CAPE NORTH — Community and business support is helping the popularity of youth cross-country ski programs to continue to grow each season at the North Highlands Nordic Ski Area.
Members of the jack rabbits ski instruction program at the North Highlands Nordic Ski Area are shown during a lesson. The program for students, five to nine years old, teaches students how to ski. Submitted Photo
Currently, there are three youth ski programs operating at the facility, giving 52 young people the opportunity to learn and participate in an outdoor sport, according to a recent press release from the ski area.
The programs are the bunny rabbit class for ages three to five years, the jack rabbit class (five to nine years), and the track attack (nine to 13), which are offered in conjunction with the Canada Youth Cross-Country Ski program and instruction from certified instructors.
The ski club can run these programs in part due to matching funding received from the Victoria County youth grant program. This additional funding means youth class participants pay modest fees for the classes, as opposed to unaffordable costs for some without it.
Ski facility operators consider the opportunities provided to the area’s young people as immeasurable because youth are provided the benefits of outdoor physical exercise and the programs help them to build of their self-confidence.
As a result, many youth will take the skills they learn in these programs and continue with the healthy activity through the rest of their lives.
Some have even gone on to represent the area at competitive levels on provincial teams.
North Highlands Nordic also offers a school ski and snowshoe program for about 100 students from Grades 3 to 6 at North Highlands and Cape Smokey elementary schools.
Each participant receives cross-country ski and snowshoe instruction four times per year.
The ski club is possible due to mutual co-operation from the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board. Manulife and Sport Nova Scotia are also financial sponsors of the program and, like other programs, some students may not have this opportunity to utilize the program without this funding.
The North Highlands Nordic Ski Area is open seven days per week from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. featuring 12 kms of groomed trails for classic skating, skate skiing and snowshoeing. There are trails for beginners, intermediate and advanced skiers.
For more information, phone (902) 383-2479.