With over 150 team members from not just Michigan, but Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania, our team is just as diverse as it is welcoming. We greet new racers with open arms, and are a tight-knit, supportive group. There are no pre-qualifiers for joining Team XC Ski HQ, though we tend to attract fun people who love to ski, compete, and who enjoy a team environment.

Beginning in December (except for one race in October), Michigan Cup races take place every weekend throughout the state, offering a variety of classic and freestyle races of various distances. The race atmosphere is fun and friendly, and with racers ranging from casual to competitive, skiers of ALL levels are welcome. We are not only the 2014 Michigan Cup Champions, but we have won the Michigan Cup 7 out of the past 10 years, and the Brumbaugh Cup in 2010, 2011, and 2013.  Every team member who participates in even one race contributes to our total points tally, so the more skiers, the better! We are also big on “team bonding”, so expect an invite to team dinners, wax clinics, ski clinics, and off-season training days. For more information, contact Mariah or Stu at the Cross Country Ski Headquarters, or Team Captain Frank Rynalski at FRynalski<at>aol.com.

We also have a high school/junior race team! If you know of any youth skiers grade 7-12 who are interested in joining a super fun, co-ed, winter sports team, email mariah<at>crosscountryski.com.

Stay tuned for the 2015 Michigan Cup Race Schedule, coming soon!

A selection of team apparel is available for racers and non-racers alike. Team jerseys made by Louis Garneau, along with embroidered fleeces, hats, headbands, and other accessories are available at the XC Ski HQ, or by calling 1.800.832.2663. We also offer custom team logo embroidery! Just leave us the article of clothing you’d like embroidered, and we will have the team logo put on at a very low cost (usually $5). Lots of people like to get their favorite racing jacket or hat embroidered to match the team.

2013-14 Team Gatherings and Clinics:

December 7th, 2013 – Saturday 4PM: Team Dinner & Wax Clinic

Cross Country Ski Headquarters will host our annual team wax clinic on Saturday, December 7th at 4PM. This clinic is free of charge, and will be very informative for all levels of racers. The XC SKI HQ Team dinner follows the wax clinic, beginning at 6pm. Come join the 2004, ’07, ’08, ‘09, ’10 and 2013 Michigan Cup Champions (also the ’10, ’11 and 2013 Brumbaugh Cup Champions) in our annual kick-off potluck dinner, where we’ll introduce new team members, review last year’s performance, and  strategize on how to bring home the MI Cup in 2014.

This event always ends up being a lot of fun, so even if you think you might only do one race this season, come and enjoy this annual gathering of the most fun-loving skiers in Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and our new team members from Pennsylvania!

December 22, 2013 – Sunday 10am-12pm and 1pm-3pm: Ski Clinic with Eli Brown and Kip Brady Plus Toko Wax Clinic with Nick Baic

The 2013 Michigan Cup Men’s Champion and former University of Utah cross country ski coach Eli Brown will be joined this year with his Northern Michigan College Teammate Kip Brady (Also the winner of many Midwestern X-C Races) to run a clinic for both classic and skate skiing at XC Ski HQ. Eli and Kip are both excellent coaches for both the skate and classic techniques, regardless of your ability level. They will scrutinize your form and get you skiing faster and more efficiently. Skate clinic ($25) will be 10am to 12noon. Classic clinic ($25) will be 1pm to 3pm. If you want to attend both clinics it will only be $40. Maximum 25 skiers for both morning and afternoon, so sign up quickly by calling 800-832-2663 or emailing mariah@crosscountryski.com.

Our annual Toko Wax Clinic, presented by Toko guru and coach for the Great Lakes Junior Olympics team, Nick Baic, will start at 4pm. Nick will talk you through the latest and greatest from Toko, as well as review time tested wax techniques in an understandable and informative way. Come get any and all wax questions answered by one of the best sources of XC knowledge out there. There is no charge for this wax clinic.

Breaking News – Team XC Ski HQ Wins the 2013 Michigan Cup and Brumbaugh Cup!

– April, 2013 – Story by Mike Muha with excerpts from Mariah Frye

The weather map was not optimistic, showing green and yellow raining all over Michigan. Those of us who drove up from southern Michigan or from the north or west ran into bouts of heavy rain. But as we turned off the highway to the Cross Country Ski Headquarters, the rain magically stopped. Maybe the Michigan Cup Relays would be dry after all. Even if it did rain, there was too much at stake: the Vasa Ski Club and the Cross Country Ski Headquarters were duking it out for first place for the overall Michigan Cup Championship title, and Team NordicSkiRacer was going to make sure it held onto third place.

Even though Vasa brought 10 relays teams to the games, the home court team, Cross Country Ski Headquarters, responded with 20 and overwhelmed all comers. Team NordicSkiRacer accomplished what they came to do.

