PACCSA ski lessons
PACCSA offers free group lessons at Laurel Ridge XC Ski Center throughout the ski season, ie Jan-Feb and maybe into March, snow permitting. In 2021 the lessons will be for small groups of up to 6 people, comprising one family or one household, arranged by pre-registration at least 2 days in advance (the earlier, the better), and after January 4th. They will be subject to whatever state/county advisories and regulations for recreational sport are in place at the time. Click here to read DCNR's what's open page. Remember that Laurel Ridge XC Ski Center is in a State Park (managed by PA's DCNR) and so there are new special rules for out-of-state visitors.
The lesson instructors are PACCSA members. Participants are encouraged but not required to join PACCSA.
Lessons will only take place if the trails are groomed. Laurel Ridge XC Ski Center trails are groomed by the concessionaire, Riversport, not PACCSA. Almost all lessons will be at the weekends, but there's a chance that someone might be available to teach during the week if the snow cover is exceptionally good.
There is no charge for the lessons, but a trail pass must be purchased from the concession. For equipment rental, see our gear rentals and retailers page and also the list of PACCSA member discounts. For trail fees, see Riversport's Laurel Ridge page. (Adult trail fee $10, Nov 2020).
The meeting point for lessons at Laurel Ridge XC Ski Center is the flat area beside the concession building (this is the wooden building nearest to the parking lot). As you walk up to the building from the parking lot, the lesson area is on the left, immediately before the building. Please allow plenty of time to purchase your trail pass - on busy weekends the line can be quite long. If you need to rent ski gear, please allow plenty of time for this too. Directions to Laurel Ridge are here.
The lessons usually last around an hour - in 2021 they will be shorter. Instruction is given on the basic skills of classic nordic skiing - falling and rising, balance drills, diagonal stride, use of poles and also hill technique. This is followed by short outing on the trails to practice these skills, if time permits.
For clothing, dress in layers, avoid cotton, and make sure that the outer layer is windproof and smooth-textured, to shed snow (snow sticks to wool and fleece). Clothing for winter running or cycling would also be suitable for xc skiing, but add an extra layer as you will be moving more slowly at first. The innermost and middle layers should be wicking material, eg wool or polyester. Don't forget gloves or mittens (not wool), a hat and a neck gaiter, scarf or buff which can be used as a face covering, sunglasses and sunscreen or wind protector, and a change of dry clothes (especially shirt, socks & gloves) for afterwards.