CXC Academy Names New Coaches and Mentors

MADISON, Wis. (April 16, 2020) – Central Cross Country Skiing (CXC) in partnership with the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation has announced a lineup of new and returning coaches for its CXC Academy program, an online subscription service that provides professional training plans for cross country skiers of all ages and skill levels.

CXC has named noted Central Region skiers Nichole Bathe, the 2020 American Birkebeiner Classic 55K champion and FIS Continental Cup racer, Caitlin Compton Gregg, five-time American Birkebeiner Champion and sport ambassador, and Ben Popp, the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation Executive Director and citizen racer to its team of coaches and mentors offering targeted online training resources to cross country skiers.

Named to the team of coaches in 2019, Matt Liebsch, the 2009 American Birkebeiner Champion, and veteran collegiate and World Cup skier; and professional strength and mobility coach Steve Myrland will continue in their mentor and motivator roles.

CXC Academy is a unique program that has been serving skiers for over a decade. Subscribing members have access to training plans and videos from CXC Academy monthly. The 12-month training year is broken into four-week periods starting each week on a Monday and concluding on Sunday totaling 13 training periods with 28 days in each period. Four fresh weeks of training is published each month.


Nichole Bathe

Nichole Bathe grew up in Madison, Wisconsin where she joined the CXC junior program around 13 years old and worked her way through the CXC Elite Team before accepting a ski scholarship to the University of Alaska Fairbanks. At University she was a two-time all-American and Team captain.

Bathe is currently doing her Master’s at the University of Oslo, a Junior Coach in Norway for the Heming club, and in her third season skiing for the British National Team, living and racing in Norway and Europe.

This past season she had the opportunity to race in the United States again joining the 2020 Slumberland Birkie Supertour Classic sprints as well as the Classic Birkie. She will be advising through a series of videos covering general training advisory, ski technique and user Q&As.


Caitlin Gregg

Caitlin Compton Gregg, a five-time American Birkebeiner Champion, will be joining CXC Academy as a coach, mentor and motivator, – advising on race tactics, technique, ski selection and marathon preparedness through a series of monthly videos.

Caitlin grew up as a New Yorker riding the subway to school. The family traveled to snow upstate and in Vermont whenever possible. Gregg graduated from Northern Michigan University with a B.F.A. in Environmental Design. While in College she competed in both Cross Country Running and Nordic Skiing earning All- American Status in both. After over 15 years of diligent training filled with victories and setbacks, Caitlin reached her goal of making the 2010 Winter Olympic Team. She was thrilled to finish 6th in the Team Sprint with Kikkan Randall and 30th in the individual 10K Skate race. In the 10km Freestyle at the 2015 World Championships Caitlin won a bronze medal, and shared the podium with her teammate American Jessie Diggins. This breakthrough race marked the first ever medal for an American woman in a World Championship distance race.

Throughout her ski career she has been a leader, including member of the In-the-Arena, a national organization that puts at-risk youth in communities with Elite athletes who can inspire and motivate them to reach a better and more fulfilling life. She also works with the Gerry Gamble Boys and Girls Club as a role model and mentor for the local area youth.


Ben Popp

Originally from northern Wisconsin, Ben has been involved in American Birkebeiner events since the late 1970s.Born and raised in Phillips Wisconsin, Ben attended St. Olaf College as an undergraduate, and then received his masters degree in Education from St. Thomas University in St. Paul MN. Ben has coached Nordic skiing and soccer at Carleton College, St. Marys University.Ben has owned and operated Endurance Athlete Training Systems, as well as started the non-profit SISU Foundation before starting work at the ABSF.

Ben will be advising through a series of videos covering general training advisory, ski technique and user Q&As.


Matt Liebsch will be re-joining CXC Academy as a coach, mentor and motivator, – advising on race tactics, technique, ski selection and marathon preparedness through a series of monthly videos.

Matt is a 2009 American Birkebeiner Champion, multi-time World Cup racer with the US Ski Team and still actively involved in racing at the local, regional and national level.

Matt is married to Marybeth Liebsch and together they raise three beautiful young children in Osseo, MN. In his free time Matt loves chasing around his kids, racing triathlons and coaching at the high school and Masters level.


Myrland will be re-joining CXC Academy as a movement specialist advising on functional strength training through monthly videos and strength training plans. He is a highly recognized athletic development and performance coach for competitive athletes across multiple sports. He began his coaching career with the University of Wisconsin in 1988, assisting with Big Ten and national championship performances in hockey, soccer, cross country running, tennis and rowing. He also played a key role with the National Hockey League’s San Jose Sharks, supporting them to an NHL record for single-season improvement. He has also worked in Major League Baseball with the Chicago White Sox as well at the Tampa Bay Mutiny Major League Soccer team. He has been a past contributor to CXC coaches education workshops.

CXC is recognized as the governing organization for cross country skiing by U.S. Ski & Snowboard in its Central Region. CXC Academy is one of its flagship programs that has a long track record of helping skiers develop better ski technique, improve ski fitness and get ready for the next big ski event with the help.

To learn more about CXC Academy and how it can help you improve your cross country skiing, check it out at

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