Tuesday, February 27, 2024

P.E. classes introduce Nordic skiing, despite weather challenges

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LEAVENWORTH – For at least a few days, Icicle River Middle School, Peshastin-Dryden, and Alpine Lakes Elementaries had just enough snow and decent weather for students to learn the basics of Nordic skiing during P.E. class.

“This year has been very tricky because normally we have a lot more [snow]...We’re going to go as long as we can,” said Icicle River P.E. Teacher Micah Reike.

Leavenworth Winter Sports Club groomed the school tracks on Jan. 28, allowing the students to get on their skis just before the rain. Elementary school P.E. Teacher Isabelle Auty was able to get her classes on skis the first two and a half days before calling it Wednesday afternoon.

To make the most of the situation, Auty used the bad weather as an opportunity to start a conversation with her students about mental toughness, taking extra precautions, and being extra prepared when being outdoors. 

“At Alpine [Lakes], they have character traits of the month, and the trait [this] month was perseverance. So, trying and trying through obstacles, and today our obstacle was the rain,” said Auty.

At Icicle River, the track started to melt the day after LWSC groomed it, due to the warm temperatures.

“It was a little harder for the kids to keep their skis in the grooves of the tracks because they basically melted. It's been a little challenging this year,” said Reike.

Reike plans to teach the class for as long as he can, while weather permits, because of the benefits he’s seen over the seven years of teaching the class. 

“We wanted the kids to have a well-rounded education. Physical activity, especially for middle school students, is so important because it helps with their well-being, [both] physically and emotionally. It's a great full-body workout for the middle school kids with low impact on their body,” said Reike.

Although it’s an individual sport, Reike has noticed it becomes a collective effort during class. Experienced kids will voluntarily help new kids, and even teachers from other classes will join the kids to ski during their planning period.

“It's good for the kids to see the other teachers out there also gliding on snow with them. The kids can see their teachers in a different light, not just in the classroom,” said Reike.

The sport is not only a way to get kids outside of the gym during the dark and cold winter months, but it’s also an opportunity to connect students to the communities and recreation available in town.

“It’s exposing all of our students who aren't already entrenched in the outdoor community that is Leavenworth because we do have families that aren't into those sports. It gives them a chance to get a little bit of what the Leavenworth area has to offer,” said Auty.

Taylor Caldwell: 509-433-7276 or taylor@ward.media

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