Nordic Rock ski program glides into Farmin Stidwell Elementary

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—Photo by VICKI LONGHINI Farmin Stidwell students are all smiles after opening the 30 pair of new skis provided by Nordic Rocks. The students hit the snow this week during P.E. classes.

Cross country skiing program only one in Idaho

SANDPOINT — What do you get when you add Nordic skis, plus snow, plus kids? You get tons of fun. Starting this week at Farmin Stidwell Elementary School, students will be participating in a new PE course called Nordic Rocks.

So, what is Nordic Rocks and how did this great program happen here?

The Nordic Rocks program is sponsored by the National Winter Sports Education Foundation (NWSEF). This foundation assists organizations in finding ways to improve the lives, health and fitness of children through participation in winter sports. NWSEF focuses on community-based physical activity programs that involve youth in sports and physical activity and that are sustainable and provide life-long involvement for children as they grow into adulthood.

The goal of Nordic Rocks is to provide affordable equipment and easy to understand curriculum to schools in the snow belts of the U.S., to introduce and teach elementary school students of all demographics the fascinating experience of gliding on skis while teaching them fundamental, sport-specific skills through games and play.

Farmin-Stidwell was selected and nominated by Vicki Longhini, Nordic Ski coach for the Sandpoint Youth Ski League.

“Farmin is an ideal testing ground for this program in that they have PE classes for all their grades, an enthusiastic principal and PE teacher, plus, a large field that often gets covered with snow.” said Longhini, whose husband Ross Longhini is also helping with the class. “It’s an honor to be a part of this national program that is in place in over 100 schools across the country, with a projection of 25,000 kids this year.”

The 30 pairs of skis being used by Farmin would cost $1,500, but is being provided to the program free of charge through a grant from the foundation.

PE teachers, including Chase Tigert of Farmin, are provided with a simple to follow learning curriculum. The easy-to-use equipment (skis with step-in bindings) fit any size student. Once equipment is placed in the schools, the only local financial need required will be towards equipment maintenance.

The Nordic Rocks program is “Branded” with the U.S. Ski Team Olympic athlete, Noah Hoffman, as an aspirational and inspirational role model to the kids. Each child who participates in the program receives a program completion Certificate signed by the Olympian.

The NWSEF is prepared to assist any school, organization or city develop, fund and establish a program that enriches the lives, health and fitness of children in their community. Research has shown that physically active children are happier, score higher on testing and go on to become more productive in life.

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