For 2017/2018 the Junior Academy provides three programs based on age for aspiring cross-country skiers:
1. Juniors Bears (ages 13+):
This program is designed for skiers who are developing their fundamental attributes as an endurance athlete and their sport specific skills as a Nordic skier. The Program offers training program guidance and weekly recommended workouts that are developmentally appropriate.
Scheduled workouts are Tues, Thurs and Saturday/Sunday. Workouts are a combination of fitness focused workouts and technique focused workouts. Skiers in this program would attend Alberta Cups, Major Loppets, Western Championships and Nationals (if appropriate for level of development and goals). The minimum age for this program is 13 years of age.
2. Bear Tracks (ages 10-12):
This program is for aspiring Nordic skiers from 10 – 12 years of age who are interested in developing their fundamental aerobic and muscular endurance fitness and develop their technique in both skating and classic skiing. Skill development will focus on the fundamental skills of balance, body awareness, weight shift, and sequencing of upper and lower body for both classic and skating techniques.
Skiers when appropriate would attend Alberta Cups, Regional Races and Major Loppets, as well as Midget Cup Races, Alberta Youth Championships and Alberta Winter Games. This program is offered 2 days per week.
3. Bear Paws (ages 7-9):
This program is for 7 – 9 year olds who are interested in developing their fundamental movements for Nordic skiing. The program offers technique driven practices that are designed to introduce the important skills of balance on skis, weight shift, body position and timing of upper and lower body.
Other skills will include developing downhill control and cornering as well as stopping. The approach will be on repetition of movement to develop the movement patterns and start to increase economy of motion on skis (because skiing is a continuous aerobic sport).
This level will offer the chance to explore different trail systems. Practices will start in September, with dryland sessions, and run until April. Sessions will run Tuesday and Thursday nights with an option of participatory adventure skis on the weekend. Bear Paws would be encouraged to attend regional loppets with their coaches and regional races (when appropriate).