Our young Nordic Racers are full of energy

fernie nordic racers fall 2021

Aurélie and Louison from the Fernie Nordic Racers team are inviting more young racers to join this dynamic group of young athletes. They explain that the key benefit of the club is having fun while training for races.

“If you enjoy Nordic skiing, racing, and the outdoors, you should join the Fernie Nordic Racers. We are a very encouraging group of people, and we all support each other. Each athlete has their own goals to reach. You should join us and reach yours” say the girls.

The girls outline two good reasons for joining the club. They explain the first reason is “Fernie Nordic Racers is a wonderful group of athletes and coaches, that are always enthusiastic, and ready to train. Our coaches: John Shaw, Jeff Williams, Naomi Lentz, and Helen McAlister, coach a group of athletes ranging between the age 9 and 18 years old”, with coaching targeted to two age groups — under 12 and over 12.

The second reason is the comprehensive fall training program. Both groups meet on Tuesday with the under 12 group going for a 45-minute run on the trails around the Aquatic Centre while the older group trains with the Fernie Secondary School cross country running team. In addition, the older group also trains with the running team on Thursdays. “Our workout (as older athletes) is formed of a warmup (10-minute run + A’s, B’s, C’s), a running workout (hills, tempo runs, intervals, etc.…), and a cool down (5-minute jog, and dynamic stretching). On Fridays we have a dryland training with the whole team for 1 hour. We start with a 20-minute fitness game then we roller ski for 40 minutes. Sometimes the older athletes have a long and slow run, on Saturdays or Sundays. Some older athletes also use Training Peaks to keep track of training outside of practices. We also go training camps, which are fun and instructive,” say the girls.

Article by Aurélie Smithson and Louison Dubief

A Sport Made for Family

johnny and wes

Interview with Head Coach John Shaw

It’s a classic Fernie fall day and I am sitting at one of the picnic tables in front of the Nordic hut enjoying the view, the changing colours, and crisp air. This mid-day break from zoom calls is welcome as I wave to Johnny Shaw, who is hauling wood in preparation for winter bon-fires. The Fernie Nordic Society’s Race Team Head Coach has agreed to join me for a chat about how he and his family came to be among the founding members of the Society. As a newbie to both the Nordic sport and Fernie Club, there is no better way to immerse myself in both than a chat with Johnny.

Johnny never left Fernie after arriving for a one season visit in 1996. He came to learn to snowboard and quickly settled into seasonal residency with the purchase of a house. Sound familiar? Snowboarding morphed into telemark skiing and then alpine. He loved it, but when he and Virginia (a Doctor in Fernie’s healthcare community) welcomed baby Wes. Fatherhood required a pivot to accommodate paternity leave and napping schedules. A pair of classic fish scale skis and a Nordic chariot allowed for a daily rhythm of afternoon glides around the Nordic track near the Aquatic Centre (now the home of Fernie’s infamous jump park) and the Island Lake Lodge road. An interest initially piqued during a university cross country ski course while pursuing his Kinesiology degree at Lakehead University crystalized into a new found passion as Johnny realized the physical benefits of the sport. The fun of alpine skiing had some physical consequences that Johnny now saw healing as he benefited from the all body work out of Nordic skiing. “Why do Nordic Skiers chew gum” he asked me? So that they are using every single muscle while skiing! And for many, that can mean fitness with the curative effect of a balanced workout. Johnny was hooked! He could see now why Virginia had settled into the sport at McGill, while pursuing her PhD – one hour on skis had huge physical benefit and was easily accessible almost anywhere. In a mountain town, on a university campus or in the middle of the city.

As Johnny continued to look for family time with baby Marley and 3 year old Wes, and with a nudge to coach from Clark Weber, his role in the Jackrabbit program was born. Johnny & Virginia continued to love the Nordic family scene, and though they pulled back a bit from lessons until the kids were 5 or 6, they remained active and committed to getting outdoors together during Fernie’s long winters. The kids were generally keen to head to lessons, and Mom and Dad got fresh air and fitness.

Fast forward to today and a 15 year old Wes and 14 year old Marley are active in the race program and Dad is Head Coach. Mom enjoys balancing a busy career with her favorite winter sport and loves being a member of the support and cheering squad (and avid masters racer). I asked Johnny how Nordic skiing still works for them despite different goals, life stages and interest for a family of four.

