Team Birkie LogoHigh Performance Racing Team

Central Cross Country Skiing (CXC), the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation, and the Loppet Foundation are teaming up to create a high performance racing team – so that the next Jessie Diggins can stay home to train, inspire future generations, and win Olympic medals. Team Birkie is based out of the Trailhead at Wirth Park, The Loppet Foundation’s headquarters in Minneapolis. Team Birkie will conduct training camps in the Hayward Area and around the Central Region, as well as training and competition trips around North America.

About

An Ethos of Integrity, Excellence and Inclusiveness

Team Birkie is taking this opportunity to be the influential, ethical voice that sets the bar for integrity in our sport. We commit to train and race without performance enhancing substances in our bodies. We commit to do what is right for the environment and our community, celebrating the human body in its full and pure potential. As a top level race team, we aim to inspire others to join us as we practice these principles proudly and visibly.

The Team Birke Ethos:

  • Ethical approach to training and competition
  • Excellence without Elite
  • Live what we preach – sport is for everyone, we honor all those that get out on the trail
  • It’s all about the journey – every day matters

Base Location

The Twin Cities is one of the only places in the nation where athletes can reap the benefits of city living while still enjoying access to high quality training areas for both dryland season and on-snow training. Consistently recognized for its trail system, Minneapolis is among the most accessible cities to traverse on wheels – whether by bike or rollerski. With three ski areas featuring artificial snow making capabilities within a 20 mile radius, the Twin Cities is a true epicenter of cross-country skiing and winter sport development. In the land of 10,000 lakes, you will find that almost every training session will be near a body of water. Thirty miles east lies an opportunity for long, sustained climbs and the quiet roads of Afton State Park, and a 3 hour drive will land you in the heart of the American Birkebeiner ski trails.

Team Members

Team Birkie Athletes

We are excited to welcome the following athletes to Team Birkie.

Year-Round

  • Zak Ketterson
  • Christian Gostout
  • Abbie Drach
  • Amanda Kautzer
  • Andrew Millan
  • Julie Ensrud
  • Jordan Schuster
  • Tony Mathie
  • Ingrid Thyr

Team Birkie “Legends”

Our team is in the unique position to have a group of elite level athletes who will be mentors, training partners, and advisors to our athletes.  Between them there are multiple Olympic and World Cup starts, National Championship podiums, and Overall Super Tour Titles, not to mention Birkie crowns!

  • Brian Gregg
  • Matt Liebsch

Collegiate Athletes

These are athletes who join our summer program, May 14 – August 14, and would be working alongside our full-time Team Birkie athletes.

  • Lars Dewall
  • Joe Lynch
  • Gus Schlatzein
  • Peter Carlen
  • Xavier Mansfield
  • Henry Snider
  • Libby Tuttle
  • Matt Clarke
  • PJ Rubin
  • Tryg Solberg
  • Calvin Boone
  • Charlotte Brown
  • CJ Young
  • Charlie Reinhardt
  • Nick Kjome
  • Cole Johnson
  • Renae Anderson
  • Ben Boetler

Team Birkie Criteria

Year Round Team Size: up to 14 athletes

Tier 1 (up to 4 athletes)

Meet at least one of these criteria:

  • Top 30 Ranking USSA Points Distance or Sprint for Men and Women
  • Previous NCAA Top 12 Performance
  • Top 10 US Nationals Result
  • Qualifying for a World Cup Team/International U20/U23 Team
    • Annual Team Fee is waived
    • Team Benefits: annual training plan, weekly coaching, lactate profiles, treadmill technique sessions, team uniforming, help with ski selection, choosing grinds, race support (coaching/ski service) at in Region and out of Region Team Events
    • Athletes invited to Team Camps and Competition Trips. Cost of these camps will be subtracted from an athletes fund of $6000 until it is depleted. Once the $6000 is depleted, the athlete is responsible for their share of travel, food, and lodging costs.
    • Athletes pay Team Fees for Camps and Competition Trips.   “Team Fees” include food/lodging/travel expenses of coaching staff.  Team Fees can be paid from Travel/Camp Stipend

Tier 2 (up to 6 athletes)

Meet at least one of these criteria:

  • Top 50 Ranking USSA Points Distance or Sprint for Men and Women.
  • Top 30 NCAA Championship Result
  • Top 25 US Nationals Result
    • Annual Team fee is waived
    • Team Benefits: annual training plan, and year long coaching, lactate profiles, treadmill technique sessions, team uniforming, help with ski selection and grind selection, race support (coaching/ski service)
    • Athletes invited to Team Camps and Competition Trips, but the athlete is responsible for their share of travel, food, and lodging cost.
    • Athletes pay Team Fees for Camps and Competition Trips. “Team Fees” include food/lodging/travel expenses of coaching staff

Tier 3 (up to 6 athletes)

  • Team Fee of $2,200. (2 payments, one in May, one in October).
  • Athletes invited to Team Camps and Competition Trips, but the athlete is responsible for their share of travel, food, and lodging cost.
  • Team Benefits: annual training plan, weekly coaching, lactate profiles, treadmill technique sessions, team uniforming, help with ski selection, choosing grinds, race support (coaching/ski service) at all Central Events
  • Athletes pay Team Fees for Camps and Competition Trips. “Team Fees” include food/lodging/travel expenses of coaching staff

Coaches’ Discretion in Tier Selections

  • Staff may use discretion in determining whether athletes may be promoted to a higher Tier. Principles of discretion will be posted shortly

International Race Support

Team Birkie will provide team athletes up to a maximum of $3,000 per athlete in support to attend FIS World Cup, World Championship.  Other FIS events may be considered by staff.  For 2021-2022 we have $6,000 budgeted.

