Rochester Active Sports Club (RASC) is a nonprofit club based in Rochester Minnesota, designed to promote nordic skiing, mountain biking and road biking in SE Minnesota.

                                       Nordic Skiing

Trail lights are installed on Eastwood golf course in preparation for the coming ski season. Thanks to Dave Greymont, Peter Wollan and Henry, Bjorn and Ari Walker for completing the installation on Sunday.

Essex Work Day

October 26, 2017

A hardy group of volunteers cleared trails and removed brush in preparation for the ski season.  Many thanks for your help.  Ski team members earned community service hours.


Spring Skiing
Saturday 24th February 2017

With the recent 12"-15" snowfall for Rochester, the Quarry Hill and Essex Park trails are being groomed for this weekend. Expect soft conditions for Saturday and Sunday as it takes several grooming passes to compact down this much snow.  Skiing should be excellent next week.

Essex Park trail - Saturday 24th February

Masters Nordic Program 2015/2016 Season

The Rochester Masters Nordic Program starts up on May 31st. The group usually meets on weekends (Saturday or Sunday morning) for a long easy rollerski, and on Tuesdays or Thursdays for interval / strength training until the snow flies Last year we met at Meadow Crossing for mid-week sessions (6:00 pm). All are welcome to attend either or both sessions.For rollerskiing, most sessions are done on skate skis, but classic rollerskis will work for many of the workouts. For more information contact: Michael O'Connor ( 

Note: We are using the listserver to manage the masters program. So, if you are interested in receiving these kinds of e-mails, just go to this link: and click "join this group" over on the right side. If you want to send messages to the group, send an e-mail to: 

Rollerskiing – interval training on Wednesday Parkwood Hills

If you are interested in doing some interval training on rollerskis, come along to Parkwood Hills on Wednesday evenings (start time ~6:00 pm). To keep up-to-date with any changes, sign on to the RASC Nordic master’s google group at!forum/rasc-nordic




5:00 PM to 7:00 PM

The Rochester Park and Recreation Department together with the Rochester Active Sports Club with financial assistance from a Statewide Health Improvement Program grant from Olmsted County Health Department are developing a master plan for Gamehaven Park. This is where we need your input on what type of facilities you would like to see in this park.

Gamehaven Plans Move Forward

Jeff Robertson has put a ton of work into behind the scene discussions with a whole range of people who need to give their blessing for any development in Gamehaven. He has met with Craig Blommer (Parks and Trails supervisor), Kevin Stauffer (Area Fisheries supervisor), and has worked closely with Mike Nigbur from the Parks and Recreation Department  who is very supportive of the Gamehaven plan. We recently presented to the Joint Powers Board who approved the plan for Gamehaven and in mid-December we got final approval from the Park and Recreation Board to proceed with plans for Gamehaven. So, finally, we are free to publicize our plan and begin to look for funding. While state funding (such as the Legacy funds) is an obvious target, we will also look at benefactor funding. Here is an interesting article in the Post Bulletin on the most recent approval from the Park and Recreation Board.

Henry Walker - Recipient of the REI Give Stoke Award


Congratulations to Henry Walker on being a winning finalist in the REI #GiveStoke contest. Henry was nominated by Roberto Cattaneo (way to go Roberto!) for all his work on the ski trails and with the RNST. His nomination was boosted by additional support from the RNST skiers and other RASC members, His award is a $2,500 gift card from REI. So expect to see Henry in the latest fashionable ski gear this season. 

Here is one of the nominating submissions on his behalf: Henry Walker made and grooms fantastic cross-country ski trails that promote the outdoors in Rochester Minnesota.  In the last few years, thanks to the new trails, the all-city high school Rochester Nordic Ski Team has grown from just a few kids to about 190 members.  Over the last summer and fall, Henry spearheaded a major expansion of the trails that now include hilly terrain.  From the top of one hill, one can enjoy spectacular sunrise and sunsets.  The expansion has required an enormous amount of work, and Henry has done a lot of it, while coordinating the effort of many volunteers.  Through his work on the trails, and his commitment as a coach for the Nordic Ski Team, Henry Walker inspires the youth to discover the beauty of the outdoors, promotes a sense of community, and encourages a healthy lifestyle. 

