Sunday, February 05, 2006

A gorgeous day it was. A sunny sky and balmy weather right around 25 F. was the background for "Kidski". A program run solely by volunteering ski coaches who every Sunday for an hour and a half coach miniature cross country skiers. The pupils range in ange from the tiny 5 year olds all the way up to a few 6th graders. Almost all of the coaches are fellow highschool skiers. Here's the perfect image of what Kidski is all about; On an open field, "the stadium" perhaps 50 little kids are sliding across the snow on skis of almost ever make. Each board underfoot corresponding to the respecive groups. All the kids are playing games of some sort, whether it's "red light green light" "one ski soccer" or just straight up "tag". Intermittently dispersed in the crowd are the coaches, playing right along with the kids but with much less enthusiasm and energy. The kids are falling all over, losing balance as they try to kick a ball, or tripping on their own skis as the attempt to evade the ominous hand carrying the title of "it".
Set apart from the masses-all laughing and yelling, enjoying the games-is the select class. 5 or 6 advanced skiers huddled around the coach, ex-olympian Kara Salmela. These young guns, up and comers are getting their technique fine tuned and critiqued to a point I missed out on till maybe three years ago.
It's this atmosphere of progression, kids coming back year after year, moving up through the classes. Learning from parents how to put their skis on to the basics of classic and skate skiing to following and observing the form on former Olympians. Then a few years later returning to return the favor, give back for all they took.

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