During the 80’s Charlie thought he was the smartest skier in the upper midwest on Birkie weekend. “I’d go to Eagle River Nordic or Minocqua Winter Park and be almost the only person on the trail. Ski with 6,000 other people? No thanks.”
But in 1992 his friend, Bob Boucher, who had 16 Birkies under his belt, convinced him to try it just once, and he discovered he hadn’t been so bright after all. “I loved the energy, the competition, and, much to my surprise, the crowds.” The timing was perfect. “My body had recently gone on strike against any more rugby or basketball, but it loved skiing, and I needed a competitive outlet.”
So he started racing, took some technique lessons, but his ski-passion took a quantum leap when he taught a year in Denmark and travelled repeatedly to Norway to ski. A decade later as Fulbright Roving Scholar of American Studies in Norway, he lectured – and skied – throughout the country.
Charlie taught in the English and History Departments for 33 years at Milwaukee Area Technical College, was a faculty union leader, published articles on both politics and sports, had his own radio talk show in Milwaukee followed by a TV gig as a talking head on a weekly news commentary show, was a monthly op-ed columnist for the old Milwaukee Journal and has served on several non-profit boards.
Always an activist, Charlie co-founded the Wisconsin Nordic Network in 1997, the organization that raises money for high school athletes to participate in the Korteloppet. He’s a member of six different ski clubs, writes about skiing for Silent Sports magazine and has a burning desire to stay free enough from injuries to become a Birch-Legger eventually.
In addition to skiing, Charlie enjoys vegetable gardening, cooking, canoeing, kayaking, biking and playing with his twin grandsons. He is married with two adult sons.