Training Camps and Race Schedule

Training Camps:

July 21-30, 2021: High Altitude Volume Camp – Bozeman, MT

October 13-17, 2021: Intensity Camp – Hayward, WI

October 26 – November 10, 2021: High Altitude/On-Snow Camp – Canmore, Alberta

November 20-28, 2021: On-Snow Camp/Race Prep – Birkie Start, Hayward, WI

Race Schedule:

November 27-28, 2021: Silver Star, BC – Canada Cup Race

December 11-12, 2021: Cable, WI – US Super Tour

December 17-19, 2021: Duluth, WI – US Super Tour

January 1-7, 2022: Midway, UT – US National Championships

January 15-16, 2022: Sun Valley, ID – US Super Tour

January 29-30, 2022: Lake Placid, NY – US Super Tour

February 4-6, 2022: Craftsbury, VT – US Super Tour

February 20-21, 2022: Minneapolis, MN – CXC Cup

February 25-26, 2022: Cable, WI – US Super Tour/ American Birkebeiner

March 14-20, 2022: Location TBD – Super Tour Finals

Job Opportunities and Community Involvement

One of the main benefits of basing Team Birkie in the Twin Cities is to give post-college athletes the opportunity to gain work experience or internships in their fields of study, rather than putting their professional lives on hold. Athletes can also easily continue their academic pursuits, with many colleges and universities within a small radius.

In addition, being based in Minneapolis gives athletes the opportunity to contribute to the growing momentum of the ski/outdoor community. Team Birkie members will have the opportunity to coach Loppet Foundation programming as well as volunteer for events and outreach programs that work to include people of all backgrounds into outdoor adventure.

Sponsors

Pioneer Midwest
Gear West
Joe's Sporting Goods

Coaches/Staff

Caitlin Gregg of Minneapolis competes during the 10 km Individual competition at the Nordic Skiing World Championships in Falun, Sweden, Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015. Gregg placed third. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

The coaching staff will be led by World Champion medalist Caitlin Gregg. Caitlin will be supported by a number of other experienced coaches, including Jeremy Hecker and Leo Hipp.

Head Coach – Caitlin Compton Gregg

Caitlin Compton Gregg (caitlincgregg@gmail.com) is a 2015 World Championship Bronze Medalist from Falun, Sweden and was a member of the 2010 Winter Olympic Team in Vancouver, Canada. She has also competed at 5 World Championships – four times for Cross Country Skiing and once for Biathlon. Caitlin has also won the American Birkebeiner 5 times-   more times than any other athlete, and has many City of Lakes Loppet wins under her belt as well. A US Ski Team Alum and an 8-time National Champion, Caitlin has been living and training in the Minneapolis area for over 15 years and knows how to maximize every inch of terrain in our urban playground. She has used her creativity to compete and succeed at the highest level in the sport of cross-country skiing. She and her husband Brian Gregg, also a 2014 Olympian, started Team Gregg in 2013 and have enjoyed pushing their limits to succeed in results and marketing on the World Stage. When not coaching or taking care of young daughter Heidi, Caitlin enjoys sharing her passion for health and the outdoors with the youth in her North Minneapolis community.

Assistant Coach – Leo Hipp

I am originally from Forest Lake, Minnesota where I began skiing in 2011. Prior to trying out skiing, I dabbled with several sports but settled on cross-country running and hockey. After ditching skates and sticks, I quickly began to enjoy having skis under my feet. With the help of my great high school coach Deno Johnson, I was able to experience success at the state and national levels. Following graduating from high school in 2015, I was fortunate to be able to pursue my athletic and academic endeavors at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan. Under the guidance of another amazing coach, Sten Fjeldheim, I was able to earn several conference and regional honors, and to most notably represent the United States at the 2016 Junior World Championships. In 2019, I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science, but decided to stay at Northern to use my last year of athletic eligibility and begin a Master’s Degree in the same field. Without any more athletic eligibility going into this past year, I was given the opportunity to work as a Graduate Assistant Coach for the ski team at Northern while finishing the last year of my Master’s program.  Experiencing skiing a new capacity ultimately grew my passion for skiing, not just as an athlete but as a coach

Now living in Minneapolis (about a mile from the trailhead!), I could not be more thrilled to be working alongside some amazing coaches to help incredible skiers pursue their dreams. In my freetime, I enjoy getting to know the Twin Cities better, visiting and staying in touch with college friends, and training for my first marathon, which is coming up in September.

Assistant Coach – Jeremy Hecker

Jeremy Hecker is a native MN skier graduating from Andover High School before moving on to complete a degree in Exercise Physiology at the College of St. Scholastica. During his time at St. Scholastica, Jeremy competed on the varsity team all four years accruing multiple All-CCSA and All-Region honors. He also qualified twice for the NCAA National Championships. After graduating from the College of St. Scholastica, Jeremy furthered his coaching education by spending two years in Finland working on a Masters degree in the Biology of Physical Activity. During his time in Finland, Jeremy was able to work at several World Cups as a service technician for Rex Ski Wax.

Jeremy has a wealth of experience coaching athletes of all levels both domestically and internationally. He has coached for many teams including the Alberta World Cup Academy (CAN), Endurance United (MN), Stratton Mountain School (VT), Williams College (MA), New South Whales XC (AUS), and most recently the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay (WI). Jeremy now currently works as the racing service manager for Pioneer Midwest focusing on grinding and waxing skis, and coaching athletes on their roller ski treadmill.

Jeremy prides himself on giving his athletes competitive skis for each race so they can display the work accomplished in training over the course of the year. When he is not spending time waxing skis, Jeremy enjoys spending time with his wife (Kayla) and dog (Lahti) exploring the outdoors!

Join Us

We are still accepting applications for the 2021-2022 season. Email Caitlin Gregg at caitlincgregg@gmail.com with a statement of your goals and a summary of your results.