The snow is still sparse around these parts, but hopes for the upcoming cross-country ski season are high as the 4-H Nordic Ski Club gets set to return for its fifth year.
The club, which meets Sunday afternoons during the winter and offers Juneau youths and families the chance to learn to ski together, will hold its organizational meeting Saturday, Dec. 14.
The meeting, from 9 a.m. to noon in the commons area of Riverbend Elementary School, will provide the chance to join the club and, if necessary, rent skis for the season. There is a one-time, $6 fee to enroll in the club. A limited number of ski rentals - only available for kids - are offered at $20 for the entire season.
The club has been led from the beginning by Frankie Pillifant and Odin Brudie. Pillifant said the group caters to kids of all ages, and encourages parents or guardians to come along to make each week's session a family outing.
Did you know?
What: 4-H Nordic Ski Club organizational meeting
When: Saturday, Dec. 14, 9 a.m. to noon
Where: Riverbend Elementary School
"We give families the opportunity to be together," she said.
Prior to coming to Juneau, Pillifant and Brudie had experience coaching high school skiers in Anchorage. They also try to bring in guest coaches each week, and the club caters to a wide range of skill levels.
"We do everything from very beginning skiing - 'this is how you put on your skis; this is the kind of clothing you need to wear' - to stretching exercises" and more advanced ski lessons, Pillifant said.
"We have some kids who have developed their skills enough to take on the upper loop at Eaglecrest and do well," she said.
Pillifant said the program has grown each year. Last season about 100 kids enrolled in the club, and each week about 30 to 40 showed up to ski. The location of the sessions varies from week to week; they include Mendenhall Lake and the lower Nordic loop at Eaglecrest.
After this Saturday's meeting, the first regular club gathering of the season will occur on Sunday, Jan. 12. The last outing of the season is scheduled for March 16.
Those who are interested in the club but cannot attend Saturday's meeting can enroll by calling the 4-H office at 465-8749.
Andrew Krueger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.