The Skiers are here! Or more accurately they were here when I started writing this but are now gone. As per usual I did not receive any dates as to when they were coming except for ‘some time coming up this month’ until the date happen to come up when talking to a friend from another sight. That is par for the course in villages. Notice is short if any is given, changes are frequent and information is slow to disseminate and you just kind of roll with it.
I as the ski coach started scrambling to make up a schedule and of course that further perpetuated the short notice to everyone else because I did not get to discuss times until Saturday which meant the schedule came out Sunday by which time most of the teachers had lesson plans done. Then on Monday everything was reworked again when the principal decided he wanted everyone skiing every day instead of the every other day which I had planned (to keep group sizes smaller). This dictated another change to several peoples schedules and by the time all was said and done it was a wonder that anything happened according to any schedule.
Scheduling aside we always love when the skiers come. NANA is the big native corperation in the area and they have many programs they run to benefit the people and villages of the region. One of those is this ski program. This year we were especially glad they came when they did because if they had come a week later there they would have been hard pressed to find somewhere with a long enough stretch of snow with no puddles or rock, to ski at all. Even as it was there were some parts the kids had to avoid and there was really no going on the tundra. All the tundra is bare now.
They showed up on Saturday and took the kids out for an hour or so during the school day each day plus some after school time. It was great to see the kids so excited and a good motivator to get all their work done.
It was also fun hanging out with them after. One of the days we played Killer Bunnies, a super ridiculous game we make anyone who stops over in the village play. One of the days they were here we went out to the gravel pit to go shooting and saw some very large tracks. Kevin was sure they were not tracks at all but just divits in the snow. I initially thought they were bear tracks from the size but on reviewing them and comparing them to internet pictures I am not so sure. Bear tracks should be shorter than they are wide and have 5 toes. These are almost circular and have only 4 toes. They look like a gigantic dog track. Too big for any wolf less than 20 feet tall. My new theory is that a wolf, or more likely dog, left these tracks some time ago and as the snow melted the tracks expanded as the snow pulled apart.
Friday there were ski races. There was a prek-2, a 3-5 and a middle school highschool (most of whom were out of town on a school trip). The kids went mad skiing around (or close to) the cones. There Once they were all back awards were presented then they dropped off the gear at the school. A good end to the week.
The skiers left Saturday, while we the teachers were in a district all day Saturday inservice meeting. As always they left several much needed new pairs of skis with us to help round out our supply and make the program more effective. But the big bonus to this visit was the lazer rifle they are letting us borrow. We have been taking kids out skiing all winter but have never had an opportunity to discuss the biathlon option. It is my dream that someday we would be able to get live .22s for the kids to do target shooting. The school did have some in the past (under lock and key) but they have been removed because of the insurance issues associated with school sponsored gun sports. I will continue to pursue it but it may be a pipe dream. For now I am very excited about the lazer rifle and I have even heard that the principal is considering buying one or two for the school. We will see, but that would be very neat.
The rifle has a small display which can be used to alter the size of the registered target and show the placement of registered shots. It even tracks where the gun is aiming at and lets you replay that to review. The target automatically adjusts to be standard (adjustable) relative size no mater what distance it is placed at. Although the dot does not change size it will only register a hit if you hit close enough to the center to represent that size at the given distance. That way the target is the same difficulty no matter where I put it, so no pacing and measuring. I am soooo excited to start a team!
Thanks NANA Nordic!