2010 JackRABBIT & BUNNYRABBIT SKI PrograMS
'Active Start' and 'FUNdamentals'
Click on the image above for program information
Contact Ardeth Kirkham-Jackrabbit Coordinator Email
2009 JackRABBIT & BUNNYRABBIT SKI PrograMS
Who Are We? The Kanata Nordic Ski Club has been in operation for over 20 years in Kanata (since 1979!), and has been involved in delivering a wide range of programs to the community including learn-to-ski programs for young children and recently, for adults too! We aim to instill a love of skiing for families, so that they have an opportunity to enjoy the winter and nature, together. Bunnyrabbit and Jackrabbit programs are a great way to meet skiing buddies, have fun, and gain a greater appreciation for our natural environment all while learning some skiing fundamentals that can be carried through, and improved upon at any stage of life.
The Jackrabbit Program was named after the legendary ski pioneer, Hermann "Jackrabbit" Smith-Johannsen - a Norwegian immigrant to Canada, who lived and skied to the tender age of 112. "Jackrabbit" attributed his long life partially to cross country skiing, a healthy outdoor life and always striving for his personal best. Many of our current Olympic stars, including Beckie Scott and Sarah Renner, got their start in their local Jackrabbit Programs.
Bunnyrabbits (4 - 6 yrs): The purpose of this program is to introduce cross-country skiing both through organized activity, games, and play on skis. It is very important for our new skiers to have fun while they are learning! The objectives for these young skiers are to master the more basic ski skills including falling/rising, side-stepping, herringbone and ski walking. Children in the Bunnyrabbit program ski without poles.
Jackrabbits (6 yrs and up): There are 4 levels in the Jackrabbit program, ranging from Level 1 to Level 4. Sometimes Levels 3 and 4 can take a few seasons to master. Participants will gradually develop skills in both the classic and skate skiing techniques with the aim of instilling competence and confidence for virtually any cross-country ski outing and condition. Skiers are generally placed into levels according to their age, ability, and previous ski experience.
Levels 1 and 2 build on the basic skills that have been introduced in Bunnyrabbits, and can generally be successfully accomplished within a single season. Skiing with poles is introduced at Level 1, as well as skiing uphill and mastering bigger hills. Parents are encouraged to ski with their children and to try and get out for extra ski sessions beyond the lessons - the more they ski, the more they learn!
Levels 3 and 4 focus on the more challenging technical aspects of cross-country skiing, refining and perfecting classic techniques and working on a number of skating ski techniques and incorporating them into more challenging skiing environments. Sometimes an extra season is needed to master all of the skills within these levels. Extra skiing sessions are provided on a mid-week ski night (details to follow), and are strongly encouraged to help the kids practice and master their new skills. Skiers at these levels are encouraged to take advantage of our organized family ski outings which typically take place in Gatineau park, and to participate in the Gatineau Keskinada Ski Loppet which replaces one of the lesson sessions in February.
Loppets? Loppet is a Swedish word for recreational mass participation cross country ski event that may or may not be timed. It can be a casual event or a 'serious' race! For many, the main goal is completion of the course - there are many events tailored to the endurance and skill levels of children (and their parents!) - 2km, 5km, even 10 km and beyond. For most people in our club, the emphasis is participation and trying something new. The Gatineau Keskinada Loppet takes place in February and in order to encourage our skiers to participate, this event replaces our Saturday lessons. Lots of great snacks and high-fives at the finish!
When and Where? Bunnyrabbit and Jackrabbit Program sessions are held on Saturday afternoons between 1:30 and 3:30 pm at Kanata XC Ski Club co-located at the YMCA Outdoor Centre at 1620 Sixth Line Road in Kanata north. To get there take Riddell Road, right off the Dunrobin Road, to Sixth Line Road, just 10 minutes north from Alcatel (See Google map).
What? Our Jackrabbit program will begin in mid-November, with dryland activities taking place in a variety of locations within the Kanata community, including the Kanata Beaverpond, where we will be exploring a variety of trails by hiking and playing active games. These are all in the interest of “acclimatizing” our rabbits and their parents to the great outdoors for a few hours. Our dryland sessions become ski sessions as soon as weather and snow conditions permit. These dryland sessions are informal and are not mandatory, but they are a great way to get used to our weather as it changes!
Who? Children are placed in programs based on age and skill level. Group sizes range from 10 to 14 participants with 1 leader and at least one assistant leader. In the Bunnyrabbit program groups parents must ski with their children. There are heated washrooms and a heated area for chilly skiers to warm up in, and an important part of each lesson is the hot chocolate break! There will several special events and fun ski opportunities throughout the duration of the program, including family ski afternoons (some to Gatineau Park), the Keskinada Loppet, and our Fun Day where skier achievement awards are given out. We start lessons on the first Saturday in January, JAN 5TH 2008. The formal program runs from Jan 5th, 2008 to March 8th 2008.
