Junior Nordic Update to NSAA Members
Hello NSAA members!
I hope everybody is doing well and is as excited about the coming ski season as all of us Junior Nordic coaches. NSAA’s groomed trails are a highlight of Alaskan winter, it’s hard to imagine anything more joyful sharing the love of these trails with the next generation of Alaskan skiers. This year, the Junior Nordic program has some good news to share with all of you, and we also need to ask for your help. But first the good news:
We have over 885 kids signed up at the moment, and every single Junior Nordic site and time slot is at capacity. On top of this, we have over 312 kids on the waiting list, and this all happened within days of opening registration. This all translates into an unprecedented interest in Junior Nordic. There are a couple of important takeaways from these numbers. First, they demonstrate that we’re running a truly fantastic program with growing interest from Anchorage families. They also point to a strong, heathy future for cross country skiing in Anchorage.
Your support of NSAA is a big part of what makes this program possible, and special thanks goes out to all of our coaches, who are the beating heart of Junior Nordic.
And now to the “asking for help” part of this message:
This year’s crazy signup numbers surprised all of us. Now we really need more coaches. At the moment, we don’t have enough coaches lined up to achieve the instructor-to-skier ratio that we need to maintain the quality of our program. We’re nowhere close to the numbers we need to start pulling kids off the waiting list.
So, we’re asking NSAA members to consider joining the Junior Nordic coaching staff this year. Here are three great reasons to consider joining us:
- You get paid to ski! How cool is that?
- Coaching for Junior Nordic is fun. You get to hang out with all the other wonderful coaches, and you get to experience the joy of teaching kids to ski.
- You can be a part of making sure that our wonderful traditions of cross country skiing continues into the future.
- We’re looking for three categories of coaches:
- Full Time” Regular Coaches. A regular Junior Nordic coach attends three practices/week at Hillside, Kincaid, or Russian Jack. (Note that some full-time coaches instruct at more than one session concurrently.)
- Substitute Coaches. Substitute coaches step in when our regular coaches can’t make practice for any reason. If you sign up as a sub, you’ll be added to the list of people who can help with a practice when a regular coach can’t attend.
- “High School Buddy” Coaches. We have many wonderful high school skiers who aren’t able to coach for Junior Nordic because Saturday practices conflict with their racing schedule. “High School Buddies” are paired with a high school coach to cover race-day practices and create a “complete” coaching team. If you sign up as a “High School Buddy”, you’ll also be expected to ski with “your” skier and their group for three weekday practices before covering Saturdays, so that you have a chance to develop a rapport with the group.
All you need to coach for Junior Nordic is a pair of skies, a fun-loving attitude, and the ability to wrangle a group of kids. We teach kids ages 6 to 14, and skill levels range from kids who are on skis for the first time, to middle school kids that are beginning to race at a more competitive level. We’ll work with you to help develop your coaching skills, through day-to-day mentoring and through formal certifications with organizations such as PSIA.
All you need to do now is fill out the coach application, and you can find it right here: https://www.anchoragenordicski.com/junior-nordic-coaching/
- You can use the same form to apply for regular, substitute, and “High School Buddy” positions. Once we have your application, site directors will reach out to talk to you about coaching for Junior Nordic. And if you’re unable to coach this season, we would still deeply appreciate any help with spreading the work about our need for coaches. Thanks to everybody for the support, and we’re excited to see you guys on the trails this winter! — Geoff Wright, Junior Nordic Head Coach