Athlete Spotlight: JC Schoonmaker

JC Schoonmaker Nordic ski racing

JC Schoonmaker in second place wearing stars and stripes.

From Strider Glider to World Cup Racer

A primary goal of the Tahoe Cross Country Ski Education Association (TCCSEA) has always been to introduce children to cross country skiing. It is a fun and healthy outdoor exercise that you can do your entire life, which encourages both physical health and mental wellbeing. Whether kids discover Nordic skiing through Strider Gliders, Free Skiing for Schools, or the Winter Discovery Center & SWEP at Tahoe XC, we are just happy to see so of them falling in love with the sport.

In our Community blog, we’re proud to spotlight a few kids who started out at Tahoe XC and fell in love with this amazing sport. First up is JC Schoonmaker.

First a Strider Glider

I remember skiing with JC when he was on the Strider Gliders Red team in 4th and 5th grade. He was part of a group of buddies who gently pushed one another to ski faster and farther, around Silver Trail or to the top of Extra Gold, and still made it back to the lodge by 4:45pm. I also remember how stoked with pride they were at the top. Now ten years later, when I reached out to him to tell his Nordic ski story, he was racing in the World Cup in Europe with the best skiers in the world.

JC Schoonmaker in ski gear

Now a World Cup Racer

Here’s JC: “I have been Nordic skiing for as long as I can remember. I started out skiing in the strider gliders program at Tahoe XC and began racing when I joined the North Tahoe Middle School team. The community around skiing in the Tahoe/Truckee area is what made me fall in love with the sport, as all of my friends were out on the trails and it was always a good time. I learned from all of my coaches that having fun was the number one priority and I still keep that as my focus to this day.

“When I got into high school is when I really started to get more competitive in skiing and began setting goals of skiing for an NCAA team and the U.S. Ski Team. I continued to progress through high school gaining knowledge and experience through qualifying for Junior Nationals and several international race trips. I graduated from North Tahoe High School in 2018 and received the Kevin Murnane Scholarship. Kevin was super helpful in my earlier years of skiing, always giving me advice when it came to waxing and gear. I was extremely honored to be recognized with this award and carry on his legacy.

“I am now in my third year of skiing and studying Natural Sciences at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Last season, I qualified for the U.S. Development Ski Team. This winter, I will be skiing in the first full period of World Cup races across Finland, Switzerland, and Germany. I am super excited to see how I stack up against the best skiers in the world and continue to challenge myself. However, I might be even more excited to come home to Tahoe for Christmas and ski on my favorite trails with some of my favorite people in the world.”

Ways to Watch

  1. View JC and other US Ski Team members’ race schedule and results for the World Cup on the FIS Ski Calendar & Results page.
  2. Watch the races with a subscription to Peacock Premium, or wait a few days and watch the races (for free) on the FIS Cross Country Youtube channel.
  3. Follow JC on social: Instagram, Facebook

Congratulations, JC We are rooting for you!

Want to learn more about our youth ski education programs?

Get your kids involved in the great sport of cross-country skiing through programs like Strider Gliders, Free Skiing for Schools, and Junior Development Team. Our programs are designed as a pipeline to cultivate a love for skiing and the outdoors for kids ages 4 to 18.