Thanks to those who attended our annual meeting! We heard from all of our program leaders and recognized the Blackhawk Volunteers of the Year--the volunteers who go above and beyond, dedicating countless hours of their time to make the club the special place it is for adults, kids, and families. Thanks to our program directors and volunteers for everything you do to keep Blackhawk running so well.
Program Updates and Volunteers of the Year
Ski Patrol – Rob Kudrle
We had a great season with only 5 injuries the entire season and 1,300 patroller hours. We’re introducing a pilot Bike Patrol program in 2023.
Volunteer of the Year – Don Wylie
The Blackhawk Ski Patrol would like to thank and recognize Don Wylie for his contributions and going above and beyond to support the various activities at our club. In addition to patrolling his regular Saturday morning shift, Don teaches alpine lessons four days a week, and volunteers his time with the snowmaking crew. Don is an asset to our ski patrol and regularly assists with our Outdoor Emergency Care classes and refresher every year. Don was recently recognized last year by Blackhawk for his thirty years of service as a ski patroller with our club. Thank you, Don, for all that you do!!
Ski Jumping – Christine “Girly” Gessner
The Ski Jumping program is celebrating 20 years of Annual meetings! This year, ski jumping had 27 kids take the intro class and 26 kids participate in team jumping. Families of participants are growing up to become coaches. Estella Hassrick is the Junior National Champion. Our next goal is to build a new 60-meter jump. A designer is planning a jump for free for Blackhawk’s next jump.
Volunteer of the Year – Nate Gessner
Nate does more behind the scenes things for ski jumping than he ever gets credit for. In July and August, when our program is not even going, Nate still comes out to Blackhawk weekly to do off season projects and get things ready for the jumping season. If you are wondering why our program was able to start on time the majority of the winter, you have Nate to thank for that….and Noah and Erik. I cannot think of anyone more deserving for volunteer of the year than Nate. His commitment to doing whatever it takes to keep kids skiing is incredible.
Outdoor Exploration – Jill Stevenson
We continue to celebrate and care for the environment around Blackhawk. Our outdoor exploration program created letterboxing and Fall and Spring programs where kids learned to build shelters; cook outdoors, and fish.
Volunteer of the Year – Lily Hubanks
Lily volunteered in a leadership capacity for the newly formed Outdoor Exploration program as an intern. She developed programming, considered needs of the club and members, and helped to carry out programming. In addition, Lily taught cross-country ski lessons this winter when home on break. Thank you, Lily, for your work at the club!
Snowmaking – Casey Bingham
Volunteer of the Year – Matt Ginder-Vogel
We are grateful for all of our volunteers, but this year, we have chosen Matt as our Volunteer of the Year. He was a part of most of our snowmaking runs and came in at different times in the process (set up, running the system, and shutdown), and he helped with whatever was needed. His willingness to do any task asked of him helped us keep the system operating and the snow blowing, which we did a lot! This year we were open well into March and the XC trails until almost April!
BNST (Blackhawk Nordic Ski Team) – Chris Lawn
We continue to have strong demand for Nordic ski team. About half are biathletes. We have eight coaches and many volunteer parents. High School Boys finished 6th, and Girls finished 9th. Middle school boys took 9th and girls 10th. Three skiers qualified for post-season competition in Alaska.
Volunteers of the Year: Bob and Melissa Hubanks
The volunteers of the year for Blackhawk Nordic Ski Team are Melissa Hornung and Bob Hubanks. This husband-and-wife duo makes our team go, starting with registration and gear coordination. No registration, no team! No gear, no skiing!
Bob has ingeniously upgraded our ski fleet and moved to a more sustainable model of rental in one fell stroke. He also helps cheerfully and tirelessly with race waxing, wax teaching, and all the little gear problems that emerge during the season. Melissa engages with almost every aspect of the team: hunting down registration docs and signatures, shepherding skiers at practice, keeping the calendar, hosting fun events.
Everyone on BNST leans on Melissa and Bob, whether they realize it or not. As coaches, we see how their dedication makes BNST a high-quality program. We are super grateful that they love to ski and share their talents with BNST. Thank you, Melissa & Bob!
Nordic Kids – Amy Grunewald
This year, the program taught 150 skiers from ages 5-13 and lots of tots out with their parents. We teach both classic and skate skiing and have updated our fleet of skis thanks to a donation from Wildside in Baraboo. Our cookie races were a huge success as kids skied the loop as many times as they could before receiving a handmade and decorated cookie “medal”. More families are taking advantage of our snowmaking and getting out to cross country ski between lessons, which is great to see!
