Junior Nordic Parent Information
The Junior Nordic program provides an opportunity for children to enjoy the Anchorage winter while learning the sport of cross country skiing. Children ages 6 through 14 of all abilities are welcome to join and learn a sport they can pursue for a lifetime. The emphasis is on having fun and learning proper technique rather than competition.
A current NSAA membership is required in order to register for the Junior Nordic Program. If you and your family are trail users, please consider supporting NSAA with a family membership. Your membership DIRECTLY supports the trails that Junior Nordic Program use weekly, and helps NSAA continue to provide youth skiing opportunities for all ages and abilities. We need all trail users help to continue the world-class grooming and to provide ways for your fellow Alaskans to lead healthy active lifestyles!
PROGRAM STRUCTURE FOR 2022-23 SEASON
Based on results from the post season surveys from the last two years; the Junior Nordic program will be structured a little differently this season. Instead of two sessions; there is only one big session with two breaks for both the Anchorage School District winter and spring breaks. Additionally, by observing the ASD calendar breaks, we have the opportunity for make up practices should the weather force us to cancel some earlier in the season. The program will also run longer than it has in the past; in order to enjoy more of Anchorage’s awesome spring skiing conditions. The final change we have made is to split the practices into both weekday and Saturday only times. We’ve got all the practice times, breaks, and dates to be aware of on the calendars below. Please choose from the list which calendar you want to either add to your Google calendar or download a pdf version for your fridge.
The calendar below has only start, end dates and holiday breaks listed on it. You get to fill in the rest as you need to.
COVID-19 Mitigation Plan
Parent orientation meetings will be conducted virtually. All parents must attend the orientation meeting prior to the first day of practice. You will be contacted by your Site Director about the time of your meeting and they will give a site specific orientation for the venue where your child will be skiing. Meet up locations for each skill level group, clothing requirements, waxing, etc. will be covered in the orientation meeting.
The Remind App tells you where the final location of practice will be and also provides information on weather, trail conditions and other special events relating to Nordic skiing. Always check your messages before you leave for practice each day. The final message is typically sent each day about an hour before practice starts.
For updates by text, find your location/day and text to number 81010:
Russian Jack M/W
Russian Jack T/Th
|After School Groups:
Russian Jack T/Th
|Kincaid Sat @weekendkin
|Hillside Sat @weekendhil
|Russian Jack Sat @weekendrj
Practice normally takes place as scheduled regardless of weather conditions. However, practice may be cancelled due to the following conditions: heavy snowfall, rain, extremely icy, high winds, and temperature below minus 5 degrees F. If there is no snow; as is sometimes the case, skiers might be able to practice using “dry land” techniques.
Junior Nordic relies on the assistance of parents throughout the season. We ask that any parents who can volunteer do so. This can be volunteering to ski along with a group of skiers to help the coach or can be one-time tasks such as registration, special events, or end-of-season equipment clean-up and maintenance. Check with the site director at your location to see how you can help. If you are not able to volunteer we ask that you donate $25 per family per session.
NSAA rental skis are available on a first-come basis. If you choose to rent, you must still provide your skier with boots and poles. The boots must match the bindings on the rental skis which are the NNN bindings. Any salesperson can steer you toward the correct boot. NSAA rental skis are combination skis—they work for both diagonal and skate skiing, but if you want high performance skis for an advanced skier they may not be appropriate.
Junior Nordic provides kick wax for when the kids are skiing classic technique. When the Otters, Wolverines and Hawks switch from classic to skate technique, the kick wax must be cleaned off the skis. We have wax remover at all of the venues, but you can also do this at home, with wax remover and a plastic scraper and rag or paper towel.
To ensure the return of equipment, we require a deposit of either a check or a credit card number when the equipment is checked out. Deposit check or credit card info will be shredded once the equipment has been returned.
Skis need to be the right length. If you are purchasing skis, the salesperson can help you to pick the right length. If you rent NSAA skis, we will help pick the right length for your skier.
If buying skis, do NOT get the NO WAX variety (fish scales on the bottom) since they will not work when your child starts to skate and they are SLOW for learning skiers. The best bet is a combination ski which is designed for both diagonal stride and skate techniques. If you already own waxless (fish scale) skis, it will be harder for your child to learn to skate ski when he or she becomes an Otter. It is recommended you rent NSAA skis.
