December 2016 - CROSS COUNTRY SKIING
Get Your Kids XC Skiing This Winter!
By Chris Yarsevich
With soccer over and baseball season not until springtime, your high energy kids need something to do this winter. Why don’t you get them outside, enjoying winter, and learning a new lifelong sport? Cross country skiing, also known as Nordic skiing, is a great sport where kids can quickly master the basics and then take years of practice to perfect. It is also an activity that the whole family can enjoy together, a rare thing in most sporting families.
There are many ski centers in the Adirondacks where lessons and rentals can be had, but what about something more local to the Capital, Saratoga and Glens Falls region, and on a more regular basis? In an effort to help grow the sport and expose more people to the joys of XC skiing, the Hudson United Racing Team will be running two different weekly learn to ski programs for children four to 12 years old this winter.
HURT Nordic is one of the biggest clubs in the state, and has athletes from age 14 to 80 participating in ski racing all over the country, and internationally as well. Primarily formed as a racing team, HURT has expanded over the years to now include children’s lessons, family ski events, and full year ski training groups. HURT also runs a weeklong junior development ski camp for teens and has a weekly summer training program for high school skiers. See hurtnordicskiing.com.
The weekly programs are modeled after the national Bill Koch Ski League. If you are unfamiliar with Bill Koch clubs, visit nensa.net/youth and easternmassnordic.org. Basically they are grassroots clubs that try to get kids outside to learn XC skiing fundamentals and have fun on skis. The weekly sessions are centered on the basics of learning to ski, having fun, spending time outside, and getting some exercise. A basic day is divided into a few separate sections, a group warm up, some type of skiing skill development with individual instruction, and then a fun game or free skiing.
The one hour sessions are held on Monday nights and run December through February or March, depending on the snow. Snow is not needed, especially in the early season, as lots of fun can still be had doing dryland drills, adventuring in the woods and playing games. This year there are two locations, Greenfield Center and Queensbury. The sessions are free, but parents need to sign their kids up with NYS Ski Racing Association-Nordic: nyssranordic.org/membership. Joining NYSSRA is free for the first year for children under 18 and only $10 a year after that. NYSSRA Nordic is the statewide governing body of XC skiing and offers lots of information and benefits for skiers of all ages.
For more info contact Chris Yarsevich (firstname.lastname@example.org) for Greenfield (Saratoga Springs area) sessions or Bob Underwood (email@example.com) for the Queensbury (Glens Falls area) sessions.
For family fun on snow in southern Saratoga County (Clifton Park area), the Shenendehowa Nordic Club also has a Bill Koch Youth Ski League for ages four to 14, which meets at 3:45pm on Tuesdays from November to March on the Shenendehowa Central Schools campus. For details, contact Eric Hamilton at (518) 371-7548 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
So get your kids outside doing something new this winter. If your children enjoy the sport, there are racing, touring, and backcountry trip opportunities throughout the winter. This region is home to almost limitless options when it comes to skiing choices within a few hours drive. Additionally, quite a few local high schools have varsity, junior varsity and modified ski teams that practice and compete throughout the region. In fact, many top high school skiers started their love for skiing in a local Bill Koch Ski League. We hope to see you out on the trails, think snow!
Chris Yarsevich of Greenfield Center is a founding member of the Hudson United Racing Team. You can find him racing almost every winter weekend with the team and when the snow is gone he enjoys running, cycling and hiking.