Bill Koch League Kids Ski Program
at Sleepy Hollow

Four pictures of Kids skiing at Sleepy Hollow in the Bill Koch Ski Program.

2023-24 Bill Koch League

Bill Koch League is a Nordic ski program designed for kids in Kindergarten through Middle School. Each session includes ski technique lessons, games, fun and adventures on the trails at Sleepy Hollow. Some kids become racers, some kids will ski tour on and off trail, some kids become back-country skiers and all will come to appreciate a great ski on fresh powder! We have two programs: the BKL Youth Ski Program for kids in K-8th grade and the Middle School Race Program for kids in 5th-8th grade. See information for each program below. Hope to see you at Sleepy this winter:).

Registration for the 2023-24 season opens online Monday, October 16th @ 9:00 am!​ Registration and payment options at the bottom.


BKL Youth Ski Program:

This program is for skiers of all experience levels, in K-8th grade. We meet once a week on FRIDAYS OR SUNDAYS, and we plan to have an option to do TWO DAYS this year. During the program, skiers meet up with their small ski groups (based on age and experience), go for a fun ski and have a bigger group lesson (15-20 kids) with an instructor on their skiing technique. Each smaller ski group is led by a volunteer ski leader. See below to sign up to volunteer! We are ask that ALL participating families sign up for a volunteer slot. The goal of this program is FUN, camaraderie and ski skills improvement over the course of the season. Kids play games on skis, try different challenges, participate in activities and support each other within a smaller ski group. There are also opportunities throughout the season for all skiers (K-8) who wish to experience racing and are welcome and encouraged to participate in local community races (Wednesdays Night Worlds @ Sleepy!), NENSA & BKL Club youth races and the annual BKL Festival at the end of the season! Max of 130 skiers in this program.

Program Time:

Fridays* 4:00 – 5:30 PM OR Sundays 2:00 – 3:30 PM

*Two Day Option: For Friday program, there will be an option to add on Adventure Ski Sundays for those kids who would like to do TWO DAYS of BKL. They will do group lessons on Friday and a full ski on Sundays in bigger groups. More to come!

Important Dates:

  • Volunteer Ski Leader Training: Saturday, December 2nd
  • First Friday Program: December 8th (snow dependent)
  • First Sunday Program: December 10th (snow dependent)
  • Friday Dates: December 8th, 15th, (no programs Dec. 22nd or 29th), January 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th, February 2nd, 9th and 16th
  • Sunday Dates: December 10th, 17th (no programs Dec. 24th and 31st), January 7th, 14th, 21st & 28th, February 4th, 11th & 18th
  • The BKL Festival is on March 2-3 at Rikert Nordic Center in Ripton, Vermont. It’s a blast and a great way to wrap up the season!
  • A few other club events will be added as the season gets closer:).

Ski Technique & Group Lesson Options:

FYI- When you register your child, you will need to choose from one of the techniques below. This also impacts which ski groups they are in because we group skiers based on skiing experience and ski technique. If your child wants to be with a friend, they will have to be the same technique and somewhat similar ability. We do our best to put friends together but cannot always guarantee friend requests.

Classic Technique Group: All new or beginner skiers should sign up for classic technique. It is the traditional striding technique and builds an excellent foundation of ski skills.

Mixed Technique Group: This group is does both classic and skating techniques. We switch off between skating and classic each week. The mixed technique group is for skiers that have a little more experience (not beginners), with at least 1 or 2 years of classic skiing experience. Most times, it is best to wait until at least 3rd grade to start skating. We really encourage most kids to do BOTH classic and skating at some point.

Program Fee and Rentals:

    • Program Fee: $170 per child, includes a season’s pass! Note: NOT a VT Nordic Reciprocal pass, will need to purchase a family pass for reciprocal benefits) Scholarships are available- get in touch with the Program Director for more information.
    • Season Ski Rental Fee: $100 per child (+ $6 in tax). We will be giving kids one pair of boots to use and take home with them. Skis and poles stay at Sleepy Hollow and are for use at Sleepy Hollow.
    • Rentals & Ski technique: The kids are welcome (and encouraged!) to do both techniques, especially if they have their own ski gear. They will need to choose either skate or classic boots to keep for the season.
    • Helpful Tip with Rentals: If you plan to ski with your child frequently at other places besides Sleepy Hollow, you may think about purchasing equipment for cost efficiency or doing a season rental from Ski Rack or elsewhere.
    • Rental Equipment Fitting: Thursday, November 16th will be the equipment fitting date for all those who plan to rent ski gear this year. Sign up for fitting slots coming in early November.

Volunteering for BKL Youth Ski Program- all families sign up please!

We are asking that ALL participating BKL Youth Ski Program families sign up for a volunteer slot. FYI- You won’t need to necessarily volunteer every week- the minimum would be at least one job on one day of the program this winter and the most would be a ski leader, which helps every week.

Calling all parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends and mentors! Take an active role in the BKL Youth Ski Program! Whether you are a seasoned skier or not, there is a job for you! Volunteers are the KEY to our successful Bill Koch ski program. Our volunteer jobs include:

  • Check-In Table: Fridays (3:45-4:15 pm) and/or Sundays (1:45-2:15 pm), greeting skiers and parents as they come in and answering questions
  • Set up Crew: Fridays (3:30-3:45 pm and 5:30-5:40 pm)/Sundays (1:30-1:45 pm and 3:30-3:40 pm), setting up table, bibs and group signs, and putting away at the end
  • Games Keeper: Fridays (3:45-4:00 pm and 5:30-5:45 pm) and/or Sundays (1:45-2:00 pm and 3:30-3:45 pm), bring game supplies up to meadow, help set up cones, clean up cones after program and bring game supplies back down
  • Photographer/Videographer: Fridays (4:00-5:30 pm) and/or Sundays (2:00-3:30 pm), take photos and videos a few times in the season, free skiing for the day too!
  • Super Ski Leader: Every week- Fridays (3:45-5:30) and/or Sundays (1:45-3:30), meet up with ski group, take the group out on a fun ski and bring them to their lesson. The Program Director also provides a weekly lesson of ski tips and tricks based on the group lesson focus. Free skiing for the days of the program too!

