August 26, 2022
By David Nordby
The Brillion News
This story first appeared in the August 25, 2022 print edition of The Brillion News.
GREEN BAY – Add the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Nordic ski team as those excited about the Ariens Nordic Center opening later this year.
Sam Myers, 24, is leading UWGB’s Nordic skiing program as coach this upcoming season, which is the first time in school history that the coach is a full-time position. As the program at the university continues expansion, Myers hopes to have his UWGB Phoenix ski team train at Ariens Nordic Center in Brillion.
“Ariens Nordic Center, it’s on a very impressive sight, very beautiful rolling hills, and it’s amazing that they’re putting a Nordic ski course there,” Myers said.
Myers was one of the guests in attendance at the groundbreaking earlier this year.
“It seems like they’re going all in for this project and really excited to see what’s going to happen with it,” Myers said.
The plans for the center – the biathlon range, the snowmaking, the roller-ski loop – are all unique to the area.
“There’s no snowmaking currently in the Green Bay Area, so it’s just going to have a huge impact to actually be able to ski in December when it gets cold enough that they can make snow and we can ski later then than mid-March,” Myers said.
Without snowmaking machines, quality snow is difficult to find. The team has trained at the Brown County Reforestation Camp in Suamico.
“These past few years it’s been really tough to be on quality snow all winter long so to have that capability there, it will be really great not only for the community and for young skiers, but especially competitive skiers and our collegiate team,” Myers said.
The UWGB campus to Ariens Nordic Center is about a 40-minute drive. Myers said that close proximity will give the Phoenix an advantage.
“It’s going to give us a little more advantage that we’ll be able to have this manmade snow so that we’ll be able to ski for longer,” Myers said.
Myers skied competitively in middle school and high school and has competed in national races. He received a scholarship from UWGB to ski for them.
“I learned a lot about what it takes to coach a ski team and I was always a skier that asked a lot of questions because I always wanted to learn a little bit more,” Myers said.
In his final season as a competitor, Myers worked with an interim coach then applied for the job once it became open. Now he will be in his second season as the coach in 2022-2023.
This season is the first time the coaching role has been a full-time position.
Myers, a native of White Bear Lake, Minn., said high school is a good time to explore skiing.
“High school skiing is good because it just kind of gets you into the sport,” Myers said. “But then when you want to reach that next level then you join club skiing.”
The Ariens Nordic Center will help all ages, Myers said.
“I think it benefits every level of skiing,” Myers said.
Myers says that the Nordic ski community is intertwined, and this will help bring more people together.
“Nordic skiing just creates a really great community and everyone’s passionate about the sport so once you find yourself in that community it’s a great place,” Myers said.
UWGB’s Associate Athletic Director Alan Savage visited the center earlier this week and shared his excitement on Twitter.
“Big things on the horizon for the Wisconsin ski community,” Savage wrote.
“Dan Ariens is really going all in with this project, and it was awesome to see they’ve collaborated with the U.S. Biathlon team. It’s just a really cool project and I think their goal is to impact the community pretty heavily, and I think they will,” Myers said.