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High School and Middle School Cross Country Ski Race

Updates to this page are coming.  Check back around November for specifics to the 2025 Hodag Challenge.


The 2025 Hodag Challenge cross country ski races take place January 18-19, 2025 at the Cedrig A. Vig Outdoor Classroom (CAVOC) in Rhinelander.   

We have decided to discontinue the Pursuit style venue on Sunday and will instead have a Freestyle or Skate venue with interval starts. 

Teams and individual skiers come from all across Wisconsin, the Upper Peninsula and even Minnesota skiers have attended.   An un-timed Youth Race for younger skiers (5th grade and under) will be held on Saturday.

The High School course is 5 kilometers and the Middle School course is 3.3 kilometers.  Both courses are very challenging with plenty of elevation changes.   The width of the course is 6 meters for undulating terrain and 9 meters for uphills.   The Youth course is 1.1 kilometers and utilizes a trail with less hills.  Course maps are provided at the links on this page.

Saturday, January 18, 2025

Varsity, JV & Middle School Classic Style Interval Starts @ 15 seconds.

Youth Race – Mass Start 

Sunday, January 19, 2025

 Varsity, JV & Middle School, Freestyle Interval Starts @ 15 seconds.

The Middle School has two separate divisions, 5/6 and 7/8 grades.  Due to the degree of difficulty of the trail system, we do not recommend that 4th graders be registered in the MS classes.  However, we will accept 4th graders in the MS 5/6 division under the Coaches discretion.

The Youth Race is for participants typically 4th grade or younger.  However, we know some MS skiers are not yet ready to ski the Hodag Challenge.  Therefore, the Youth Race is also open to other MS skiers that do not ski in either of the MS categories.  We say under 4th grade, but honestly we don't check ID's.  The Youth Race is not timed, no registration is necessary, and no placement awards are given.  We do have a treat for the participants. 

Hodag Challenge Race Schedule

Approximate time table for the venue.   Times may change based on weather conditions and number of skiers registered.  Changes to schedules will be posted as they become available here, on Rhinelander Nordic Skiing Facebook site, and the information board/kiosk at the venue.

The Coaches Meeting will be in the basement of the CAVOC lodge.  To get to the meeting, follow the signs around the northside (left of the main entrance) to the basement doors.   There will be no entrance through the concession area as in the past.


The Hodag Challenge will be setup to use MileSplit and should be used by all WNSL teams.   We are also working to open up the MileSplit registration to other teams to facilitate registration for the event.

If you do not have a MileSplit account then you must register by filling out the Hodag Challenge Roster found at the link below.  

MileSplit entries and the HC Roster are due by Tuesday, January 14th at 6:00 PM.  Late entries will not be accepted and registration will automatically close at 6:00 PM on MileSplit.

Email the HC Roster to

Questions and changes to rosters after January 14th must be directed to Additions and deletions will be accepted until 1:00 PM, Wednesday, January 15th, 2025.


Hodag Challenge 2025 Seeding Guidelines

Seeding for all individuals for each of the races (i.e. classic on Saturday and freestyle on Sunday) will be a combination of Coaches Self-Seeding and the discretion of the Race Director.  

We are setting a maximum number of entries for A and B seeding for each Team/Club.  Coaches, please place your athletes in appropriate seeds based on expected results/placements.  You do not need to fill up all the entries for each seeding if you do not have skiers that meet the seeding requirement. That is, if each team/club has 3 entries available for an A seed, they may choose to enter from 0 to 3 individuals and for B seeds 0 to 5 individuals.

A = Expected Top 25%.  Up to three (3) entries per team.
B = Next 25% to 50% of finishers.  Up to five (5) entries per team.
C = being all others.

There are 4 divisions (i.e., Varsity, JV, MS7/8 and MS5/6) that are seeded.  That means that coaches could seed up to three (3) athletes in all of the divisions (i.e., Varsity, JV, MS7/8 and MS5/6) as an A seed.  And then seed up to five (5) athletes in the B seed, and then the rest of the team/club as a C seed in their respective division. 

Each division seeding (i.e., A, B and C) will be randomized separately to generate the start order for each division.  We anticipate a break of less than 5 minutes between the Varsity and JV divisions, and between the MS7/8 C seed and the MS5/6 A seed to allow separation of the divisions on the course and avert the A seeds from catching the C seeds from the prior start.

If you have more skiers for either A or B seed than allowed, enter that individual in the C seeding and then send an email to asking for placement of that athlete in the preferred seeding.  Include an appropriate justification for the seeding such as; past race results, comparison of individual to team members registered in the requested seeding, etc. 


Varsity, JV and Middle School - $15/skier/per event. 
As is typical of most races, acts of god or nature, or participant cancellations would not generate a refund from the venue.  No refunds will be given once final registration closes at 1:00 PM, Wednesday, January 15th, 2025.
The Youth Race is free. 
We are working on a method to pay fees through a PayPal account.  We anticipate sending invoices to registrants after registration has been closed.  Teams/individuals will then be able to pay prior to bib pickup on race day.  If payment is made during bib pickup, checks should be made out to: Northwoods Nordic Ski Club, PO Box 105, Rhinelander, WI 54501.  Please, no cash!!!  We will have a card reader to accept credit card payments at the registration desk.

