The NSCF-FXC Junior Development Team (formerly Junior Nordics Comp) is the ski club’s introductory racing team for skiers age 9 to 13 who know how to skate and classic ski. The full slate of basic skills which was learned in Junior Nordics is further refined and any gaps that remain are filled in. More complex skills may also be introduced. Skills are learned through drills, games and group skiing activities. The Jr. Devo Team also serves to introduce skiers to some basic concepts of ski training, ski waxing, and the social aspects of skiing as part of a team. Participation in races is encouraged and viewed as an opportunity to apply the skills that a skier learns during practice.
(The following text is borrowed from the NSCF Junior Programs Handbook. The NSCF Junior Programs Handbook Oct2011 has more information on all of our Junior Programs. For the quick reference click on the NSCF Junior Programs Chart link)
During the first practice, there will be a brief informational meeting for parents and skiers for 15 to 30 minutes.
Training Times and Locations
The Jr. Devo Team meets three times a week for training from November 1 – April 15, including during school vacations. Practices are held Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6:15-7:30 PM and on Sunday afternoons from 1:45-3 PM. Training typically takes place at Birch Hill, although practice is sometimes moved to other locations for tours or just a change of scenery. Such changes will be announced in weekly email updates. In the case of consistent cold weather, practices are sometimes shifted to an indoor facility such as the UAF Student Recreation Center (SRC).
Only in exceptional circumstances such as extended cold snaps or ice storms does the Jr. Devo Team cancel practice. When it is colder than 10 below, practices are moved indoors and the group participates in various exercises and activities. During extended cold snaps, the group will often move practice to the Student Recreation Center at UAF.
It is no secret that consistent practice is essential to improving technique, fitness and knowledge in skiing. However, we recognize the value in maintaining balance in life and that skiers will have to miss practice at times due to school work, music lessons, family commitments, etc. We believe it is up to each skier and their family to decide what is the right amount of skiing. As such, the NSCF-FXC race teams do not have a required attendance policy.
The Junior Devo Team training is run by a group of committed volunteers coaches, one of whom serves as the team leader or lead coach, and is the primary contact and communicator for the group. Often coaches are also parents of one or more skiers in the group. Frequently these coaches have years of experience as both racers and Junior Nordics coaches prior to coaching the Jr. Devo Team. Like Jr. Nordics coaches, these coaches have multiple opportunities throughout the year to brush up on their coaching skills and learn the latest technique concepts during coach training sessions hosted by the NSCF.
- Skiers know how to both skate and classic ski
- Be on Time
- Have a positive attitude – remember your positive attitude is contagious!
- Be ready to put in the effort toward getting better.
- Be willing to take feedback from coaches and your fellow skiers.
Proper gear is essential for making practice fun and productive instead of frustrating. It doesn’t have to be new, but it must fit, and skiers need both skate and classic gear to take advantage of all workouts.
Skis: Skiers should have both classic and skate skis. Skis should be properly waxed by the athlete and coach or parent for each day’s practice. Waxing info will be posted on the team whiteboard prior to practice each day.
Boots: Skiers should use warm boots that allow for natural ankle movement. Bring both sets of boots each session.
Poles: Skiers might begin their time on the Jr. Devo Team with only one pair of poles that comes up to the shoulder, but by the end of their tenure they should be using separate classic and skate poles. Skate poles should come up to between the chin and lips, while classic poles should come up to the middle of the shoulder.
Clothing: Skiers should come to practice with appropriate clothing for training in cold weather. This includes mittens, warm gloves or split mitts, hats, ear muffs, neck warmers, buffs, balaclavas or other means of covering the skiers face and head. Skiers should dress in layers which should include a synthetic or wool base layer, potentially an insulating mid-layer, as well as a wind-resistant outer layer. Depending on conditions, more clothes may be needed.
The NSCF’s junior racing programs view competition as an opportunity to apply the skills one learns during training, much like a test in school or a recital for a dance class or a concert for a music group. As such, skiers are strongly encouraged, but not required to take part in local races. We recognize that the actual results at this age have little bearing on the eventual ability of a skier, and try to keep the focus firmly on the application of skiing skills and racing tactics, and challenging ones abilities.
We feel strongly that skiers should race age appropriate distances as these allow a skier to ski at high speed for the entire distance (1-3 km for J4 and younger skiers). This allows the skier to reinforce good technical skills, instead of getting tired and developing sloppy habits. In Fairbanks, the Town Race Series, Turkey Day Relays, Besh Cups and Interior Youth Championships all feature age appropriate distances. Longer spring events such as the Tour of Anchorage and Sonot Kkaazoot should be viewed more as endurance challenges, and the emphasis should be on completing the distance, not racing as hard and as fast as possible.
At this level, we feel 5-15 races is a good amount over the course of a season.
Jr. Devo provides waxing support for both local races and Besh Cups. For local races, an opportunity will be provided for skiers to glide wax their skis in the lead-up to the race, and for classic races the Jr. Devo coaches will organize kick waxing for the day’s event. For Besh Cups, waxing support will be provided by either one of the Jr. Devo coaches and/or in conjunction with the Prep and Comp Team coaches.
Throughout the season, multiple waxing clinics will be provided for parents on the basics of wax application.
Special Events and Activities
Kilometer Chart – the Jr. Devo keep a kilometer chart throughout the season to log the distance they’ve skied over the course of the season. At the year-end banquet, they are given an award recognizing their achievement.
Spring Trip – A season-culminating ski tour/trip (sometimes overnight) is one of the highlights for the Jr. Devo Team. Parent help is essential in pulling this trip off.
How Can Parents Help?
There are many ways a parent can help out. The most essential is getting kids to practice and picked up on time. Parents can also help a lot in providing an opportunity for “team building.” Hosting a post-tour get together, or a pre-race wax night and/or potluck/pasta feed are just a couple of ways to enhance the social side of Jr. Devo. There will be various tasks to help with during the season too, such as race entries and helping with the spring trip. Stay tuned to emails from the Team Leader for announcements.
Cost and Refund Policy
The cost for a winter on the Jr. Devo Team is $400. Refunds will not be issued after October 31, 2011.