Reporting Matt Brickman
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — For winter sports lovers, so far this season has been less than ideal. But, the mild weather has provided a perfect classroom for some kids for whom skiing is a pretty new idea.
“A lot of the kids who live around Theodore Wirth Park maybe come from cultural or socio-economic backgrounds where they may not have been previously exposed to skiing,” said Ingrid Remak, outreach coordinator for the Nordic Ski Foundation.
Raequan Wilson is one of those kids. Up until a year ago, he wasn’t big into sports, let alone cross country skiing.
“Loppet Ski Foundation came to my school, so I just signed up,” said Wilson.
The Nordic Ski Foundation brings their program into area middle schools, offering a chance to try something new. Now kids like Raequan can ski and train year-round for free as a member of the Anwatin ski team.
“The idea is to introduce kids at a younger age to skiing,” said Remak. “So they really have potential to grow & develop as athletes.”
It’s not always an easy sell, though. For a lot of the kids in the program, skiing is something their families know nothing about. In fact, there’s a large group of Hmong kids involved in the program, who’ve run into a rather unique hurdle.
“There’s no word in Hmong for cross country skiing,” said Remak.
That’ll happen when you don’t have a word for snow. No problem, the kids just made up a word “gei-snow.”
“It translates into riding snow,” said Remak.
And on a sunny day in January, there’s not a lot of things better than riding snow.