Jackrabbits

Skiing for ages 3 to 12


The Jackrabbit Program is designed to introduce children aged 3 to 12 to the sport of cross-country skiing. It is structured in much the same way as Red Cross and YM/YWCA swim lessons are:
children become proficient in the sport by moving through a series of skill levels.

Parents and kids, please note: it is quite common for the kids to repeat levels – there is a lot to learn, and the season is short!

The emphasis of the Program is on fun, participation, skill development and safety. The objective of the Program is to provide the opportunity for children to learn to cross country ski at their own pace, based on their personal abilities, skills and interests.

After your child has completed all levels of Jackrabbits, they may be interested in continuing in ENSC’s Track Attack program.

If your child has completed level 2 or 3 and would like to ski more than once per week, check out our new program: Jackrabbits Plus

If your child is between the ages of 9-13, a novice skier, and would like to ski with kids his/her age, try the Youth Learn to Ski group.

 

Jackrabbits Level Bunnyrabbits Level One Level Two Level Three Level Four
Age Group Usually 3-5 years old Usually 5-7 years old Usually 6-8 years old Usually 7-9 years old Usually 8-10 years old
Skill Level New skiers
No or limited ski experience
Beginner skiers
Limited ski experience
Novice skiers
A year of ski experience
Experienced skiers or has completed Level 2 Experienced Jackrabbits
Three years ski experience
Level 3 completed
Required Skills Emphasis is on having fun on skis!

  • Balance and movement are key objectives
  • Kids need to want to ski
  • Ski without poles
Skills begin to be taught:

  • Can get up from a fall on the flats
  • Can keep skis straight while moving forward
  • Can climb hills using herringbone & side step
  • No skating taught at this level
  • Ski without poles
All Level 1 skills plus:

  • Beginning of diagonal stride (“gliding”)
  •  Straight running and turning on downhill
  • Stopping and turning, using the “Snowplow”
  • Can get up from a fall on a hill
  • Double poling.
All Level 2 skills plus:

  • Introduce skating techniques
  •  Free Skate and Skate Turn
  • Diagonal Skate
  • One-step Double Poling
  • Intermediate diagonal stride
  • Endurance requirement=10/5 min classic/skate
All Level 3 skills plus:

  • Parallel Side Slipping
  • Two Skate
  • Offset Skate
  • Advanced Diagonal stride
  • Uphill diagonal Stride
  • Stem Christie and Telemark turns
  • Transitions from one classic technique to another
  • Endurance requirement=20/15 min classic/skate

Parents and kids please note: It is quite common for kids to repeat levels – there is much to learn, and the season is short!

 

Equipment for Each Level

 

Bunnyrabbits

A child’s first ski equipment set would include a pair of no-wax skis with ‘classic’ length poles (with the pole tip in the snow, the pole height would reach the under arm). Initial on-snow play does not require long skis, and they should be approximately the same height as the skier. It is better for the child to outgrow their skis than to grow into them. 
Select a binding that is not difficult to opperate, but is not prone to releasing either. If you select strap-type bindings used in conjunction with snow boots, ensure that all the straps are integrated into the binding construction. Loose straps have a way of getting lost. Snow boots can be nice and warm, but unless they are laced up firmly, there is a risk of little feet coming right out of the boot. The boot will be securely fastened to the ski – and the young skier will be left standing with sock feet in the snow. If a child is on their second pair of skis, they may be ready to graduate to waxable skis.

 

Levels 1  and 2

For learning the skills required at these levels it is preferable to have waxable skis, but waxless skis are fine. Skis can be dual purpose (classic skis that can also be used for skating), but poles must remain ‘classic’ length.

 

Level 3

Skating technique is officially introduced to the skill development sessions at this point in the skill progressions. However, skate equipment (skis and poles) is not yet required.

 

Level 4

The child can learn skating technique skills while using classic, dual purpose skis, but they now require both skating length poles and classic length poles. For skating technique sessions, skiers using the classic, dual purpose skis must have the grip wax removed from the kick zone and the entire length of the ski prepared with glide wax. For classic technique sessions, the kick zone must be in place again, and grip wax would be applied. It is also important that the skiers are using bindings that do not rub the track when the ski is on edge or when the skating technique is used.

Eventually, parents may wish to provide the child with two sets of equipment (both skating and classic) if their ski skills and future involvement in the sport appear to warrant the investment.