IMPORTANT! Put your child’s name on their skis by writing it on a piece of electric tape and affixing it to the topside of both skis. We provide tape for names when you pick up your skis at Kincaid.
Returned skis need to be cleaned of all wax!
NSAA does not provide boots, even if you rent NSAA skis. Boots must match the ski bindings. NSAA skis have the New Nordic Norm (NNN) bindings. Boots are specialized like skis, but a combination boot, which is designed to work for both the traditional diagonal and the skate techniques, is the best value. Remember to get boots that have a little extra room to accommodate wool socks and some foot growth during the season. Feet that are squeezed into boots that are too small are often COLD feet. Please be sure BEFORE you bring your child to ski that the boots fit and stay in the bindings.
NSAA does not provide poles, even if you rent NSAA skis. POLE length ideally varies with the technique.
- Polar Cubs: poles should come just above the armpits.
- Otters and Wolverines: poles that come almost to the child’s chin.
- Hawks: skating poles should come up to the mouth when standing on flat feet. Diagonal (classic) poles should come up just above the bottom of the arm pits.
Where to Purchase Ski Gear
Local businesses have experts to help you buy the best fitting skis, boots and poles for your child. If you already have skis (or are renting Junior Nordic skis), bring your skis in with you when you go to purchase boots. If you already have boots, bring those with you when you go to purchase skis.
- Alaska Mountaineering & Hiking (AMH)
- Hoarding Marmot
- Play It Again Sports
The key to a happy skier is being warm enough for conditions, but not so bundled up as to prevent movement. The secret is to make sure you have the following LAYERING system:
- VENTILATION—closest to the skin to allow perspiration to move away from the skin. Breathable polypropylene or other synthetic long underwear provides the ventilation layer. NO COTTON!
- INSULATION—to trap the warmth generated by your body. Fleece, wool, or other synthetic material provides the insulation layer. NO COTTON!
- PROTECTION—the outer layer that protects you from wind and wet. Junior Nordic jacket, a pullover type shell, provides the protection layer. Wind pants are often necessary during periods of wind or extreme cold. NO COTTON!
- HEADS AND HANDS – Wearing a hat is a must. NO HAT, NO PRACTICE! For hands, mittens work much better than gloves. On cold days a neck warmer keeps both the neck and the lower face warm and is required for children with asthma. A neck warmer can easily be carried in the pocket of the Jr Nordic jacket.
You’ll need to vary the insulation layer based on the temperature, keeping in mind that skiers warm up when they are moving but cool off when they are not. Keeping the extremities warm is the biggest challenge when it is cold. Wool socks over polypro socks will help keep the feet warm. Large wool socks with a hole cut in the toe to put over the boots or boot covers are essential during cold weather.
All skiers must be well fed and should take their medications before practice or as prescribed. A water bottle is required for Wolverines and Hawks and all children with asthma. It is also highly recommended that Otters and Polar Cubs carry water bottles.
MARK ALL OF YOUR CHILD’S CLOTHING, SKI BOOTS, POLES AND SKIS. Write your name on a piece of tape and tape it right on to the skis and poles.
Junior Nordic skiers, except Polar Cubs, learn both classical (diagonal) and skate skiing, normally in 2 week intervals. Polar Cubs learn to classic ski only. Skiers learn proper care and handling of equipment, trail etiquette, good sportsmanship and how to act responsibly in the outdoors. A typical practice session will include a warm-up period, a lesson in technique, and a fun activity. Activities for younger skiers emphasize fun on skis, balance, strength and coordination.
All skiers are assigned to one of 4 skill groups based upon ability level. The skill groups are in turn divided into smaller groups of between 5 and 10 skiers each. Advancement to the next higher group is determined by the coaching staff and occurs when the skier has:
- Mastered all the techniques taught at his or her current group level,
- Demonstrated a responsibility level consistent with promotion,
- Demonstrated understanding of etiquette and ski rules consistent with promotion, and demonstrated the physical stamina necessary for the next higher group.
