Posted by: Mary Anna Thornton | December 12, 2011

Skiing: An Essential Northwoods Skill

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At long last, we have enough snow on the ground to go cross-country skiing, and students and staff are making the most of this short window of opportunity before the end of the semester.

Last week, Conserve School Admissions and Residential Life Director Phil DeLong, an accomplished cross country skier, spent his afternoons in Field Instruction with Conserve School students, taking students step by step through the basics of cross country skiing. He was assisted by the Field Instructors, some of whom were also on skis for the first time, and by a few of our students who are themselves outstanding skiers.

As you can see in the photos, Phil started his lessons inside the Lowenwood Recreation Center, with an explanation of the physics of skiing. After helping students find correctly sized shoes and skis, he led the group outside and coached them as they fit their shoes into the ski bindings. In order to help students learn to balance well, they started out with just the skis — no poles. After students practiced their kicking and gliding, Phil demonstrated how to fall and get back up again — an important skill for beginners. Finally, he let students try skiing with their poles. You can see from the photos how the group improved over time. It was fun to see the beginners go from cautious to confident!

I’m sending out a big thank you to the Conserve School students who are experienced skiers. Last week, as I observed Field Instruction, I saw them kindly talking their classmates through their first tentative forays on skis, hurrying over to help them stand up again after falling, and generally just sticking by their sides and encouraging them. It is always heart-warming to see students be so generous and caring with one another.

– Mary Anna

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