Nome Nordic is located in Nome, Alaska
just 140 miles south of the Arctic Circle
and 135 miles east of Russia
Latitude, 64.5 North: Longitude, 165.4 West
Nome Nordic serves its community as members of the
We are proud Members of the Western Interior Ski Association
WISA is the largest biathlon organization in the state of Alaska!
After 17 years of being a race-centered youth program, serving all youth in Nome, Alaska, Nome Nordic is embarking on a new adventure. The current plan is for Nome Nordic to have space in the new Nome Winter Sports building. This will sit next to the relocated ice rink on the open lot east of the Nome Recreation Center. As a result, members of the Nome Community (of all ages) will be able to check out skis. The picture above highlights the trails Nome Nordic will groom for skate skiing, classic skiing, and skijoring. The proposed move looks to be for the next season - plenty of time for Nome Nordic to raise funds for a snowmachine to pull the already purchased West Yellowstone Groomer.
Although we are housed at Nome Elementary School, we receive zero funding from Nome Public Schools. Our coaches are all volunteers. We have relied on fundraising, trash cleaning contracts and grant support to finance our travel and equipment needs. Our 13.5 oz. Nanook Joe bags of Mountain Blend coffee have been a big hit each Christmas. Nome Nordic was voted the 2016 ALPAR Litter Patrol of the Year. Thanks, ALPAR!
With the help of the Nome Winter Sports Association and Nordic Journeys,
Nome Nordic has gotten hundreds of Nome kids out skiing recreationally.
The wonderful experiences gained by Nome Nordic participants would not be possible without the support of many amazing individuals and organizations. Thanks to Mitch Erickson, Lynette Schmidt and the Nome Winter Sports Association; Steve Smith, Stephanie James and the Nome Sportsman Association; Friends of the NRA; Mary Fisher and ALPAR (Alaskans for Litter Prevention and Recycling); The City of Nome; Mike McNally and Alaska Commercial Company; Bering Sea Lions Club; NSEDC (Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation); Nome Community Center; NSAA (Nordic Ski Association of Anchorage); Fairbanks Biathlon Club; and AK Biathlon Association.
Nome Nordic and WISA athletes receive instructional support from very accomplished coaches.
See the World-Class Instruction section below.
Nome Nordic's primary terrain lies just north of Nome. No roads connect our Seward Peninsula community of 3,500 people to the rest of the world. We ski in a windswept area that is dominated by tundra and a lack of trees.
Our athletic accomplishments are impressive when you consider that local weather conditions force us to do most of our skiing on ungroomed trails.
Sunset Biathlon Range sits on an abandoned gold mine, nine miles west of Nome.
Many thanks to the Nome Sportsman Association and the NRA for helping to establish a range there.
SEE VIDEO BELOW: A day at the Sunset Biathlon Range.
VIDEO: A day at the Sunset Biathlon Range
The Sunset Range is on the "Teller Road," a State of Alaska gravel highway that goes unmaintained from October 1 to June 1. Our dedicated Nome biathletes work hard getting to the range during our eight-month-long winters. Check out this short video produced by one of our athletes!
Nome Nordic's Caity Tozier earned a gold ulu (medal) in Snowshoe Biathlon at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games in Whitehorse, Yukon Territories, Canada. Athletes from rural sites can become eligible for this international cultural and sporting event through Western Interior Ski Association qualification meets. WISA's AWG biathlon qualification races have averaged well over 50 athletes in the past 12 years, which is three to four times the number of participants trying to qualify for biathlon spots in the rest of Alaska.
Nome Nordic participants gain the cold weather preparation skills necessary to experience winter in enjoyable and exciting ways for the rest of their lives.
Nome Nordic athletes competed in the US Team Trials for the World Youth/Junior Biathlon Championships in 2008, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2019
NRA grants made it possible for us to purchase four competition-quality biathlon rifles, two target rifles,
two laser biathlon rifles and a trail groomer. Thanks NRA!
Nome Nordic participants attend summer and fall biathlon clinics.