New Kiosks/Signage at Quarry Hill
Following all the new trail work at Quarry Hill, a key to the success of the new trail system is ensuring that the trails are used appropriately. One of the persistent problems at both Quarry Hill and Essex Park has been the damage to the ski trail in winter by people walking on the groomed trail. So as a first step to minimizing this problem, a set of signs has been installed in Quarry Hill to insure that people are aware of the fact that certain trails are intended for skiing only. These new signs were installed with the blessing of the Park and Recreation Department and the staff at Quarry Hill and hopefully will reduce trail damage from walkers this winter. In addition, Dave Greymont has constructed 2 kiosks that have been placed at the primary entrances to the trails (near the Quarry Hill Nature Center and at the Parkwood Hills entrance. 

  Henry Walker and Dave Greymont with one of the new kiosks in Quarry Hill park.

New signs at Quarry Hill now clearly indicate those trails designated for nordic skiing.

New Quarry Hill Trail Bridge

Thanks to an enormous amount of work from Henry Walker, we now have an additional 1.5 km of new trail at Quarry Hill along with a new bridge. This will allow one to ski from the old field loop north to the Parkwood Hills park without having to use the bike trail. A significant factor that allowed this project to go forward was the donation by McNeilus of 3 large metal girders that form the foundation for the bridge, and the donation by TEC Industrial of the angle iron for the cross-members and the lathe inserter tool. That combined with a lot of work by Henry and Jim Craighead on the bridege design and construction resulted in a great bridge construction session a few weeks ago. The result is a beautiful new bridge wide enough for skate and classic lanes and strong enough to support a small tank!! Many thanks to all the hours put in by Henry and also by Jim Craighead, Chris Flood, Joey Keillor and many others on this project. We hope to have an updated map of the new trail system on-line soon. In the meantime, go have a walk around the new trail to fully appreciate the enormous amount of work that has been accomplished over the last few months. 

The map above shows the location of the new bridge in Quarry Hill. This bridge (shown below) will allow one to ski from the field trail north to Parkwood hills and by-passes the need to use the bike trail. There is also additional new trail north of the loop on Parkwood Hills that is not shown on this map.

Expanded Quarry Hill Trail (20th September 2014)

Over the last few months, Henry Walker, Chris Flood, Joey Keillor and Jim Craighead have been working on a major expansion of the ski trail at Quarry Hill. The biggest change will be at the north end of the park where the trail enters Parkwood Hills. A new, and VERY hilly section of about 3-4 km has been added that will remind you of some of the big hills on the Birkie trail. 
An additional development is the creation of a new bike path by the city that will run from Quarry Hill up to Viola Road. As a result, the current bike trail may be plowed in winter for walkers. As this is our current ski route from the nature center to Parkwood Hills, Henry and Jim have been working on an alternative connector trail. This new trail involves installing a small bridge over the stream and will enable access to the north end without going onto the bike trail. 

Stone Grinding skis for next season

If anyone is interested in getting any skis ground at Caldwell Sport this summer, please contact Chris Flood ( 

If, like last year, we can combine ten pair of skis, we can get a group discount on grinds and shipping. Chris has several pairs ready to ship and if he can add to the order, then the cost of the grinds and shipping goes down for everyone. If you are interested, you can check out their services here: Alternatively talk to Joey, Henry, Chris Bruce, Ed Prosser, Marianne, or me, among others, who all had skis ground last summer. You probably noticed that we were all REALLY fast. It was the grinds!

Importance of Strength Training
This is an article written by Nathan Schultz that was part of an e-mail from Boulder Nordic Sports.  If you are a) serious about ski training or b) getting old and losing muscle mass, this is FOR YOU! (If you want to sign-up for their e-mail ,you can contact them at

One of the biggest challenges skiers face is upper body strength. Most of our off-season activities focus on the lower body, and aside from rollerskiing, there are not a lot of ways to improve upper body strength and endurance. In my experience as both a racer and as a coach, nearly 100% of US skiers are weak in this area and could dramatically improve performance on snow by improving upper body strength and endurance. I usually see big gains after the first year of coaching an athlete, and I'm convinced that most of this improvement is due to the athlete getting stronger and improving ski-specific strength.


Ski racers are made in the summer, and it is time to put in the training now to be fit in the winter. The bulk of training hours should happen for most skiers July-December. Most of the winter skiing months will actually be fairly low volume. A good strength program will mirror the overall training volume and build through the summer. Like all training, ease into it and give your body time to adapt to the new stimulus. 

There are three basic areas to target:

General Strength - Working all muscle groups to increase power, speed and endurance and build the generally weak muscles that oppose our strong ski-specific muscles to avoid imbalances.

Core Strength - This could be categorized under general strength, but it is so important to skiing that I keep it in its own category. We generate a lot of force with significant leverage in our extremities while skiing and the core muscles need to be strong enough to stabilize these movements and provide a platform to push off of. Core strength helps us be able to hold proper body position through an entire race and therefore improve technique and increase efficiency.

