Blackjack Seeks Coaches for Tiny Skiers

Sara Golling
By Sara Golling
November 3rd, 2015

Kids aged 4 and over can learn cross-country skiing or improve their cross-country skills  at BlackJack, in categories starting with “Bunnies” and moving up through “Jackrabbits” and “Track Attack” to the Junior and Senior racing levels.  All those kids need coaches, and BlackJack wants more volunteer coaches  to help ensure that  no  eager young skiers will be turned away.

But you think you might not know enough to be a coach?  Fear not.  There is a free coaching course coming up,  starting on November 13th (6:00 pm to 9:00 pm) and 14th (8:30 am to 4:30 pm).   The “on-snow” part — so keep thinking snowy thoughts — is set for November 27th, 28th and 29th.   You don’t even have to be among the world’s best skiers — and it’s  possible that your own ski skills will gain a bit of polish as you coach the youngsters.

The rewards are many:  just getting out there, the sense of community involvement,  the fun of  helping young children learn to ski, the ego boost of seeing them gain skills from your teaching, and maybe a few years later,  an even greater ego boost  from  seeing your former students do well competitively — or just continue to enjoy cross-country skiing as they grow up.  

Ann Quarterman is BlackJack’s  coaching co-ordinator and is a coach herself;  she has been coaching cross-country skiing for ten years now.  She coached all the Junior Racers when they were younger.  She  gives a few recent examples of  BlackJack students  going on to greater things:  Daniel Merlo, an 18-year-old Senior Racer who began as a “Bunny” at  BlackJack, has just won third place in the Junior Men category in the first race of the year at Canmore.   Last season,  all four men on the BC team for Canada Games all trained in Rossland.  Colin Ferrie went to the World Junior Championships last year.

Other coaches include  head coach Dave Wood,  who coaches the Junior and Senior Teams.  Fred Bushell along with others works with the Track Attack kids and there are several volunteer coaches who work with Bunnies and Jackrabbits.  In addition to the coaches, the junior and senior racers come out a few times in the winter and thrill the younger ones by skiing with them.   With the bulk of the skiers in Bunnies and Jackrabbits,  more coaches are needed to ensure that no children need be turned away.   Last year, BlackJack had  91 young skiers in programs from Bunnies to Senior Racers.

Could you be a coach?  Contact Ann Quarterman at 250-362-5956, or e-mail  coordinator@blackjackskiteam.com  — or  go to the ski swap at the Prestige Mountain Resort in Rossland on November 7 and talk with Ann at the registration table.  You can also get your season pass, register for programs, and even get your skis waxed for a mere $15 by BlackJack skiers; all proceeds go to support BlackJack programs.   For the swap, you can drop off equipment  from 8:30 am to 10:30 am, and the sale starts at 11:00 am.

Are you a parent with young children who might benefit from BlackJack’s programs?   For a “Bunny” aged 4 to 5,  the cost is only $60.  For “Jackrabbits” aged 6 to 12,  the cost is from $120 to $140, depending on the level.  BlackJack is a not-for-profit club.   For more information, check out the website:   http://www.skiblackjack.ca/black-jack-jack-rabbits

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