Our Staff


Ahvo Taipale – Owner

  • Born in Finland.
  • Started Finn Sisu in 1978.
  • Member of the Finnish Ski Coaching Association.
  • Coached the University of Minnesota women’s team to two national titles.
  • Numerous age class wins, including races like the Vasaloppet and Kortelopet.
  • Started Team Birkie with Steve Gaskill.
  • Takes a sauna every night.
Armen Hitzemann
  • Retired junior high science teacher
  • Started in the ski business in 1982
  • 20 American Birkebeiner finishes
  • Skied his first Birkie in 1976 on wooden skis
  • Meet his wife while working at Finn Sisu
  • Has a Finnleo sauna

Tom Novak        

Tom Novak

Started in the ski business in 1971. Started ski tuning in 1975 and working at Finn Sisu in 1992. Graduated from art school in 1980.

  • Obsessed with accumulating stonegrinding machines.
  • Obsessed with research and xc structure creation.
  • Obsessed with grind conversation ... until customer's eyes roll back in head.
  • Loves canoe and trailer camping with family and friends.
  • Loves skiing, biking and hiking with wifey.
  • Quietly continues to play hockey.
  • Uses sauna religiously. 



Greg Weier

  • Worked in ski business since 1974
  • Finn Sisu staff member since 1997
  • Head Coach Mahtomedi Nordic 20+ years
  • Vakava Juniors and Masters coach
  • Has a Finnleo sauna


Devin Arenz

  • Finn Sisu employee since late 1990s
  • Expert waxer
  • Builds and races canoes
  • Enjoys lake racing winter and summer
  • Has a Finnleo sauna

Karen Weium

  • Works inventory and marketing
  • Hobbies include kettlebells and violin
  • Finished 35 Birkies
  • Has a Finnleo sauna

Rebecca Kolstad

  • Started working at Finn Sisu in 2017.
  • Vakava Masters coach.
  • Graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2019 with a degree in Recreation Administration and Health Promotion.
  • Classic ski race enthusiast - Mora Vasaloppet above all else.
  • Loves running around with her 4-legged best friend, Scout.
  • Attempts to keep up with Nate on his bike.
  • Enjoys the occasional s'more around a campfire.
Nate Rhode
  • Started at Finn Sisu in 2014
  • Skied for Irondale High School – 2013 graduate
  • Graduated from the University of St Thomas in 2017 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering
  • Avid cyclist