January 7 - February 6
Tues/Thurs 4:15 - 5:30 p.m. at Sunset Hills
or 10 a.m. Saturdays at Crosscut (pick 2)
*You can opt to extend this to 10 weeks later on.
Age cutoff: skiers should be ages 8-11 by January 1, 2020
January 7 - March 14
Tues/Thurs 4:15 - 5:30 p.m. at Sunset Hills
or 10 a.m. Saturdays at Crosscut (pick 2)
Age cutoff: skiers should be ages 8-11 by January 1, 2020
Saturday, December 14, 10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. at Crosscut Mountain Sports Center
Tuesday, December 17, 4:15 - 5:30 at Sunset Hills
Thursday, December 19, 4:15 - 5:30 at Sunset Hills
Register for this and the 5- or 10-week program for an additional $50.
Age cutoff: skiers should be ages 6-11 by January 1, 2020. Should have at least 1 year of xc ski experience.
October 2: Parent Info Meeting, 6:30 pm, Bozeman Public Library
November 1: Early-bird registration deadline
November 2: Program prices increase $50
December 1: Final registration deadline
January 7: First Day
March 14: Last Day
March 14-15: Western Club Festival, Soldier Hollow, Utah (optional)
Skiers ages 8-11 can choose between this Introductory program and the Development Team.
5-week and 10-week programs
Learn to cross-country ski. We take holistic approach to skiing. We work on the fundamentals of skiing: agility, balance, and coordination. And we focus on creating a fun and supportive environment that can support a diverse range of skiers. For this age group, we focus on classic (or diagonal striding) technique, and we begin introducing skate skiing to skiers who are ready. Kids learn double poling and double-pole kick through games, exercises, relays and other fun activities. All BSF coaches are U.S. Ski & Snowboard-certified, and skiers will be placed in groups of the same age and ability to build confidence, community, and skills.
No prior ski experience necessary. Children are placed into groups based on age and ability. They can spend multiple years participating in BSF Intro, and when they want to move up to the Development Team (no racing required), they can easily make the move--even during mid season.
Organized races are not a formal part of this program, but skiers may participate in the local fun races as they wish, and skiers who want can attend the Western Club Festival, March 14-15, in Soldier Hollow, Utah.
Sign up for the age group based on the child’s age as of January 1. Ask a coach if you're not sure which program (Introductory or Development) is right for your child. If a skier wants to move up to the Development (Devo) program mid-season, just talk to a coach. We're flexible.
Moving up? The Development Team is open to ages 8-15. Now with more options for skiers with varying interests! It's for the intermediate skier with 1-5 years of Nordic instruction. No racing is required. We continue to use games, exercises, relays and other fun activities to build both skills and age-appropriate endurance.
BSF now offers a 2-days-a-week program for U14 Devo skiers, too!
Weekly emails from coaches will give you more details. Below is the general schedule.
You sign up for the 2 days that work for you:
Tuesdays & Thursdays: 4:15-5:30 p.m. at Sunset Hills
Drop off zone at Lindley Center (1102 E. Curtiss St.). No parking at Lindley Center, but if you'd like to park, please use Cypress St., by the Lindley Pavilion.
Tuesdays: skate skis
Thursdays: classic skis
Saturdays 10-11:30 a.m. at Crosscut Mountain Sports Center
Saturdays: either classic or skate, depending on what they did during the week
Skiers will need a trail pass for Crosscut; a season's pass for children under 12 is just $5!
Park in the main parking lot. Meet in front of the ticket cabin/warming hut.
Anyone 10+ may also opt to join us for summer training and camps. All are welcome. Even nonskiers. No prior fitness or ski skills necessary. We hike, bike, play games, and enjoy Montana summers. You can also opt for the Fall & Winter Development Team offering, for fall dryland. Summer dryland & camps page.
