ABOUT FAR WEST
Far West Nordic Ski Education Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote the sport of cross country skiing and facilitate competitive XC skiing for juniors (under age 20), seniors (ages 20-29) and masters (age 30 and up). Far West Nordic is particularly active with juniors, bringing coaching and a variety of training programs to our younger generations. By joining Far West, you’ll be helping kids stay healthy and active, and you’ll be supporting cross country ski athletes of all ages and levels of ability.
WHO WE ARE
We're cross country skiing enthusiasts and racers -- and we want to attract more people into this phenomenal sport! Far West Nordic is here to serve individuals of all ages and abilities, for both skate and classic skiing. We support a wide variety of XC ski programs in California, Nevada, and Arizona and encourage individuals to participate in the many competitive ski events offered in our region.
Far West Nordic is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation, officially named Far West Nordic Ski Education Association. As a division of the United States Ski Association (USSA), our mission is to promote, develop, and expand XC (Nordic) ski racing within the USSA Far West Region (California, Nevada and Arizona). Our vision is to develop cross-country skiers to their full potential through our various educational programs and clinics and by offering world-class coaching and education.
WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT IT
XC skiing offers wonderful opportunities for anyone that enjoys the outdoors. For junior skiers, XC skiing promotes athleticism, teamwork, and a sense of accomplishments that comes from building and achieving endurance. Masters skiers derive many health benefits by staying in aerobic shape and enjoy the camaraderie of each other’s company on the trails and at the races. XC skiing uses all the major muscle groups, offers a great cardiovascular workout, and is a low impact sport that's usually easy on the body's joints. Many of us involved in this sport are convinced it "keeps us young", and we're inspired by many of our masters skiers that are still actively competing well into their 70s and beyond.
JUNIORS, SENIORS, and MASTERS
Far West Nordic serves a wide range of skiers: Juniors (under age 20), Seniors(age 20-29), and Masters (ages 30 and up). In terms of ability, our members range from elite racers who desire to compete in the sport at a high level to casual racers and recreational XC skiers. The majority of Far West Nordic's work and budget is focused on supporting, developing, and nurturing our Junior skiers. Juniors need the most on-going training and guidance, and this requires significant financial support.
At the other end of the scale, Far West's Masters programs are designed to motivate and encourage on-going participation and help Masters skiers improve their skiing and reach their personal goals. Our masters serve as the “backbone” of the organization, providing significant financial support and volunteer time.
Our Seniors provide a unique “bridge” between Juniors and Masters. Seniors offer positive role models for Juniors and leverage Far West coaches' work by helping with Junior events and programs. Seniors also serve the Masters community by supporting Masters instruction and our various Masters programs. Seniors often find themselves at a crossroads in life as they strike out on their own; those that desire to compete in the sport at a high level are often challenged by balancing training and the need to work to pay the bills.
Far West’ Nordic’s Seniors program is currently a priority, and is committed to developing world-class athletes in our region.
Our Junior and Senior programs are subsidized by Far West Nordic, and funded by our business sponsors, donations, and income raised from Far West Masters programs.
Far West Nordic’s Masters programs are open to adults of all ages and skill levels. The programs consist primarily of a variety of on and off-snow training, skate and classic technique clinics, performance testing, race course previews, and presentations on topics such as training and conditioning, heart rate zone training, pre-race preparation, etc.. These programs are led by top-notch XC coaches and leaders in sports performance.
Far West Nordic also offers several racing programs for its members. The Masters Challenge is a race series to see how you stack up competitively against your age group peers. The series consists of 10 races, of which any 5 must be finished. A racer’s best 5 races are scored in 5 year age groups and at the end of the season, the top 3 racers in each age group receive awards.
The Sierra Ski Chase is open to skiers of all abilities and is going into its 17th season. It’s a low-key racing series and all Far West members are eligible to participate. The purpose of the Sierra Ski Chase is to encourage participation in racing events regardless of a skier’s abilities. All members who participate in at least 5 races this season will receive a commemorative participation prize and are eligible for raffle prizes donated by sponsors. New members receive a bonus prize after only 3 qualifying races. Two important changes this season: ALL races that are at least 5K count, and juniors are now also eligible to participate.
