“You ski, in the summer?” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked that question as I have climbed city hills on rollerskis since middle school. Though I often have to explain my wheeled skis to people, and the fact that I can’t always sleep in on summer mornings, I can always happily tell people that summer skiing has been a highlight of my childhood.
Summer ski clubs such as Loppet Nordic Racing (LNR), the high-level ski training branch of the Loppet Foundation, provides kids through adults the opportunity to get outside and make friends while also learning the ropes of lifetime sports such as skiing, mountain biking, running, paddling, and more. Cross-training, or training by using a medley of sports, is not only enjoyable, but allows for many different kinds of strengthening and prevents injury by creating variety in the muscle groups used.
Athletes are immersed in a healthy lifestyle that is normal, and even fun, because training is done in large groups. As Coach Kim Rudd points out, LNR’s youngest program, FAST KIDS, “is unique because participants develop healthy habits and start endurance training at a young age.” Participants share experiences and become close friends, despite being from being all across the metro area. Fitness achieved in the summer creates a foundation of strength and endurance that promote success in middle- and high-school sports, as well as for adult competitors in citizen races.
Life long sports learned with groups like LNR lend themselves beautifully to being done at any age. While most high-school football players stop after senior year, many participants in high-school cross-country skiing will continue far after they are out of school, keeping the sport as a way to relax, be healthy and get outdoors well beyond their middle-aged years. It’s rare to see a 75-year-old man on the soccer field, but a ski trail on a Saturday will include everyone from lively elementary schoolers to elderly couples out enjoying the day.
Summer ski training at is not only enjoyable, but a valuable fitness tool for people of any age or skill level. LNR includes a FAST KIDS program for ages 9-12, a Juniors club for ages 13-18, and adult training clubs. Scholarships are available. Visit www.loppet.org for more information.