Fun Day - Our skiers’ progression and achievements are celebrated with a Fun Day on the final day of classes with games and activities for all, and badges and stickers are given out to recognize a variety of different milestones including technical merit, speed (time trial during lessons), and number of ski outings done throughout the season. Young skiers are encouraged to keep track of every time they get out on their skis.... the more they ski, the more they learn, the more confident they become!
Volunteers: Our ski club is based entirely on volunteer participation, from our group leaders right up to our President! The more volunteers we have, the better our club becomes! In fact, without volunteers, there is no ski club, so your participation is vital to ensure the success of all of our programs. All parents are encouraged get involved in some way, whether it is on the snow, as a ski coach or assistant coach, in the “warm zone” manning the fire pit and serving hot chocolate; clearing trails, or as part of our club’s executive board! If you are interested in helping kids learn to ski, we will give you the training through short and useful coaching courses. Please let us know what your skills are and how you can help out. Contact Ardeth Kirkham, the Jackrabbit Program Coordinator, if you wish to volunteer your services. Don’t let limited skiing experience prevent you from lending a hand - many of our senior leaders are there as resources, and the Club will provide training leading to certification in the Cross-Country Canada community coach programs. Becoming a Jackrabbit leader is a great way to develop your own skiing skills!
Dryland - The program begins informally with our fall dryland activities which are aimed at kids over 7yrs of age. This is a good time to start getting used to spending some time outdoors on Saturday afternoons as we hike trails and play games, typically at the Kanata Lakes Beaverpond area, or at the YMCA Outdoor Centre. We are planning to start these activities on November 17th. The key is Communication, and those interested are encouraged to check their e-mail and/or the club website for updates on where we will be. The dryland activities become snow sessions as soon as conditions allow, so start praying and doing your snow dances now!
Skiing in Gatineau Park - February - Our February 2nd session will be held in Gatineau Park to provide an opportunity to experience this world class cross country ski facility (adults must purchase a pass at the trails). Our Feb 16th session takes place at the Gatineau Loppet (formerly known as the Keskinada Loppet) where kids (and parents!) can experience the thrill of participating in a race. There are 2km, 5km and 10 km distances depending on age and skill level. This ski experience is not to be missed - the kids are tired (and proud!) at the end, and there are great ‘finish’ treats and a meal offered. We also encourage participation in other local ski events, which will be listed on the web site and promoted through e-mail.
There will be many other skiing opportunities throughout the season- we’ll keep you posted!
Skills Progression: At season’s end, skiers are awarded stickers to fill in their Jackrabbit books for technical skills, speed (a time trial is done during lessons), and accumulated number of outings skied within and outside of the program (snow goal). We have a number system (similar to the Red Cross swimming program), which follows the Cross Country Canada system.
What to Wear: Dress appropriately for the temperature and conditions. For very young skiers snowsuits are appropriate. For older children and parents, layer clothing using breathable fabrics that wick moisture away. Wool or fleece sweaters, polypropylene or Lifa© underwear, Thinsulate© and Gortex© are recommended apparel items. Avoid cotton, which does not wick moisture away from the body. Don’t forget an outer windproof layer. Hands and feet should be kept warm and dry and the head covered. Avoid cotton socks! An extra layer that can be added or removed is a good idea, along with an extra hat and mitts, scarf, snack and liquid etc. This can all go into a small knapsack that can be brought skiing or kept in the Vail building.
Weekly Checklist (2008)
When: Every Saturday starting Jan 5th to Mar 8th, 1:30 to 3:30 pm. Try to make sure that children have had a good lunch and are well hydrated. Please be 15 - 30 minutes early if possible on that first class in January, so that we can get everyone organized and introduced and get out on the snow! Try to take advantage of local trails before the beginning of formal program, and keep track of your ski sessions for “Snow Goal” stickers.
Equipment: Skis, poles (no poles for Bunnyrabbit program!) and ski boots on. Try to get SNS or NNN system instead of older 3-pin bindings. Younger, beginning skiers may have more success with waxless skis (fish scales). Synthetic bases are preferred. See the equipment guide available during registration.
Clothing: Toque, gloves/mittens, windproof outer layer, and layers that breathe and wick moisture away at inner layers. Snowsuits are OK for younger children. Avoid cotton - it stays wet and makes kids (and adults) cold!!
Have Fun and Have
a Great Ski Season!
Contact Ardeth Kirkham-Jackrabbit Coordinator Email
A Parent's Guide to Cross Cross-Country
Ski Equipment for Children
(Adobe Acrobat format)