November 13, 2020
Training Programs Announcement
13th November 2020
1. Youth Nordic Education Program is Cancelled for 2020-21 Season
At the Teacup Nordic Ski Area we are committed to providing a high-quality, confidence-inspiring learning experience where skiers and instructors have fun, feel safe and become inspired skiers.
Taking into account the challenges and constraints that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented to our ski area operations we, the board of directors, have been examining every aspect of our ski area and planning for the season.
Based on recommendations from the CDC, PNSA, USSA as well as state and county authorities, our COVID policy gives you information on what we all are doing to prepare for this ski season. Please read and note the changes necessary to keep our local Nordic ski venue open and operating.
To that end, the Teacup board of directors met to determine options for operating Nordic Education programs, races, and other events in the midst of our COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, we analyzed the challenges and constraints of operating Teacup Nordic Youth Ski Lesson Program this season.
Sadly, that analysis made clear there is no reasonable-risk option to confidently offer a safe and quality Nordic Education Program for the youngest group of 6-13 for the 2020-21 Nordic Ski season.
Decision Making Rationale: Youth Nordic Education Program
In the spirit of transparency, we wanted to share with you how we came to this very difficult decision. While there is no perfect answer, we based our decision on the guiding principles for the Teacup Program:
As a Board, we saw several unconquerable risk factors for students and instructors in that regard:
We have young children in ski lessons that are normally:
a.) unable to put their own skis and gear on,
b.) get themselves back up and on skis when they fall over (which is just part of learning of course), and
c.) likely have a limited sense of situational awareness, so less likely to keep socially distant and keep their masks on.
Kids need to feel safe and cared for while learning new and challenging skills or the whole lesson experience quickly becomes counterproductive to our shared goals. To help develop self-sufficiency, most of our youngest skiers normally require physical assistance to address the real-time, on-snow needs of students to feel safe and cared for so they can have fun and learn. Unfortunately, the necessity for direct physical proximity teaching and learning required for the younger age group puts students/instructors directly in the path of contact for the shedding and spreading of the virus.
In accordance with CDC guidelines, any student or instructor that has a pre-existing condition and/or is older than 60, or has a family member that has a pre-existing condition, should limit their engagement and exposure with students. From the standpoint of instructional coordination, training and staffing, these critical factors limit the number of qualified volunteer instructors for the season. Ultimately we are left with so few qualified volunteer instructors that we presently do not have enough to both operate reduced sized classes and at the same time have any excess capacity to also deal of the range of CDC contingency planning requirements, such as when an instructor needs to assist a sick or young skier back to their parents if they come down with symptoms during lessons. As a result of these critical factors, and several more not mentioned, offering youth ski lessons is beyond the capacity of our ski area to ensure safe and fun learning to ski experiences.
2. The Pipeline, Junior Development and Masters programs will be offered this 2020-21 season
Given the much higher degree of skill, confidence and self-sufficiency gained from previous development and ski experience, the Pipeline, Jr Development and Masters ski programs will be offered for the upcoming 2020/2021 ski season. There are fewer concerns for shedding and spreading the virus during actual training sessions with the more mature skiers, smaller group size, and longer skis that naturally keep people six feet or more apart. That said, the situation for this group is not without the need to consider necessary precautions traveling long distances to and from ski training and race venues.
Decision Making Rationale: Pipeline, Jr Development, and Masters programing
For the oldest of the youth programs, ages 13-18, we have high schoolers who are now driving, preparing for independence to varying degrees, making some of their own risk assessment and decisions in daily life, with some varying degree of adult/parent involvement. Even if we give our Teacup youth the benefit of the doubt (in that they are more responsible in comparison to other “normal” teenagers) then we are assuming they are more disciplined and will responsibly “stay safe and ski safe.” That might well be true to a degree, but they are still normal adolescents that will follow somewhat predictable patterns of development and age appropriate behavior. This means, in parent speak, they are becoming more independent and are learning to assess risk and make decisions that will often push their limits. They are teenagers after all, it is not their fault, it is a normal aspect of adolescent development. To expect otherwise can lead to decisions that are not completely well informed or honest with the prevailing science.
We have identified the largest area of concern and that has to do with the family transportation strategies of adolescent skiers in this group. For all good reasons, we, as parents, often employ carpooling to reduce traffic congestion, already limited parking spaces, carbon emissions, demand for limited parking, and parent time commitment to support their young athletes and skiing families. 90 minutes or more traveling in a tightly enclosed vehicle with a fellow teammate, outside your family bubble or new to your friend “pod,” increases the risk of exposure to the virus. Wearing masks in this humid enclosed environment does not provide the necessary safeguards to protect our beloved athletes, our coaches, and Nordic community against the shedding and spreading of the virus. Extra precautions will be in place while on snow and will be strictly enforced by the coaching staff, parents and master skiers in order to keep these all program participants as safe and sound as humanly possible. The good news is the strength of our experienced coaching staff with extra support for the experienced masters skiers we are confident our young competitors will have a positive experience even considering the the restriction the pandemic has imposed on our lifestyles.
As always, please reach out with questions or comments. This is an exceptional year that calls for exceptional creativity and collaboration. We sincerely appreciate you working with us to make the most of Teacup programming opportunities in the months and years ahead. These programs wouldn’t be the same without all of you, leading, with us.
Clint and Guy
November 13, 2020