Special thanks to The Nordic Ski Association of Anchorage for maintaining a world-class biathlon range at Kincaid Park and The United States Biathlon Association for sending amazing coaches to clinics there.
Nome Nordic has also hosted world-class biathletes for our Summer Biathlon Camps.
Nome Nordic's favorite ski trails!
We thank the White Mountain School, the Koyuk School and the Bering Strait School District (BSSD) for inviting us to meets each year!
On days when there is no practice, Coach Conger is on the snow somewhere, either skijoring with his dogs, backcountry skiing in the Kigluaik Mountains, or traversing the tundra with his Skimbat. He also likes to Skush (a skiing/mushing hybrid sport) and is seen here on a Skushing camping trip with five dogs on the Iditarod Trail. Coach Conger is currently a freelance writer. He attended the 2018 Arctic Winter Games in the Northwest Territories, Canada as Team Alaska's Head Ski Biathlon Coach.
Nome Nordic Historic Timeline Highlights
"A pair of skis are the ultimate transportation to freedom" - Warren Miller
"Dedication, Perseverance, Sportsmanship and Lifelong Friendships"
2002 - 2005
WHAT IS A SKIMEISTER? - Hailey Scofield captured the high school girls Skimeister Award (given to a meet's top performer in each division) at the prestigious WISA Championships in the first year of Nome Nordic's race team existence. (Picture: Hailey Schofield comes across the line in first place at the BSSD Championships)
In 2002, local teacher Cori Dunavin used a 21st Century Grant to purchase ski equipment. She ran a recreational program in 2002 and 2003. Nome teacher Nikki Polk joined the club in 2003 and took over the recreational program in 2004. Nikki helped keep the club afloat with grants from the Nome Community Center. Local gold miner Jan Kralik brought a few kids from the rec program to Elim and White Mountain races that same year. In 2005, a local teacher and skijorer, Keith Conger, expanded the race program, and Nome Nordic was born. Nome skiers then attended the Koyuk Invitational, and the Bering Strait School District meet in White Mountain. The first travel squad consisted of Hailey Schofield, Tara Schmidt, Maggie Ahvakluk, Katie King, Loretta O'Connor, Emerson Conger, Reid Eide, Roger Ozenna, and Alex Morgan. Hailey traveled to Galena with the BSSD team for the WISA Championships. She qualified for the 2006 Arctic Winter Games by winning the club's first WISA Skimeister Award. (Hailey had to turn the AWG spot down because she was heading off to Vermont the next year to attend a private high school). Jan continued to volunteer with the team for many years.
2005 - 2006 Ski Season
TRAVELING TO WISA AS A TEAM- Nome Nordic sent its first group to attend the WISA Championships - also known as the Rural State Ski and Biathlon Championships. (Picture: Tara Schmidt takes aim in the WISA biathlon in Tanana, while Coach Conger looks on)
One of the most significant benefits of ski team participation is the opportunity to travel. WISA meets have proven to be wonderful travel experiences for Nome Nordic participants. Since 1987, great kids from uniquely rural Alaska locations have gathered together during the last weekend of March to race. A strong, statewide ski community is forged at these events. Nome Nordic sent four athletes (Tara Schmidt, Reid Eide, Noel Bell, and Emerson Conger) to Tanana for the 2006 WISA Championships. Native Youth Olympics champion Marjorie Tahbone joined Tara to form a high school girls' team. The pair took the first place trophy at the BSSD Championships in White Mountain. The Nome Community Center helped Nome Nordic purchase laser rifles. Nome Nordic kids also experienced skijoring for the first time.
