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High School and Middle School Cross Country Ski Race


The 2024 Hodag Challenge cross country ski races take place January 20-21, 2024 at the Cedrig A. Vig Outdoor Classroom (CAVOC) in Rhinelander.   We will be updating the below information over the summer!

High School and Middle School skiers are expected to participate each day of the weekend race activities.  Teams and individual skiers come from all across Wisconsin, the Upper Peninsula and even Minnesota skiers have attended.   An untimed 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  

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

Youth Race – Mass Start 

Sunday, January 

 Varsity, JV & Middle School, pursuit back start.

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. 

Photos of the 2023 HC are posted to Google

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


The Hodag Challenge will be setup to use MileSplit and should be used by all WNSL teams.   The MileSplit registration also contains questions in regards to whether a team will bring a tent, and a bus to the event to assist in our planning 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 17th 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 17th must be directed to Additions and deletions will be accepted until 1:00 PM, Wednesday, January 18, 2023.

  • The same 5 Varsity skiers must be registered to ski both races as Varsity for the pursuit race. No changes to the Varsity registrations are allowed. There must be 3 Varsity skiers registered each day to score in the Team Pursuit standings.
  • If you do not have a 4th and 5th Varsity skier registered, you will not be able to participate in a possible tie breaker and would fall to the next finishing position if a tie ensued with another team.
  • The pursuit race will be a “time back” start with results from Saturday’s race determining Sunday’s start times.  After a predetermined time, limit or number of skiers, the remaining skiers will start in groups of three at 15-second intervals.
  • Any skiers who scratch after the production of the start list will remain on the start list and receive a ‘Did Not Start’ (DNS) in the results.


Varsity, JV and both MS races (7/8 and 5/6) will use the same seeding for the individual starts for the first day race and will be a combination of Coaches Self-Seeding and the discretion of the Race Director using an A, B, C, ranking.  

  • A = Expected Top 25%
  • B = next 25% of finishers.
  • C = being all others.

Skiers who miss their Saturday start and only ski on Sunday will start at the end of the skiers from Saturday’s results.


Varsity, JV and Middle School - $25/skier/weekend.  There is no single day registration for the event.  Skiers that are registered for Saturday and do not start, will be placed at the back of their respective race on Sunday.  
As is typical of most races, acts of god or nature, or participant cancellations would not generate a refund from the venue.
The Youth Race is free. 
Payment is to be made at the race during bib pickup.  Checks payable to: Northwoods Nordic Ski Club, PO Box 105, Rhinelander, WI 54501.  We will have a card reader to accept credit card payments at the registration desk.

Race Timetable and Start Times

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.

Friday Open Course

12:00pm - 4:00 pm   Course open.  Please do not ski on the course after 4:00pm as grooming operations and final race day preparations will be completed.  The warm up loop will be open.

Saturday Classic Race Schedule – 15 second interval starts
8:00am - 1:00pm Bib Pick-Up, Cavoc Lodge
8:00am - 9:30am Course Open/Closed
9:15am - Coaches Meeting
9:30am - Course Closed
9:45am - National Anthem in the Stadium
10:00am - 11:00am Varsity & JV Girls
11:15am - 12:15pm Varsity & JV Boys
12:00 - Coaches meeting for MS Coaches that could not make earlier meeting.
12:15 - 12:50 Course Open/Closed
12:45pm - JV & Varsity Awards (or as soon as available)
1:00pm - 1:30pm 7/8 and 5/6 MS Girls
1:45pm - 2:15pm 7/8 and 5/6 MS Boys
2:30pm - Youth 1 km Rac

2:45pm - 4:00pm  Course Open/Closed
3:00pm - MS Awards (or as soon as available)

Sunday Freestyle (skate) Schedule, Time Back, Pursuit Starts
8:00am – 1:00pm Bib Pick-Up, Cavoc Lodge
7:30am - 9:00am Course Open/Closed

9:00am - Coaches’ Meeting
9:00am - Course Closed
9:30am - 10:15am Varsity & JV Boys
10:30am - 11:15pm Varsity & JV Girls
12:30pm – Varsity & JV Awards and Pursuit Awards (or as soon as available)
11:30am -12:30pm Course Open/Closed
12:30pm - 1:00pm 7/8 and 5/6 MS Boys
1:15pm - 1:45pm 7/8 and 5/6 MS Girls
2:30pm - MS Awards and Pursuit (or as soon as possible)

Race Waiver

The MileSplit registration contains two requests that WNSL coaches affirm while completing their registrations.
  1. That they have collected a 2022-23 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 2022-2023 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 2023 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 2023 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 19th.  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.

Pursuit Team Race Scoring

A point system will be used for scoring:
  • The first-place finisher will score 1 point, second place will score 2 points, third place will score 3 points, etc. The lowest three scores for each team are added to obtain a team score and the team with the lowest point total wins. (Individuals not on a team will be removed from the pursuit scoring.)
  • Only the top 3 skiers from each team score points.
  • Tiebreaker for team scoring will be the 4th place finishers. The team with the fastest 4th place finisher shall prevail. If still tied, the 5th place finishers’ times will be used. The team with the fastest 5th place finisher shall prevail.

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, Classic & Pursuit)
Team Pursuit Plaques for: Top 3 Varsity Male/Female Teams
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

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

Northwoods Nordic Ski Club and Island City Dragon Boat Club will also be providing concessions and are looking for help and donations.  You can sign up here for concessions:

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.

Coaches Meeting

  • 9:15 Saturday
  • 12:00 Saturday - Coaches meeting for MS Coaches that could not make earlier meeting.  We will keep this short.
  • Meet in the basement of the CAVOC Lodge.

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

Both days of the Hodag Challenge are NON-FLUORO races. CH/paraffin waxes only!

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.   

Northwoods Nordic Ski Club and Island City Dragon Boat Club will provide concessions and are looking for help and donations.  You can sign up here for concessions:

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 Nicolet National Bank

Nicolet National Bank

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Annual sponsor of Rinelander's primer Nordic races.

Sponsored by Rhinelander Community Foundation

Rhinelander Community Foundation

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Supporting Rhinelander youth Nordic skiing. 

Sponsored by A-1 Septic Service

A-1 Septic Service

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Dedicated to sponsoring our trails and events for many years