As winter continues to grasp us in its icy grip, the threat of cabin fever becomes ever more tangible, and we get to the point where we just can’t stand staring at the walls any longer.
Luckily, the Brattleboro Nordic Ski Team has just the thing to chase away these seasonal blues, as they’re offering ski lessons to area residents. The next session will be held Sunday, Feb. 10, from 1 to 2:00 p.m., at the Brattleboro Country Club. This program, which is also sponsored by the Brattleboro Outing Club, will be taught by Amanda Dixon, coach of the Brattleboro Nordic Ski Team, along with members of the Nordic Ski Team.
“We really want people to come early and be standing on their skis by one o’clock,” Dixon said. “We’ll have a handful of high school skiers on hand, who’ll be teaching the basics — that is, how to get up when you’ve fallen down; how to manage speed going downhill; and how to herringbone going uphill. The lessons will be geared toward classic skiing, but if someone showed up wanting to skate, we could accommodate that as well.”
Dixon said that this program is new this year and represents an outreach to the community. For Dixon, being on the slopes is nothing new, as she’s been there almost all her life.
“I’m now 40 years old, and I’ve been skiing since the age of two," she said. “That’s about as long I could walk. This program isn’t really geared toward little kids. My sense is that it’s for adults (down to) 5th or 6th-graders who might be interested. That said, I think it’s always instructive and fun for little kids to ski along with their older friends, because it’s inspiring."
Dixon said that these lessons represent a rare opportunity to learn from recognized skiers, who number among the most experienced in the state.
“I think our team is among the best ski teams out there," she said. “We’re the Descending Marble League Champions, which represents the Southern Tier of the Vermont Public School ski programs. This is an opportunity to ski with the cream of the skiers in this area. As a matter of fact, we were out there recently, and a group of skiers commented on how easy we made it all look."
Dixon said that, although this is cross-country skiing, a certain amount of skill is involved in knowing how to traverse the geography.
“The (Brattleboro) Country Club is quite undulating, so you really do have to know how to navigate these hills," she said. “There aren’t a lot of flat spots here, so it’s important to know how to get around. The way these things work out, we’ll start out as a group, and then split up, so people can find their own paths."
Dixon stressed that, although this has been a relatively snow-free winter so far, the conditions have improved markedly over the last couple of weeks.
“This has been such a long wait, where it really hasn’t felt like winter," she said. “Finally, we have some beautiful new snow to work with, and the conditions will be glorious. We’re hoping for some really good, sunny weather on that day."
The program is being overseen by Bill Jahn, former head coach of the Brattleboro Union High School Nordic Ski Team.
“The Brattleboro Outing Club is grateful for the long-term relationship with the Brattleboro Country Club, which allows us to create our ski and showshoe trail network on their golf course and in the surrounding woods,” he said.
“This is part of the school’s volunteer service to the Brattleboro Outing Club, which allows them to train on the ski trails. The volunteers provide a number of services, including recruiting members, renewing memberships or helping to move equipment.
“This is a way for members of the community to take advantage of the opportunity to utilize this great resource, and we really hope they come out and discover how much fun skiing can be."
Ski lessons will be held at the Brattleboro Country Club, 58 Senator Gannett Drive, Sunday, Feb. 10, from 1 to 2 p.m. These small group lessons are free to Brattleboro Outing Club cross-country ski members. Attendees are instructed to meet at the club’s hut. There is a $20 fee for nonmembers, which covers the lesson and a one-day trail pass. Rental equipment is available free to members and is $15 for nonmembers. For more information and to reserve a spot, email Bill Jahn at firstname.lastname@example.org.