Homer Alaska - Sports

Story last updated at 4:25 PM on Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Kachemak Nordic Ski Club offering new programs for all ages

By Angelina Skowronski
For the Homer News

Lack of snow doesn't mean the skis stay in the closet for Kachemak Nordic Ski Club members. It just means you have to look harder for good ski routes.

Hoping snow will come soon, KNSC gears up for the 2013 season with new and improved classes and programs.

Adult Beginner Clinics

The success of last year's adult beginner and intermediate clinics has created two new skiing classes offered to the Homer community. The Beginner Classic clinic and Beginner Skate clinic are offered back-to-back starting this Saturday for two three-week sessions.

Classes are held Saturdays from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the Lookout Mountain Trails on Ohlson Mountain. Instructors will take first-timers and teach them the techniques of proper classic or skate skiing.

Classes are limited to 24 skiers. Registration for the Classic class is closed, but the Skate class is open until Dec. 24. For more information on the classes and registration, go to kachemaknordicskiclub.org.

Junior Nordic

Junior Nordic is also underway for an adventurous season. Classes start Jan. 19 for youth ages 4-13 and will continue for six Saturdays from 1-2:30 p.m. at the Lookout Mountain Trails.

Two of the classes will be moved off Ohlson to Baycrest trails and McNeil Canyon.

"We are moving the classes off the Lookout Trails to accommodate for the high school and community ski races that will take place this winter. It is also a great way to showcase the other trails in our community," said Carlin Rauch, Junior Nordic organizer.

The highlight of Junior Nordic, the end of the season party on Feb. 23, will have a Hawaiian luau theme with beach volleyball and leis.

The Junior Nordic program has been educating Homer's youth for 15 years, according to Rauch. Since its inception, student participation has grown to the now 64-80 enrollment. With only 10 volunteer coaches and a number of parent volunteer coaches, the program continues to flourish with countless volunteered hours.

This year active club member, Megan Spurkland, organized a Child Specialist I/II course/exam to be conducted by Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) representative from Juneau.

A group of 10 volunteer coaches have been prepping for the exam since the beginning of November, meeting each Friday for two hours. The exam, to be held in mid-January, will focus on applying child psychology into the ski curriculum and teaching methods.

"This is one of the best course that PSIA offers. It's a super comprehensive course that we are conducting and the coaches in the program deserve a lot of recognition for the hard work they are putting into this," said Spurkland.

Child Specialist designation for ski instructors is not uncommon in Alaska, with most certified coaches living in Anchorage and Juneau. For Homer and its ski program, having 10 coaches with Child Specialist certifications will give Homer's Nordic program an advantage, says Spurkland.

"As far as a more rural area in Alaska, this is forward thinking," said Spurkland.

And Homer is spreading the wealth. The Tsalteshi Trails Association has requested four of Homer's Child Specialists to hold teaching clinics for the Soldotna group's youth ski coaches.

"The process of how we teach Junior Nordic is continually changing. With new knowledge, we now have so many more ways to structure each day," Spurkland said.

If you have an aspiring little skier in your family, registration for Junior Nordic is $15 per a child before the deadline of Jan. 1 . Late registration is $25 per child.

If you didn't get your Junior Nordic ski rentals at the ski swap, skis rentals are still available. Junior Nordic is always looking for more volunteers. For more info on ski rentals and volunteering, contact Rauch at kbaysailor@gmail.com.

Homer Women's Nordic

Homer Women's Nordic (HWN) is strong in their season, despite the lack of groomed trails.

Open to all women of any age and skill level, the group meets weekdays 11a.m.-1 p.m. and Sundays 2-4 p.m., offering women looking to improve their ski abilities and enjoy the mid-day sun a fun and non-competitive setting.

New this year is an adventure and training exchange with Girdwood's women's Nordic group. The weekend of Jan. 26 and 27, Girdwood's women's group will come to Homer for on and off trail skiing.

In exchange, the Homer women's Nordic group will travel north in the spring to participate in an adventure and training weekend in Girdwood.

The adventure and training weekend is open to all female skiers in the community.

For more information on KNSC and its programs, go to kachemaknordicskiclub.org.