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Article: Winter Park Nordic Ski Team - Kids Skiing With Kids
By Patrick Brower / Photo by Mike Berman
kids on the Winter Park Nordic Ski Team racing

The truth is this – young Nordic skiers prefer to ski with other young Nordic skiers – which is why the Winter Park Nordic Ski Team (WPNST) came into existence. The team is a mixed group of mostly Denver-area cross-country skiers and coaches along with some from Grand County.

“We would come up and alpine ski at Winter Park Resort on Saturdays as part of the Resort’s Competition Center programs,” says Mike Berman, the founder and head coach of the WPNST, “but we found it was difficult to get our children enthused about Nordic skiing with Mom and Dad on Sundays.”

“You’d take them out skiing and it looked like they were skiing to a root canal at the dentist’s office,” Berman says. “We knew we had to find a solution to this problem. Kids do reach an age where they need to ski together with their own group of kids.”

That’s why the WPNST was created, so kids can ski with other kids. And it works. Since the team was formed five years ago, those young skiers have developed a level of enthusiasm for the sport that was difficult to maintain when they were hanging out with the family.

But there’s more. Coaching and instruction play a big part in the WPNST program. Berman, a former weekend ski coach for the Winter Park ski jumping program and a former University of Colorado ski jumper, pays close attention to team dynamics.

With 20 to 24 skiers usually signed up for the team, and 15 to18 showing up for each Sunday morning session, the goal is to have six to eight skiers with each coach based on their ability levels. That also leaves some time for individual coaching, too.

Another plus is that the team structure allows a skier to take advantage of tips that might be better received from someone other than a parent.

“If our group isn’t having fun first, it isn’t working,” Berman says. “Fun is foremost for fast skiing.”

A minimal fee for the season covers basic expenses and part of the team ski suit. The team practices most Sunday mornings from December to mid-March at either Devil’s Thumb Ranch Nordic Center or the Nordic Center at Snow Mountain Ranch/YMCA of the Rockies.

Young Nordic skiers having fun together – that’s what the Winter Park Nordic team is all about. For more info
on WPNST, call 303-399-3033 or check out the website www.WPNordicTeam.org.

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