Emma Corwin, center facing, leads a class Saturday on the finer points of cross-country skiing at Lakewood Golf Club in Madison. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

MADISON — Cross-country skiers of all experience levels were invited to join Skowhegan Outdoors on Saturday to practice new skills and learn the basics.

Skowhegan Outdoors, a project of Main Street Skowhegan, typically holds meetups for the community to gather with their own supplies, but having a clinic like this is newer because they can now provide supplies to allow for more community participation. The event was done in concert with the Move More Kids program through Somerset Public Health.

“Recently we were given a fantastic deal on some cross-country skis and also a grant from Somerset Public Health,” said Emma Corwin, program manager at Skowhegan Outdoors.

Saturday’s event included technique training, warm-up activities and different games along the trails to help new skiers acclimate.

Participants were encouraged to reach out beforehand and share some skills that they would like to learn when they arrived. Because the event was hosted as a clinic, participation numbers were kept around 10 to 15 to ensure that everyone is being taught and paid attention to, Corwin said.

Previously, Kristina Cannon, executive director of Main Street Skowhegan, said that attendance of events hosted by Skowhegan Outdoors has nearly tripled in comparison to last summer. Each week, Skowhegan Outdoors hosts three programs for community members to participate in.

Ruby Couturier puts on a pair of cross-country ski boots Saturday to learn the finer points of cross country skiing at Lakewood Golf Club in Madison. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

“I think because of the pandemic people are coming out because they need something to do,” Cannon previously said. “It’s safe and we’re very strict on our COVID protocols. We want to make sure that people have something to do that is safe and being outside and exercising makes you feel better physically and mentally.”

Beginning around 10 a.m., Corwin began to give a course on the basics of skiing; first by teaching skiers how to use the equipment, how to move around and what to do after falling with a pair of skis on.

Once the group went over the basics, they practiced going around one of the trails on the property, about a third of a mile long.

Emma Corwin, teaches a class Saturday, explaining how to get up after falling while cross-country skiing, at Lakewood Golf Club in Madison. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

“Last year we had meetups, but we didn’t have skis to give,” Corwin said. “Now that we have skis, we can offer to brand-new, novice skiers and provide an opportunity for them to learn.”

Those looking to get involved in outdoor activities can borrow a range of gear from Main Street Skowhegan’s community gear library, or choose to rent equipment nearby at Down River Expeditions in Skowhegan.

Saturday’s clinic at the Lakewood trails was followed by a family friendly afternoon ski, hosted by Iver Lofving, a volunteer for the Jim Browne Foundation. That organization was formed to offer more recreational activities at the golf course. Lofving will continue to host the events every Saturday at 1 p.m. through the remainder of the  month, weather permitting.

Beginners take to the trails Saturday as they learn the finer points of cross-country skiing at Lakewood Golf Club in Madison. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

For the family clinic, skis are not provided but can be leased for the season; masks are required and hot chocolate is served.

“Every Saturday we’re going to learn some skills and have some hot chocolate,” Lofving said. “We are playing sharks and minnows next week and learning three kinds of turns. It’s a fun way to learn.”

The organization is hosting several events throughout the month, including a Family Nature Scavenger Hunt on Jan. 16 in Coburn Woods, from 10 a.m. to noon.

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