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: 

  1. You get paid to ski! How cool is that?
  2. 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.
  3. You can be a part of mak­ing sure that our won­der­ful tra­di­tions of cross coun­try ski­ing  con­tin­ues into the fu­ture.
  4. 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/ 

  5. 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