The Devon Nordic BEARS Ski Program Overview

Many cross country skiers begin in the Jackrabbit (Bearcubs, Black Bears, Polar Bears) program which is named after Hermann “Jackrabbit” Smith-Johannsen, who played a significant part in promoting the sport in Canada and earned the Order of Canada in recognition of his tremendous contribution to development of the sport.

Cross Country Canada is our national sport governing body that has laid out a Long Term Athlete Development Model that consists of 8 stages: Active Start, FUNdamentals, Learn To Train, Train to Train, Learn to Compete, Train to Compete, Train to Win & Active For Life. 

BEARS Skill Development Programs

The Cross-country Canada Skills Development Program consists of three subprograms - Bearcubs, Black Bears, Polar Bears (levels 1 to 4) and Grizzlies Track Attack. In addition, the Devon Nordic BEARS introduced two additional adventure program elements, The Wolfpack and Wolverines to serve the needs and interests of our members.  Click on the links below for further details and to help you decide on the appropriate Skills Development Program for your child:

   AGES 4-9

   AGES 10+

The programs for kids 10 and older have been divided into three groups in order to cater to the diverse interests that develop during these years. For those that enjoy skiing and perhaps want to eventually start doing some backcountry skiing, we offer our WOLVERINES Wilderness Adventure program. For those that enjoy competing, we have GRIZZLIES Biathlon Development program. 

The Devon Nordic BEARS program places children by both skill level and age. The age ranges listed above are flexible to some extent as various factors related to each child are taken into account. It may be necessary for coaches to move the child to a more appropriate group if an incorrect placement has been made.


At BEARS we also offer all athletes ages 8-12 years and up the opportunity to learn biathlon. We use biathlon-specific competition quality air rifles. Unlike many clubs, we include this in the program at no extra cost. The program provides biathletes the opportunity to develop their skiing and shooting skills with physical conditioning, shooting education and proper skiing techniques.

For older biathletes or those that have been doing biathlon for a few years, we have the BEARS Race Team. This program requires that you have completed the necessary training through the development program.