Cross Country Trail Notes by Greg Rhodes

The past three months have created what seems like an endless series of events that have left us feeling out of control. These events have encouraged us to work on reaching out for support from friends and colleagues, staying mentally healthy with regular physical activity, and being ready to adapt to whatever unexpected situation we find ourselves in each morning. Despite the challenges that everyone has overcome, these past three months, the PSIA-AASI RM Cross Country Education Staff and the greater XC community have found ways to adapt and grow. This new (or maybe renewed) recurring column in the Instructor-to-Instructor Newsletter is one example of positive growth we have initiated within the XC community. This first edition highlights several things we have been working on as an XC Ed Staff as well as some happenings around the greater XC community within our division.

Nordic Skiing Saved Winter: 
The Nordic community in Crested Butte and the Crested Butte Nordic got some wonderful press about their efforts to keep grooming so that the community could keep skiing and remain active while still staying safe during the earliest period of the COVID-19 pandemic in Colorado. Link to the article can be found here.

We know that skiers in CB were not the only ones using XC skiing to stay connected with the snow.  Stories abound of XC skiers finding the enjoyment of crust skiing in Summit County, on the Grand Mesa, and off Rabbits Ear Pass.

Zoom Meetings allowed for more time together:
The XC Ed Staff has an annual end of season meeting in early April to review the past season’s events and start planning for the next season. Usually this consists of a few hours following a day of skiing together before everyone needs to hit the road to get home. However, this year the Spring Meeting was a Zoom call which turned into three different calls. A silver lining to having to meet over a Zoom call is that we had fewer time restrictions which allowed us to have some of our most productive meetings and planning sessions in years. As an Ed Staff we are extremely excited for next winter and have already started planning our events for next season while also considering contingencies for whatever restrictions we might encounter. One outcome of these efforts is a survey that was sent out recently to you, our membership, to help us offer clinics that are the most relevant to XC instructors at the annual Cross Country Instructor Rendezvous in early December. Getting this feedback over the summer will allow us to plan and prepare in the fall so that the Rendezvous can help all instructors kick off their season with a great learning experience.

National Task Force involvement:
Across all disciplines of PSIA-AASI, National Task Forces have been working on developing new Learning Outcomes and related educational resources. The RM Division Cross Country Education Staff has been extremely involved in the Cross Country Task Force and the sub-working groups. With RM Division representation on every working group and several Ed Staff members on each conference call we are truly helping move Cross Country ski education forward across the country and showing our leadership by sharing our best practices with other divisions.

The 20/21 Season will happen:
One thing we do know for sure in this period of uncertainty is that winter will return and there will be opportunities to ski again. We have set a schedule for XC educational events and are continually working on how we are going to run them with participant, clinic leader, and general public health our first priority. We are all missing the connection with others and the wonderful community of you, our fellow XC skiers, and are working to find the best ways to safely gather next winter. We look forward to seeing everyone on snow or in a virtual clinic (or a hybrid of both) this coming season. As highlighted by CB Nordic at the end of the 19/20 season, XC skiing can happen safely and allow everyone to save their ski seasons. Be well and see you soon!

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