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.

Current Ski Trail Updates

We have abandoned attempts at using Facebook for updates to the ski trails and instead we have created a forum on the Nordic page. Click below to go to the Nordic page with the forum.

Rochester Nordic Ski Team Winter Ski Camp


Click here for more information

Rochester Nordic Ski Team on a Saturday pole hike and workout on the trails of Cedar Ridge Farm followed by hot chocolate and cookies. All they need now is snow!!!


The Golden McLeod is awarded to the male and female student athletes with the most trail maintenance hours recorded in the Minnesota NICA league. MCA recognizes the male and female with the highest number of recorded volunteer hours because they are giving back their time out on the trail systems we all love to ride. Without this volunteer attitude and stewardship, trail maintenance costs would rise, trails wouldn't get looked after, and eventually would deteriorate to a point where it would no longer be safe and fun to ride.

This year, both state awards went to Rochester riders!!  Way to go Alex & Victoria!

Tour de Essex 2021 Results - October 23, 2021

A beautiful crisp fall morning set the stage for runners tackling the relentless hills on the Essex Park trails.  Noah Billings and Lori Russell were the first male and female finishers.  Results are posted on the Tour de Essex web page.

Tour de Essex 7 km trail run

Robertson Expressway

The "Robertson Expressway" trail was finally installed on Sunday (10/31/21) out in Gamehaven Park This is in recognition of all the trail work and development that Jeff Robertson has done over the last ~20 years.

Thanks to Dave Greymont for the sign and installation!

RNST Skier participates in Junior National Elite Triathlon

Congrats to Natasha Sortland who just competed in the Triathlon Junior Elite Nationals held in Ohio. She finished 25th out of 71 Junior girls (16-19 year olds) who qualified for Nationals. This was her first year racing longer distance, double of Youth distance (13-15 y.o.)

Among 16 year old's in this group, she finished 3rd. A strong swim allowed her to draft with a fast group on the bike course, and she finished with a strong run.

Natasha Sortland (second from left), competing in the Junior National Elite Triathlon in Ohio this July.

Thanks to all our volunteers, the MN MTB Series, Duluth Timing and Events, Race Official - Ugur Tosun, Gamehaven Scouts and all of our riders for a wonderful day!  We had 305 riders take the start line across all categories, despite the dubious weather.

Results are here:

Thank You - From Ian Torchia

Hey All!

Ian here. Wanted to provide an end-of-season recap and sincerely thank each and every one of you for the support you have provided during this interesting season. With your financial backing, I was able to race on the World Cup in Davos, Switzerland as well as Lahti, Finland, and Falun, Sweden. All these international opportunities on the highest level of skiing are valuable experiences that I will bring into the Olympic year as I chase the goal I have had since I was 5 watching the Opening Ceremonies on our 12-inch TV with tin foil bunny ears. Someone once said, “you either win, or you learn”. Well, I did a lot of learning this year! I started out my training year early during the COVID quarantine when I should have been recovering from the season before, and kept on pushing my limits throughout the summer and fall. I felt so good training so much and so hard that I probably flew too close to the sun and was unable to access that essential race mode when it mattered most in the winter. That race shape that comes from smart, balanced, and targeted training was missing and if you are even 1% off on the World Cup, it gets magnified on the results sheet tenfold. I am taking these lessons of overtraining into the Olympic buildup and training with the mindset of entering my peak shape for Olympic qualifying in December and January.


However, my season did end on a bright note with a big-margin win at the Birkie Classic through a blizzard and the worst bonk I have ever experienced. I am proud of the effort I put forth that day, going for it early, and hanging on when every part of my body was telling me to stop. I will take that momentum into next year and also the belief that I can push my body to the absolute limit when the time is right. I am now settled in Ann Arbor, Michigan for the spring with my fiancé Kameron and am waiting to hear back from a local bike shop for a job opportunity. I will head back to Vermont around mid-May to start up the long training season, but I hope to come back to Rochester during the summer at some point and lead another training clinic for the incredible ski community there. If financial needs necessitate it for winter racing costs, I will look into another holding another auction, as I believe it is a great way to raise funds with you, my supporters, getting some sweet skiing gear out of the equation!

I hope this finds you healthy and enjoying the spring!

