Where do you start when you have one day to teach all that is cross-country skiing? The Central Cross-Country Ski Association (CXC) gave it a shot, hosting a youth camp for children ages 8 through 11 at Lakewoods Resort in Cable, Wisconsin on Monday, July 26.
The day’s schedule was a busy one, as the campers bounced from one exercise to another, including ski-specific warm-ups, bounding, light strength, plyometric strength, swimming, Ski Erg races, laser rifle biathlon, and capture the flag.
“The goal was to inspire kids and show them that cross-country skiing is more than simply walking in the woods with Mom and Dad in the winter,” said Garrott Kuzzy, a CXC team member and 2010 Olympian who helped with coaching at the camp. The most valuable part of the camp is “teaching kids that cross-country skiing is a fun sport that a lot of other kids are interested in and that can be taken to the highest levels of competition,”
Keeping the campers going all day long was no challenge. With two Ski Ergs set up next to each other, poling as hard as possible for 30 seconds instantly turned into a grueling competition. “Each time they stepped up, they tried to go faster than their previous record. We literally had to unplug the machines to get them to stop when it was time for lunch,” reported Kuzzy.
The USSA suggests that serious skiers commit to summer training around the age of 15, or at the J2 level, so the kids attending the CXC camp were a few years too young to be hammering out intervals on a weekly basis. At this age, what’s most important is encouraging enthusiasm and a love for the sport.
“If they rush into the basement, pull out their ski equipment, and hammer around the yard during the first snowfall of the year,” Kuzzy reflected, “that’s what I’d like to see them take away from this camp.”