2019-2020 Season Overview
• Saturday practices kicked off with our first snow in mid-November, but you're welcome to join at any time - no big deal if you've missed the first few weeks! See the Schedule page for the full calendar, and check back weekly (or subscribe to our calendar on your mobile device) for updates to practice time, location or activity - these will often be adjusted depending on temperature, snow conditions, and other skiing events. You can also join our email list for updates during the season (these will generally come out late in the week, once Saturday plans have firmed up - the website and calendar will be updated in real time with the current plan).
• Before we get snow, dryland sessions will use games and team adventure activities to have fun being active outside, build/rekindle friendships, and develop skills and athleticism that will make skiing on snow more fun. Highlights include orienteering, Hash Run, and the Dryland Olympics.
• Skiing usually starts by mid-December. When conditions are good we will ski most often at Mendon Ponds Park, with a session at Durand Eastman to spice things up if possible. When snow is scarce, we'll head to Bristol Nordic Center (snowmaking) or Harriet Hollister State Recreational Area (uncannily consistent natural snow on great terrain). In Mid-February we'll have a practice at Cumming Nature Center in conjunction with their Winter Fest. Choice of venue will depend on conditions, weather, and other skiing events.
• On-snow practices will balance skiing instruction with games and other activities like relay races, scavenger hunts, touring new terrain, feeding chickadees, powder skiing, and one-legged downhill racing - the goals are to have fun on snow, improve our skiing, and to sample as many of the different aspects of the sport as we can.
• Groups will be based on age and subdivided when appropriate to accommodate skiers' different interests and abilities. Whether you're a speed-skiing junkie itching to race faster or prefer to savor your time on snow, we'd love to have you ski with us. No prior skiing experience necessary - anyone grade 8 or younger is welcome to join! (and we're flexible about that upper limit if you'd like to ski with us).
• Registration is online at SkiReg.com and costs $50 for the season (which includes coaching, wax for practice and festival races, after-practice snacks, RXCSF Festival entry, and an RXCSF hat, headband or buff/neckwrap). Practices at Bristol require additional trail fee.
• RXCSF Youth Ski Festival - One of the best weekends of the year, a celebration of skinny-skiing fun in as many ways as possible for all ages and experience levels. Choose from races ranging from the Lollipop Race to friendly competition in the older age groups, the non-competitive challenges of the Tour de Ski, games, on-snow dancing, team-building fun, and the family relay. Whether you're an aspiring Olympian or prefer to cruise at your own pace, this weekend more than any other gets kids hooked on xc skiing. This year it's doubling as the Mid-Atlantic Bill Koch League Festival, and will be a season finale event - March 7-8, Bristol Nordic Center.
• Durand-Eastman Ski Scavenger Hunt - if there's snow we'll scavenge Durand-Eastman Park for unique ski experiences, highlighted by the polar icecap along the lakeshore (video). Date pending conditions.
• Mini-Marathon - how far can we ski in an hour? A favorite for kids who like to set a goal and go for it, no matter what your pace. Last year we skied 183 miles as a group! (And made 5 snowmen! In 55-degree sunshine! highlight video here).
• Mid-Atlantic Bill Koch Festival - regional weekend ski festival with low-key competition and games for skiers from all over NY and some from PA too. A good intro to racing beyond our local festival. March 9-10, Porters Corner NY (near Saratoga)
• NENSA Bill Koch Festival - skiing extravaganza for youth skiers from all over Greater New England (including Western NY). Friendly competition kicked up a notch, non-competitive activities, and great swag. A 6-hr drive is a little crazy, but if this scene speaks to your family it'll be well worth it. Feb 29 - March 1, Great Glen Outdoor Center, Gotham NH - definitely optional - but those who've been and love it just can't say no!
• Options for those interested in racing:
- RXCSF Race Team - racing-oriented practices focusing on technique, agility and speed for experienced skiers interested in racing. Practices will be on Sundays and generally 1-2 weekday afternoons/evening (dates/times TBD), and we'll identify a schedule of weekend races to supplement the New England and RXCSF/Mid-A Festivals.
- NYSSRA racing - many of the races sanctioned by NYSSRA (New York State Ski Racing Association) will have Bill Koch divisions in addition to older junior and adult races. These range from low-key (World Famous Osceola Pie Race) and local/fun (the Poronkusema series) to elite (Junior National Qualifier/Eastern Cup races). Suggested races are on our schedule, full calendar at the NYSSRA site.
For new skiers:
• You're welcome to join at any time! Even if you've never skied before, we can help you get comfortable on skis and into the mix. It's OK to try out a practice or 2 before deciding whether to join for the year (we just ask that you sign a waiver).
• Inexpensive used equipment can usually be found at the HFL Ski Swap (Saturday November 23), or through hand-me-down sales within the club. We'll go over details at the first practice. The club has some loaner equipment as well. We want to make it easy for you to try it out and fall in love with skiing!
• Advice about ski equipment and clothing is in the Resources section of our website.