Here is what I intuitively knew, but Johnny confirmed: Skiing with the Fernie Nordic club is accessible and flexible. You want to improve your skills – great? You want to compete – yep – let’s do it! You want a community for lifelong fitness and friendships – this is your place. You create your track and that is why it works. Each child and club member gets to personalize their goal.

Oh – and there are some benefits to being a smaller club – all ages in the race programs train together. This develops coaching and mentorship skills for the older kids and is inspiration for the younger ones. It also works across a variety of ages and skill levels because Johnny encourages them to compete against themselves and not each other. Words to live by!

Accessible, confidence building, fitness supporting and family fun – thanks for the inspiration Robinson-Shaw family. We’re in!

Article by Melanie Jeannotte

Arts, fun and moose on the trails

moose on the loose Fernie

What is up with this moose at the Nordic Centre? Darren the moose will call the Nordic Centre home during February. It is hanging out on the sunny side of the warming hut. It is in fact an exhibition prepared by the Arts Station in Fernie. More tiny moose are resting along the trails. Spot them and participate in this family activity. Go to the Fernie Arts Station website for more details and download the bingo-style card … and have a great hunt!

Ski Lesson on Saturday

skill program

Hello to all parents!

It’s been a wonderful season and we’d like to thank you, your kids, and all the volunteers who make the Fernie Nordic Society Skill Development Program such a success.

Saturday March 7th is the last official lesson of the Saturday program! Traditionally we have a dress up day, so open your tickle trunks! The following Saturday we will have an informal lesson for those who are in town from 10:30 to 11:30 like usual. It’s also the Fernie Flying Viking Challenge, so those who are around can also cheer on the viking participants – and please check it out and register at https://www.fernienordic.com/vikingchallenge/

dressup SDP

Tuesday March 10th is the last official lesson of the Tuesday program and we will dress up as well!

Saturday April 4th @ 10:30 am we invite the entire club to come out for a season finale and another chance to dress up. We will have games to play and fun to be had regardless of the weather! There will also be a BBQ by donation.

BBQ

Stay tuned for information on ski rental returns and in the meantime, Happy Griz Days! and don’t forget about the Snow-to-Icecream challenge at https://www.fernienordic.com/the-snow-to-icecream-challenge-at-griz-days-2020

from Sam & Nancy and all the volunteer coaches

A sportive morning at the Nordic Centre

community kids sprint

Wonderful weather was on hand for the Community Fun Races and its participants last Saturday. The trails had just been groomed and the overcast sky cleared enough for the sun to peek out during the event.

The Hot Chocolate Run was underway by 10:45 as planned and twenty-nine kids crowded the start line, each with an adult as their partner. The kids stopped near the bridge for hot chocolate while the adults completed the Lizard Lookout and Cedar loops before returning to the hut with their young partner. It was all over in thirty minutes. A selection of prizes awaited the young ones at the finish line.

This was followed by a 12 km race done as a relay race or solo. Five relay teams drawn from available youth and adult participants plus ten solo skiers took part. Loud cheers from the crowd greeted the skiers at the end of each 3 km lap. The fastest participant completed the full course in a fast 42 minutes while others finished it in 73 minutes or less!

The event ended with ten 300 m sprints by groups of kids, youth or adults. This fast skiing by seventeen racers included a few falls but ended with smiles at the finish.

Sam and Johnny organized the event and many volunteers lended a hand at grooming, stadium preparation, food preparation, hot chocolate station and safety patrol. The young Fernie Racers helped in the kids races as well. More photos in our gallery page.

sport
The Hot Chocolate Run starts
sport
Skiers heading back
sport
On the way to the finish
sport
Finn skiing the 12 km
sport
Coming in for a relay
sport
One sprint
sport
End of one sprint
sport
Older kids in a sprint

This Saturday, an event for skiers of all ages

race poster

The club invites all skiers, young, adult, families, to our annual Fernie Community Fun race event on Saturday Feb 22 at the Nordic Centre. It is open to club members and non-members alike. The fun starts at 10:30 with the Hot Chocolate Run followed by relay and solo races plus short sprints to finish. It is totally FREE to participate. Read the details on our page (click to open).