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.

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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.”

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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.

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And on a sunny day in January, there’s not a lot of things better than riding snow.