If you see someone gliding through the snow on skis at a fast pace here in Minocqua look out … it might just be Kevin Bolger.
Bolger is a World Cup skier who grew up right here in Minocqua. Like anyone, family is what got him involved in ski in the first place and it took off from there.
“My older brother, he got involved in a program here at Lakeland and being that younger brother. (I) definitely followed in his footsteps,” he said. “He’s the one that got me going on it.”
Bolger grew up and skied for the Lakeland nordic ski team under head coach Ken Schoville, becoming a two-time Wisconsin state champion.
Bolger continued to ski in college at the University of Utah, making NCAA’s all four years, a two-time All-American, US National Champion, RIMSA Skier of the Year, Athlete of the Year at the University of Utah and team captain for the Utes his senior year as well as a team NCAA championship.
“Boiling down at the simple pleasures of it, getting outside everyday, glide and ski on snow — it’s an effortless feeling and its something I really enjoy (as well as the) places I get to go and see,” he said.
Now, Bolger is a World Cup skier. In 2018, he was the super tour leader, earning a spot on the World Cup team.
With that spot, Bolger explained this is a year round job to ensure he is at his best.
“I will take a month off in April, (then) train mainly from May through the end of March,” he said. “Most of the offseason training is all roller skiing, running, biking and strength training.”
Bolger went on to be named to the U.S. Ski Team for the 2018-2019 season and has been re-named to the team for the 2019-2020 World Cup season (November-April).
“I’ll head over to Europe Nov. 16. The last weekend of November is when the World Cup will start,” he said. “(I’m) super excited, finally picking up snow on the ground, finally excited to stomp on skis and see how the summer training was and come out there with a bang and really hoping to make a statement this year.”
Even though the World Cup is a goal of his, he continues to stride towards another big goal of his in the future.
“(The) long term goals are 2022 Olympics in Beijing,” he said. “Not only ski there, but participate in Beijing and represent my country and accomplish my dream.”
Coming from Minocqua, Bolger is excited to give back to his community and be someone that others can look up to.
“Now that I have made this journey and made it to the U.S. Ski Team, it is so impactful to give back to this community that gave me so much and I can give back to these kids in this community,” he said.
One such event came on Monday. Lakeland nordic ski team athletes of all ages were able to train with Bolger, as well as hear about his journey as a World Cup skier.
“I was with the Lakeland team last night. For me it’s cool,” he said. “Coming up into the program I never really had a local or Wisconsin idol or someone to look up to.”
This is all part of a small tour he is doing before he heads over to Europe for the World Cup season.
“I want to motivate these kids to come out of this community and make it to the top,” he said. “Hopefully I can motivate those kids and some of them will look up to me and that’s all I can ask for.”
But no matter where he is or what he does, Bolger never forgets who helped him along the way.
“The biggest thing after the dust settles, a lot of this wouldn’t have been possible without my biggest supporters: my parents,” he said. “They don’t get all the credit, but they deserve just as much.”
Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]