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Skis

 

  • Classic skis should reach just below the wrist of the skier’s outstretched arm, with the camber suitable for classic skiing
  • Skating skis should be 3-4 cm above the head of the skier, with a camber suitable for skating.
  • Dual purpose skis should be a length mid-way between the length for a classic ski and a skating ski, but the camber must be determined by what is suitable for classic skiing.
  • If the skis are not the correct length and camber the skier will have difficulty mastering the technical skills necessary to become competent in the sport.

Poles

 

  • Poles must have adjustable straps
  • Classic poles should reach under the arm when the skier is standing on the floor
  • Skating poles should be the same height as the chin
  • If poles are too long or too short, the skier will have difficulty mastering the technical skills necessary to become competent in the sport.

Whatever you do, don’t settle for poor quality  just because the price is right, or it’s the only thing available.
Keep looking until you get the equipment that will give your child good ski experiences.

Boots/Bindings

 

  • For skiers old enough to participate in the skill development sessions, select bindings that will not rub in the track when the ski is on edge or when skating technique is used.
  • Salomon and NNN are the two commonly used, suitable boot/binding systems. Both are good and equally functional, however, the Salomon binding system offers more of a variety, and is available from more distributors.
  • Boots must be comfortable. If boots are too large, they will be awkward to ski in and if they are too constrictive, feet will not stay warm.
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Where to Purchase Equipment

 

Parents are encouraged to by suitable equipment for their children for two main reasons:
it is an investment in a positive, fun learning experience; and good equipment retains its re-sale value – someone will always buy it when you are finished with it.

Retailers in the Edmonton area that sell ski equipment include:

  • Fast Trax
  • Campers’ Village
  • Mountain Equipment Co-op
  • Pedalhead Bicycle Works
  • Totem Outfitters (used equipment may be available)
  • Track ‘n Trail

Several of these stores offer discounts to Edmonton Nordic members – be sure to ask!

Used equipment is sometimes available at the Edmonton Nordic Ski Swap, held each November; however, selection is usually limited.

Jackrabbit Ski Rental Program

 

Rather than purchasing equipment, many families may decide that they would prefer to rent the skis, boots and poles that their kids will use for the year. ENSC has started a program in partnership with Fast Trax to allow Jackrabbits and Biathlon Bears to rent one of the following packages (we will only rent whole packages, not just boots or skis or poles):

Packages 
Includes Price
Waxless Classic Package
(for Bunnies, Level 1 or Level 2)
Waxless ski with NNN bindings (100cm -140cm)
Junior NNN Boot (sizes 12-5)
Poles
$100 for the season,
+ $100 damage deposit
Classic/Skate Combi ski package
(Levels 3 and 4)
Waxable ski with NNN bindings (120cm – 160cm)
Junior NNN Boot (sizes 12-5)
Two pairs of poles (skate and classic length)
$100 for the season,
+ $100 damage deposit

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Pick Up and Drop Off Responsibility

Rental equipment will be distributed upon receipt of payment and availability of skiable snow 
You are required to take good care of the rental equipment as you will keep it until the last lesson of the season (Mid March).

Normal wear and tear is not unexpected, however, you will be charged for any breakage of equipment or more serious damage.

Equipment returned in good order will result in your damage deposit cheque being returned to you.

Rental Ordering

Edmonton Nordic Ski Club has a limited supply of rental equipment, and this will be allocated on a first-come/first-served basis. The sooner you contact us the better your chance of getting gear.

Contact

Please contact the co-ordinators if you have questions.

ensc.jackrabbits@gmail.com

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Jackrabbit Times

  • Sunday JR runs from 1:30 – 3 from Jan 8 to March 12. At Goldbar Park.
  • Monday JR runs from 5:30 – 7 from Jan 9 to March 13. At Edmonton Ski Club

 

Registration for Jackrabbits is OPEN.

We will not be offering Saturday Jackrabbits unless we have coaches. We need coaches for Level 1-4. Contact ensc.jackrabbits@gmail.com.

Fee

$80 for 2017 and requires a family membership to ENSC

Location

The Edmonton Nordic Ski Club offers its Jackrabbit Program at the Gold Bar Park ski trails located just east of 50th Street along the south side of the North Saskatchewan River.

The parking lot, warm-up facility and trails are located within Gold Bar Park just east of the Gold Bar Waste Water Treatment Plant.

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Jackrabbit Volunteers

The Jackrabbit Program is a volunteer run program and will not continue without parents’ contributions. All families are expected to help to make sure that the children in the program have the best experience that we can give them. Contact the Jackrabbit coordinators if you would like to volunteer.