The race was around a single 7.5km loop what started up the Rolling Hills trail (the hilly section of the course) before hitting other less hilly trails. The first leg was classic; the remaining two legs were freestyle. Teams were divided by gender (Male, Female, and Coed) and by the sum of the ages on the teams (164 and younger vs. 165 and older). It was klister conditions for the classic leg, although zero skis might have worked as well.

The course had excellent snow, ranging from wet fluff to slightly icy to a short section of wet and slightly sloppy. Plenty of snow covered the ground and, if you were smart, you brought you A-skis to the race. (Alas, a few people assumed warm meant ground showing through, not remembering that packed snow freezes from underneath and last longer than unpacked snow. They brought their B-skis…).

Except for an occasional sprinkle, the rain held off until the last 10 minutes of the race. The third leg of the slower teams paid the price by getting cold and wet.

A huge help to the winning team was the Roscommon Area/XC Ski HQ High School Cross Country Ski Team, consisting of 12 high school kids from Roscommon High School. While most of the team was new to XC skiing this year, they practiced twice a week all winter and competed in 5 races, which contributed greatly to the Michigan Cup victory by the greater XC Ski HQ team.

The best part the the Relays is AFTER the relays: the annual end-of-the season Michigan Cup awards, banquet and drinking fest, powered with pulled pork sandwiches and lots of refreshments. Hosts Bob, Lynne and Mariah Frye and Stu Colie put up tarps to protect the picnic tables on the deck of the lodge and everyone stayed dry as it alternately sprinkled, rained, and cleared up during the lunch and awards.

Official results:

Bib # Time Division
Overall Team Name Club Name
Coed 164 & below
111 1:18.27 1 8 Snot Rockets VASA
102 1:21.31 2 12 Crust Crusier NSR
131 1:34.31 3 25 Rain Dancers XCSHQ
181 1:37.14 4 28 Sinkin In the Rain NSR
159 1:43.04 5 30 BAK Striders
132 1:47.35 6 32 Hydroplaners VASA
143 1:57.47 7 39 The Rabbits Indep
178 2:02.14 8 41 Crystal Flashes GRNST
122 2:15.54 9 45 The Whatevers XCSHQ
Coed 165 & above
117 1:11.04 1 3 Seager and the 2 Silver Bullets CCSS
151 1:15.21 2 6 Slippery When Wet VASA
173 1:16.49 3 7 Skiing In The Rain XCSHQ
172 1:20.25 4 10 ROKADA-FAFRYA NSR
149 1:28.03 5 19 Spring Skiers VASA
125 1:39.43 6 29 Part-Timers VASA
166 1:47.38 7 33 HQ Swim Team XCSHQ
169 2:02.04 8 40 The Captain’s Team XCSHQ
F 164 & below
157 1:27.20 1 18 Sister Chicks and Mom VASA
164 1:29.14 2 22 Roscommon Rascalettes XCSHQ
129 1:34.57 3 26 Drowning in Pink CCSS
167 1:55.08 4 37 Slush Puppies XCSHQ
103 2:16.17 5 46 The Hot Cocoas XCSHQ
F 165 & above
118 1:53.35 1 35 3 Peas in a Pod VASA
136 2:15.02 2 44 Better Late than Never XCSHQ
170 2:18.59 3 47 Start Slow Taper Down XCSHQ
142 2:36.28 4 48 Serendipity XCSHQ
M 164 & below
101 1:07.47 1 1 VASA1 VASA
179 1:10.51 2 2 Clueless XCSHQ
182 1:11.59 3 5 Reflex Striders
165 1:19.26 4 9 Mud Stuffin Paddle Heads CCSS
139 1:21.24 5 11 Team DNF XCSHQ
154 1:23.43 6 14 Rainbows XCSHQ
106 1:26.10 7 17 Team RainX NSR
175 1:28.44 8 21 Nordic Cowboys Striders
171 1:32.41 9 24 Bomb.com XCSHQ
104 1:51.24 10 34 Gag XCSHQ
180 1:54.28 11 36 Strange Brew XCSHQ
147 1:55.27 12 38 The Goofy Goobers XCSH
176 2:04.01 13 43 Team Cannon Brewery Indep
M 165 & above
174 1:11.53 1 4 Great Bear Bottoms GRNST
137 1:23.23 2 13 Wood is Good VASA
116 1:24.48 3 15 Christopher Robbins CCSS
108 1:25.04 4 16 The Snow Surfers NSR
100 1:28.05 5 20 VASA Old Guys VASA
177 1:32.34 6 23 ODOTP GRNST
114 1:35.25 7 27 Half Fast XCSHQ
160 1:47.35 8 31 You Figure It Out XCSHQ
168 2:02.18 9 42 Faster Than Dirt NSR
105 2:43.04 10 49 The 3 Lefties XCSHQ




The 2013 Michigan Cup Champions - Team XC Ski HQ!

The 2013 Michigan Cup Champions – Team XC Ski HQ!