It has been a cold and snowy winter at Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School. For a lot of people cold and snow are not something to look forward to, but for Cedar Ridge’s science teacher, Chad, a snowy winter means opportunities to participate in one of his favorite activities – cross-country skiing. Chad not only enjoys this winter activity himself, but he enjoys teaching it to others and seeing the joy they get from it, so it was with great pleasure that he took a group of students out to ski around the Cedar Ridge campus.
Chad’s first task was to get equipment ready for the students. Fortunately he’s been collecting cross-country gear for years and has a pretty good supply of equipment - especially since a friend who recently retired from teaching donated equipment she’d used with her outdoor club, with the stipulation that it would be used by young people.
First of all, the students happily tried on boots until each found a pair that fit. These aren’t the type of boot most people would think of when they think “ski boot”. These boots look something like a cross between a hiking boot and a bowling shoe, with a protruding front sole with three holes that match pins on the ski binding. Each student also chose a pair of skis and a pair of poles, based on his or her size.
Once students were fitted for equipment, Chad and the students put on their boots, grabbed their skis and poles, and headed out. It took some time and some help from Chad to get boots hooked onto skis, but eventually everyone was set to go, and the students got to experience what it felt like to cross-country ski (it was the first time for most of the students).
After some instruction, Chad guided the group to a little knoll where they could try skiing downhill. It took some falls into the soft snow for some of the students to learn to balance on their skis, but they all had a great time before continuing their journey to the top of the ridge.
From the top of the ridge the students had a great view of the Cedar Ridge Academy campus to the south and the Uinta Mountains to the north. Chad pointed to a particular canyon in the mountains and talked to the students about the possibility of a trip there once the students are more experienced. Chad then skied off the ridge and the students each took their turn following. One student was a little hesitant but, with some advice and encouragement from her peers, took her turn. She made it down in great fashion - to the applause of her peers.
The group started back to campus, and as they skied, Chad talked about how our brains release endorphins when we do healthy activities like skiing. Cross-country skiing is a great way to get out and see nature, and it also gives some of the best physical exercise you can get by using almost every muscle group. The students all talked about how much they enjoyed the activity, and how they are looking forward to doing it again.