Nonprofit offers winter sport opportunities to inner-city youth



Nordic Ski Foundation has taught

skiing to hundreds of children 


By James L. Stroud, Jr.

Contributing Writer


Are you living in North Minneapolis or somewhere close to it? Do you want your children to learn how to ski at no cost or at reduced rates? Has not being able to afford the ski equipment kept you and your children from flirting with the idea of taking up skiing as a hobby?

If so, hold on to your earmuffs because the City of Lakes Nordic Ski Foundation (NSF) may have some solutions for your family.

NSF, a nonprofit organization based in Theodore Wirth Park, has a mission to promote and support cross-country skiing opportunities in Minneapolis, especially to inner-city youth. MSR spoke with Ingrid Remak (IR), who is the Outreach Coordinator for the NSF about their various programs.


MSR: Tell me the full name of the group that you work with?

IR: I work for the City of Lakes Nordic Ski Foundation.

MSR: How long have you worked for them?

IR: I’m the outreach coordinator, and I have worked here for a year.

MSR: How long has it been around?

IR: The NSF has been around since 2003.

MSR: Tell me a little bit about the NSF’s target audience and what neighborhoods you serve.

IR: Well, the NSF’s mission is to improve skiing opportunities across the board in Minneapolis, especially with an emphasis on targeting the communities around Theodore Wirth Park and youth. So the NSF’s youth programming is centered around the North Minneapolis community…and really removing the barriers that make cross-country skiing accessible to kids growing up these neighborhoods.

MSR: Why?

IR: So, a lot of times when I say remove the barriers, I mean for most people that don’t cross-country ski, it’s usually because they’re just coming from families that don’t cross-country ski, which mean they might not have skis in their house for social-economic or cultural reasons.

So basically the idea of the program is that anybody can enjoy and be good or benefit from cross-country skiing. There is a world-class resource right there at Theodore Wirth Park. It should be welcoming and accessible to all people.

Equipment or stereotypes around cross-country skiing shouldn’t be limitations in someone’s enjoyment or opportunity to experience it. All of the beneficial elements — whether it’s being outdoors, just being physically active, learning a new skill and challenging yourself — are part of it.


The Nordic Ski Foundation middle-school programs started in October 2011. It has year-round programs — not just skiing. They are available to students at both Nellie Stone Johnson and Anwatin middle schools. The Antwatin Ski Team recently received bicycles as a part of their commitment to summer training.

In 2011 the foundation hosted the Junior Olympics. It was the first time the event was held in an urban location. The foundation would like to host the Para-Olympics next year.

Through elementary school and youth programs, the NSF has taught over 600 Minneapolis Public School youth how to ski last year. This year, the NSF expects about 700 students.


If you are interested in any of the City of Lakes Nordic Ski Foundation programs or you want to volunteer or make a donation, call 612-604-5338. Their mailing address is 1301 Theodore Wirth Parkway, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55422. You can reach them on the Internet at www.

James L. Stroud, Jr. welcomes reader responses to

Photo courtesy of the Nordic Ski Foundation





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