2006 - 2007 Ski Season
A TOP SQUAD - The Nome Nordic junior high boys captured the club's first Rural State Championships Team Trophy. (Picture: Nome Nordic Special Olympian Katie Kramer enjoyed her time with two-time US Olympic biathlete Rachel Steer)
Nome Nordic conducted its first annual Iditarod Open ski race. Olympic biathlete Rachel Steer joined Nome Nordic during the Iditarod spring break and conducted ski and laser rifle clinics. Special Olympian Katie Kramer continued to train with the team. She traveled to the State Winter Special Olympics in Anchorage with Coach Conger and won two gold medals. Emerson Conger won his first WISA Skimeister Award. He teamed up with Brendon Wehde to win the WISA junior high boys Team Trophy. Members of Nome Nordic skied the Sweetheart Mountain Loop in White Mountain for the first time. Nome Nordic introduced its annual season-concluding Ski-2-Sea fundraiser race. The early Ski-2-Sea format called for skiers to make their way up the northwest shoulder of Newton Peak, a few miles out of Nome. After coming back down a precariously steep hill, racers swapped their boards for bikes or tagged a partner who pedaled to the Bering Sea. A few years later, the Ski-2-Sea would be moved to the much smaller (and safer) Gold Hill behind Nome.
2007 - 2008 Ski Season
FIRST AWG MEDALIST - Nome Nordic's Emerson Conger earned two Arctic Winter Games medals in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada. (Picture: Emerson Conger, in glasses, was a member of Team Alaska's 2008 gold medal-winning Ski Biathlon relay team)
Nome Nordic hosted its first invitational race weekend. In February, teams from Savoonga, White Mountain, and Unalakleet joined Nome skiers for a freestyle sprint race and a laser biathlon race. Emerson Conger had qualified for the Arctic Winter Games by winning the junior high biathlon at the 2007 WISA Championships. He then found himself on the podium after the 6-kilometer Sprint Race at the 2008 Arctic Winter Games. Emerson added an AWG relay gold medal (ulu) to this individual bronze medal. He also captured his second WISA Skimeister Award, becoming Nome Nordic's first multiple WISA Skimeister.
2008 - 2009 Ski Season
BIRCH HILL - Many Nome Nordic skiers got their first taste of big-city groomed trails during the 2009 WISA Championships at Fairbank's Birch Hill Ski Area. (Picture: Nome Nordic members won their second Sportsmanship Award and wore their new uniforms at the 2009 WISA event)
Unalakleet's Sierra Corsetti took first place in the 2009 WISA biathlon race, thus qualifying for the 2010 Arctic Winter Games in Ski Biathlon. Due to a large number of graduating senior girls, there were no eligible high school racers to fill WISA's female high school Snowshoe Biathlon spot. So, a very lengthy junior high alternate list was referenced. The winner of the 2009 WISA junior high biathlon was Nome Nordic's, Miranda Murphy. Miranda had placed seventh in the ski race the day before, but her 10 for 10 shooting (also known as "shooting clean") in the biathlon helped her earn a spot on the 2010 Team Alaska Snowshoe Biathlon squad. Emerson Conger moved up the historic ranks of WISA athletes by capturing his third WISA Skiemeister. He, too, qualified for the 2010 Arctic Winter Games. Emerson also became the first Nome Nordic racer to attend the US Team Trials for the World Youth/Junior Biathlon Championships held in Anchorage. A Nome Community Center grant helped the club get its first race uniforms.
2009 - 2010 Ski Season
SHARPSHOOTER - Miranda Murphy became Nome Nordic's first female participant at the Arctic Winter Games. (Picture: Miranda on the podium in Grand Prairie, Alberta, Canada)
Miranda Murphy became Nome Nordic's most decorated Arctic Winter Games individual participant by winning three silver Medals (ulus) as a member of Team Alaska's 2010 Snowshoe Biathlon squad. She capped the week of competition off by contributing to Alaska's gold medal efforts in the team relay. On Day One, Miranda had the best shooting percentage of all athletes, male or female. She ended her AWG experience as one of the top overall shooters. Emerson Conger participated in his second Arctic Winter Games as a member of the Ski Biathlon team. He won a bronze medal in the 6K Sprint. Emerson added a silver medal in the team relay and ended his Arctic Winter Games career with a total of four medals. Emerson won his fourth consecutive WISA Skimeister Award, which tied the record previously held by Arnold Marks of Tanana.