Happy Trails,

Ian Torchia

Disparities in Silent Sports

We are reaching out with a message for our members following a profoundly tragic week across Minnesota and the country.

We have been deeply saddened this past month to learn of the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, and so many more black Americans who have been robbed of their lives while simply living, jogging and breathing in their communities. Incidents like these are sadly not new, as they are a consequence of many unjust systems in this country that date all the way back to our nation’s founding. We stand in support of those who are seeking an end to institutionalized racism across our country and we are taking time to listen and learn how we can better support the needs of our community through our work.

As an organization that strives to make SE Minnesota a healthier place to live, work and play through our programming, the racism and discrimination that is harming our communities and making life unsafe for our black and minority neighbors goes against everything that we stand for. We recognize that, because of a legacy of disenfranchisement through public and private policy, outdoor sports have historically been unsafe and less accessible for our community members of color. This has produced disparities in who we see represented in the cycling and Nordic ski communities today. We want to make it clear that at RASC, we believe deeply that black lives matter and that we are committed to ensuring that our programming provides a safe and inclusive space for ALL members to enjoy these sports together. To our black members and members of color, we say without hesitation: We welcome you here and we are proud to have you on our team.

We know we still have work to do as we stand firmly against discrimination, racism and violence in all forms. Going forward we are establishing a fund to support a minimum of 5 scholarships per year in our RMBT and RNST programs for students of color. Initial funding for these programs will come from the RASC general fund, and you can support the fight for equity and inclusivity in our communities by donating to this program on our donations page (RASC Minorities in Silent Sports). Alternatively you may want to donate to organizations dedicated to racial justice work. Here are some places to give:

Black Lives Matter 

Campaign Zero

George Floyd Memorial Fund

RASC Chasing Dogs Reports

New Google map created by Marty Cormack that documents locations of dogs known to chase cyclists and runners.Below is a description of the app from Marty

Recently while taking a gravel ride on an unfamiliar road in Olmsted County I was surprised and chased hard by a loose German Shepherd.  I had no time to react and nearly lost control of my bicycle.  It would have been helpful, and more safe had I been aware of the possibility of being chased on that route.  Unfortunately Olmsted County has no ordinance regarding loose dogs chasing pedestrians or bicyclists on public roads, so there is not a lot of recourse for these situations, other than awareness.

Back in the days of message boards, RASC had maintained a thread on chasing dog reports.  However, the data was more than five years old, and in dog years, that is nearly an eternity. Given my experience in the Google toolset, I set about creating a new, easier to use and maintain tool to remedy that situation.


Using Google Sites, Google Maps and Google Forms. I created a web page ( that shows the location of reports of dogs chasing bicyclists and runners.  Below the map is a Google Form that can easily record any new reports.  When a report is submitted, I am immediately notified via email of the new report, and I can very easily add the new "pin" to the map.  The map can be scrolled and zoomed.  If you click on the pin, the specific details of the report is displayed, including the date and breed, if known.  The map and form work well on computers, tablets and Smartphones. Please let me know of any suggested improvements.



Ski Bindings

Thanks to the North Star Ski Touring Club, we have been awarded a grant of $2860 to cover the cost of replacing all the old bindings on our RNST club skis. The new bindings will be delivered this fall and we plan to replace the bindings on ~60 of our 115 pairs this fall, with the remaining skis being upgraded early next year. 


RASC Board and Committees

Need to contact us - see the complete list of RASC Board members and committee members here.

Weekly Group Rides are postponed until further notice

due to concerns regarding the COVID-19 virus

We are still planning on having group rides with leaders this summer, but this is obviously dependent on status of COVID-19.

RNST Alumnus 2nd in Birkie

Congrats to Rochester's Ian Torchia on placing 2nd overall in this year's American Birkie

View from camera at the finish line shows Ian Torchia (on left of picture) finishing second and beating out France’s Robin Duvillard, an Olympian and multiple-time World Championships racer, into third place by 0.3 seconds. Niklas Dyrhaug, a 32-year-old Norwegian Olympian and World Cup regular, beat out Ian by 1.6 seconds!

Essex Loopy Loppet

Thanks to Mike Trantow and the RASC grooming team for a very successful inaugural Essex Loopy Loppet race. A total of 53 skiers participated in this event, with many doing the double or triple loppet distances. The event raised $635 towards support of the Essex and Quarry Hill trails. Great way to raise money and have fun at the same time.