You are not required to have a trail pass to participate in the Tues/Thurs program on the in-town Community Nordic Trails. However, if you can afford it, we highly encourage all who use the winter trails to purchase a voluntary trail pass. The voluntary trail pass is a unique system, and it only works if skiers contribute. Bridger Ski Foundation grooms over 70km of trails for the community, which is an expensive proposition--from labor and maintenance to equipment. Donations and trail pass sales are vital to continuing this service. Be sure to explore all the trails.
For those participating in Saturday programs, you will need to purchase a trail pass for Crosscut Mountain Sports Center. (These are typically in $5 range for a season pass for kids!)
Tues/Thursdays meet in front of the Lindley Center. Skiers can be dropped off in the Lindley Center Parking Lot (1102 E. Curtiss St). NO PARKING in the Lindley Center Parking Lot. If you'd like to park, we recommend parking on Cypress St., near the Lindley Pavilion and making the short walk over.
Saturday Intro sessions are at Crosscut Mountain Sports Center at 10 a.m. Use the main public parking lot. Meet in front of the ticket cabin/warming hut.
Last-minute schedule changes do sometimes occur: we'll announce those as needed, via email and TeamReach app.
Parents who'd like to ski during the session can use Sunset Hills (which will be more crowded) or the connected Highland Glen Ski Trails. See trail maps.
At the end of December, you will receive an email requesting you to fill out a survey. Please be sure to respond; your answers will help us make an the best initial placement of your child into a group on the first day.
BSF has a generous scholarship and financial aid program, thanks to our donors. BSF's new policy is that this program is now also open to our Intro Program participants! Applications for financial aid and most scholarships are due mid-October each year. Learn more here.
Children in the Intro program will need to have their own transportation. BSF has sprinter vans, and we are able to provide complimentary transportation for some of our Development and Comp athletes from the schools to practice most weekdays.
Nordic skiers should dress in layered clothing that allows for a good range of movement and can be removed if the need arises. This prevents overheating but still protects them from the elements. Multiple layers are better than one thick, insulated layer. We recommend a buff/neck warmer for cold and windy days. It is very often colder and windier at Sunset Hills (Lindley) than it is anywhere else in town. Even on a warm winter day, a hat, gloves, warm socks and a windproof jacket (fleece alone is not warm enough in the wind) are important, especially when it starts to get dark earlier in the evening.
Skiers are required to have (at a minimum): waterproof gloves/mittens, a hat, and a windproof jacket layer. Younger skiers (U6 and U8) will often wear their snow-pants. Older skiers (U10 and U12) will often wear a lighter weight weather-proof cross-country ski pant.
Skiers may want to have a headlamp for the first few weeks of practice when it gets dark so early.
Remember to eat a small snack between school and skiing. Cold temperatures lead to higher energy requirements for skiing and keeping warm.
BSF provides hot cocoa and a snack at the end of every Intro session, as long as there is a parent volunteer to organize this!.
U10 and U12 Intro skiers need:
CLASSIC SKIS: Skiers in the Intro groups should use fish-scale (waxless) classic skis. We do NOT recommend 3-pin bindings; they tend to get stuck in the groomed tracks.
We do not recommend waxable classic skis for U6/U8/U10 age groups. But, if you do start looking towards a pair of waxable classic skis, which is what most U12 Development Team skiers begin to use, please know that parents are required to put kick-wax on their own child’s skis (BSF Intro coaches do not wax kids skis). Classic sizing:
Skis - Classic skis should be approximately the height of the child or up to their wrist when their arm is raised above their head.
Poles - Classic poles should reach between the armpit and the shoulder.
SKATE SKIS: It is easiest if U10 and U12 skiers have both classic and skate skis, rather than a single pair of combi skis. Skate skis are waxable skis; parents are required to keep skis waxed periodically for their Intro skier.
Skis - Skate skis should be approximately forehead height up to height of the child.
Poles - Skate poles should reach between the chin and nose height.
