Foothills Exchange Opportunities

Foothills Nordic Ski Club has been involved with several athlete exchanges over the past few years. Participants benefit greatly from these exchanges, growing both as athletes and as persons, learning from their host family while experiencing new surroundings.  In some cases, exchanges are life-changing for participants.  Exchanges are another great FNSC benefit!

One Week National Exchanges

National exchanges are carefully organized by parent volunteers from the participating ski clubs. Participants take an active role in planning, preparing and fundraising for their exchange, as well as helping to organize activities while hosting their reciprocating group.  Grants to offset costs are pursued through programs like the Canada Sports Friendship Exchange Programs and Experiences Canada.

This year, our competitive and non-competitive athletes from cross country and biathlon were invited to register for two different one-week exchanges in Ottawa and Nova Scotia.  Foothills families will be hosting both of the reciprocating groups at the same time in late November/early December.  33 FNSC athletes registered to participate.  This is extraordinary!  Nordic skiing in a new exciting environment will be front and centre for these athletes, but lots of time will be reserved for fun too.

Nakkertok Exchange – Twenty-one athletes born in 2004/2005 will be participating in an exchange with athletes from the Nakkertok Ski Club in Ottawa in early February. Their schedule isn’t confirmed yet, but previous Nakkertok exchange participants skied in a duathlon at the Nakkertok Nordic Centre, skated under the stars on the Rideau Canal, crossed the interprovincial bridge into Quebec to visit the Canadian Museum of Civilization, sampled famous beaver tails, skied into a hut in Gatineau Park for a fondue dinner, plus MORE.  You get the picture.  Exchanges are FUN!

Maritimes Exchange – Twelve athletes born in 2002/2003 will be heading to Nova Scotia in early March for an exchange experience with Nova Scotia and New Brunswick Nordic ski teams.  This is the first time our athletes have participated in an exchange in the Maritimes.  They will be participating in a local race and traveling around Nova Scotia in search of great snow and lots of fun times.

Registration for these exchanges is now closed.  Stay tuned to hear about national exchange opportunities for the 2018/2019 ski season. It is groups of dedicated parents, with FNSC’s executive providing oversight, that take the initiative to coordinate national exchanges.  Grant applications must be submitted a minimum of four months prior to travel dates.

International Exchanges

FNSC recently established an exchange partnership with the Club Ski Nordique in Villard de Lans (VDL), France. The exchange is aimed at athletes in Grades 9 or 10.  The participating French school is Lycée Jean Prevost, a sport school in VDL, which offers free French immersion for Foothills exchange athletes. Both clubs offer free regular training for exchange athletes, with the costs for rifle rental and training camps paid for by the athletes’ families. Villard de Lans is a picturesque town one hour southeast of Lyon in the Vercors Massif mountains.  Because of its small size, most cross-country and biathlon amenities are within walking or biking distance. Club Ski Nordique VDL is a smaller club than Foothills, but it is just as established, having celebrated its 50th Anniversary two years ago.

Two FNSC athletes, Pascale and Noah, went to France this past Spring to train with the Club Ski Nordique VDL.  Noah’s exchange partner, Raphael, is now living in Canada and training with FNSC.  Another two FNSC athletes have exchange partners here now (Julie and Louna) and they will be heading to France in 2018 and 2019.

What is the approval process? Athletes interested in pursuing an exchange with VDL can contact FNSC’s Biathlon Director: [email protected]. If the exchange being pursued is during the school year, Foothills can offer two athletes exchanges at the same time. This ensures that coaches can still provide high-quality training to all athletes. The Biathlon Director manages the Foothills approval process, and will share approved exchange offers to Club Ski Nordique VDL.

What are the costs? The family of each athlete pays for the flight and associated fees (ex, Unaccompanied Minor Fee).  Other exchange costs are worked out between the two families.

What if French language skills are limited? A shorter summer trip might be more amenable to a weak or non-French speaker, depending on the host family’s English abilities.

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