Ski-Specific Strength - Building power and speed in the primary ski muscles is vital. Skiing has changed to a power sport in the last two decades, and your ability to push hard on your skis and poles will determine how fast and efficient you will be on snow.


How do you accomplish these things? Most skiers enjoy skiing, running, cycling, kayaking, swimming, etc, but I rarely hear someone say that they really enjoy being in the weightroom. Strength is probably lowest on the list in terms of enjoyment for most endurance athletes. Luckily, you can get it done very quickly and there are a few ways to keep it fresh. These are general guidelines, and it is smart to plan out a strength program with a coach or mentor who can help you maximize the results of your training program.

General Strength

There are many ways to build general strength. Workouts can be done as a "circuit" of exercises where you spend a certain amount of time at a station, followed by a short period of rest before moving to the next station. For example, you might have 12 different exercises and you go through the routine with 45 seconds of work at each station followed by 15 seconds of rest. Typically, one would do the circuit for 20-45 minutes. The advantage of a circuit is that it can be easy to set up, it provides cardiovascular work as well as strength, and it is a good way to break up the boredom of being in the weightroom. You can set up a circuit on playground equipment at a park and do it at the end of a distance or plyometric workout.


Much general strength is done in the weightroom. The key in the weightroom is to be focused. Plan the workout you will do, go to the gym, and get it done. Don't just show up and figure it out; you'll be wasting your time. A typical weight room workout can be 45 minutes or less and hit core strength, general strength and specific strength. The goals here should be to build power, speed and endurance by loading key muscle groups. Free weights tend to be better than machines as they require more balance and build strength in a wider pattern of motion, but machines can be used to target specific muscles or weaknesses.

Core Strength

Core strength is one area where most people are quite weak. For the most part, our lifestyle has become devoid of physical activity like chopping down trees, moving rocks, etc. and we just don't get the natural core strength that we used to. Core strength is vital to being a powerful, healthy athlete, though, and luckily it is pretty easy to build and maintain it.


Core exercises should be incorporated into the general strength routines such as when you are at the weightroom or putting a few core exercises into a circuit. They should also be done on their own in short 5-15 minute routine that can be thrown in at the end of a workout or at the beginning or end of the day. Check out the download of our strength overview for some specific suggestions. 

Ski-Specific Strength

Ski-specific strength is also an area where most people can make big gains in performance. It's easy to build power, speed and endurance through strength exercises that imitate the motions of skiing, but it takes some specialized equipment. Skis and rollerskis are the most obvious choice, and poling machines, stretch cords and simple pull-ups and dips complement these well. On skis or rollerskis, we like to find a gradual hill 100-300m long and do repeats of double-poling, single-stick poling (like classic striding without your legs) and tricep isolations. Start with one set of these and build to 30-45 minutes. This workout can be done in the middle or at the end of a distance rollerski workout. We also like double poling workouts of 10-240 minutes of double-poling to build endurance poling strength. 

Ski strength should be complemented with other specific strength as well. Target ski-specific muscles in your general strength routine at the weight room, and consider stretch cords or a poling machine to throw into your circuit or core routine. We have an Ercolina set up at our shops and I notice that doing even ten minutes on the poling machine each day makes a huge difference in my poling power and endurance.

Gamehaven Sports & Recreation Park Proposal

As you may remember, the club directors have been working on a proposal for Gamehaven park for several months. Our vision for Gamehaven park is to promote its development as the premier winter and summer recreation park for the City of Rochester and SE Minnesota. We have now launched the official Gamehaven web site – you can view it We have also added a link from many of the pages on the RASC web site (in the right column)

Quarry Hill Trail Expansion

In November, Henry Walker, Chris Flood and Joey Keiller completed work on a new section of trail in Parkwood Hills park that connects onto the Quarry Hill trail. The new segment is ~2.5 km long and now includes some big climbs that will test your lungs and legs. The new segment is still rough and part of the climbs are off-camber, but with all the recent snow it is now reasonably skiable.



Facebook Page for Local Ski Trail Conditions 


This is a excellent source for all the major FIS nordic ski competitions. Here you can find full video coverage of all the major events from Eurosport in English.

 is the premier site for nordic skiing in the mid-West, with reports on trail conditions, race reports, ski camps, and everything else nordic. 

Greg Bednorski Ski Forum
Greg Bednorski has a ski forum that contains a lot of useful information for everyone from beginner to elite race.

Northwest Wisconsin Ski Trails & Reports

This site posts trail reports for many of the trails in NW Wisconsin.

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