This year's Birkie Warriors (Left to right) - Vergil, Caelan, and Tasha Pinckney and David Kettula were at the Essex Loopy Loppet and led off the event.

Full results are posted below.  


Overall Results          Lap Times

You can find more news on the event on KAAL and KTTC News

2019 Tour de Essex Results

The only rain in a 6 day period fell right during the Tour de Essex trail run on Saturday, October 19, 2019. Despite the slick conditions on the downhills, the runners successfully navigated the the rolling terrain of the 7.4 K course in very comfortable running conditions of 51 degrees and an 8 mph west wind. A large washed out, rough section of trail caused by recent heavy rains added another twist to the run.

Noah Billings scampered across the finish line in first running at an 8:01 mile pace. Lonny Olson-Williams (8:11 min/mile) and Randy Shelerud (8:20 mile pace) placed 2nd and 3rd.

Finishing first among women and 4th overall was Kris Nelson cranking out 8:54 minute miles. The next women following Kris over the line were Sabrena Resman (10:28 min/mile) and Beth Kangas (12:21/mile).

Congratulations to all of the runners who conquered greasy conditions on the challenging hills of the Tour de Essex.

Tour de Essex Results 2019

Gamehaven Lakeside Grind

Minnesota Series Mountain Bike Race

September 22, 2019

Congrats to RASC member, Noah Billings, on taking 1st in his age group and 4th overall at USA Triathlon 2019 Youth & Junior National Championships in Westchester, Ohio!

Thanks to Ian Torchia for two great dryland training clinics on August 17th. If you missed the opportunity to attend one of these clinics, we are hoping to have ian back in Rochester for another clinic in November.

Below are video clips from the morning session from local news channels.

Congratulations to Jim Bennett who won the free pair of Marwe rollerskis donated by Finn Sisu!

Ian Torchia began skiing the day before he turned 2, but was on his Mom’s back long before then, sliding around Rochester’s golf courses during the winter months. He grew up a runner, chasing his older brother Mike around on the roads and trails and cross country skied in the winters as a member of the Rochester Nordic Ski Team. During his junior year in high school, Ian won the American Birkebeiner Korteloppet race and it was later that year, at his 1st Junior National championship in Fairbanks, Alaska, when Ian decided to cross-country ski at the collegiate level, breaking away from his 4 siblings’ tradition of running in college.  He attended Northern Michigan University under the direction of legendary ski coach Sten Fjeldheim, and accumulated 6 All-Americans, tied for most in program history. His junior season, he became an NCAA champion in the 20k freestyle in Steamboat, Colorado. He was a member of the US Development Ski Team for 3 years training alongside the nation’s best skiers.  Ian earned a Master’s degree in Exercise Science and is currently pursuing skiing at the professional level with the Stratton Mountain School T2 Elite Team, a professional ski team that boasts of 3 Olympians, including Gold Medalist Jessie Diggins.  Ian recently got engaged to his fiancĂ©, Kameron Burmeister, who he coached to a 2:42 marathon at Grandma’s, an Olympic Trials qualifier!  He is stoked to come back to Rochester this summer to teach and inspire the next generation of skiers!
Dryland Clinics with Ian Torchia are sponsored by the Rochester Active Sports Club and the Rochester Nordic Ski Team

Maplelag Photos

Photos from Maplelag time trial

Thanks to Anna Sortland for all these photos

1st place in the state!!

Congrats to the Rochester Middle School MTB Team on their 2018 season win!

Individual Top 10s for Middle/High School
3rd: Caleb Kittleson - JV2 Boys 
4th: Franziska Rinkleff - 8th Grade Girls

5th: Patrick McCauley - 8th Grade Boys
6th: Ari Walker - 8th Grade Boys
6th: Jack McCauley - 7th Grade Boys
6th: Veronika Voss - 7th Grade Girls
8th: Noah Billings - 7th Grade Boys
10th:Victoria Voss - Freshman Girls 


Trails Facebook

Google Group for Road Biking

Old RASC General Bulletin Board

Facebook Page for RNST

We have discontinued use of Facebook for Local Ski Trail Conditions - please check the forum shown on the left for local ski conditions 

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