Ages: 6-9




All of our youth programs are designed around Sport Canada’s Long Term Athlete Development principles and Cross Country Canada’s program guidelines. The Jackrabbits program is in the “FUNdamentals” stage of Athlete development (6 to 9 years of age). This program is created by grouping “like-skilled” participants together. The program’s objective is for participants to learn basic cross-country ski skills and instill a lifelong interest in the sport. Jackrabbits will ski in a group setting either once or twice a week for 14 weeks for a total of 14 or 28 sessions.

Jackrabbit Program Goals:

  • Encourage FUN and participation,
  • Develop ABC’s: Agility, Balance, Coordination, and speed.
  • Encourage frequent cross-country skiing during the season.
  • Develop good technique habits through repeated practice
  • Utilize games and ski playgrounds to develop technique, speed skills, and fitness.
  • Develop linear, lateral, and multi-directional speed.
  • Nurture a team/social atmosphere.
  • Introduce competition in a team environment whenever possible.

All participants will be registered in an OK Cup (local or neighboring), and Club Championships as part of the registration/program cost. At this stage of development, the LTAD recommends 4-6 competitions in a season.

Alternate Location practices for Jackrabbit 3/4:

    • One other practice at a close-by race event for the coinciding Saturday ie: Home race, Larch Hills (Salmon Arm), or Telemark (West Kelowna), for a total of two Saturday sessions that race experience focused.
    • Other Regional Race events (OK cups, Loppets, close BC cups) are encouraged to a total of LTAD 4-6 race experiences.


Parents are required to help as parent sweepers for at least 4-6 sessions throughout the season. The sweeper’s role is to stay right behind the last skier of the group, making sure no one gets left behind. There will be a sign-up sheet sent out closer to the program’s start date.

* An SLNC season pass is required for participants in this program.

* Inclusiveness is an SLNC value and priority. Instruction for children with special needs is part of all Jackrabbit programs. Please contact the Programs Coordinator to discuss any needs that your child has so that we can set them up for success.

Program Details

Jackrabbit 1/2
Ages 6-9 yrs old
Jackrabbit 3/4
Ages 6-9 yrs old
Dates Nov. 18, 2023- March 16th, 2024 Nov. 18, 2023-March 16th, 2024 The cold weather cut-off for “Jackrabbit″ is  -15*C.
Total # of sessions 14 28
Sessions/wk. 1 2
Days Saturday 10:00-11:30 Tuesday 18:00-19:30

Saturday 10:00-11:30

Cost $140 $270
Registration Deadline October 31 2023 or until program capacity is reached (whichever comes first) October 31 2023 or until program capacity is reached (whichever comes first)

Parent Athlete Orientation/Information Session:

November 4th at 10:00

No formal programming:

  • Dec 22 – Jan 5
  • One possible high-level race event
  • Cold weather cut-offs


Coaching Course Opportunities: 

Intro to Community Coaching (ICC)

Community Coaching Course (CC)



SDP Coach: Deirdra Frank

Deirdra grew up in Vernon skiing with her parents and has been part of the Sovereign Lake ski community for many years. She started out as an athlete on the cross country and biathlon teams, competing in numerous races and events as part of the SLNC Ski Team. Following her younger years of racing, she has worked at Sovereign instructing in our S’Cool Ski Program and as lodge front counter staff. More recently, Deirdra was co-leader for two seasons on the growing WinterFit Program at Sovereign Lake. Deirdra’s love for this sport has only ever grown throughout the years. She is happy to combine sports with her business management degree.

“Sovereign Lake is like a home away from home for me.”


Jackrabbits 1/2 Volunteer Coaches

Shane Pearce

Coach Experience: 2 years

Favorite Trail would have to be World Cup.

Fun Fact: I have two daughters who are just learning to ski. This season one will be in bunnies, the other starting Rabbits. I am excited they get to learn on the excellent snow and trails at Sovereign Lake.

Andrew Casey

Coaching Experience:  since 2007
Favorite trail:  Silver Queen – skied classic
Fun Fact: Love to coach kids and see them develop joy through skiing

Jeff Kwantes

Coaching Experience: 2 years

Favorite Trail: Silver Queen

Fun Fact: I am house Slytherin (at least according to the Harry Potter Pottermore quiz

Emily Morel

Coach Experience: 10 years
Favorite Trail: Aberdeen
Fun Fact: I have skied in 3 countries

Jackrabbits 3/4 Volunteer Coaches
Ange Ozero

Coaching Experience: 2022 is my second year of coaching

Favorite Trail: Coyote Caper

Fun Fact: My daughter directed me to discover my love for cross-country ski coaching/instructing!


Kris Markson

Coaching Experience: about 9 years now at Sovereign.   Jonah would have been in Bunnies back then and that is where I got my start in the Coaching community.

Favorite Trail:  Jessica’s Trail.  So nice with a dusting of fresh snow!

Fun Fact:  I did not start skiing until I was 30.  Never too late to start something new!


David Gill
Coaching Experience: Been an athlete all my life, coached running groups, and first time coaching in cross-country skiing!
Favorite Trial: Never even skied at Sovereign, but I’m sure I’ll love the steepest/hardest trail we’ve got!
Fun Fact: We moved to Vernon for skiing, without having tried skiing here first. I’ll be discovering the trails with you guys this year. Can’t wait for you to show me around!


