At Pioneer Midwest we strive to help our customers get equipment that is right for them and that is the best possible fit. Meet the staff who is very dedicated to making sure that you are fully equipped with the best gear and knowledge heading onto the trail. 

Adam Johnson

Adam is the co-owner of Pioneer Midwest and an avid skier. Before becoming the owner, he was the retail store manager for three years. He grew up in Champlin, MN, and graduated from St. John’s University, where he skied competitively for four years. He has completed eight American Birkebeiners, including 10th and 12th place finishes in the American Birkebeiner Classic. An outdoor enthusiast, he has been on more than 20 wilderness backpacking and canoe trips, including a 2-month backpacking trip in Montana and Canada studying conservation and ecology through the Wild Rockies Field Institute. His newest hobby is canoe racing. In his free time, Adam enjoys road and mountain biking, spending time with friends and family, and being outside. 

Matt Liebsch

Matt is the co-owner of Pioneer Midwest along with Adam and is an American Birkiebeiner Champion, multi-time World Cup racer with the US Ski Team, and still actively involved in racing at the local, regional and national level. He bought his first set of skis from Pioneer Midwest in 2000 and his love for the sport grew quickly. Matt raced for Osseo High School before skiing competitively for the University of Minnesota, CXC Elite Team, and currently the Salomon Elite Team. Before working in the ski industry, Matt worked at Honeywell aerospace, Danfoss, and Johnstech International as an electrical engineer with a focus on quality, production line support, and test lab projects. Matt is married to Marybeth Liebsch and together they have three beautiful young children. In his free time, Matt loves chasing around his kids, racing triathlons, and coaching at the high school and Masters's level.

Jeremy Hecker

Jeremy is the Race Service Manager here at Pioneer Midwest. Jeremy’s Nordic skiing experience is broad and multi-faceted. It includes research he conducted as part of a Masters program at Finland’s University of Jyvaskyla where he received a degree in Biology of Physical Athletics with an emphasis on the Science of Sports Coaching. Coaching continues to be a passion for Hecker, and he will continue with his coaching in various capacities at Pioneer. His previous coaching experience also includes stints at the Stratton Mountain School in Vermont where he waxed and supported several world cup skiers, including Jessie Diggins, Sophie Caldwell, Simi Hamilton, and Andy Newell. Hecker’s other coaching positions include time at Williams College, UW- Green Bay, New South Wales XC (Australia), and locally at Endurance United. Hecker skied collegiately at St. Scholastica for four seasons. He ended his collegiate career with 3 x All-Region and 3 x All-Conference accolades, in addition to qualifying for the NCAA National Championships in both 2012 and 2013.  During his time at St. Scholastica, Hecker realized that skiing was going to be a part of him for the rest of his life. Hecker believes it is important to support skiers and help them achieve their goals and potential, no matter what level of skier they are. 

Jakob Ellingson

Jakob started working at Pioneer Midwest after being a full-time Biathlete and skier. He started skiing as a Sophomore with the Hopkins High School team, and GO! Training (before Piotr turned it into LNR). After one year of skiing, he added Biathlon and worked extensively with Vlad Chervenka in Grand Rapids. He qualified and competed at international competitions in biathlon four years in a row as a junior, and won the MN state meet as a senior in 2013. After that, he trained full-time for biathlon and competed for the US on the IBU cup level. He was 7th at US Olympic Trials for the Pyeongchang Games. He joined the National Guard and went to Basic Training right after trials were over and he knew he wasn't going to the Olympics. He did 2 years with the National Guard Biathlon team in Jericho Vermont, and then came home to focus on school and other life things. Now he is splitting his time between working at the shop, school, and being a soldier in the Minnesota Army National Guard.


Ian Ivens

Ian started working at Pioneer Midwest as part-time help during his sophomore year at Champlin Park High School. While in college he would help out when he was back home on breaks but has now become a full-time employee. Ian started skiing with his Dad when he was just 3 years old and has continued to ski throughout high school and college. Ian placed 7th at the Minnesota state meet and qualified for Junior Nationals in Lake Placid, NY. He then went on to race for The University of Wisconsin - Green Bay. He has continued his passion for skiing by learning how to effectively use the unique ski fitting tools here to find the best skis available for our customers.