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Calgary students train with Olympic pros

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Deb Matejicka
Calgary bureau reporter

Thursday, February 6, 2014, 1:38 PM -

A partnership between AltaGas and the Foothills Nordic Ski Club in Calgary is working hard to get kids off the couch and interested in the outdoors and cross country skiing in particular and as Deb Matejicka reports, the program got a boost from several Olympians. 

First time Olympian, Jesse Cockney is all about making the most of our country’s winter wonderland. 

Growing up in the North West Territories, electronic activities always took a backseat to those that could be played outdoors. 

"Well I didn't grow up with a cell phone in my pocket. I didn’t grow up with a laptop or a computer. We had a computer for the first time, I don’t 2004, in our house," said Cockney in an interview with The Weather Network. "It was a dial up connection so we weren’t playing a lot of games on it so I grew up playing outside with my friends on the street and being sure that we were always active and having fun."


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Cockney and his Olympic teammates thrilled kids at Altadore elementary in Calgary recently. 

This race and their appearance all a part of AltaGas and the Foothills Nordic Ski Club’s Ski at School program.


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"There’s a bit of a misconception that skiing’s a bit inaccessible at times," said Matt Jefferies of Cross Country Canada. "People think you need a lot of equipment or money or you need to drive great distances to find good places to ski but its just as simple as this, you put a couple of tracks in a school yard and all they need is a pair of boots and a pair of skis and that’s the great thing about this program, it shows up at these schools with a trailer full of kids’ ski equipment." 

The ski at school program aims to visit 5 to 7 schools in the Calgary area each season through to 2015, teaching kids the basics of cross country skiing while helping to foster that love and appreciation of the outdoor activities that are so plentiful here in Alberta.

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