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Junior Nordics Information


Junior Nordic Youth Ski Program

Mat-Su Junior Nordics (MSJN) provides an opportunity for children to enjoy the Alaskan winter while learning the sport of cross country skiing.  Children of all abilities are welcome to join and learn a sport they can pursue for a lifetime. The emphasis is on fun, fitness, and learning proper technique. MSJN skiers receive instruction in both classical and skate techniques from enthusiastic and dedicated volunteer coaches.  Skiers learn proper care and handling of equipment, trail etiquette, good sportsmanship, and how to act responsibly in the outdoors.  A typical practice session will include a warm-up period, a lesson in a technique, and an appropriate length group ski on the trails, ending with a fun activity.

Who Can Participate:  Youth ages 5 to 16.  Parents must participate with 5 year olds.

Groups.  Skiers are divided into groups based on age and ability:

  • Grizzlies – Advanced (subgroups by color)
  • Wolves – Intermediate (subgroups by color)
  • Foxes – Intermediate (subgroups by color)
  • Otters – Beginners (subgroups by color)
  • Yetis – Beginners (middle school and high school age)
  • Polar Cubs – Youngest (age 5), requires parent to attend sessions with child.


Dates & Times.  Ski sessions will begin January 11th, 2023 and end March 9th, 2023, with three separate programs–Monday & Wednesday evenings 5:30-6:30 pm; and Tuesday & Thursday evenings 5:30-6:30 pm; and an afternoon program on Monday & Wednesday afternoons 1:00-2:00 pm. The evening sessions are limited to 190 participants, and the afternoon session is limited to 100 participants.

Ski Orientation:  Orientation is held at GPRA during the first session of the season.  Attendance of parent and child is required as we will be going over important safety, procedures, and expectations for parents and children.

Government Peak Recreation Area (GPRA):  Regular sessions and most events will be held at the Government Peak Recreation Area, at 10690 N. Mountain Trails Drive, Palmer, AK  just off of Edgerton Parks Road.  The GPRA trails are groomed specifically for cross-country skiing.  There is a large parking lot and multiple terrain types that permit skiers of all levels and abilities to ski.  You must display a valid Mat Su Borough parking pass in your car windshield or buy a daily pass in the parking lot. Click here for parking pass information.

Finisher Race Series:  Included with registration and new for 2023: These are fun, informal race events for your skier and family to attend.  A way for kids to explore their ski skills and learn some new ones. Four Sunday afternoons at 1pm to include January 8th, January 29th, February 19th and just after the end of Junior Nordics, March 19th.

Equipment Rental:  Ski and pole rental from the MSSC will be available at GPRA in October. The cost is $50 per set. You will receive an email with a link to sign up for a time slot after registration is complete. Deposit fees for ski rental ($150 per set) are due at the time of gear pick up. You will only be charged if the skis are not returned at the end of the season or if they are broken when you return them.  To ensure the return of equipment, we require a deposit of either a check or a credit card number when the equipment is picked up. Deposit check or credit card info will be shredded once the equipment has been returned.

Please bring your child when you pick up your equipment to ensure proper sizing.  MSSC equipment includes skis, bindings, and poles, but not boots.  Backcountry Bike & Ski will also be available during ski pickup at a station in the parking lot for boot fittings. Backcountry Bike & Ski will not have change, so please bring exact change if you plan to use cash.

 Equipment availability is not guaranteed.  Equipment will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Membership Fees & Ski Rental.  Participation in Junior Nordics requires Family Membership in the Mat-Su Ski Club and an add-on fee for each child in the Junior Nordic program.

Scholarships are available for families with limited financial circumstances.  Contact prior to registration for details.

Expected fees and costs (click on blue text for link):

Mat-Su Ski Club Family Membership: $75

Junior Nordics Fee (per child): $100

MSB (Mat Su Borough) Parking Pass for GPRA $5/day or $40/year

Optional costs:

Ski and Pole rental from MSSC (per child) $50

Ski and Pole refundable deposit (per child) $150

Boot rental from Backcountry Bike & Ski (per child) $40

Wax Kit from Backcountry Bike & Ski $45

Boot rental and Wax Kit package from Backcountry Bike & Ski $75

(If you pay cash you must have exact change for paying Backcountry)