2010 - 2011 Ski Season
COUNT THEM ON ONE HAND - Emerson Conger became the first and only five-time WISA Skimeister. (Picture: Nome Nordic racers Mark Steiger, Emerson Conger, Sam Schmidt, and Coach Conger at the 2011 Tour of Anchorage)
The closest biathlon race in WISA history happened at the 2011 WISA Championships in White Mountain. Putting superstitions aside, Nome Nordic's Emerson Conger extended his consecutive WISA win streak to 13 races on Day One. He was challenged mightily in the Day Two biathlon race by fellow Arctic Winter Games participant and former WISA junior high Skimeister Asa Bergamaschi of White Mountain. Emerson shot clean the first time through the range, while Asa missed one. That shooting score was reversed the next time, though. Asa and Emerson collided as the Nome athlete exited the penalty loop. Emerson was able to make up all but one of the seconds he lost after his fall. Emerson established the fastest split in the Team Relay on Day Three and won his fifth WISA Skimeister Award. Nome Nordic junior high athlete Rosa Schmidt, a lefty shooter, was forced to use right-hand rifles but still captured her first WISA Skimeister Award. Eagle-eyed shooter Miranda Murphy hit 10 of 10 in a WISA biathlon for the third time. She finished her remarkable career by going 39/40 in WISA biathlon competitions, making her the best female shooter in recent WISA history. Emerson also took fourth place out of 522 racers at the 25K (15.5-mile) Tour of Anchorage. Other impressive results from the Tour were turned in by Sam Schmidt, 14th, and Mark Steiger, 45th. Coach Conger took 25th place.
2011 - 2012 Ski Season
GOLDEN GIRL - A Nome Nordic athlete won an individual Arctic Winter Games gold medal for the first (and only) time. (Picture: Nome Nordic's Caity Tozier is elated when she sees the final results of the Snowshoe Biathlon sprint race at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games)
Caity Tozier had quite a year! The high school senior represented Nome Nordic at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games in Whitehorse, Yukon Territories, Canada. She earned the first individual gold medal in recent WISA history by taking the top spot in the Snowshoe Biathlon sprint race, hitting 8 of 10 targets. Teammate Rosa Schmidt also attended the Arctic Winter Games on the Snowshoe racing team. Caity worked hard to capture her first WISA Skimeister Award, narrowly beating Rosa, a former WISA Skimeister. The pair helped the Nome high school girls win the WISA Team Trophy. Nome Nordic made its first training trip to Alyeska Resort. All members of the group were able to ski down from the tram on Day One. The new multi-discipline skiers consisted of Rosa and Tim Schmidt, Jannelle Trowbridge, Caity, Quinn, and Hannah Tozier.
2012 - 2013 Ski Season
ONE IN A GAZILLION - Two Nome Nordic junior high athletes were part of a most unlikely four-way tie. (Picture: Bianca Trowbridge, second from left, and Mallory Conger, second from right, hold their first BSSD Skimeister Trophies)
Here's one that will undoubtedly never happen again! Even the brightest mathematicians would have trouble figuring the statistical odds on this one. In the BSSD meet's junior high division, Nome Nordic 5th grader Mallory Conger won the ski race. Unalakleet's Summer Sagoonick came in second, while White Mountain's Felicia Ione and Nome's Bianca Trowbridge finished third and fourth, respectively. The top four results for the biathlon on Day Two consisted of the same girls but in reverse order. That meant the four athletes finished the meet tied for Skimeister Award points. However, a miracle was discovered when the judges used the tie-breaker. Each of the girl's cumulative times added up to exactly 33 minutes, 11 seconds. This extraordinary circumstance resulted in all four girls being presented with the BSSD Skimeister award. Also, Nome Nordic used an NRA grant to purchase two international competition-grade biathlon rifles.
