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Snow Mountain Ranch Nordic Director Ben Koenig is no stranger to YMCA of the Rockies. Ben started as a seasonal trail crew member in the summer of 2015, and stayed at the Y in a few different year-round roles through 2017. He’s been in Grand County since, getting even more trail grooming and snow making experience. We’re excited to welcome Ben back to Snow Mountain Ranch as the Nordic Director for the 2020-2021 season!

Ben started Nordic skiing with his brother Sam in the Northwoods of Wisconsin when their aunt gave them her old skis. They skied in their backyard and built jumps in their driveway, but Ben didn’t fall in love with Nordic skiing until high school when a few of his friends were trying to start a Nordic team. They needed one more member to be able to score, so Ben bought some used skis and joined the team.

In college, Ben began competitive mountain biking and was convinced to help coach the nearby high school Nordic team because of the similarities between the two endurance sports. He skied with the team regularly, and benefitted from the skills and technique training at practices.

His connections to the Nordic community grew, and Ben went on to attend Junior Nationals in Stowe, VT as a coach and wax technician. He has eight years of coaching experience and has a great racing career of his own. He’s raced the Birkie 10 times, placing in the top 20 classic skiers and top 50 skate skiers a number of times, and he won the Colorado Cross Country Ski Association race series in 2017.

Ben prefers classic skiing to skate skiing because classic is more difficult to master and relies heavily on technique. His favorite part of the sport is its strong community which has focus on more dimensions of wellness than just being fit. The wellness goals of the Nordic community closely align with the mission and values of the YMCA.

He’s most excited to continue successful grooming operations on Snow Mountain Ranch trails, and to provide a positive Nordic experience for skiers of all levels and abilities. 

Ben was in the room when the idea for Nordic Rocks was conceived, so he’s excited to continue the program in Grand County this season.

The Nordic staff have been working tirelessly to prepare for this season, so be sure to thank them when you see them on the trails or in the Nordic Center!

This content was originally published here.