I first met Dan LaBlanc and learned about Kettle Moraine Adventure Company while volunteering at the Ice Age 50 Trail Races. He was super easy to talk to and get to know - we shared a love for silent sports.
As I have gotten to know him better through work at Bicycle Doctor, my admiration for his method of coaching and inspiring others has grown. I even got a lesson myself – how to go downhill on cross country skis.
I invited Dan to have a beer and share the story of the founding of Kettle Moraine Adventure Company.
Usually, I write an article for you all as a follow up, but the note Dan sent me afterword was too perfect to edit. You have to hear it straight from him! -Megan
“I’m sitting with Sheri, two doodles and two cats in front of the woodstove after stopping by the shop to talk.
I thought more about our conversation and thought I’d share this on my history and why I love teaching.
My first experience with ski instruction and Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) was in the late 70’s when I took downhill lessons after getting my ass kicked in Colorado. That’s when I was introduced to professional ski instruction and learning progressions that made learning to ski possible for anyone, even me. Since I’m an “unnatural” athlete, I need details to learn and a plan to figure stuff out. I taught downhill for a while and it was mind blowing. Later when I took up XC, I decided to take lessons from Dan Clausen in Minocqua and also worked with my mentor and friend, Dale Peters who was a Level 3 (highest level) Alpine and XC instructor.
As I mentioned, in the mid to late 80’s skating was born and we all were in on developing equipment and technique. In the early 90’s I got frustrated with all the opinions out there on how to ski, I recalled my Alpine PSIA experience, and sought out PSIA instruction for XC to learn the truth.
I got hooked and decided to pursue full certification, Level 3, and began attending clinics and taking exams. I spent about 10 years learning and in 2015 passed my L3 certification and started Kettle Moraine Adventure Company.
Now I teach pretty much full time all winter and get to share my love of skiing, and a system for learning, with 100s of people.
My greatest joy is sharing the beauty of dancing on skis with folks that are new to playing outside or, have previously thought of XC skiing as a hard and sweaty and pretty miserable thing to do. I also love working with really passionate masters skiers, helping them refine their technique so they can maximize their effort.
The beauty of skiing is the rhythm and flow from ski to ski. This dance is what glues technique together with fitness and creates beautiful skiing. We too often think of XC skiing as a tough workout when it primarily is a beautiful dance.
After 40 years of skiing and many years of teaching, I continue to learn. I feel that despite skiing being enormously technically complicated, skiing is really quite simple. I now say that ‘the magic of skiing happens between the moments of effort.’ The ability to balance, relax, and glide on one ski is everything, and it’s a life quest.” -Dan LaBlanc