Grand Central Nation
MIDWESTERNERS RETURN HOME FOR THE
DAN NAGY MEMORIAL By Susan Theis
Matt Strand took the Nagy Cup overall title.
MARK NAVIN; BECKY ANKENY
When Dan Nagy was alive, he probably never imagined that one
day, racers from all over the U.S. would gather in LaCrosse, Wisc.,
just for him. But that’s just what they did on Feb. 25 and 26 for the Dan
Nagy Memorial races.
Friends and family of the late ski racer Dan Nagy have been gather-
ing at LaCrosse every year since his death in 2006 to celebrate his life
with the memorial event. “Dan’s zest for living has been an inspiration
to many of us,” said close friend and former teammate Mark Navin.
“He loved every moment of every day. He lived his life that way.” Nagy
was not only an accomplished USSA and FIS racer but also raced for
four years on the alpine ski team at St. Olaf College.
In the past, the Dan Nagy Memorial has had a Central Division fo-
cus, attended by racers at or below NorAm level ability. But this year’s
roster read more like a World Cup or Europa Cup start list with many
of the best known racers from the current U.S. Ski Team, including
Will Brandenburg, Michael Ankeny, Robby Kelley, Nolan Kasper, Matt
Strand, and Kieffer Christianson. Also in attendance were top FIS rac-
ers from across the world: Maisie Ide, Sara Kikut, Anna Kikut, Anne
Strong, Taylor Rapely, Chris Frank and Charles Christianson.
But it wasn’t just this all-star cast of racers that created the lively and
infectious atmosphere; the crowd was ramped up by the quirky and
entertaining remarks of another World Cup racer —Warner Nickerson
— who set the tone for the weekend as the race’s announcer. (See
this issue’s Waxroom for more from Nickerson.)
Spectators stood by as world-class athletes revisited their roots on
(or were introduced to) the Midwest’s steepest slope, Damnation.
“This is way more competitive than I ever thought it was going to be,”
said Nickerson about the 516-foot vertical drop that towers over the
lodge and finish area at LaCrosse. “I definitely came here expecting a
smaller, easier hill but this is a real-deal pitch,” said Nolan Kasper, cur-