Cross-Country Skiing Courses

Starting on the Right Track - Cross-country and Telemark Instructional Programs

“Skiing ranks first in the sports of the world.
Nothing hardens the muscles and makes the body so strong and elastic; nothing gives better presence of mind and nimbleness; nothing steels the will power and freshens the mind as skiing.”

Fridtjof Nansen, The First Crossing of Greenland, 1888.

Beginner & Intermediate Classic & Skate Ski Courses 2024

If you’ve never skied before, or have been a frustrated skier, beginner courses will help get you started on the right track! All cross-country ski lessons are taught in Saskatoon on the ski training tracks at the Gordie Howe Complex and Holiday Park Golf Course. Courses are approximately 6 hours total over 3 separate sessions and consist of some theory, but mostly practical instruction; the relative time spent on each dictated by prevailing weather.

For those wanting to explore ski trails beyond city limits, the Ski Plus courses include an instructional day trip to Eb’s Ski Trails in the Nisbet Forest to apply skills learned on the training track to a wilderness trail system.

If it gets too cold, we will postpone the class and notify you. Otherwise dress in warm layers that can be adjusted if you get too warm. Hands and feet are the parts that need special attention, so make sure you have warm mitts with an outer wind shell (gloves are usually not adequate below -5 C) and boot warmers if your boots are old or poorly insulated.

Please note that our ski courses do not include ski equipment – you must supply your own. If you need ski gear, call Eb’s Source for Adventure 306-652-0385 (North central area) or Escape Sports 306-244-7433 (downtown) for rentals. Call Cliff at 306-653-5693 well before class if you have questions or need advice.

Private Instruction
If your personal schedule doesn’t fit with the timing and duration of our scheduled cross-country skiing courses or you are more interested in getting tips on specific areas of difficulty, we also offer one-on-one and semi-private instruction. Contact Cliff for details 306-653-5693.

Learn to Classic Ski Lessons

A foundational course for those starting out on cross-country skis or for skiers never having taken formal instruction. On the training track you’ll learn the classic techniques of diagonal stride, balance and weight shift, double poling, turning, and uphill and downhill techniques. Topics covered in the classic cross-country skiing course are outlined in a participant’s take-home manual. Each complete course consists of 3 sessions and all courses with the same description have identical content.

Course I: Jan 6, 13, 20 (Saturdays 1:00 – 3:00 pm)
Cost: $125 + 5% GST & 5% Facility Fee

Skiing Videos & Stories
Shaw TV’s go!Saskatoon show host Janella Hamilton joins a CanoeSki Learn to Ski class in a 4-part series on YouTube. Click here to catch the entertainment & instruction on snow!

Check out “Learn to Ski” with CanoeSki Discovery Company – a short, hilarious YouTube video produced by Tourism Saskatchewan. How did the Tourism Sask social media team end up in a cross-country skiing lesson? Read the story on the CanoeSki blog.

Intermediate Classic Technique Improvement

This course is for skiers who have graduated from a Learn to Ski course or who are self-taught and familiar with basic technique. We will refine the basics and move you on to more advanced technique. The emphasis will be on skiing more efficiently, allowing you to move faster with less effort and enjoy skiing a lot more!

Course II: Jan 15, 17, 22 ( Mon/Wed afternoons 1:00 – 3:00 pm)
Cost: $125 + 5% GST & 5% Facility Fee

Learn to Skate Ski Course

A course for those wanting to learn the skating motion on skis and technique tips to getting started without getting frustrated. Basic techniques – free skate, 1-skate, 2-skate and off-set will be covered, including fundamentals of balance and weight transfer. The classic cross-country skiing course is recommended for beginners as a precursor to the skate skiing course as many principles carry over from classic to skate skiing.

Course III: Jan. 18, 23, 25 (Tues/Thur 1:00 – 3:00 pm)
Cost: $125 + 5% GST & 5% Facility Fee

Learn to Ski Plus Course

Cross-country skiing at Eb's Trails

Skiing in the winter wonderland of Eb’s Trails

A comprehensive 12-hour introduction to the exciting world of cross-country skiing starting with two evenings and a Saturday session on the training track at Gordie Howe & Holiday Park. On Sunday, the course continues with instruction on a day tour to Eb’s Ski Trails in the beautiful Nesbit Forest, putting new skills to practice in the real world of ski touring!

Course IV: Jan 30, Feb 1, 5, 6
Tue/Thu evenings 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Sat. 10:00 – 12:00 pm
Sun. 9:30 – 4:30 pm (day trip)
Cost: $215 + 5% GST & 5% Facility Fee

Skiing Tales of Discovery
Read Karen’s humorously informative story A Tale of the Trails about her experiences with Learn to Ski Plus. On the Eb’s day tour she recalls, “… I was praying for a hill; my legs were tired and what had terrified me at the beginning of the day was now a great feeling to glide down and give me a rest!”

For more info on Eb’s Ski Trails – how to get there, what to take, wilderness skiing precautions & a trail map, see the CanoeSki blog post: Eb’s Trails – A Saskatchewan Cross-Country Skiing Mecca.

Private Lessons or Custom Group Instruction

The personal attention in a private or semi-private lesson with an experienced instructor can sometimes be the most effective way to improve one’s skiing skills, especially for novice and intermediate skiers. Cross-country skiing courses can also be designed to cater to groups with specific requirements re scheduling and skills development.  Contact Cliff Speer at (306) 653-5693 or email  to make arrangements.


For all courses, contact Cliff Speer at (306) 653-5693;
or fill out the Registration Form and post mail it or email it and send your course fee via E-transfer. When we receive your registration, we’ll send more course info, where to meet, what to bring, etc.

Cross-country skiing at Eb’s Trails

Family Skiing at Eb’s Trails Day open house event

Other Ski Programs
The Saskatoon Nordic Ski Club offers a variety of excellent programs, including the superb Jackrabbit Ski League for kids. They also conduct Sunday tours that give anyone graduating from a cross-country skiing course a great opportunity to escape the city ski trails to a more inspiring environment with camaraderie to boot!

In addition to the CanoeSki programs, Cliff Speer will again be teaching adult novice and intermediate ski lessons for the Saskatoon Nordic Club. This provides another option for anyone whose agenda doesn’t mesh with the CanoeSki ski course schedule.

Skiing History
For those with a bent for history, there is an intriguing little book available free from the Nordic Club or from CanoeSki, entitled 54 Years of Sliding and Striding – A Capsule History of Skiing in Saskatoon 1928-1982. The book was the Nordic Club’s participation in the 1982 City of Saskatoon Centennial Celebration, designed and edited by Cliff Speer and published by the Nordic Club, so it comes well recommended! It features a lot of archival photos and historical vingnettes. We deposited a copy in the Saskatoon Centennial Time Capsule early in 1983.