Thursday, February 21, 2013

Ski Lessons in the rugged Yukon Territory

Last week Colin Abbott and I were offered a very unique opportunity. We were asked if we would be interested in travelling to Beaver Creek, Burwash Landing and Haines Junction, YT to lead some ski lessons in these remote communities in the interior of the Territory. We accepted the job and traveled north to hang out with some incredible kids (and adults) in these communities.

As teaching ski lessons was new to me, I learned quickly to go with the flow and stay flexible and adaptable when it comes to the lesson plan. I ended up probably learning more from then students that they learned from me. It was a very satisfying experience in all three communities. In Beaver Creek, for example, one student was feeling a little bit intimidated by the whole process. Having felt like this before growing up and participating in various sports programs myself, I switched my game plan. While some of the more keen kids were chasing Colin around the snow machine-set track around the community, I took the shy student aside and started getting to know him a bit. After a few minutes, we had launched into a discussion about the best version of Halo for X-box and were debating which the best place to eat in Whitehorse was. It wasn’t long before we were clipping along the baseball field at a good pace, almost out of breath talking about video games and fast food.

It was this experience and others on the trip that will be memorable for Colin and me. It is not often when you get out of your travel-race-recover-train cycle as a ski racer, so I am grateful for this experience. Big thanks to Jan Downing, as well as the RPAY and RHEAL Leader Programs for making this happen.

Please check out the pictures and captions:


Sheep on Sheep Mountain on Kluane Lake. It was a beautiful drive with a fair amount of wildlife along the highway.

On the way to Beaver Creek, YT

Scott, the RCMP officer in Beaver Creek, kindly groomed about 3km of trail for us. Around the school. Here were are doing skiing in front of the school.

The Nelnah Bessie John School in Beaver Creek

Southern Tuchone and English are spoken in Burwash Landing

Burwash Landing, YT

A friendly pup checking out the new-comers in Burwash

Kluane Lake

The Green Team and the YES Team behind St. Elias School in Haines Junction, YT

This past weekend the YES competed in the Mt. Lorne Classic. It was fun to post some fast times busting out the skate skis and double poling the relatively flat 10k course. David Greer and I above.


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