Volunteer of the Year – Mike Engen
Our Nordic Kids program is heavily reliant on volunteers and every parent helps out at least 2 hours during the season. But Mike Engen has taken volunteering to another level. He not only instructs on both of our lesson days, he also leads the care of our equipment fleet. This entails everything from getting kids sized up in the fall and leading the waxing effort to noticing ways to improve our small trailer to make it easier for parent volunteers to do their job of handing out and returning equipment. Mike also brings his 3 kids to ski and his wife, Christine, is an assistant instructor with our littlest skiers. Thank you for all that you do, Mike!
Tele-skiing – Jana Stewart
Thanks to Casey and the snowmaking team for the great season of snow. We had 35 participants this year, 25% of whom are new to tele-skiing, and UW Hoofers members were able to come back to join us this year.
Volunteer of the Year – Brian Garlock
Brian took the initiative to plan and organize numerous telemark night events, including the Tele Film Tour and inspired many tele skiers to get out, free their heal, and improve their technique and turns! Thanks,, Brian for your organization and motivation!
Kids Mtn Bike lessons – Kelley Linnan
Two sessions of 2022 lessons sold out in minutes, and it’s always great to see kids progress and become more confident.
Volunteer of the Year – Jessie Liller
Jesse has been a fixture at our mountain bike lessons for a number of years. He has also jumped into helping out in our ski and board school as a snowboard instructor the last few years. Jesse is the kind of guy you know loves helping and enjoys working with the kids and is likely also having as much or more fun than they are. This last winter, Jesse volunteered his time, tools, and skills to create two rails for the ski and board school. I'm positive he relished watching the kids enjoy the new feature, and I have no doubt sliding his board across it was almost as gratifying. His thoughts, ideas, passion for teaching, and presence year-round is noticed and appreciated.
Ski and Snowboard School -- Kelley Linnan
It was a great season of lessons for both instructors and kids.
Volunteer of the Year - Benji Orcutt
Benji has been a very valuable asset to the ski and board school for a number of seasons. He's the kind of guy who identifies a bottleneck, proposes a solution, and leads the effort in implementing the fix. He is also someone who can be counted on week in and week out to arrive at lessons early, jump right in the mix, and stay until the last lesson is over on very busy Saturday mornings. We truly appreciate everything he has done and continues to do for the Ski and Board School.
Mtn Bike trails – Pat Remington & Mike Dobrient
Volunteer of the Year – Larry Meade
Larry Meade' s career working in the landscaping business has come in handy as we work to improve our trails and the woods and fields around them. Whether raking trails, cutting up fallen branches, or improving trails using heavy equipment, Larry can always be counted on to come early, and stay late.
BART (Blackhawk Alpine Race Team) – Jenny Dahlberg
BART had a fantastic season, with 63 racers this year. BART is part of a 9-team group that competes against each other in Galena, Sundown, Cascade, and Tyrol. Blackhawk finished 4th overall, which was a big accomplishment for a smaller team like Blackhawk. We appreciate the Ski Patrol and parent coaches.
Volunteer of the Year – Russ Tieman
Russ is a superstar! He has helped a ton with grooming for the club and also has helped with snowmaking over the years. He's the first to help during practice by assisting with set up, tear down, etc. He also reached out to the coaches seeking additional knowledge on athlete skill progression, so he could reinforce what coaches are telling the athletes. We are very fortunate as a team and club to have Russ and his family as part of the program!
Driftless NICA Mountain Bike Team– Dirk Horne
The team grew to over 120 participants this year.
Volunteer of the Year – Brad Kerl
Brad is a humble, thoughtful, and intentional leader for the kids, with a focus on reaching ALL kids, especially those who may not always be keen on racing, etc. He often says "let me know what needs to be done, and I'll do it," and that is greatly appreciated!
Biathlon – Mark Torresani
Blackhawk runs the largest youth biathlon program in the U.S. We organized 3 races here this year. Blackhawk also has an active adult biathlon program. This year, we successfully negotiated for an additional 1KM ski trail for biathlon racers on Wayne Rounds’ property next to Blackhawk.
Volunteer of the Year – Paul Brogovich – Nordic ski patroller
Paul is a Nordic Ski Patroller who regularly volunteered his time twice per week to serve all the Nordic programs. Paul was called into service this season for serious injuries sustained by Blackhawk Nordic Ski Team and Biathlon members and handled the situations very professionally.
At the annual meeting, we welcomed two board members to their first full terms, two board members to their second terms, and elected our officers for 2023-2024. Board and program leader information lives on this webpage, and here are our newest board members:
Ken Matusek (2nd term)
Ben Walker (1st full term)
Joe House (2nd term)
Todd Breiby (1st term)