Frequently Asked Questions
Why does practice start so early? Can we show up a little late?
We start as soon as possible because it gets dark and cold!
If you show up late, we may be out on the trails already. We're happy to wait as long as we can but weather conditions and energetic kids may determine our need to get out there!
Please plan to come directly from school ready for practice.
Are we required to get a season pass at Wild Wings and/or Viking?
Unless you are an official West River volunteer, you will need a pass to ski while your kids are at practice. Our local venues generously provide season passes at very reasonable rates for West River families. These can be purchased when you register.
Where can I learn how to tune skis?
West River typically holds a ski tuning clinic at the beginning of the season. An email will be sent with details once confirmed.
Do I need to wax and tune my child's skis?
For classic skiing, if your child is on fishscales (waxless) skis, you do not need to wax.
For waxable classic skis, you will need to apply kickwax under the kickzone on ski days. Hot wax (glide wax) is applied to the tips and tails of skis.
For skate skiing, you will need to apply glide wax only.
It can feel complicated but hopefully our clinic and suggested videos can help answer questions and simplify the process.
Who is in the Southern Vermont Nordic Ski League?
Putney, Prospect, and West River are the southern Vermont clubs. But we often have folks from Dublin, NH, Western Mass., and Ford Sayre (Hanover, NH) at our races and we are invited to their races as well.
What is the difference between a race and a lollipop race?
Racing is very casual, especially for younger ages. Lollipop races are for kids 0-7 years old. Grades 1-2 race together, 3 & 4 and so on.
What age do kids typically start to learn how to skate ski?
In our club, typically around 7 years old or 2nd grade.
Can people classic AND skate ski at Wild Wings?
New and exciting news - Wild Wings is primarily classic skiing but a brand new skate trail will be open for 2018-2019 season.
How much do races cost?
Local Bill Koch races typically cost $5 per racer. Some bigger events may charge more. All the information will be available on our race schedule page.
What is the background of the ski coaches?
All of our coaches are volunteers. Some grew up ski racing for schools like SMS, some are parents who have developed a love for the sport. The kids who sign up for the 3 day program will get the chance to learn from high level coaches from SMS.
Do all kids go to races?
Everyone is welcome at races. Races can be overwhelming and intimidating but they are incredibly fun family events! Often, once kids have finished their own races, they spend endless time skiing with friends, cheering on other club members, and ultimately improving their own skills and agility levels.
Do all kids have to classic ski - is it possible to only skate ski?
Typically no but our program offers skate skiing for kids 2nd grade and up because that's when their coordination and skills necessary for skating will be better developed.
How do I find out about races?
Our local races will be posted on our Schedule & Events page and possibly on the NENSA website.
You should check the NENSA website regularly for additional race opportunities and events.
Is it ok if my child does not do dryland?
Yes. Dryland is just an added bonus of fun and getting kids psyched and ready for winter.
Is BKL (Bill Koch League) only for Flood Brook School kids?
No. West River runs the Nordic Program and we are a part of the Bill Koch League. West River Sports is a separate entity from the school.
What is the first day of skiing and how will we know?
When the snow flies - we'll be in touch!
Please note - location of ski practice can vary due to snow conditions. In this case, we will keep you posted via email.
What is the last day of the program and how will we know?
We can't give you a straight up answer to this question. Typically, the BKL festival is the culminating race of the season. Yet, some of the best skiing often is in March and April. We go week by week towards the end of the season and understand that some folks will start in on spring sports.
What is the connection with Stratton Mountain School?
Stratton Mountain School is a world renowned ski academy that has graduated numerous nordic Olympians. It is an honor to be able to work with their coaches and feed off of their experience and expertise. The T2 team of elite Nordic skiers, many of whom are on the US Ski Team, trains at SMS in the non-winter seasons, and often will be training right along side our young athletes. West River skiers entering 4th-8th grades can take part in a summer Devo program training with SMS and T2 skiers. More info will be available during summer.
Check out what SMS is up to on their blogspot!
In what ways can parents volunteer?
There a lot of volunteer opportunities, from skiing with kids to help organizing events. Email us for more info!
How are races structured - will we be there all day?
Local races typically last about 2 hours. Depending on the age of your child/ren, you should plan to be at the race venue at least an hour before their race starts. For example, if you only have one 6th grade racer, you don't have to be there for the lollipop race, but it's always fun to cheer on teammates!