Strider Glider Coaches-Skiing with Kids for 20 Years

Strider Glider Group with Coach, Lakeview

The Heart of Strider Gliders

For the past twenty years Tahoe XC’s Strider Gliders program has successfully given thousands of kids a chance to learn cross-country skiing while playing with their friends. To a great extent the program’s success is due to all those local folks who volunteered to be coaches one afternoon a week and take groups of children out onto the snow.

Some of the True Stalwarts

While lots of people have been coaches for a few years, a small group of true stalwarts has been at it for a long time. Karen Roske has been a coach for over 15 years. She started when her son and daughter, one now graduated from college, the other in the Marines, were in the program “I was just learning how to skate ski and I needed the impetus to get out there. Since I was learning a new sport myself I could put myself in the perspective of the kids,” said Roske. “I really always enjoyed working with kids,” she said. Which might be an understatement since she ran the Squaw Kids program for 30 years.

Roske kept coming back because it “got me back out there. It became an essential part of my weekly routine.” She also felt it was a nice break from work. She appreciates how the kids “find joy in the littlest things, which makes it easier to teach joy and share their happiness.”

Emily Goss who has also been teaching since her kids were young says, “This is something I get to do to be outside. I volunteer and get to enjoy what Tahoe has to offer. I believe wholeheartedly that getting kids on skis is paramount to living in Tahoe.” Goss feels like Tahoe XC is a touchstone to life in Tahoe City. It’s our community center and meeting place.

Goss’ two sons both helped out with the program when they were in high school. Kids really appreciate the chance to ski with someone that is closer to their age.

Jill Whisler said she originally joined the program because her friend Valli Murnane encouraged her and her friend Wendy to become instructors. And the free pass coaches get “sounded wonderful.” But she soon discovered “knowing I can help means more to me than the pass. I love seeing the kids succeed and love nordic skiing. It’s a healthy outlet to be outside after school. I started skiing as a middle schooler in Michigan-it was a big part of my childhood so I want to pass it on.”

Serving Kids & Community

Strider Gliders this year will serve around 100 first through fifth grade kids. The teacher to student ratio is kept low in an effort to make the experience fun for the kids, and of course to keep the coaches sane. While the majority of coaches return every year, we are looking for a few good volunteers who would like to be a part of the team. It’s a six to eight-week commitment for one afternoon a week from 3:15 to 5:00 PM. You would be on a team of 2-3 coaches and grouped with about 8-10 kids of similar age/ability level. While we certainly like to pass on ski tips, our philosophy is more about getting kids to fall in love with skiing than teaching the fine details of technique. You should be a competent skier and be interested in working with kids. And of course, most important, you need to show up every week. If you might be interested in coaching email me at

Volunteering Brings Joy

Strider Glider Kid Action Shot of Excitement