Mt Itasca (near Grand Rapids)

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Registration: Open • Apply To VolunteerRegister Skier
Meets: Sunday, Saturday
01:30 PM - 03:30 PM
Starts: Jan. 6, 2024
Dates: Jan 6, Jan 7, Jan 13, Jan 14, Jan 20, Jan 21, Jan 27, Jan 28, Feb 3, Feb 4, Feb 10, Feb 11, Feb 17, Feb 18, Feb 24, Feb 25
Classic Rentals: See next option
Club Rentals Classic - in person
Skate Rentals: See next option
Club Rentals Skate - in person
Membership: $40.00
Ski Pass Required: MN Ski Pass for skiers 16 and over
Leader: Catherine McLynn
Skill Levels Offered: Level 1-6 Classic and Skate

Equipment rental in person by appointment at 931 North Pokegama Ave. Grand Rapids.

NO NEED to enter info pr pay online!

* EQUIPMENT RENTAL: Pay in person $25 per skier. Contact Coach Cathy 326-1313 or

* Limited selection of equipment for parents.

FIRST session on snow is Saturday Jan. 6 at Blueberry Hills north of Deer River from 1:30 to 3:30 pm. OR SUNDAY JAN 7 at Mt Itasca near Coleraine.

Families choose to ski either Saturdays at Blueberry Hills OR Sundays at Mt Itasca.


MYSL Itasca Club is a cross-country ski program for youth and their families in northern Minnesota.  The Itasca Club meets at the Mount Itasca Winter Sports Center, Coleraine, MN for eight Sundays in January and February and Saturdays at Blueberry Hills north of Deer River.  The Itasca Club is organized by volunteers and is one of 38 clubs of the Minnesota Youth Ski League (headquartered in Minneapolis, MN).


  • The skill, art, and joy of the life-long healthful winter activity of cross-country skiing instilled within youth and families of northern Minnesota


  • To support and develop cross-country ski skills by providing lessons and fun events for young skiers and their families


  • Provide six ability levels from an entry-level Level 1 with no prior experience to a Level 6 graduate with skills adequate for junior high ski racing in classic and skate techniques
  • Provide lessons, games, and trail adventures that cumulatively build skills to master each level over a 1-2 year period
  • Meet the needs of individuals and group dynamics through volunteers to facilitate lessons, events, and learning
  • Provide a respectful and fun environment for learning on and off the trails
  • Practice sportsmanship and good work ethic for life-long athleticism in any sport

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·         Bob Conzemius, President

·         Cathy McLynn, Communications Director

·         Pat Downing Equipment manager

·         Dorothy Duquette

·         Frank Gangi

          Tasha Connelly

COACHES by Level ( Bib color) To Be Determined 2024 PLEASE VOLUNTEER!

                 Level 1 (Red):

·         Level 2 (Purple):

·         Level 3 (Blue):

·         Level 4 (Green): 

·         Level 5 (Yellow): 

·         Level 6 (Orange): 

Skiing adventures beyond MYSL: Parents are encouraged to ski with their children during the week on the many trail systems in our area.  Fabulous Family Fun Ski Adventures on Fridays in February. 

(See TRAILS below) Note the required fees fund grooming and trail maintenance. Mt Itasca fees waived for registered MYSL skiers and coaches.)

·          2022 for the biathlon trails, individual passes are $6 per day or $60 for season. Family passes are $135 per season.

·         2022 for any state trail, individual over 16 years Minnesota Ski Passes are $6 per day, $20 per year, or $55 per three years.

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Classes for all levels meet from 1:30-3:30 pm for eight consecutive Saturdays or Sundays in January and February weather permitting. The first session at Mount Itasca is the first Sunday in January and the second Saturday at Blueberry Hills.  To benefit most from the weekly skill-building curriculum, we encourage regular participation. However, we understand that family commitments or illness may prevent participation.  ***Note although lessons start in January, registration begins in November (See REGISTRATION below).

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TYPICAL DAY  Changes due to COVID Protocol. No indoor snacks this year.

Sessions are two hours and include skill drills, games, trail skiing adventures, and a snack break.  Skiers check-in by marking their attendance and getting their name bib for the day at the Mount Itasca Nordic Ski Association headquarters (first building on the left).  Skiers are out on the trails for 45-60 minutes at a time with one break. During trail time, coaches use skill drills, games, and adventures to meet weekly lesson goals.  Coaches use adult helpers to assist with activities.  Therefore, all adult helpers are highly encouraged to put on their skis and join their skier’s group each session. 

