The Minnesota Nordic Ski Association (MNSA) is pleased to announce that Ahvo Taipale is our 2015 annual Lifetime Achievement Award winner. The award is given to people who have worked tirelessly for decades building Nordic skiing in Minnesota. We all owe Ahvo a hearty thank you for all that he has done for our sport.
Ahvo was born in Finland and moved to St. Paul, Minnesota in the 1970s. He coached the University of Minnesota women’s Nordic ski team to two national titles. In 1978, Ahvo started Finn Sisu ski shop, which catered to cross country skiers.
Ahvo is a member of the Finnish Ski Coaching Association and has accumulated may age class wins at the Mora Vasaloppet and Korteloppet. He started Team Birkie training group, with Steve Gaskill, for master, senior, and junior skiers in 1991. Ahvo has been involved in promoting Nordic skiing, not only from a coaching standpoint, but from an infrastructure standpoint. He was instrumental in the development of the Nordic ski trails and lighting at Battle Creek Park in St Paul.
Past MNSA Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients
2006 – Glen Johnstone
2007 – Norm Oakvik
2008 – Mike Marciniak and Anne Rikken
2009 – Lars Kindem and George Hovland
2010 – Pat Lanin and Bob O’Hara
2011 – Bjorn Lasserud
2012 – No award
2013 – John Filander and Jack Jeffrey
2014 – Emily Lanin and Bill Simpson
2015 – Ahvo Taipale