PLEASE SIGN UP TO VOLUNTEER HERE

Please sign up early! If you have questions, get in touch with the Program Director, Heather LaRocca, via email or phone: laroccabeal@gmail.com or 802-345-7837.


BKL Middle School Race Program:

The Middle School race program is for skiers in grades 5th-8th who are excited to ski, to try racing and to learn both classic and skate skiing techniques. We work on striking a balance between doing some good skiing, learning technique, building endurance and strength, building group camaraderie and having FUN. Our goal is really to encourage and support kids in personal improvement and taking on Nordic skiing as an enjoyable, life-long sport. We also work to really support the growth of those skiers who want to excel in racing. The practice sessions are more rigorous than the BKL Youth Ski Program and skiers must participate in at least 3 races over the course of the season, with 6 races being a good average for more experienced racers. Participants must have some skiing experience (cross-country or downhill) to register for this program. Some exceptions can be made for very athletic kids, but generally, kids who are new to skiing should register for the BKL Youth Ski Program. Max 30 skiers in this program.

Important Dates and Times:

  • NEW TIMES for practices on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:15 – 5:45 PM
  • Season runs November 28th – March 3rd
  • No practices on December 26th & 28th, February 27th and 29th
  • Races are during the week and on weekends- race calendar will be given out on the second week of practice.
  • Mark your calendar- The BKL Festival is on March 2-3 at Rikert Nordic Center in Ripton, Vermont. It’s a blast and a great way to wrap up the season!

Important Equipment Information:

  • Classic and Skate Gear: Skiers will need classic equipment (boots, skis, poles) and skate equipment (boots, skis, poles), as we are learning both techniques. We do not recommend combi skis. Combi boots will work just fine, and ultimately skiers will want to have classic and skating boots, as they best support each technique. Sizing for skis tends to be weight dependent- companies and gear stores often have sizing guides. Boots should be snug, like a running shoe, but still have some wiggle room for toes. Classic poles should come up to about the armpit in length and skate poles should come up to the upper lip (note- ski boots and skis will make skiers a little taller, so be sure to account for that with sizing).
  • Classic Skis- Waxable vs. Waxless (fish scales): If your skier HAS done a year or more of racing, we recommend getting waxable classic skis. If your ski has NOT raced before, waxless classic skis (fish scales) are preferable for the first year of racing. Waxless skis have a texture on the bottom that helps with grip on the uphills, making for an easier skiing experience. After they have a year or two of racing under their belt, they can move to waxable classic skis. For these skis, we apply a sticky wax for getting up hills, and it creates less drag on the downhills than fishscales, but it requires better technique to get the wax to stick. Please do get in touch if you have questions about this.
  • Sleepy Hollow Rentals: Rentals are a great option, especially if your child is in a growing phase and goes through a set of gear every season. Sleepy Hollow has rentals- kids take boots home, but skis and poles stay at Sleepy Hollow, with the exception of races at other venues. There are other gear shops that have great rental programs too, such as the Ski Rack in Burlington.
  • Helpful Tip with Rentals: If your child plans to ski frequently at other places besides Sleepy Hollow, you may think about purchasing equipment for cost efficiency or doing a season rental from Ski Rack or elsewhere.
  • All that said, ski gear is expensive and can add up, especially as your child is growing. Kids do not need the best gear, but getting the right sized gear can impact the growth and success of your skier over the course of the season.

Program Fee and Rentals:

  • Program Fee: $310 per child, includes a season’s pass! Note: NOT a VT Nordic Reciprocal pass, will need to purchase a family pass for reciprocal benefits) We have scholarships available! Get in touch with the Program Director for more information.
  • Season Ski Rental Fee: $100 per child (+ $6 in tax). We are giving skiers boots for the season. Skis and poles are for use at Sleepy Hollow only, except race days at other areas. Kids can use rentals any day of the week at Sleepy Hollow, and they can use both our classic waxless skis, or our skate skis.
  • Rental Equipment Fitting: Thursday, November 16th will be the equipment fitting date for all those who plan to rent ski gear this year. Sign up for fitting slots coming in early November.

BKL Program Registration and Payment

1. Complete Online Registration- links below open on October 16th @ 9:00 am

  • FRIDAY BKL Youth Ski Program (K-8th) Registration- sorry, program full! Email Program Director to join the waitlist
  • SUNDAY BKL Youth Ski Program (K-8th) Registration– sorry, program full! Email Program Director to join the waitlist
  • BKL Middle School Race Program (5th-8th) Registration- sorry, program full! Email Program Director to join the waitlist

2. Complete Payment for Program

Payment options include:

  • Pay online via Sleepy Hollow Square Site
  • Pay by check- Make checks payable to Sleepy Hollow Inn and mail to Heather LaRocca, 4541 VT Route 100, Waterbury, VT 05676.

*Note: Payment must be received within one week of registration to confirm spots.


Questions?

Contact the Sleepy Hollow Bill Koch League Program Director,

Heather LaRocca, laroccabeal@gmail.com or 802-345-7837