Our Nordic Rocks Success

By John Gravlin (Known by the students as “Crazy Skier Guy!)

Our Nordic Rocks program has now completed our 4th season! This year was our best for many reasons. We focus our program on the 3rd graders at Cheboygan Intermediate School and we have been able to introduce nearly 400 students to the joys of cross-country skiing over our 4 seasons.
The “Stars” of our program are the 3rd Grade Teachers who allow us to conduct a minimum of 5 sessions of skiing, also the Volunteers from The Black Mountain Nordic Ski Club, and of course the Enthusiastic 3rd Graders.

This year started on a positive note after I was invited to speak about Nordic Rocks to a local women’s group which resulted in a $900.00 donation to our program. We updated our equipment with this generous gift.

The equipment arrived in time and so did the snow in Northern Michigan! Temperatures remained in the 20’s and 30’s for our ski days and so we avoided the bitter temps that have resulted in cancelled sessions in past years.

We begin our season with an indoor session and then conduct a minimum of 4 outdoor sessions. New this year, we have been able to leave several sets of the Nordic Rocks skis and poles at our Community Recreation Center which has a newly developed Children’s Trail along the Cheboygan River. We encourage our 3rd graders to use these loaner pairs of skis to continue their skiing on weekends and after school. During one of our last outdoor ski days, I asked the students if anyone had used the skis at the Rec Center….(This story from one of our skiers best expresses our hope for our Nordic Rocks Program.) One girl replied “My friend (a 4th grader and Nordic rocks alum) and I got skis at the Rec Center to ski the new trail and then we noticed a girl from the second grade and invited her to come skiing with us and so we taught her to ski too.”

One final highlight for this year was a free luncheon provided for our volunteers by Libby’s Cafe of Cheboygan. Libby learned of our efforts and how the students responded so positively so she wanted to do something special for the volunteers who make it all happen!

Nordic Rocks is alive and well in Cheboygan!

Special Thanks to my wife Tracy who is not only an incredible skiing instructor and volunteer, but records our activities with her phone and is responsible for the video and photos.