The Mazamas offers a variety of classes for all ability levels. Learn new skills in mountaineering, rock climbing, first aid, ski mountaineering, and more.
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The Mazama Nordic Ski School strives to meet students at their current skill level and take them up a notch (or two!). Whether you've never strapped into a ski binding, are an alpine skier who wants a new challenge, a ski mountaineer who wants to improve your skill set, or a nordic skier who is ready for the next level—this class is for you!
We remove impediments to progress by encouraging you to ski on high performance equipment—you should not have to fight with your skis in order to turn. Starting with groomed runs served by high speed lifts, we aim to maximize your skiing time while progressing to more difficult terrain as your skills and interests grow.
The Mazama Nordic Ski School offers three types of cross-country skiing classes: Classic, Telemark, and Backcountry. Ski Mountaineering is taught as a separate program.
The Nordic Ski School program consists of one mandatory “Meet Your Instructor” Orientation followed by 3 class sessions on consecutive weekends (Saturdays OR Sundays depending on preference noted in your registration). After being accepted into the course, students will be placed into groups based on their skill levels and stay with those groups throughout the course. Classes are typically held in late January/early February.
Classic Cross Country Skiing
Matching students’ skills to the appropriate class helps to ensure a safe and fun learning experience. Students should consider their current skill level when choosing their class including endurance, how balanced and stable you feel on skis, number of miles you ski, and the terrain you are able to ski comfortably.
If you have downhill skiing experience and endurance, but want to learn the basics of Nordic skiing, a novice or intermediate class is probably appropriate for you.
Skill Level Criteria
- Have not skied before or for a number of years
- Skiing on gentle hills feels out of control
- Unable to demonstrate step turn, snow plow, and/or diagonal stride
- Unable to ski 2 miles on varied terrain without falling numerous times
- Skied regularly last season (at least 4 times out)
- Able to demonstrate, but not yet mastered step turn, snow plow, and diagonal stride
- Able to ski 3 miles on varied terrain without falling numerous times
- Able to ski up hills somewhat comfortably
- Able to comfortably ski at least 4 miles on varied terrain
- Desire to increase skills and efficiency
- Desire to go on ski tours longer than 5 miles
- Mastered step turn, snow plow, and diagonal stride
- Mastered step turn, snow plow, and diagonal stride
- Able to comfortably ski 7 or more miles on varying terrain
- Desire to improve rhythm and better manage transitions
For those who want to develop the skills and confidence to get off the beaten path. This class will emphasize winter backcountry navigation and negotiating difficult terrain with safety and comfort. Intermediate cross-country skills and intermediate navigation (map/compass) are required.
Note: This is Nordic Backcountry and will not cover Ski Mountaineering skills, which is a separate class.
TELEMARK/Free-Heel Skiing (NORDIC DOWNHILL)
No matter what you call it, it is the ultimate go anywhere set of skiing skills. Uphill, Downhill, Back country, Touring — you can go anywhere on any terrain if you can telemark. Thanks to the new style tele gear and techniques, gone are the days of deep knee bending and pain, leaving skiiers with the ear to ear perma-grin of success and fun.
The Mazamas Telemark Class has 4 outcomes that our students achieve year after year. You will: ski the Magic Mile/open terrain/moderately steep, link telemark turns, ski a black diamond, and ski through the trees. Usually with a low student to instructor ratio we are able to maximize one on one instruction which allows you to not only work through the progression of skiing skills, but also helps in identifying and removing roadblocks that allow you to jump forward to a new level of skiing.
The Nordic Ski School is held in the winter and includes a combination of lecture and field sessions. Class dates are announced in October and the application period is typically open in December.
Groups meet three consecutive weekends, either on Saturdays or Sundays. Applicants can list their preference for which day on their application.
Low—Nordic Ski School requires a minimal time commitment on weekends.
Short—Nordic Ski School takes place over a 3–4 week period.
In 2018 the tuition* was $110 for members and $130 for nonmembers.
*lift tickets are not included
Orientation takes place at the Mazama Mountaineering Center in SE Portland. Classes are held in the Mt. Hood area.
The actual class content and location may vary at the discretion of each instructor because of snow conditions or the particular needs of the students.
Carpooling with other students in your group is encouraged and is the customary way to get up to the mountain.
The entire Nordic Ski School accepts appx. 100 people each year. This group is then split into cohorts of appx. 10 based on skill level.
We are offering a limited number of scholarships to allow students to participate who will not be able to do so without financial assistance and whose participation can help expand the Mazamas membership base beyond current cultural, economic, and ethnic demographics.
A scholarship is for course tuition ONLY. Mazamas may cover the cost of your course up to 90% of the course tuition based on factors listed above. Other costs associated with the course may apply. You must have access to a computer, smartphone, or tablet to participate in the course. Please see course home page for associated costs and logistics. All scholarship awardees will qualify for select course gear at a discounted rate.
Please click here to apply for a scholarship. Applications are due by Sunday, November 4th. The Mazamas will contact you with details of the status of your scholarship application before BCEP registration opens.
The Mazamas do NOT provide equipment for this class. Skis, boots and poles may be rented from most local shops. Gear rental costs are around $12–15 per day for Nordic gear, and $25–30 per day for telemark gear.
The Nordic Ski School instructors are Nordic skiing enthusiasts and volunteer to teach Nordic skiing simply for the love of the sport. They have First Aid and CPR certification and receive professional instructor training (Wy’East Nordic), guidelines, and support from the Mazamas. The Nordic Committee pays for these trainings! Each class also has at least one assistant instructor.
If you are interested in teaching or assisting with a Mazama Nordic Ski School class, please apply here before December 1.