Ski center dedication honors trailblazing Brother

By Allison Christensen,



The ski center was dedicated to Brother Jerome Rademacher, FSC, ’58, co-creator of the Saint Mary’s trail system, on Feb. 3. Located in the lower level of Brother Leopold Hall, the ski center contains a workshop area, a warming area, and lockers. The center was made possible through partnerships with area Nordic ski enthusiasts who contributed to the trail lighting and snowmaking machines.

Brother Jerome began teaching computer science and physics at Saint Mary’s in 1965. He was passionate about the outdoors and enjoyed sharing that with students. In the 1970s, he and Brother John Grover began carving out the trail system that has been enjoyed by the Saint Mary’s and Winona communities ever since. He cared for the trails with Bobcats and homemade grooming machinery until his health became poor. Brother Jerome passed away in 2012.


Brother John holding skis

Brother John Grover (holding skis) teaches two sections of a cross country skiing class to Saint Mary’s students every year.
Photo by Deb Nahrgang

“I’ve skied all around the world and you can’t beat Saint Mary’s trails,” said Ken Mogren, who has been skiing at Saint Mary’s for 40 years. “This wouldn’t have been possible without Brother Jerome.”

At one time, Saint Mary’s had a ski club that competed in the MIAC conference. Around 2004, many schools began to drop their programs due to low participation, lack of snow and budget cuts, according to Associate Vice President of Campus Services Chris Kendall. Now, after 11 years, freshman Heidi Ledermann has started it back up again.

“I’m really passionate about skiing. I love it and I want other people to experience it,” said Ledermann.


Heidi Ledermann and Bruce Johnson picture

Ledermann discusses skiing with Winona Nordic Ski Club member Bruce Johnson.
Photo by Deb Nahrgang

The club was approved by Student Senate on Jan. 26 and their goal for the first year is to get people involved and to provide opportunities for people who have never been able to ski before to learn the sport, starting with a ski outing that was hosted on Feb. 6.

For next year, Ledermann has her sights set on competitions. The group has already been invited to participate in a competition by the Central Collegiate Ski Association.

Skis can be borrowed for free from the Environmental Awareness Center in the clock tower from 1-4 p.m. on weekdays. Students interested in joining the Nordic Ski Club may contact Ledermann at or follow the club on Facebook

Author: The Cardinal

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