Yellowknife Ski Club celebrates first ski-at-school program

The Yellowknife Ski Club called its 2020-21 calendar of events “unusual” and hopes next year its full slate of events can return.

Here’s what happened this year:

  • Dec 13 – Free Ski, Candy Cane Ski with Santa
  • Jan 13 – Deadline for SKIGO – BINGO
  • Jan 17 – World Snow Day – Free Ski
  • Feb 14 – NWT Ski Day
  • Mar 20/21 – YK Ski Races/Territorial Championships
  • Mar 28 – Yellowknife Gold Loppet sponsored by Gold Terra
  • April 11 – Nordic Cross


This year was also the first year the ski club hosted a Ski-at-School program.

Here are some of the highlights from the club’s report:

“The Yellowknife Ski Club’s Ski-At-School program, funded by AltaGas, Nordiq Canada, and the Government of Northwest Territories’ Regional and Youth Sports Events (RYSE) program was a highly successful program. Both the impact and reach exceeded our expectations for the initial year. We were able to partner with four local schools in the ways that made the most sense for them. This meant helping to initiate new skiing activities, supporting existing programs or providing financial assistance, all within the various school policies and guidelines related to COVID-19. Our main goal of having meaningful on-snow time with children, and reaching them in an ongoing and impactful way, was accomplished. We also achieved the goal of creating networks within the Yellowknife ski community while building capacity among teachers, staff, local volunteers and within our own ski club board of directors. The success of Yellowknife’s Ski-At-School program was due to the strong support of our ski club board of directors, Cross Country NWT, dedicated volunteers and the generous financial support granted to the program.

“Our approach to delivering the Ski-At-School program was simple: coordinate with schools and teachers to ascertain their needs and work with them to deliver ski programming either at their school or on nearby fields and frozen lakes. By getting our trained ski instructors to go to schools we were able to use existing school ski equipment and provide games-based ski instruction to children without the need for transportation. For various reasons, the majority of children reached through the Ski-At-School program do not normally access Yellowknife Ski Club ski programs. Although some barriers are financial, the majority are more systemic and not easily addressed with money or short-term sport programming. By taking our ski instructors into schools, we were able to introduce children to cross country skiing and have them experience the physical and mental benefits of the sport while having fun on the snow in their own “backyards.”

“We structured the program with the goal of building capacity among teachers and school staff. The long-term vision is to empower teachers to make cross country skiing a regular part of their winter physical education programming. We helped teachers to feel more comfortable with their own skiing ability and provided examples of games-based ski lessons that were easy and fun to organize. Teachers participated in the games and our coaches explained the skills and techniques that were being learned through play.  Ideally, these teachers will be able to take their classes out skiing without our support in future years and will serve to build capacity themselves within their schools to strengthen ski programming.”