Coach drives rise of MSU Nordic skiing from underdogs to national podium

Parents often hyperbolize to their children that they had to ski to school through heavy snow, uphill both ways. It may not have been uphill both ways, but Grethe-Lise Hagensen, head coach of the Montana State University Nordic ski team since 2003 and the 2010 United States Collegiate Ski Coaches Association Coach of the Year, did ski three kilometers each way to school every day.

Hagensen grew up on skis in Tromsø, Norway, 300 miles above the Arctic Circle. As a child, Hagensen’s mother didn’t have a driver’s license and her family didn’t have a television or phone. If they wanted to talk to a neighbor or go to town during the winter, skiing was the only option. It was also fun. Like many families in her city, the Hagensens would spend Sundays skiing to a cabin, or to get a candy bar or pop.

“We played a lot on skis,” Hagensen recalled. “It’s the best form of training because you aren’t aware of the training as you are learning balance. Later, the technique will come.”

Read more at MSU News.

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