Stay tuned for information about the 2022/23 Jackrabbits season!

The Jackrabbit Program is designed to introduce children aged 4 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 is between the ages of 8-12, a novice skier, and would like to ski with kids his/her age, try the Youth Learn-to-Ski (Classic) group

NEW! If your child is 12 years old or older, a novice or intermediate skier, and would like to focus on fitness, fun, and skills, try the Teen Ski group

NEW! Is skate-skiing for you?  If your child has some classic nordic ski experience, and would like to learn skate-skiing, or is currently registered in Jackrabbits Levels 3 or 4 or Biathlon and would like a second ski session during the week, try the Youth Learn-to-Ski (Skate) group


Jackrabbits Level Bunnyrabbits Level One Level Two Level Three Level Four
Age Group 4-5 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
Acquired 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

Equipment for Each Level


A child’s first ski equipment set would include a pair of no-wax skis. 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 operate, 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. No poles are required for the Bunnies program.

Levels 1  and 2

For learning the skills required at these levels it is preferable to have waxable skis, but waxless skis are fine. Poles are generally not used in Level 1, but are introduced in Level 2. Poles should be “classic” length (with the pole tip in the snow, the pole height would reach the under arm).

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. The child can learn skating technique skills while using classic skis.  For skating technique sessions, skiers using classic 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.

Level 4

As in Level 3, in Level 4 the child can advance his/her skating technique skills while using classic skis, but they now require both skating length poles and classic length poles. Skating poles should roughly come to the child’s chin, when the pole tip is in the snow. 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.

Where to Purchase Equipment

Parents are encouraged to buy 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 TrailSeveral 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, the selection is usually limited.


Jackrabbit Times 

2022 Season 
  • Bunnyrabbits 
    • Saturday Noon; 12:00 to 1:00 PM
    • Saturday Afternoon from 1:30 – 2:30 PM
    • Sunday Morning from 10:30 – 11:30 AM
    • Sunday Noon; 12:00 to 1:00 PM
    • Sunday Afternoon from 1:30 – 2:30 PM
    • The first day of lessons will be Jan 8/9 and weather permitting, there will be 10 lessons in the season.
  • Levels 1-4  
    • Saturday Afternoon; 1:30 – 3:00 PM
    • Sunday Morning; 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
    • Sunday Afternoon; 1:30 – 3:00 PM
    • The first day of lessons will be December 11/12 (with a 2 week break over Christmas) and weather permitting, there will be 12 lessons in the season.
  • COVID protocol information will be provided to families following registration.


Bunnies: TBA for the 2022/23 season. Requires a family membership to ENSC

Levels 1-4: TBA for the 2022/23 season. Requires a family membership to ENSC

All participants in ENSC programs must be members of Cross Country Canada and Cross Country Alberta. This is an insurance and liability requirement. These fees are not refunded by ENSC in the case of a withdrawal of registration or cancellation of a program.


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.


Jackrabbit Volunteers 

The Jackrabbit Program is a volunteer-run program and cannot 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. Please identify the type of volunteer work you would like to help out with when you register in the program.


Please contact the co-ordinators if you have questions.


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 packages below (we will only rent whole packages, not just boots or skis or poles):

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)
$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

An email to all families registered in an ENSC program will be sent in late October outlining the details on how to rent equipment for the upcoming season.

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