Equipment Sources: Classic skis and poles (waxless or waxable are both ok), mitts, toques, buff, non-cotton long underwear and lots of thin layers as over layers (light fleece and light shell). Snow pants are ok but please no snow jackets: kids are moving and grooving at this age!

Ski equipment and ski preparation tips for Jackrabbits – click here.
Winter Safety for Jackrabbits – click here.
My Trail Etiquette Promise – click here.

Rentals –Rentals are available to Program Participants.  A full selection of quality, affordable, classic and skate gear for all ages is available at SLNC. Please see SLNC staff for help.

Retail – Stussi Sports in Vernon provides an excellent selection of quality gear with advice to match. They also have a rotating “kids gear exchange” program and info on ski swaps. They are a huge supporter of our club, programs and events.

Facebook: Sovereign Lake Programs Gear Swap

Q. Where do Jackrabbit sessions take place ?

Jackrabbits meet in various locations around the stadium and are identified with signage.  Groups will continue to meet in the same location for the duration of the winter.  The first session of Jackrabbits can often be a bit chaotic with many new participants nervous with anticipation but coaches and volunteers are available to help direct you to the correct area.

Q. How long are Jackrabbit sessions?

Jackrabbit program goals are achieved through lively 1.5-2.0 hour sessions. This allows time for instruction, games & supervised, independent exploring in the ski playground.

Q. What new skiing skills will my child learn at this level?
JackRabbits continue to advance the skills they learned in the previous season and new classic techniques learned at this level include: diagonal stride, one-step double poling, downhill tuck, step turn, and parallel side slipping. Skating is formally introduced at this age and includes free skate, diagonal skate, skate turn, one skate, two skate, and offset.

Q. What does a typical Jackrabbit session consist of ?

Coaches use large and small groups, games, drills and longer continuous skiing bouts on varied terrain to encourage natural learning and “discovery”.  Group sessions generally include ski play to warm up, a balance and agility game, review and introduction of a key skill/s, a game to emphasize new skills, and then ski play and wrap up.

Q. What is the split between classic and skating sessions ?

50/50. There are roughly the same number of classic and skating sessions. A full schedule for the winter is posted well in advance so that you know which occurs on which day. We try to arrange classic sessions back to back and skating sessions back to back to allow continuity.  Jackrabbits 1/2 only focus on classic whereas Jackrabbits 3/4, 5/6 work on both classic and skating.

Q. What the cold weather cancellation policy?

Cold weather cut-off for “Jackrabbits″ is  -15*C.

Q. How do I learn more about waxing and what waxes should I have for my Jackrabbit ?.

A list of recommended waxes will be provided at the beginning of the season. Advice and basic wax instruction is delivered to Jackrabbits (and parents) as part of their programs. Introductory to advanced wax clinics are available to the public through Stussi Sports. Contact your coach or Stussi Sports for details.

Q. Do children race at this stage ?

Yes, opportunities to race are offered and encouraged. An age appropriate introduction to racing (relays, obstacle courses, sprints, individual challenges) is an important part of athletic development. Coach support at races is included in the program through participation in:

  • SLNC Candy Cane Classic
  • BC U13 Championships
  • Opportunities to participate in local & regional Okanagan Cup & BC Cups are available.

Q. Is there a wrap up event at the end of the program ?

The formal season ends with festivities and games following the SLNC Best in Snow on Saturday March 11th.

Q. Will my Jackrabbit make good progress by skiing just 2x/wk in the formal sessions?

Every Jackrabbit [and parent] progresses at their own rate. While Jackrabbit sessions provide a great introduction to skiing and help you get started on key ski skills and support you along the way…your child [and you] will improve quicker the more you get out!  We strongly encourage parents to take full advantage of our fantastic snow and trail system by getting out at least one other time when they can with their kids. A short family ski following Saturday’s formal morning session works well for many families.

Q. What opportunities are there for my child to “move up” to the next level(s) ?

We do our best to place every child in a level and group that serves their current skill level and challenges them sufficiently so they improve. Coaches at every level/group communicate with each other regularly and make adjustments when appropriate and practical. For Jackrabbits getting ready to move up to Track Attack, we provide opportunities on select Thursday evenings to join the Track Attack sessions.

Q. As a parent/guardian learning to ski…how can I help/keep up to my own Jackrabbit ?

Ultimately, parents/guardians will be the ones taking their own youngsters skiing outside of lesson times. One of the objectives at this stage is to assist parents in understanding the technique skills and to share ideas of how to facilitate their child’s learning. No worries if you need help improving yourself – we have lessons designed just for you and well qualified instructors for every level of skier !  Check with our staff to line up a certified instructor who can help you with your own skiing skills.

Q. Do parents/guardians accompany their children during Jackrabbits ?

A. This is the stage when children are skiing independently during sessions, in small groups led by certified coaches.  BUT, we do need and want your help as all youth programs run on parent volunteers! Read on…

Q. What kind of help does the club need and how can I pitch in ?

It takes many volunteers to run club programs and activities  we need your help with:

  • Coaching  – introductory and community coach workshops are provided and paid for with support and mentoring along the way for all coaches in our programs.
  • Coordinating programs – registration, refreshments, hot chocolate table, pizza night…
  • Equipment set-up – hoops/balls/props, playground maintenance, special events…
  • Races – timing, stadium & course set-up, marshalling, traffic control, bib gathering…
  • Other – everything big n’small happens because people pitch in – please just offer or ask us !

Q. Are coaches certified?

Yes. All our volunteer coaches are certified with NCCP standards.