Race Waiver

The MileSplit registration contains two requests that WNSL coaches affirm while completing their registrations.
  1. That they have collected a 2024-25 Wisconsin Nordic Ski League Amateur Athletic Waiver and Release of Liability   for each of their athletes that are listed on the WNSL Roster for the 2024-2025 Ski Season, signed (by athlete and parent and/or Guardian).  The Original Form and/or copy will be made available upon request if needed for any liability issue that may arise at the 2025 Hodag Challenge. 
  2. In addition, the   _____________________________ (Name of Team/Club)  agrees to indemnify Northwoods Nordic Ski Club for any resulting injury/damages to a race participant who did not have a waiver on file at the time the coach/team/club submitted the form.  This is specific to Northwoods Nordic Ski Club for the 2025 Hodag Challenge Cross Country Ski Race.
For any participants not using MileSplit for registration or who does not accept the above language, the Hodag Challenge Race Waiver must be signed by every racer and/or parent or guardian for racers under 18 years of age.  It is requested that waiver be emailed to by Thursday, January 16th.  Sending one email with multiple waivers is preferred for a team entry.  
We request email submittal versus hand delivery on race day to eliminate the congestion at the registration table that results if we have to check waivers against the race roster.  If we receive your teams’ waivers prior to the event, bib pickup will proceed much quicker and without waiting.  Just assemble your team’s rosters, scan, and email to us.  No one will be permitted to pick up a bib unless the waiver is received by the race venue.

On-Line Start Order and Results

The Web Scorer link below will have Saturday's and Sundays starting order along with results after each race.   Scroll down to the appropriate tab to retrieve the information. 

Live results on Web Scorer are not official.  Official results will be posted at the venue on the information boards.

Bib Pickup and Timing

  • Coaches will pick up bibs from registration outside the CAVOC Lodge for the team each day and distribute to skiers.
  • Race bibs are to be placed in receptacle at the finish line after the racer finishes.
  •  Any skier that misses their assigned starting time will be started after all other skiers in that wave have started their race.


Individual Medals for: Top 5 Male/Female 5/6 MS, 7/8 MS, JV, Varsity (Skate and Classic)
The Youth Race will not be timed and no placement awards will be awarded.  However, we will have a special treat for all participants.

Volunteer to Help at the Hodag Challenge

We need volunteers to help at the Hodag Challenge High and Middle School Cross Country Ski races and you can register to help by using

1) Click this link to see our SignUp on  coming soon

2) Review the options listed and choose the spot(s) you like.

The link is coming soon.  Check back later.

COVID-19 Information and Event Requirements

The Northwoods Nordic Ski Club will be follow the below COVID guidance during the weekend races.  

  • If you are exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19, do not travel to or attend this venue.
  • If you have been in contact with someone with COVID-19 in the last 14-days, do not come to this venue.

Parking and Tents at the Venue

  • General parking will be in the big lot. Overflow across the road.
    • Autos arriving at the venue will be directed to either the main lot at CAVOC or the Overflow parking area.
    • Preference will be given to athletes and autos that have more than one occupant to park in the CAVOC lot.
    • Any spectators arriving with less than two occupants, may be directed to the Overflow Parking Lot.
  • Buses will be directed to park at one end of the lot. Please let us know if you are bringing a bus so that we can reserve an appropriate space for parking.
  • Two areas are designated for Tents on a first come first serve basis.  Please erect tents only in these areas.  Power will not be supplied to these areas.  You will need your own generator.

Start Area Course Comments

Start Area/Course Comments

  • For warmup, athletes may choose to ski the entire race course before its closed each day or complete a shorter warm up course that will be clearly marked.
  • For the classic race, we anticipate that 2 or 3 lanes will be groomed at the start, with two tracks set all the way around the course, using best line.
  • Arrows indicate direction of travel and skiers shall not ski backwards on the course.  Disqualification may occur for anyone skiing backwards on course or warm up loop.
  • The start area is located adjacent to the main parking area.
  • The course will be open to coaches throughout the day and always ski in the direction of the race.
  • Two Coaches bibs will be issued to each team during bib pickup.  Only Coaches wearing these bibs are allowed on the course during the race. 

Wax Regulations

The Hodag Challenge are NON-FLUORO races.

The pavilion near the Lodge has electrical outlets and may be used for waxing.  The pavilion will not be enclosed as in past years and will be an open area.  Team waxing tents may also be set up in the designated area in the lower parking lot on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Food or Concessions

Food and concessions will  be provided in the CAVOC Lodge.  No hot plates or cookers are allowed in the CAVOC facility.   

Rhinelander Women's Club will provide concessions.

Photos of the 2023 HC are posted to Google

Follow the link(s) below for photos from the event.

Hodag Challenge Contact Information

Email Brian Hegge at  for specific questions.

Thank You 2023/24 Sponsors!

Interested in becoming a sponsor of Northwoods Nordic Ski Club?

Sponsored by Foley's Tree Service

Foley's Tree Service

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Promoting recreational access and active, healthy lifestyles for the whole community.

Sponsored by Mel's Trading Post

Mel's Trading Post

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Fitting Rhinelander youth, residents, and visitors to fantastic winter experiences.

Sponsored by Charter Next Generation

Charter Next Generation

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Annual sponsor of Rinelander's primer Nordic races.

Sponsored by Habush Personal Injury Attorneys

Habush Personal Injury Attorneys

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Supporting Rhinelander youth Nordic skiing. 

Sponsored by Lakeland Realty

Lakeland Realty

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Supporting us in achieving our mission to foster the sport of cross country skiing in our area. 

Sponsored by Briar House

Briar House

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Energizing winter sports athletes, citizens, and visitors in the Rhinelander area.

Sponsored by A-1 Septic Service

A-1 Septic Service

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Dedicated to sponsoring our trails and events for many years

Sponsored by Ski for Light

Ski for Light

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Enhancing the quality of life and independence of visually or mobility-impaired adults through a program of cross-country skiing.

Sponsored by Wisconsin Public Service Foundation

Wisconsin Public Service Foundation

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 Together, creating a brighter future for the communities we serve