Northern Michigan junior ski programs are perfect for those kids who take to skis like fish to water. If you have a serious speed demon on your hands, consider a program like Nub’s Nob’s Junior Alpine Racing Team (JART) in Harbor Springs. With 27 sessions a season and all gate training and race drills taking place on a dedicated high-speed rope tow “race arena,” young skiers quickly develop into topnotch athletes.

“The JART program is an evolution of the first and most successful youth racing program in Northern Michigan,” says Nub’s Nob general manager Jim Bartlett. “Sporting a combination of experienced and USSA certified coaches and unmatched training facilities, it has produced some of the best ski athletes in the Midwest.”

Nub’s Nob’s Winter Sports School and Alpine Racing director Rebecca Behms, said for young skiers who want more of an all-mountain weekly experience, Nub’s Nob Ski Academy is a perfect fit. “Not only do we teach proper ski and snowboard technique and work on enhancing all students’ abilities each week, but our professional instructors teach our students proper techniques for the terrain park, moguls, trees, steeps and deeps,” she said.

Throughout Northern Michigan, many communities also boast nonprofit ski clubs perfect for skiers of all abilities, like the Northern Michigan Ski Academy (NMSA), based at Boyne Highlands. Longtime NMSA volunteer, coach, and board member Mari Schumaker has watched her own boys growing up in the program.

“As our area’s only nonprofit ski academy, the program is very affordable, making ski racing accessible to all that are interested. As a parent, I love seeing the area youth having such a great time on the slopes, and building friendships that will last a lifetime while doing a sport that will last a lifetime.”

Terrain Parks for Tiny Shredders

Both Boyne Highlands and Boyne Mountain have “Burton Riglet Parks,” perfect for snowboarders as young as three.

“The environment created by the Riglet Park is magic. It’s safe, it’s fun, and it’s working,” says Boyne Highlands area manager Joe Breighner. “Families are finding all kinds of success getting kids on snowboards as soon as they can maintain a little balance, and with the Riglet Reel tow cable, plus a few mellow snow features like rollers and berms, kids are discovering the sensation of riding on their own.”

Boyne instructors can take tricks to the next level with intro and advanced lessons,

Read the entire article for more tips on Northern Michigan ski kids and parents in the January 2014 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine.

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Photo(s) by Todd Zawistowski & Angela Doster Brown