2013 - 2014 Ski Season
SKIKU - Lars Flora brings his Anchorage-based ski outreach program to Nome. (Picture: Rosa Schmidt, front left, and Alexis Hutson, center, get a good start in the WISA freestyle race at Birch Hill in Fairbanks)
Former US World Junior competitor Sam Dougherty conducted the first Summer Biathlon Camp at the Sunset Biathlon Range. Nome Nordic's Rosa Schmidt competed on Team Alaska's Ski Biathlon squad at Fairbanks' 2014 Arctic Winter Games. A week later, she emerged from one of the most competitive high school girls' fields in years to claim her second WISA Skimeister Award, becoming the club's first female multiple winner. Rosa beat out former WISA Skimeisters Aly Daniels (Unalakleet, who would later go on to make two Junior National ski teams), Carolyn Sam (Galena), and Sarah Brown (Galena). She also beat teammate Bianca Trowbridge (who would win WISA high school Skimeister Awards in 2015 and 2016). Lars Flora, who organized a ski outreach program called Skiku, traveled to Nome with four coaches from Anchorage the week before the Iditarod finished. His group worked to get over 150 fourth, fifth and sixth-grade students from Nome Elementary School out on skis. The winter of 2014 produced the most challenging snow conditions in club history. On January 27, the temperature reached a record 52 degrees, thus wiping out the snow in our ski area for the entire month of February. This might have been a blessing, as it forced us to bus our race kids to Newton Peak for practice each day. Our proficiency on hills increased that year!
2014 - 2015 Ski Season
THREE QUALIFY - A record number of Nome Nordic athletes qualified for the 2016 Arctic Winter Games at WISA qualification races. (Picture: Emelyne Hobbs and Wilson Hoogendorn stand at the top of Alyeska Ski Resort)
Nome Nordic took its second big trip south to go downhill skiing. Bianca Trowbridge, Emelyne Hobbs, Alexis Hutson, Junior Erikson, Mallory Conger, and Wilson Hoogendorn had big days at Hilltop and Alyeska Resorts. Mallory and Bianca closed out the season by winning their individual races at the WISA Championships in White Mountain. Those accomplishments resulted in them winning the junior high and high school WISA Skimeister Awards, respectively. In addition, Wilson, a talented first-year skier and accomplished hunter, won the WISA biathlon. Mallory, Bianca, and Wilson earned trips to the 2016 Arctic Winter Games in Greenland with those results.
2015 - 2016 Ski Season
GREENLAND - Three Nome Nordic athletes attended the Arctic Winter Games in Greenland. (Picture: Nome Nordic's relay anchorman Ben Cross overcame a large deficit and helped his team win the WISA relay and the WISA Team Trophy)
Four members traveled to Anchorage to compete in the US Team Trials for the World Youth/Junior Biathlon Championships. Bianca Trowbridge and Wilson Hoogendorn represented Nome Nordic in biathlon at the 2016 Arctic Winter Games in Nuuk, Greenland. Both earned individual bronze medals. They were also members of Team Alaska's gold-medal-winning relay squad. Mallory Conger represented Nome Nordic at AWG by competing on Team Alaska's Cross Country Ski unit. She produced the best Arctic Winter Games ski result in recent Western Interior Ski Association history with a 6th place finish in the skate sprints. She also became the first Nome skier to participate in the prestigious Besh Cup races. Both Mallory and Bianca won their second WISA Skimeister Awards.
2016 - 2017 Ski Season
FOUR FOR FOUR - Nome Nordic captured WISA Skimeister Awards in all four divisions. (Picture: WISA junior high Skimeister Clara Hansen enjoyed a post-race-season skijor with Chena)
Five Nome Nordic members attended a summer camp run by United Stated Olympic Women's Biathlon Coach Jonne Kahkonen. The season started with two Nome Nordic members traveling to participate in Montana's West Yellowstone Ski Festival. Three attended the US Team Trials for the World Youth/Juniors Biathlon Championships in Jericho, Vermont. Our newer skiers gained confidence at the Koyuk Invitational Meet, which celebrated its 40th anniversary. Nome Nordic performed something that had never been done in the 31-year history of the WISA Championships by securing the Skimeister Award in all four categories (Ben Cross, high school boys; Mallory Conger, high school girls; Tobin Hobbs, junior high boys; and Clara Hansen, junior high girls). It was Mallory's third WISA Skimeister Award, tying her for the record. Both high school squads captured Team Trophies. It was the sixth WISA title for the girls, which bumped them up to first place all-time. The boys' sixth Team Trophy put them in a second-place tie (with Elim) on the all-time WISA list. Ben came in 14th place out of nearly 300 racers in the 25k (15.5-mile) Tour of Anchorage. Mallory was 29th overall and earned a spot on the women's podium by placing third. Coach Conger placed 14th overall. With help from the Nome Winter Sports Association and an NRA grant, Nome Nordic acquired its first groomer and had corduroy trails the final two weeks of the season.
