Ski School Is in Session with Peninsula Nordic Ski Club
Though skiing might seem like an intimidating sport for kids to get into, it doesn’t have to be, according to Peninsula Nordic Ski Club facilitator Chris Schmitz.
The hardest part, according to Schmitz, is “getting over that initial hump of feeling like you can’t do what you want to do on skis.”
But for most kids, getting over that hump is easy.
While facilitating the Peninsula Nordic Ski Club, a cross-country club that’s geared toward kids ages 3 and older, Schmitz often sees little ones strap on skis for the first time and fly across the snow 30 minutes later.
“Kids are really good at just learning by doing, especially younger ones,” Schmitz said. “So we really emphasize just getting out there with other kids and moving around the park as much as possible.”
About 40 kids, ages 3-13, are registered for the club, and roughly 20 attend its weekly meetings at Peninsula State Park Golf Course. After playing skiing games, some participants stick to the wide, groomed loop on the green while other more experienced skiers venture onto the nearby trails with a chaperone. To warm up at the end of meetings, the group might light a bonfire and drink hot chocolate.
“We try to make it a fun time for everyone who comes out,” Schmitz said. “There’s a lot of parents and families with younger kids who aren’t old enough to participate yet, but they still come out and play in the snow.”
The club is helping Schmitz, his wife and their three children stay busy through their first Door County winter. When the family lived in De Pere, they were involved in a similar ski program, and when they found there was no such program on the peninsula, Schmitz decided to start one.
He has never taught skiing before, but he said the club is more about exposing kids to the sport than passing along technical skills.
“We’re not training future Olympians or anything,” Schmitz said. “We’re just trying to get people outside, having fun in the winter, and hopefully introduce them to a sport they can do for the rest of their lives.”
The Peninsula Nordic Ski Club meets every Sunday, 1:30-3 pm, until March 5. The group gathers at Peninsula State Park Golf Course, 9890 Shore Road in Ephraim. It’s free to participate, but registration is encouraged at northerndoor.recdesk.com.