The mission of the Vasa Ski Club is to promote access and enjoyment of Nordic skiing through instruction, recreation and community.
Members of the Vasa Ski Club should be proud that we have exceeded our expectations of meeting the visions and goals of our organization. We have been successful in not only promoting Nordic skiing in our community, but more importantly, developing and maintaining youth programs. It is essential that we start with the youth to sustain and grow our sport for the future.
The Nordic Rocks K-5 in-school program program, that is now in its 3rd year, has seen exponential growth. This year 1,205 elementary schools children participated in the Nordic Rocks program at 9 area schools with a total of 7,517 days on snow. Wow! It doesn't stop there! The Nordic Sparks K-5 after-school program, spearheaded by John Kostrzewa, Coach K, had 67 children that participated in an 8 week program held on Mondays. Most of the children were 4th and 5th graders who had participated in the Nordic Rocks program in their schools, but wanted to get more experience skiing on better equipment. The program offered small group instruction by coaches to teach the basics of XC skiing. You would be amazed at the level these children skied at the end of the season.
A new program this year was Vasa Domingo's, a joint venture with Norte. This program offered any youth and their parents, a chance to ski at Timber Ridge with free trail pass and free equipment rental, if required. The program was offered every Sunday from noon until 1:30 pm. for two months. A total of 153 children and their parents participated in this program. Many of children have participated in either the Nordic Rocks or Nordic Flyers program.
The WeSki program at Timber Ridge was another successful program offered by the club. WeSki was held on 3 Sundays and offered instruction and social interaction for adults and children. Many of children in this program have participated in either Nordic Rocks, Nordic Flyers or the Nordic Sparks program.
One of the most exciting programs the VSC promotes and manages is our Nordic Flyers program (grades 6-8). Children from our Nordic Rocks program at the elementary school level, move into the Nordic Flyers when entering middle school making this program an icon of our success. The Nordic Flyers program offers the children the opportunity to ski on quality equipment with access to some of the best coaching the area has to offer. A total of 73 middle school children participated in this program. The program offers a quality ski experience with great social interaction with other children that share a similar passion of Nordic skiing. Some of these children will later join the High School Nordic Team.
The NAV (North American Vasa) offered free entry into the Vasa Junior Ski race creating the opportunity for those that want to compare their level of fitness and technique to others their age. Many members of the VSC and other people who donated their time and effort to manage these programs, promoted the NAV race and it was a huge success. The elementary school that had the most racers was given an award. Nearly 90 youths from Nordic Rocks, Nordic Flyers, WeSki, and Nordic Sparks participated in this great event; that amounts to nearly 10 percent of the individuals that took part in the NAV festival of races. Many photos posted on social media capture the excitement and enthusiasm these children exhibited during and after the race.
It is difficult with world attention focused on the devastating effect that COVID-19 is having on our society, but let's take a moment to celebrate what we as a Nordic Ski Community have done this past year to make the Grand Traverse Region the area of choice for Nordic skiing in the country.