2017 - 2018 Ski Season
ASAA (Alaska Student Activity Association) EVENT - Nome Nordic sent two skiers to the largest high school ski race in the state - the Lynx Loppet. (Picture: Bethany, left, and Kristen Daniel at Hatcher Pass ski area as part of a week-long ski camp with Lars Flora)
In November, Mallory Conger, Tobin Hobbs, Bethany Daniel, and Kristen Daniel kicked the year off by attending a week-long ski technique clinic run by two-time Olympian Lars Flora. The highlight was two days up in Hatcher Pass. In December, Mallory and Tobin participated at the Lynx Loppet. This was the first time that Nome Nordic skiers had attended an ASAA event. It is super rare that rural kids show up to race against the big city ski programs. Nome Nordic was hosted at the Lynx Loppet by the Eagle River High School Ski Team. Mallory ended up posting the 30th fastest skate ski time, and Tobin did well too. Mallory, Tobin, and Ben Cross attended the Arctic Winter Games in the Northwest Territories, Canada. Mallory became the first WISA ski biathlete to win three medals. She is the first WISA biathlete to beat a Russian. Her silver medal in the Sprint Race is the highest finish ever for a WISA ski biathlete. Tobin posted an eighth-place finish in the cross country skate ski race, the highest finish on record for a WISA boy. Ben and Mallory were part of the bronze medal ski biathlon AWG relay team. Our overall squad attended the WISA meet at Birch Hill in Fairbanks in March. Nome Nordic returned home with High School Girls, High School Boys, and Junior High Girls team trophies. Mallory (HS girls) captured her fourth WISA Skimeister Award and now has more than any girl in WISA history. Tobin (HS boys) and Clara Hanson (JH girls) also earned Skimeister Awards in their respective divisions.
2018 - 2019 Ski Season
SUMMER BIATHLON CLINIC - Three-time Olympian Lanny Barnes came to Nome in July for a three-day biathlon clinic at the Sunset Biathlon Range. (Picture: Longtime Nome Nordic racer Maya Kralik takes part in a biathlon race at Kincaid Park in Anchorage)
2019 - 2020 Ski Season
TOP TEN - Mallory Conger placed in the top 10 among all US girls her age at the United States Youth/Junior Team Trials for the World Championships. (In this picture, Mallory has just shot clean (5 fout of 5) from the standing position for the first time in a major competition)
The COVID-19 pandemic shorted the season.
2020 - 2021 Ski Season
YOUNG SKIERS - COVID forces all races to be cancelled. Instead, Nome Nordic had a fun with an energetic group of fourth and fifth grade skiers.
The high school skiers gave Nome Nordic much cause for celebration.
Nine different Nome Nordic athletes have earned 20 WISA Skimeister Awards, and our squads have taken home 17 WISA Team Trophies. But most importantly, we share the WISA record of four Sportsmanship Awards!
Thank you, John Miles, our rural skiing patriarch, for helping thousands of Alaskan kids learn to ski. John started a ski program in the Bering Straits region in 1978 and founded WISA in 1987. Both programs are still going strong! John made sure that each racer received a ribbon at every meet. John is a member of the Alaska Cross Country Skiing Hall of Fame. Nome Nordic is a by-product of John Miles spreading his love for the skiing lifestyle.
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