Glen Nelson originated the 1st Proctor ski team in the school year 1964-65. The team consisted of one ski-jumping team, one cross-country team, and a slalom team. The skiers would compete in one or more events. Several skiers would do both ski jumping and cross-country. These skiers were the true Nordic Skier.
Glen was the only coach for all three disciplines. A typical practice day would start with cross-country and ski jumpers going to Chester Bowl or Cloquet. They would practice until dark, then stop by Glen’s house, which was on the way, so he could change clothes. The skiers would then go to the high school where the cross-country and jumpers would get out and Glen would load up the slalom skiers. Then Glen would drive the slalom skiers to Mont Du Lac and practice slalom gates and technique until 9:00 or 9:30 pm. Upon returning to school, they would unload the skis and the in-town skiers would go home. The others would get back in the van so Glen could drive them home to Kenosha Road, Pike Lake and other locations outside of Proctor.
Glen’s practice sites were also where the State meets were held. All events were held in Duluth. Eventually the jumping and cross-country events were moved to Cloquet, to the present day Pine Valley site. A team might win the cross-country or jumping event, but it would take a combination of all three events to win the State Meet.
During the State Slalom Meet at Mont Du Lac, Glen would bring his field phones to provide communications from the top of the hill (start) to the bottom (finish). Times would be counted at the top of the hill and repeated over the phone so timers could start watches at the finish. They would have a minimum of three timers and average out any difference.
Most of the Regional cross-country meets have been scored by manual methods. Glen has been involved with scoring these meets during his last six years of coaching.
Glen’s main thrust has always been to give back to the sport what he learned through skiing for school and CUSSA. He was the proud recipient of the 1st place ski jumping metal in 1953, while also competing in cross-country and slalom teams. He feels he has been very fortunate to have skied competitively for the Duluth Ski Club (jumping) as well as recreational skiing all these years and he still enjoys cross-country skiing.
One area Glen has made a large impact is in his love and care for the Piedmont ski trail in Duluth. In the early 70’s Glen started taking the Proctor team to the Piedmont trail. Glen’s team would go and do dryland training in the fall and work on removing brush from the trail. When the snow arrived, Glen would groom the trail with his snowmobile and homemade track setter. Glen helped acquire a $2500.00 city grant through the Community Club for updating the trail. This grant helped install 12 new culverts, many yards of class 5 gravel and ground cloth. The ground cloth was covered with reclaimed road sand from the winter and seeded with field grass seed. Piedmont trail is now the 2nd busiest trail in the city for walking/running and skiing.