XC Skiing

Cross-country skiing as a family can be as much fun as going to the beach, walking in the park, or riding bikes together—it’s also the perfect opportunity to share with your kids an appreciation for nature, adventure, and fitness. Teaching children to ski can be incredibly rewarding, but it requires patience and creativity. Games can help build the skills necessary for fun and safe skiing, while preventing boredom and frustration. To get you started, here are a few activity suggestions from Steve Hindman’s Cross-Country Skiing: Building Skills for Fun and Fitness.

  1. Have kids race to a certain spot. When you blow the whistle, they must stop by a count of three. If they don’t stop in time they must move back ten ski lengths.
  2. Tie lots of balloons to a long string attached to your waist and weave over the snow while the kids chase you and try to break the balloons by stomping on them with their skis.
  3. Have the kids take one ski off and race using the remaining ski, as if they are riding a scooter.
  4. Do the Cha-cha, 1-2, 1-2-3. Glide on the three. Do it as a group. Do it up hill, do it downhill, do it all around. Get rhythm.
  5. Ski like a cat. Curl the claws on all four paws (poles and skis) to grip the snow and spring forward.
  6. On the flats, have kids put their skis in the A (wedge) position and use their poles to push themselves around. Have them go right, then left, then straight. Do the same in a train of kids (skis of the child in back placed inside the wedge formed by the skis of the child in front). Make train sounds. Expect a crash.
  7. With their skis in the V (herringbone) position and edges turned, tell kids to walk and quack like a duck. Start on the flats, then waddle up a gentle hill.
  8. Downhill drill: Start out with the knees on skis, hands on tips for the first run. Do the next run up right with hands on knees. On the final run have kids try to bite their pole handles as they slide downhill.
  9. Red light, green light. Same as the game on foot. Leader holds poles baskets up for go, poles crossed means stop.
  10. Limbo! Place two ski poles upright in the snow. Suspend a third pole, held in place by the straps of the first two, between them. Be sure to attach the horizontal pole on the back or downhill side of the upright poles. Have kids ski through the arch clearing it by crouching forward or doing the limbo.

- Adapted from Cross-Country Skiing: Building Skills for Fun and Fitness by Steve Hindman, The Mountaineers Books, 2005

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