Cross Country Canada (CCC)
promotes and encourages Para-Nordic programs that are delivered through various ski clubs across the country.
One of the most frequently asked questions is..."How can our club get a Para-Nordic program started?".
The following will help answer that question and give some direction to clubs that would like to include Para-Nordic participants and athletes in their programs.
Many Para-Nordic participants or athletes can be integrated into able-bodied programs. Integration brings many training, competition, health and social benefits as well as learning opportunities for both the able-bodied and Para-Nordic skiers. It is particularly important to remember when working with Para-Nordic skiers in an integrated program that everyone is an individual with different needs and abilities. Getting feedback and working closely with individual participant/athletes is key.
Finding good coaches is an important step. Para-Nordic coaching development follows the same path and structure as able-bodied coaching development relying on the new competency based National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) which is directly aligned with the Cross Country Skiing Long Tern Athlete Development (LTAD) guide. Coaches who wish to work with AWAD are required to follow the same certification process as those who are working with able-bodied athletes and must become NCCP certified as able-bodied coaches first. Organizing a coaching course through your division is a great way to find coaches. Having said all that a coach does not need to be a certified to get started. They only need a strong desire to work with athletes with a disability. Please see the Para-Nordic Coaching Development
page for more information on becoming a Para-Nordic Coach.
Volunteers with different skill sets are an important asset to a Para-Nordic program. Volunteers can assist with administration tasks, meeting the unique physical needs Para-Nordic skiers, equipment adaptation and repair needs and more. If a volunteer has the skiing background and physical ability they can also become a guide for skiers with a visual impairment.
Some specialized equipment may be needed for Para-Nordic skiers and they will often require equipment modifications to suit their physical needs. Standing skiers who have a visual impairment or a physical disability will normally require the same equipment as an able-bodied skier but they may only use one ski pole or have a prosthesis which may require equipment adaptations. Participants/athletes who have reduced lower limb mobility normally use a sled called a sit-ski as well as shorter poles to accommodate skiing from a sitting position.
CCC Para-Nordic Committee
People with a disability are often connected to support organizations such as rehabilitation centres or perhaps they already participate in another Para-sport. In either case they may be looking for opportunities to enhance their lifestyle and health or express their competitive nature. Cross-country skiing may be the perfect option for some. Making connections in your communities with other organizations and sports who work with people with a disability is a great way to find people to start or grow a program.
Promoting a Para-Nordic program is an important beginning step. You can work with your community and with partner organizations to get the word out. CCC has some promotional materials available through Para-Nordic Committee representatives.
Clubs with Para-Nordic Programs
Clubs with existing Para-Nordic programs can be a valuable resource as well. There are many clubs with integrated or stand alone Para-Nordic programs at a recreation and/or competitive level. We will be adding a link on the CCC website to a list of clubs with Para-Nordic programs shortly. This database will be updated regularly as more clubs register with Para-Nordic programs.
The CCC Para-Nordic Committee is an important means of facilitating communication among Canada's Para-Nordic community. CCC recommends that you contact a volunteer Para-Nordic Committee representative
from your Region or Division to communicate your interest in starting a Para-Nordic program or if you have questions about a program that is already running. Your Para-Nordic representative is a resource who will be able to share promotional material and information about equipment availability, include you in their network of Para-Nordic clubs and volunteers and connect you to potential interested participants.