About Us

Brenda Winkler


Affectionately introduced as “Nordic Ski Goddess” by her husband, is your lead ski instructor and organizer of the Izaak Walton Ski Weekend events. 

Brenda has been organizing the amazing ski weekend events at Izaak Walton Inn since 2009. “I am honored to work with these instructors and to share them with you. I know you will love them as much as I do!” 

Brenda has been Cross Country skiing and racing competitively since the late 1980s. She has instructed and coached adults and children since 2001. 

Brenda is a certified Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) Level III Certified Cross Country Ski Instructor, A PSIA/ASSI Snow Board Instructor, a United States Ski Team (USST) Certified Coach, a member of the PSIA Nordic Education Staff, and Chief Examiner of the PSIA Northern Rocky Mountain Division. As part of PSIA Nordic Education Staff, Brenda trains and certifies instructors to teach cross country skiing. 

Brenda is passionate about the outdoors and sharing her love of skiing with others. 

Stella Holt


Stella grew up in Whitefish, MT and learned how to cross country ski through the Glacier Nordic program. She started racing regionally and then nationally at age 13 and raced through college in Vermont at Middlebury College. 

After earning a degree Film and Media at Middlebury, she returned home to Whitefish to coach the junior race team of the Glacier Nordic Club and to take over Great Northern Cycle & Ski with her boyfriend, Willie Hobbs. 

In her three years since graduating from school she has become a PSIA Certified Level III Instructor and USST certified coach, and plans to continue her teaching education. 

Stella has supported Brenda in several of the Women's Ski Weekend events with her exception instruction and skiing!".

Ellie Johnson


Ellie has been involved in the local Cross Country Ski Community as a Glacier Nordic Club Board member and President, fundraiser, and coach since moving to the valley in 2002.   

Ellie discovered her passion for the sport, both Freestyle Skate and Classic in the early 1990s in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where she competed in many ski marathons and trained with Nationally ranked skiers.   A couple of highlights have been to compete in the Masters World Cup Races in 2008 and 2011 amongst Nordic enthusiasts from around the world.  

Ellie became a PSIA instructor in 2012 trained by Brenda Winkler.  Now a PSIA Level II Instructor, Ellie has coached the Junior Jets, has been an instructor at the Glacier Nordic Center and at the Izaak Walton Ski Weekend events. 

Although Ellies racing days are mostly behind her, she is passionate to share her love of the sport and pay it forward as an instructor and mentor!

About Us

Paul Conrad


Paul has a long history of skiing Alpine and Nordic.  He started teaching Alpine Skiing at Winter Park and Mary Jane at the age of 15 and continued for 13 years.

Touring in the mountains of Colorado was also a favorite.  Then came ski skating! Paul remembers vividly the first time on skate skis at Devil’s Thumb Ranch and fell in love with the sport. He competed in many Colorado races in the 80s and 90s while continuing his Alpine teaching.


Paul's passion for competition first in Bicycling, where he competed Nationally in Road and Track, carried over to Skate Skiing. He has accomplished age group podium finishes in the Nationals and other races to include the Boulder Mountain Tour qualifying for the elite wave. The Master World Cups in McCall, Idaho and Silver Star, Canada were highlights finishing in the top 10. 

Paul feels the challenge of the technique of his skate skiing has improved for him by being certified as a PSIA Level I instructor. Complimenting his teaching and competition are the degrees he has from the University of Colorado in Exercise Physiology and Physical Therapy. For him to say he loves skate skiing as much or more than bicycling says a lot.

Helen Cates


Helen originally started her career in Business and Marketing, but after 17 years overseas returned to Kansas City to switch gears. She returned to school to obtain another undergraduate and Masters in Health and Exercise Science at the University of Missouri/KC and the University of Kansas. During this time, she practiced yoga and became an instructor, coaching the Womens’ Softball Team at KU and golf team at the Univ. of Mo., along with personal training and being an adjunct professor in Lifetime Fitness at The Univ. of MO./KC. Since retiring and moving to Whitefish in 2004 she continues to teach and spread her joy of yoga at The Wave.