Bend Endurance Academy Announces New Executive Director

Sandy Visnack of Bend, Oregon has been named the next Executive Director of the Bend Endurance Academy (BEA) by the organization’s governing board. Ms. Visnack will assume this new role on January 8, 2018.

“We are excited to announce the selection of Sandy Visnack to be our next Executive Director,” says Ellen Grover, BEA Board President. “In 2018, as BEA celebrates its 9th year serving youth in Central Oregon, we need a leader who has the vision, skills, and capacity to strategically guide our organization forward. Our board has great confidence that Sandy will build upon the strong foundation BEA has created, further engage youth and families in our programs, and develop rich and meaningful relationships with our donors, sponsors and nonprofit partners.”

Ms. Visnack’s background uniquely positions her to assume the role of Executive Director. With significant experience working with youth and families, in senior management roles in the education and non-profit sectors, and a passion for outdoor sports, Visnack will advance the organization’s current strategic priorities and guide BEA’s future contributions to serving youth, maintaining high-quality programs, and promoting active, healthy lifestyles. Visnack shared, “I am honored to serve the BEA community and support the program directors, coaches and staff. BEA has a rich history of offering quality programs and activities for youth of all ages and abilities and is poised to grow in even more in upcoming years. I want to help BEA strengthen the framework of the organization and develop the resources necessary to meet the needs of our growing community in Bend and across Central Oregon. Joining this group of highly skilled, thoughtful, and hardworking people is an opportunity I could not pass up.”

Visnack has a Master in Nonprofit Management degree from Regis University in Denver, Colorado, and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Vermont. She also has over 20 years of experience working in education and in the nonprofit sectors. Past roles have included the Coordinator of Residence Life at Colorado Mountain College, Executive Director of Grand Futures Prevention Coalition, Development Director for Big Brothers Big Sisters, as well as Grant Writer and Director of Communication for NeighborImpact.

For more information about the Bend Endurance Academy or the selection of Sandy Visnack as Executive Director, please contact Ellen Grover at 541-410-3231 or via email at To contact Ms. Visnack directly, email

About Bend Endurance Academy: Since founded in 2009, Bend Endurance Academy (BEA) has grown from humble beginnings to serving more than 1000 youth in 2017. BEA is a public benefit 501(c)(3) that organizes and operates endurance activity programs in Central Oregon, concentrating in three core disciplines: Nordic Skiing, Cycling & Climbing.

Mission: The Bend Endurance Academy promotes healthy living through active, outdoor experiences. All programs offered emphasize teamwork, personal growth, and community responsibility.

Vision: A world with active, inspired and more engaged people.


Nordic Elite Team: Meet Dakota and Akeo

Meet our Nordic Elite Team Athletes:

Dakota Blackhorse von Jess and Akeo Maifeld-Carucci

Some of you may know their names, others have maybe seen them spinning laps on Skyliners this summer and some yet might not know that BEA is home to two professional skiers. We are excited to formally introduce you to the Bend Endurance Academy Elite Team – two athletes chasing their Olympic dreams, inspiring all of our young climbers, cyclists and skiers to do the same.

Being a professional athlete is more than adding up the training hours for these guys; it’s about shared experiences with the community; it’s about the passion, determination, joy, grit, and love for sport we all celebrate by climbing higher, riding farther and skiing faster together.

Dakota, bib 1, and Akeo in bib 10, leading the way for BEA’s Nordic Team!

Dakota Blackhorse von Jess

“After the final race of the US National Championships in January of 2009 I called my coach Ben Husaby to give him the race report.

“It’s official,” he said, preempting me, “we got our 501 (c)(3) certification today!”

“Woah,” I replied, “that’s awesome! Also… I just made my first World Cup team…”

That is the genesis of BEA as I remember it. Exciting days from which I’ve never looked back. Since graduating from Dartmouth College in 2009 with degrees in Computer Science and Environmental Studies I have pursued ski racing full time winning several National Championships, racing in many World Cups, and finishing 30th at the World Championships in 2015.