- POLAR CUBS
Younger beginners learning to feel comfortable on skis, basic
diagonal (classical) technique, safety and etiquette.
More advanced beginner skiers learning skate skiing and mastering classical technique, along with safety skills and etiquette.
Intermediate skiers learning to put together the techniques
of classical and skate skiing to move fast and effortlessly
along the trail. Wolverines have more independence on skis, emphasizing group cohesiveness, etiquette and physical stanima.
The most accomplished skiers, learning advanced diagonal
and skate techniques as well as racing techniques and strategy.
Hawks are the elite, and as such wear the distinctive
Hawks jacket. They must demonstrate discipline, cooperation,
and desire. Hawks may participate in additional practices,
and racing is encouraged.
COACHES / SITE DIRECTORS
COACHES / SITE DIRECTORS
The Junior Nordic Sport Director and NSAA Program Manager oversee the program and interact with site directors, head coaches, coaching staff, children in the program, the parents of the children and Parks & Rec. staff. Site directors are responsible for the day-to-day responsibilities for both the weekday and weekend groups at Kincaid, Hillside and Russian Jack.
Get to know your child’s coach and head coach. Communicate with them any concerns you may have.
If your child has a medical condition that may need to be treated out on the trails (asthma, food allergies….) let the head coach and your child’s coach know. This is very important and helps avoid a crisis situation. This information should be included in your child’s registration and we try to be sure that the coaches know about any medical information provided, but you should talk to your child’s coach directly.
There are risks inherent in any outdoor activity like cross country skiing and although every effort is made to prevent accidents, minor scrapes and bumps do occur from time to time. The coaches are equipped with medical kits. Each year the coaches attend a first aid training session. Parents are responsible for making sure their children know and follow the rules to prevent injury to themselves and others. The most important rules that parents should discuss with their children are:
- Obey the coach and parent helpers.
- Never ski alone. If you are in front of the group and come to an intersection, always stop and wait for the coach.
- Never leave your group without permission.
- Use your equipment properly—especially poles (people can be seriously injured by the sharp points of ski poles.) Keep poles pointed at the ground and do not point with poles or use them for games like tripping others.
- Pay attention to trail signs and be sure that you are going in the correct direction of travel if the trail is marked as “one way.”
- Avoid moose encounters—Moose are a common sight on the trail everywhere. Usually moose mind their own business, but they can be unpredictable. Never pass a moose on the trail, get between a mother and her calf, throw anything at a moose, yell at it or walk or ski toward it. If a moose moves towards you, get behind a tree or anywhere you are out of sight.
The inherent dangers involved in cross country skiing combined with the large size of Junior Nordic require that children promptly obey the rules established by the coaches and parent helpers. Children who are unable to obey the rules pose a threat to the safety of others as well as themselves and put an unfair burden on the coaches, other children, and parents. Children who are unable to follow the rules established by the coaches will not be allowed to attend practice. Normally, the following progressive procedures will apply:
- First infraction—Formal warning to skier
- Second infraction—Meeting between coach, child, and parent
- Third infraction—Suspension for 2 weeks
- Fourth infraction—Suspension from the program
At the discretion of the director or committee, certain serious infractions (such as fighting or situations involving risks of physical harm) may result in deviation from this progressive discipline policy, up to and including immediate suspension.
COMPETITION AND RACING
COMPETITION AND RACING
Because the philosophy of Junior Nordic is to encourage children to learn and enjoy cross country skiing as a lifetime activity, competition and racing are not the focus of the program. The Ready 2 Race program is geared towards advanced level Junior Nordic skiers who are interested in learning more about racing by offering clinics and race support during the season. The Ready 2 Race is $25 per session and can be included in the regular season registration.
This program is great for skiers looking to participate in middle school ski team or community races, such as the AMH Anchorage Cup races. Ready 2 Race coaches will provide race support at AMH Anchorage Cup races including course preview, help with waxing, answer questions, and lead warm-ups. Click the link HERE to learn more about competition and racing.
The AMH Anchorage Cup races offer youth races with shorter distances appropriate for younger skiers and the whole family! Learn more about AMH Anchorage Cup Races. All ages and abilities are encouraged to participate, and R2R will welcome all kids to join the warmup and get to the start line.