What a great idea for our kids

“kids learn to ski by being allowed to play on skis”

For the people who aren’t reading them, I’d like to draw your attention to this contest entry from Jon Emil:

Skiing playground

Coming from Norway and living in Calgary for a couple of years, we are really enjoying the excellent x-country possibilities in the area, especially in Bragg Creek and PLPP we have found a variety of fun trails.  Grooming has been as good as what we are used to back home and the scenery is outstanding. Hereby, a big thank you to the dedicated groomers – we are enormously grateful for your efforts.

The city of Calgary has more than 500 km of recreational bike paths, but strangely enough almost no x-country tracks!  I believe the initiative  for extending  the cross-country ski facilities at Canada Olympic Park  could lower the threshold for beginners especially if plans include lights to allow skiing weeknights.

In my experience kids learn to ski by being allowed to play on skis, so planning for ski playgrounds would be a good idea too (see here http://www.cccski.com/getmedia/ee070fe5-af84-49a0-8cf8-749d8acba5ba/Ski-Playground-NO-CAC-header.pdf.aspx ).

– Jon Emil


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  1. When I was teaching my daughters to ski, and coaching Jackrabbits, I found a book called “Ski Games: A Fun Filled Approach To Teaching Nordic and Alpine Skills” to be an excellent guide to keeping the fun in ski instruction.
    I don’t know if it is still in print, as this was back in the 90’s, but I would highly recommend it.

  2. Peter and Jon,

    The course and coaching manuals for Bunnyrabbits and Jackrabbits are in total agreement with you (I’m a community coach). Unfortunately this issue is raised most years by coaches with COP, and no positive responses are forthcoming – I’m guessing due to space constraints at COP. However, the locals clubs do organise their own “terrain park” nights for Bunnyrabbits and Jackrabbits as part of the lesson program at locations like Shaganappi. Volunteers are always very welcome to come and help build the terrain!

  3. I agree with Jon! My kids learned alot from playing on their skis especially in our backyard. Every year since they were two I have built a mini skiing obstacle course in our backyard. Even on snowy blustery nights they would be out there for hours chasing each other around having a great time! Plus building the course gives me plenty of exercise to! It would be awesome if COP or the city built x-country skiing playgrounds. They already have terrain parks for snowboarders and downhill skiers so why not playgrounds for kids. Trying to teach young kids to ski like we teach adults is boring and repetitive to them. My kids would get frustrated going back and forth on the same track trying to learn to kick and glide. If you make it fun and challenging at the same time they learn in no time. Thats why playgrounds would be perfect!

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