The trails are alive with the sound of music: the laughter and delight of kids on skis! Midcoast Conservancy’s annual six-week Youth Cross Country Ski Clinic is under way at Hidden Valley Nature Center in Jefferson.
On the first day, 50 masked kids strapped on their skis and broke into five groups to work with instructors. The seasoned crew of teachers are all repeat leaders, and have as their primary goal to make learning to ski as fun as possible. The legions of families who return year after year are testament to the instructors’ success in keeping the smiles going all morning long.
As part of Midcoast Conservancy’s mission to get kids and families outside and loving the natural world, it offers a ski lease program every year. Participants get fitted for boots, skis and poles which are then theirs for the season to use as much as possible. Stories come back to staff about kids so excited to use their gear that they take advantage of any sprinkling of snow to turn their backyard into a practice course. One huge advantage of the program is that no family has to commit to buying gear that will be too small by the next ski season.
Midcoast Conservancy also has trailers of gear available to groups across the Midcoast for local programming led by volunteers in their communities. Training is provided for anyone wanting to facilitate an outdoor adventure program; available gear includes fat tire bikes and snowshoes in addition to cross-country skis. Anyone interested in learning more may contact Director of Community Programs Andy Bezon at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 207-389-5156.
Hidden Valley, at 131 Egypt Road, is open 365 days a year to all. Midcoast Conservancy members are free while other visitors are asked to make a $5 day-use donation.
Trails are groomed in winter after any significant snowfall, and there is a trail for any skill level. Gear rentals of skis, snowshoes and fat tire bikes are available at Hidden Valley this winter on weekends from Jan. 23 to Feb. 28; and for the entire Presidents’ Week school vacation, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Details can be found at www.midcoastconservancy.org/events/winter-gear-rentals-at-hidden-valley