Kids Learn to Skinny Ski

By Beacon Staff

“Cross-country skiing opens a whole new avenue for winter,” says Marie Shaw, coordinator for the Chet Hope Youth Ski League. For the next seven Saturday mornings starting Jan. 12, Glacier Nordic Center will see a circus of kids – all learning to ski on skinny little boards.

Many avid alpine skiers like Shaw start their own kids on cross-country skis first. “Kids get great benefit in learning to balance on Nordic skis rather than alpine skis,” she says. “It helps them learn to balance in motion rather than in a defensive posture.”

Glacier Nordic Club skis about 60 kids, ages four through teens, through the annual cross-country lesson program at Whitefish Golf Course. Since it is the valley’s only youth lesson program, participants come from all corners of the Flathead. Most classic ski, but a few click into skate skis for even faster travel.

“Getting kids out in winter is so important,” says Shaw, “and skiing is such a neat way to travel.” Classes taught by volunteers meet at 9:45 a.m. for lessons that include lots of games. Some kids start as first timers; others ski with the program annually until they join Junior Jets, an after school ski program for 8-year-olds and above.

For ski lessons, it’s the best deal around. Members of Glacier Nordic Club pay only $25 for the entire program. Non-members pay $30. The program does not include skis, but many local shops have rentals or good deals on purchase and trade-ins of classic no-wax skis.

The program lasts through Feb. 23. Parents may call the snow phone (862-8556), which is updated weekly to keep abreast of program activities and reminders.