COMBI SKIS: U10 and U12 skiers can get by with one pair of "combi" skis and poles. These skis should be wax-able (not fish-scale). Keep in mind that with combi skis you will have to clean the sticky classic kick wax off the skis before your skier will be able to skate on them. (Sometimes, it's just easier to have two pairs!)
Skis - Combi skis should be approximately 1-3 inches taller than the child's height
Poles - Combi poles should reach to the top of the child’s shoulder.
It is suggested for most U6/U8/U10/U12 skiers to have combi boots. These cross-country ski boots will come up over the ankle. Skiers will be able to classic ski and/or skate ski in these boots, enabling the U10 and U12 age groups to just have 1 pair of boots.
There are 2 binding systems in cross-country skiing, the SNS (Salomon) system and the NIS or NNN system. Please make sure your child’s boots and bindings match! If you have Salomon boots and NNN bindings - they will not go together. Fortunately, most youth combi boots and bindings have NIS/NNN binding systems - but if you’re not sure, please reach out and ask.
Round House: leases classic ($150) or skate ($180) skis, boots, and poles for the season. Round House opens their leasing system on October 1 and we recommend reserving early; inventory is limited.
BSF: rents skate skis (~$50) for the season (limited supply). We will email you when the online system is ready for you to reserve your size. We recommend your child get fitted for boots and skis size (at any local retail shop) ahead of time since BSF has a limited supply and may not be able to swap out if the size is wrong. Most of our skate skis are larger sizes.
If you have waxable classic skis please make sure your child’s skis are kick-waxed prior to practice. BSF offers waxing clinics early in the season - don’t miss these!
New Equipment may be purchased at Bangtail Ski Shop, Round House, or Homestake Lodge. Order early at Bangtail and receive discounted BSF prices. Both Bangtail and Round House also offer Nordic team nights each fall.
The Ski Swap held each November at the Fairgrounds. Thousands of items. (It's also one of BSF's biggest fundraisers.) BSF members get in an hour early. If you volunteer at the event, you get in even earlier! Coaches will be on hand to help with equipment selection.
Bozeman kids are a hardy bunch, but we will cancel a session if temperatures are extreme--especially if paired with wind. Whenever possible, an email will be sent out notifying everyone as soon as it is determined to be too cold to train.
Your best bet is to always bring lots of warm layers; weather changes quickly.
While we don’t put on formal races in the Intro program, we typically organize fun relays. Should they wish, BSF hosts a FUNSKI series, which many kids jump into (often with a parent), including a fun relay with costumes. There are a number of other local races in Montana with youth categories. At this age, it's important to keep racing a fun experience; it's not about the results. As a parent, you can help by focusing on the experience of watching your child: "I love to watch you ski," rather than focusing on their performance.
Also, it's important to note that racing is never mandatory in any of BSF's programs. Ultimately, we hope that most skiers come to love the personal challenge of a race. But they can also choose to participate in the BSF training only, even as they get older.
U12 skiers also have the option of attending the Intermountain Region Youth Championships with the Devo team.
Please make yourself familiar with our policies, the BSF Athlete & Parent Handbook, and other important information on the Resources Page.
When you register for the program, you will be added to an email list. Your coaches will communicate weekly details to you through email, as well as any last-minute changes. (It’s important that you do not unsubscribe to BSF emails, as this is our main mode of communication in the winter.) If for some reason, you are not receiving emails from us, let us know! New this year, our Intro Program will also communicate via the Team Reach app, which is a great way to learn about last minute changes and updates.
BSF is a volunteer-based nonprofit. We highly encourage all families to get involved. You can help improve the experience of our kids, and you can help us keep program fees as affordable as possible. New this year, we are encouraging parents to volunteer during Nordic Intro practices! We will have several opportunities at every practice (including skiing along with a group and serving snacks and cocoa). Thank you in advance!
If you aren't available during practice, BSF has lots of other volunteer needs:
The trails we use in and around Bozeman, including those at Lindley, are groomed in the winter by Bridger Ski Foundation. BSF must fundraise to cover grooming and maintenance costs; donations and trail pass sales are vital to continuing this service. Trail passes are voluntary; please consider purchasing a family pass if you can. And be sure to explore all the trails.
