Ages: 6-11




Registration is closed but if you are interested in registering for this program please email [email protected] to see if there is still room!

All of our youth programs are designed around Sport Canada’s Long Term Athlete Development principles and Cross Country Canada’s program guidelines.  Jackrabbit sessions are created by grouping “like skilled” participants together. The objective of the program is for participants to learn basic cross-country ski skills, to instil 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. Weekly dry land training is offered from October until ski sessions begin in late November/early December depending on snow.

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.
  • Deliver well-structured programs.
  • Develop linear, lateral and multi-directional speed.
  • Nurture a team/social atmosphere.
  • Introduce competition in a team environment whenever possible.
  • Encourage inter-club social, skill and fitness-oriented ski activities

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

Covid Resources for Programs

Jackrabbits 1, 2

Ages 6, 7

Jackrabbits 3, 4

Ages 8, 9

Jackrabbits 5, 6

Ages 10, 11

**geared towards first-time skiers

**if you have previously been in JR 3/4 you should register for TA

Dates Nov. 26, 2022- Mar. 11, 2023 Nov. 26, 2022-Mar. 11, 2023 Nov. 26, 2022-Mar. 11, 2023 The cold weather cut-off for “Jackrabbits″ is  -15*C.
Total # of sessions 12 25 25
Sessions/wk. 1 2 2

Saturday 10:00-11:30

Tuesday 18:00-19:30

Saturday 10:00-11:30

Tuesday 18:00-19:30

Saturday 10:00-11:30

Cost $120 $250 $250
Registration Deadline October 31 or until program capacity is reached (whichever comes first) October 31 or until program capacity is reached (whichever comes first) October 31 or until program capacity is reached (whichever comes first)

No formal programming: Dec 19-Jan 2

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!

Head Coach: Jacqueline Akerman

A career ski and biathlon coach, Jacqueline has been involved as a high-performance coach for 25 years in a professional capacity. The Canada Winter Games started her off as both an athlete then a coach. As a former head coach of the Camrose Ski Club and Augustana University teams, she brings extensive and diverse experience to our programs. Jacqueline, a former Jr National Development Biathlon Team athlete, transitioned into a long-term leadership career with Biathlon Canada, coaching athletes, national and junior national teams at all levels, at countless national and international events, including Youth Olympic Games, four University Games, multiple World Cups, and Championships. Her role as Coach and Athlete Development Manager and Master Coach Developer has laid a foundation on which to build a strong training environment and talented athletes. Jacqueline is a member of Nordiq Canada’s – Coach Technical Committee, proudly serving our members across the country. She has an undergraduate degree in Physical Education and a Master’s degree in Coaching.
Sport has always been a focal point for Jacqueline – starting as a distance running athlete then skiing and biathlon, Jacq has a passion for the pursuit of excellence for herself and those around her, this laid the foundation to be an incredibly skilled coach. “I learned from a young age that knowledge and long-term excellence come from hard – smart work, dedication, and patience. That the key to success in sport and in life is enjoying the work of continual improvement in technical, tactical, physical, mental and life skills, the best athletes are those that are very well rounded and love the pursuit of excellence through sport”.

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.