Some of you may know me as the Associate Director of the Bend Endurance Academy, but that role is balanced with my professional ski racing career.

My goal this year is to compete at the Olympics in South Korea this February (and on the World Cup for most of the winter). I am incredibly lucky to have been a part of the Bend Endurance Academy since its inception, not just watching but actively helping the organization grow and change over the years.

This is a special organization built by incredibly special people. Thank you all for being a part of it.”


Akeo Maifeld-Carucci

“Born and raised in Bozeman, Montana, I went to Harvard University graduating in 2015 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. This will be my third season skiing professionally, all under the coaching of Bernie, first in Bozeman and now here. I feel honored to be here and have the opportunity to focus my life on racing.

I grew up seeing ski racing as the avenue that would take me to my dream of being an Olympian. While that dream is unchanged, I am incredibly grateful for all the unexpected lessons and experiences that this path has shown me.

In the end, my results will represent what I did, but forever what I will be is a Nordic skier. I learned to work when no one is watching, to play when the pressure is mounting, to befriend strangers on those infamous powder days. The most powerful thing I gained on this journey is the community. I am comforted to know it is something I will never lose. From my exceedingly generous host family, the Christensens, to the heart-warming swarms of BEA’s little two-wheeled rippers, from our fabulous coaches and program directors to all the parents, alumni, and affiliates, this community has welcomed me with open, supportive arms.

So thank you BEA, and thanks 10-year-old self for choosing this path.”

Meet Coach Jesse

Meet Coach Jesse

Nordic Competition Team Head Coach

Born and raised in Jackson Hole, WY, Jesse Knori was surrounded by an endless outdoor playground that connected her to an awesome Nordic community for a lifelong love of skiing. Jesse recently graduated from CU Boulder and competed at the U23 World Championships this year. She’s excited by the energy of the kids in the program and wants to share her enthusiasm for hard work and the great outdoors.

Why I Coach:

“I coach to help my athletes to be the best version of themselves on and off the course. From intervals to long runs, exams to recess – I hope to help all my skiers find balance, passion and grit.”

BEA Executive Director Decides to Step Down

For Immediate Release

Jully 5, 2017

Bend, OR

The Bend Endurance Academy (BEA) Board of Directors announced today that Ben Husaby, its founding Executive Director, has decided to step down from his position after eight years of leading the organization. BEA is a Bend-based non-profit organization that offers kids the opportunity to learn, play, compete, and explore the outdoors through their participation in endurance sports. Under Husaby’s direction, BEA has grown to serve nearly 1,000 participants annually in programs ranging from play-based pre-school groups to professional-level competition training in the disciplines of Nordic skiing, cycling and climbing.

“It has been such an honor to have been a part of a truly remarkable organization.  I am immensely proud of what we have accomplished in a relatively short period time.”  Husaby goes on to say, “We have great coaches and families, van-fulls of kids and a new facility.  Now is the perfect time for me to step aside.  I have been tied to the sport of Nordic skiing, coaching, and youth education for over 35 years and it’s time to ski off into the woods for myself again and let the next generation of leadership forge ahead.”

“It has been an honor to work with Ben as BEA has grown and evolved over the last several years.” Board President, Cris Himes, commented. “Ben is truly driven by the mission of the academy to get kids outside and active.  He has left a lasting impact on BEA’s culture and values, and his recruitment of some of the best professionals in their disciplines to BEA will be part of his immeasurable legacy.”

Husaby will be directing the organization through September 1 in close coordination with the board and the organization’s three program directors and associate director. A Board Executive Search Committee will oversee the recruitment and selection of the right individual to lead BEA into its next stage of development.

“Ben helped build a strong and dedicated community of parents, kids, coaches and staff that supports kids and young adults in their sports and other adventures.  He’s leaving us with a team of excellent staff, an expanded training facility, and a solid financial foundation.” Himes said. “BEA has a bright future and I’m excited to continue to guide it as we get more and more members of the community involved in and inspired by our mission.”


