As interest in the Jackrabbit ski program multiplies across the NWT, so does the demand for qualified coaches. Eight eager Hay Riverites completed a 10-hour coaching workshop on Feb. 1-2 at the Hay River Ski Club, taught by Ski North co-ordinator Karen Johnson.
Christopher Lirette, Angeline Magtibay, Robert Plamondon, Wanda Dewar, Theresa Patterson, Bev Tybring, Julianne Fuller and Tracey Pope went through a variety of exercises, such as developing an entire season plan and an activity plan.
They also learned about proper skiing equipment and clothing, safety factors and techniques, and created emergency action plans and came up with games for children in the Jackrabbit ski program (aged six to 10 years).
The standardized courses are competency-based and cover the same material that is taught in other ski clubs across the country.
Johnson was trained to teach the workshops two years ago, and this was already her third one of the season.
“There is tons of interest for this now, which is great,” she said. “I taught two workshops in Yellowknife and one in Fort Smith. The course is designed by Cross Country Canada and it is nice to be able to teach a large group such as this one, because if you only have a single person running the program, you’re stuck once that person leaves the community.”
She said it’s important for children in the Jackrabbit program to learn the right skills at a young age because it leads to becoming successful biathletes, and there is no shortage of those in Hay River.
Johnson was also at the Chief Sunrise Education Centre on the Hay River Reserve on Feb. 1, showing kids the basics of skiing.
“The snow was really deep there, so we had to focus on playing simple games, such as one-ski soccer,” Johnson said.
Tracey Pope, the co-ordinator of the Jackrabbit ski program at the Hay River Ski Club, said she got a lot out of the workshop.
“We did a few hours on the snow, which was fantastic,” she said, as the coaches also learned a few techniques of their own. “We got a lot of ideas for games that will improve the kids’ techniques.”
— Myles Dolphin