Young ladies smile while waiting to ski.

Black Jack

More cross-country ski coaches are needed at Black Jack Ski Club for the upcoming winter season.

More cross-country ski coaches are needed at Black Jack Ski Club for the upcoming winter season.

“The coaching for ages 3-12 is all completely volunteer based in B.C.,” explained Program Coordinator Karen Reader.

Both Black Jack Ski Club and Castlegar Nordic Ski Club had to turn away enthusiastic beginners last season, shared Castlegar’s Program Coordinator Ann Quartermann.

Both Reader and Quartermann want to emphasize you do not have to be an expert skier to become a ski coach. There are ways around it and the ski clubs can help you to excel.

“With the younger ages, there’s a lot of play,” said Reader. As a coach, you get access to coaching sessions to improve your own skiing as well.

Many parents coach to enable their children’s lessons but Black Jack is looking for another demographic too.

“The younger coaches are great with the kids,” Reader pointed out. She explained coaching is a great way to collect volunteer hours and improve your own coaching skills. Both can help out with post-secondary education enrolments.

The kids have an easier time connecting with younger coaches and it can be beneficial for the kids to be coached by someone other their parents.

Both Black Jack and Castlegar Nordic Ski Club have had young elite racers coaching kids. “They provide great visual demos,” added Reader. But the elite racers have to put heaps of time into their own training and time management can become difficult.

If you need something a little bit extra for your resumé or similar, it is a great way to do that while spending time outside and playing with kids. You have to be 14 years old to start coaching and 16 years old to coach by yourself.

“It is a club environment. Everyone is a member and it is mostly volunteer based. It is a great way of being a part of something and network,” explained Reader.

Quartermann continued, “You are a coach. You’re just a coach. Us coordinators put in the extra hours to make it easy for the coaches, unless they want to put in more time.”

Unlike other volunteer coach-based sports, Black Jack Ski Club provides courses for their coaches. Beginning in November, courses are provided locally by Cross Country B.C.. The introductory course is only 10 hours.

The courses make for confident coaches at the beginning of the season, but newcomers can get help from more experienced coaches too.

At the start of November (the date is not yet set), there will be a Ski Swap at the Prestige Hotel in Rossland. At the swap, kids can start to enrol in lessons and people interested in coaching can get further information.

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