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If air temperature is forecast to be below 0˚F or colder by noon, session will be canceled. Parents will be notified via e-mail by 8 am Sunday morning if classes are canceled. Canceled classes will be re-scheduled  weather permitting. Although we suggest this weather cancellation policy, it is always the parents' decision to send their child to class when weather conditions are a concern.

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The Itasca Club uses and adapts curriculum guides published by MYSL.  The curriculum outlines eight sessions for six ability levels.  Each session includes warm-ups, lesson goals, skill development, trail skiing, and games aimed to attain skill goals for each ability level. Ability levels are cumulative, starting at an entry-level Level 1 with no prior experience and finishing at a Level 6 graduate with skills adequate for junior high ski racing in classic and skate techniques. 

Level placement is based on skill assessments by the coaches as well as the age and/or physical and emotional maturity of the skier (See Table 1).  In order to maintain a quality program aimed at meeting the Club’s vision and mission, a skier may spend two years in one level to master skill goals: the first year is skill introduction and the second year is skill refinement.   Having skiers of the right ability and maturity allows the program at all levels to use the curriculum efficiently and challenge the skiers appropriately. 

Table 1. MYSL ability levels adapted for the Itasca Club.


Name Bib color

Group Name

Suggested Ages

Lesson context



First Steppers

4 - 5

Trail difficulty: Easy. Technique: Classic.




6 - 7

Trail difficulty: Easy to moderate. Technique: Classic.




8 - 9

Trail difficulty: Moderate to Hard. Technique: Classic.




10 and up

Trail difficulty: Any. Technique: Classic. Comfortable on skis; Endurance for long trail skis on difficult terrain, Mastered classic technique




9 and up

Introduction to the skate technique. (At least one prior year of classic skiing is required.)




11 - 14

Advanced skating technique. Comfortable on skate skis; Endurance for long trail skis on difficult terrain, Mastered skate technique; Mastered advanced skills required in ski-racing (Competitive racing is not a part of the Itasca Club, but skiers will have skills for Junior and Senior High School Team racing)

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There are two parts to registration for the Itasca Club program – 

1)      Skier registration with MYSL: See on-line the registration guide with MYSL (  Registration opens in November.  !!Note: Please do not pay for equipment rental on-line – See Step #2 below!! 

2)      Equipment rental with Itasca Club: Equipment rental fees are paid directly with cash or check to the Itasca Club (“Itasca MYSL”) on rental night. Equipment fitting and rental fee collection is scheduled on the first Thursday in December.  Note: A limited selection of equipment is available in adult sizes courtesy of the NLNSC.

If a child already has ski equipment, skip step #2! :)  Donation or exchange of outgrown youth ski equipment is an option! Contact 

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Sessions take place at the Mount Itasca Winter Sports Center in Coleraine, MN (See map: ). 

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Itasca Club sessions are conducted on the two cross-country ski trail systems at Mount Itasca: the biathlon (east side) and state (west side) trails.  Volunteers from Northern Lights Nordic Ski Club, Mount Itasca Nordic Ski Association (MINSA), and Itasca Ski and Outing Club, in cooperation with local government agencies, maintain the facilities and provide snow-making and grooming.  MYSL uses both trail systems and the MINSA headquarters building. $10 from each youth skier’s registration is donated to MINSA, which represents only a small part of the cost to use these facilities.

Families are encouraged to support these services by purchasing trail passes.

·         Biathlon trail passes are paid in a box in front of the Mount Itasca Nordic Ski Association headquarters.

·         State trail passes (“Minnesota Ski Pass”) are paid at any electronic licensing station for skiers 16 years and over.  (Minnesota Ski Pass can be used to ski on any state trails.

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·         Itasca Club Communications Director, Cathy McLynn: 218-326-1313 or

·         Facebook,

·         MYSL,

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Supporting Organizations:

·         Mount Itasca Winter Sports Center,

·         Mount Itasca Nordic Ski Association,

·         Northern Lights Nordic Ski Club,

·         Grand Rapids High School and Middle School Nordic Ski Team,·         State Grant-in-Aid Trails,

Cross-country Ski Information:

Greater Mount Itasca area:

Greater Minnesota area:

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