The Toby Creek Nordic Ski Club will be welcoming a world class coach to the fold this season, as former World Cup cross country skiier Magi Scallion will be joining their coaching ranks.
“I love helping develop the sport amongst teens and young adults and really look forward to working with the Toby Creek Nordic Ski Club this winter.” Scallion said in a release. “Hopefully I can help get some more kids on the trails.”
Scallion will be coaching as part of the Track Attack Racing Program for kids aged 10 and up. The club also offers two other children’s programs in the JackRabbits Kids Ski Program for children aged 3 to 9, and in collaboration with local elementary schools, the Ski S’kool Elementary Program for local grade 3 classes.
“(Scallion) obviously has a lot of experience in being coached and in coaching, so it’s just a really great resource for refining technique,” club skill development co-ordinator Cam Gilles said. “It’s just great to have another role model for all the kids in the club, somebody who has performed at an international level, and is there just having a great time on skis with the kids.”
Scallion was first approached by Track Attack co-ordinator Darren Tamelin about coaching with the club, and once the season kicks off, likely sometime in January, she figures to be out every week helping the kids improve on their skills. Sessions take place over nine Saturdays, and once the Lake Windermere Whiteway is in good shape there will also be some mid-week sessions for any kids who are able to attend. While the season starting date hasn’t been firmed yet, the Track Attack participants are already starting their dry land training to get into shape for ski season.
“As soon as there is snow and good skiing, we’ll be out there for sure,” Gilles said.
Last year marked two firsts for the club, as they introduced the aforementioned Ski S’Kool Program and visited the midget championships for the first time. With regards to Ski S’Kool, Gilles said it was extremely well received for their first year, and that he was excited to bring it back again this year. The program visits local grade 3 classes across the valley, and while club members groom trails in the schoolyard, the kids get to try out some ski gear free of charge.
“That was really well received by the kids and teachers last year,” Gilles said. “It’s a really great way to reach all the kids that are in that grade.”
On the competitive side, Gilles said that the club was planning on sending kids to competition again this year after a great experience last year, and said it was a great way to get kids a feel for what competitive racing is all about.
“The objective is not to go and win necessarily, but to give them a really positive racing experience,” he said. “That’s true of all the kids, we try and get all the kids into at least a fun race, even if it’s only a one kilometre loop as part of a loppet. They go out, they get a number and a cookie and a ribbon at the end, and everyone has a great time and cheers them on. It’s all a really important part of building their confidence.”
While Gilles said the club currently sits at about 45 kids, he said it’s always growing and that there is always room for more. Anyone who is interested in any of the programs is urged to contact Gilles through the club website, www.tobycreeknordic.ca.
“We’re certainly interested in having as many kids that are interested joining us,” Gilles said. “We’re very excited for another great winter with lots of great coaching and lots of great fun events for the kids.”