Quality coaching is a critical ingredient to achieving our mission. Far West Nordic’s coaches are highly trained professionals, many of whom have competed and worked at national and international level competitions. Far West Nordic supports a variety of coach development and training, as well as direct financial support to coaching staff. XC coaches sacrifice a lot to pursue a career in coaching; it's part of our mission to find ways to make it easier for coaches to give so much of themselves to the community and to Far West members.
Racing is a way to challenge yourself and brings the community together in a positive way. Racers vary widely in terms of age, skill, and ability from "elite" pro-level racers to "citizen" racers that ski for fun and to push themselves a bit.
If you've never participated in a XC race before, we'll help you get started. Our workshops help you prepare for your first ski race. The "race scene" can be intimidating, but it can be as simple as just get-ting on your skis and seeing how quickly you make it around the course -- you don't have to wear a lycra race suit to have fun! One of the most important benefits of racing is that it makes you a better skier, as you'll discover ways to ski more efficiently and with less effort -- that translates into having more fun when you hit the trails on your own. As with any sport, the better you get at XC skiing, the more you'll enjoy your time on skis!
VOLUNTEERING: A WAY TO GIVE BACK
Far West Nordic depends on membership dues , our business sponsors, the commitment of our coaches, and financial support provided by our members. The other essential area that we depend on is the time that is so generously donated by our members. Through volunteering at race events, Far West Nordic committees, or by serving on our board, our members keep Far West Nordic moving forward as an organization, making events and programs happen.
FAR WEST NORDIC WEBSITE
We actively maintain this website throughout the year, serving as a hub of communications between our members, ski clubs, ski areas, and the ski industry. We work with different race venues to coordinate scheduling and keep all schedule and event information up to date on the Far West website. With over 1 million page views per year, the Far West website is referenced continuously by individuals and businesses that are active in the sport.
We post race results to the Far West website and maintain a detailed archive of results from prior years so individuals can track their progress over time. In addition, we post pictures and videos from events that are of interest to our members. We also provide valuable articles, technique tips and information on upcoming clinics and programs. Far West Nordic has a presence on Facebook.com and also offers Senior, Masters, and Coaches blogs for members.
WHERE OUR MONEY GOES
Far West Nordic is fortunate to have many members volunteer their time and offer pro-bono services to our organization. Thanks to our members, coaches, board, and Far West committee members that are actively involved as volunteers, we are able to run a very lean operation with a very small percentage of our budget going towards administrative expenses.
There are only a few races and events that generate all of our income. If you are going to race please attend a fundraiser. The proceeds go to supporting Junior, Senior and Master cross country skiing in the division.
- Wine Tasting, Raffle and Auction. THE cross country ski social event of the season. Not only is everyone there but there is good wine and a great raffle and auction. Come see what the auctioneer is wearing THIS year!
- Tahoe Rim Race & Tour. All proceeds from this race go to the Far West Nordic and Auburn Ski Club Junior Skier programs.
- Billy Dutton Uphill. Billy was as athlete extraordinary endurance, equally famous for his great smile as he was for his daily (!) routine of skiing UP the Mountain Run on classic skis. As one of the founders of Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue, Billy's legacy lives on today. This 3.2 mile Uphill race from the base of Squaw to High Camp commemorates Billy's life and his many contributions to our community. All proceeds from the Billy Dutton Uphill go to benefit Far West Nordic's juniors program.
Far West Nordic offers different levels of membership for juniors, individuals, and families, starting at very nominal rates. We see "membership" as a two-way street: in exchange for the support we receive from our members, we aim to provide at least as much value in return.
Membership benefits include valuable trail pass discounts at many ski areas, eligibility for Far West Nordic programs and clinics, and much more. For complete details and to join, see our membership page.
photos by Mark Nadell and Olof Carmel