It's on to the Development Team, where skiers continue their adventures on skis--developing skills, playing games, and enjoying their teammates. Skiers ages 8+ can join the Development Team at any time, with options to ski 3 or 4 days a week. There are no racing requirements for any of the BSF programs. Please don't hesitate to talk to a coach if you have questions about which program is best for your child. Everyone is different.
There’s a bigger picture to what BSF teaches skiers, when and why. BSF’s programs are consistent with the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) Systems.
What does that mean? We’re not focused on short-term success—and the hazards (and burnout) that often come with it. Instead, we follow LTAD plans that are individualized and based on science to make sure your child can maximize their long-term potential as a skier (should they wish to do so) and their enjoyment in the sport. We take into account a child’s development physiologically, cognitively and socially, as well as their experience skiing.
This makes it easy for your child to progress through our programs—from Intro to the Development Teams, to the competitive teams, and even on to skiing as an adult Masters athlete.
The LTAD is a living document that changes frequently. View the most up-to-date LTAD for Nordic HERE.)
Years in skiing: 1-4
Days per week: 2-6 or as enjoyable
An emphasis on outdoor recreation. Parents should emphasize activity versus training. Child should play many sports, with active participation in coordination- or balance-based sports.
Increase play to enhance specific elements of physical fitness in open environments. Continue to establish foundations of endurance through sustained activity and play. Add duration to activities and games. Introduce and practice mobility exercises through unorganized play and some structured activities. Use fun playful activities to enhance body awareness, spatial awareness and object manipulation.
Athletes in Phase 2 should have fun on snow, with games and play enhancing both enjoyment and skills. Gaining confidence and coordination while running on skis in multiple directions. Ability to balance on both skis while moving downhill. Tactics are learned through self-discovery by skiing and adapting to different terrain.
Continued cultivation of a fun environment to allow child to continue to experience success. Use simple self-talk cue words to reinforce task-oriented behaviors. Focus on the love of sport.
Compete for fun. Local competition at age-appropriate distances.
(prepuberty before growth spurt)
Girls ages: 10-13
Boys ages: 11-14
Years in skiing: 4-8
Days per week: 2-4 training sessions per week, year round
Emphasize outdoor recreation and introduce fun competition. Continue to participate in many activities and sports. Begin to identify with primary vs. complementary sports.
In phase 3, skiers are gaining comfort in applying various tactics in order to ski terrain using different strategies to achieve differing results.
Coach-athlete relationships, based on trust and respect, are built through effective communication before, during and after practice. Consistency in talk and behavior is key to developing a trusting relationship. Develop positive self talk, work ethic, and perseverance. Focus on the process, not the results.
Local racing leads to state and divisional championships, which may lead to regional events. Race at age-appropriate distances. Suggested number of competitions: 5-15 starts.
(puberty and growth spurt)
Girls: ages: 11-14
Boys: ages 12-15
Years in skiing: 5-9
Days per week: 3-5 in season, 2-4 out of season
Emphasize fun training, with physical fitness becoming an integral part of the season. Increase hours of training with varied volumes and intensity. Continue to participate in complementary sports while identifying clear goals in primary sport.
Athlete is introduced to structured training including aerobic, anaerobic and strength training. In addition to ski training, athlete is engaged regularly in cross-training activities including balance, coordination, endurance, speed and strength building. High intensity and more complex movement patterns are mastered. Dynamic and complex movement patterns are emphasized to achieve a desired outcome on specific terrain and features.
Promote consistent use of self-talk and imagery in training and competition. Begin to challenge athletes with more competition-specific scenarios, but maintain opportunities for athletes to experience success. Identify relevant factors from prior successful performance. Athletes create a detailed list of what they do prior to the competition from a physical, mental, and environmental aspect. Athlete focuses on what they can and can't control.