Cris Himes, BEA Board President,

Bend Endurance Academy envisions a world with active, inspired and more engaged people.  Our mission is to promote healthy living through active, outdoor experiences. We emphasize teamwork, personal growth, and community responsibility.


High Desert Gravel Grinder – Volunteers Needed

BEA Friends, Families, and Supporters;

Bend Endurance Academy is the event beneficiary of the upcoming High Desert Gravel Grinder coming up June 4th.  As part of BEA being the event beneficiary of this great biking event, we will need to source and staff about 20 volunteer spots.  This is a great opportunity for our participants and families to volunteer and give back to our community all while benefiting Bend Endurance Academy

There’s something for everyone here and no experience is necessary! Most volunteer spots only require 1 – 2.5 hrs.  Volunteers can either drive out on their own to the position they signed up for, or they can meet at BEA at 8:00am and we’ll provide a shuttle!
NOTE: Aid Station #3 will need their own transportation. BEA shuttle will leave BEA offices at 8:00am and return to BEA offices around 1:00pm
To see a full list of volunteer positions and sign-up CLICK HERE
If you’re driving out on your own you can see a complete map and location of volunteer positions HERE
Thanks so much in advance for your time!

BEA Announces New Location

For Immediate Release
Ben Husaby

(Bend, OR) Bend Endurance Academy (BEA) is excited to announce they have moved into a new location at 442 NE 3rd street! “I am excited by the possibilities of the new facility. We are centrally located with seven times the space we had at the old location,” says BEA Executive Director Ben Husaby. “The new facility will expand our equipment storage and work space, add strength and conditioning equipment, and allow us to offer more climbing-based programming.”

The Bend Endurance Academy currently offers programs for Nordic Skiing, Cycling, and Rock Climbing. You can learn more about The Academy and sign up for programs at


Sponsor Highlight: Bowen Sports Performance

Question: What do you think/feel when you see an inspired young person actively engaged in an outdoor experience?

Bowen Sports Performance“With most kids and young adults glued to a screen of some sort most of the day, seeing a young person actively engaged in an outdoor experience gives me hope and affirmation that true exploration and personal growth happens when we get outside. A growth that includes confidence in our abilities, trust in others, and humility to listen and be present in the moment.”

Bike Rodeos presented by Hutch’s Bicycles

Bike Rodeos are fun obstacle courses for kids to play on bikes!

Hutch’s Bicycles of Bend provides great support at our bigger events:

  • Hutch’s Representative to answer questions about kid’s bikes
  • Help with helmet-fitting
  • Loaner bikes of all sizes provided for the event so anyone can participate
  • Handouts with great info for families who ride
  • BEA / Hutch’s Nameplates if kids want to put one on their bike

BEA Riders and Parents are invited to volunteer at these events!

April 7 & 8, Friday and Saturday

April 22, Saturday

  • Earth Day Fair Bike Rodeo
  • Troy Field, 11 AM – 2PM
  • Free!
  • Hutch’s representative and loaner bikes available

July 24, Monday

  • BEA MEGA-Skills Course Bike Rodeo
  • Expanded features and terrain for more fun!
  • Location TBD
  • 5:00 – 7:00 PM
  • $5 per rider
  • Intro for BEA programs, meet BEA Youth MTB Coaches
  • Loaner bikes available

July 29, Saturday

  • Ballons Over Bend Bike Rodeo
  • Riverbend Park, 10 AM – 2 PM
  • Free to ride, but event may charge admission
  • Hutch’s representative and loaner bikes available

September TBD

  • Deschutes Children’s Festival Bike Rodeo
  • Riverbend Park, 10 AM – 2 PM
  • Free to ride, but event may charge admission
  • Hutch’s representative and loaner bikes available

Schools & Community Groups

Rent our Bike Rodeo for your own events!

Email to learn more.



Team Store

Buy team uniforms, jackets, jerseys, hoodies, T-shirts and more:

Academy Shopping Cart


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