Roland Ring-Jarvi
Elk River

Roland learned to ski in the backwoods on wood skis with his Finnish parents breaking trail on family winter expeditions around the farm and on lakes.

In high school he participated in football, basketball, and track and earned 11 letters.  Roland Graduated from Two Harbors High School in 1968 and then attended the University of Minnesota graduating in 1972 -3 with a double major in economics and Geography. He lettered in track and earned a William's Scholarship for academics. In 2003 he was inducted into the Two Harbors High School Sports Hall of Fame.

Roland began teaching social studies and coaching in Elk River in 1974. Besides coaching numerous junior high sports he coached Varsity Cross-Country, was head Track coach for 10 years and head Nordic coach for 25 years. In his first year of coaching skiing some athletes were still racing on wood skis for 10-km classic high school races. Roland saw first-hand how the introduction of high-tech equipment and skating changed the world of nordic racing completely. Then with pursuit and short sprints he saw it change and evolve again.

During the 90’s Elk River skiers won 19 out of 20 conference championships for boys and girls.  The Elks won the State Meet in 1994 and were State runners-up on three occasions.  Elk River has had numerous conference, section and state individual champions. One of his special memories is of coaching Kara Hermanson (now Slamela) in high school. Kara went on to become a two- time Olympic biathlete. Watching her ski in Salt Lake was a special thrill. Other special memories include coaching the Anderson family. All three, Mary, Laura and Scott were State Champions. Their father, Dave, maintains the Elk River trail system. Roland is also proud of the Elk River Nordic Invitational which was run for over ten years providing high quality races for whole teams with a creative wave start format.  Another tradition at Elk River which is now over 20 years old is the winter break ski trip which gives the athletes a wonderful opportunity to ski and become a team. Roland’s philosophy has always been that ski races don’t have only one winner- everybody doing his or her best is a winner in skiing. Over the years Roland has help develop ski trails in the Elk river area at Woodland Trails and Timber Meade Girl scout camp.  Today he still volunteers with grooming and trail maintenance.

Nordic  skiing became a true love for Roland when one of his skiers suggested a race called the Mora Vasaloppet which he did on wood skis and with bamboo poles.  That one race spurred an excitement and love for skiing that has continued to this day.  He has done most of the ski races in the midwest area and is currently trying to complete the worldloppet series of nordic races around the world. He is also doing various nordic races across the United States.  Besides skiing he participates in running, biking and canoeing.

Roland along with wife, Sue and son, Ross live in Anoka and stay active year-round by skiing, playing hockey, canoeing and biking together. Roland is indebted to all the wonderful parents, skiers, school administrators and volunteers who over 25 years helped make nordic skiing so special in Elk River.