Bill Koch League (BKL) Nordic – Grades 1 to 8

BKL group in powder snow

Ford Sayre BKL Mission Statement:
Ford Sayre’s Bill Koch League (“BKL”) Nordic Program seeks to develop in all participants a life-long passion for cross-country skiing.  It introduces participants to the fun and excitement of skiing fast and supports its young athletes who
desire to pursue ski racing in local and regional competitions. The Program teaches ski skills and training methods based on the USSA Long-Term Development model.

Registration opens October 1st.


For questions about our program registration, please contact Susie Matter at JuniorBKL@fordsayre.org for Grades 1-2.

For late requests (limited space),  please contact Dennis & Elisabeth Kulakowski at bkl@fordsayre.org for Grades 3-8.


Whether this is your introduction to the sport or you’re a competitive skier already, the emphasis will be on having fun and developing a lifelong love for Nordic skiing.

A love of sport, competitive or recreational, opens the door to fun, play and joy. Positive skiing experiences for all our children are paramount. Not everyone can come in first, but everyone can challenge him or herself, learn from experiences, encourage each other, and celebrate together.”

– Bill Koch

Quick-links to Descriptions:
BKL 1-2
BKL 3-4
BKL 5-8 Adventure                    BKL 5-8 Development/Racing
BKL 5-8 Friday Race Clinics    BKL 7th & 8th Gr Weekend Program

Important Notes for All XC Programs– Please Read:

  • Children in 1st through 2nd grade will participate in a program with ski practice on Monday afternoons.   ***This year in an effort to keep our numbers manageable we won’t be offering a weekly kindergarten program, but will be offering some weekend events.***
  • Children in 3rd to 4th grade will participate in one program with ski practice two afternoons a week, Tu/Th.
  • Children in 5th through 8th grade will have two program choices that meet two afternoons a week, Tu/Th. The programs have different emphases, objectives, and equipment requirements.
  • A subset of children in the 5th to 8th grade development/racing program may participate in the “Race Clinic”, which is an additional practice once a week.  Interested and experienced 7th and 8th graders will also have the opportunity for a Weekend Program this winter.

Location of practice can vary, but will primarily occur at:

  • Oak Hill: Oak Hill Drive, Hanover, NH; top parking lot of the Storrs Pond Recreation Area
  • Garipay Fields: 9 Reservoir Rd, Hanover, NH; near the Dartmouth Rugby Fields

These locations are within walking distance of the Ray School and Richmond Middle School. Verification of location will be sent by e-mail and posted on the Ford Sayre BKL website the night before practice.

Cancellation of practice: Practice will be cancelled if the Dresden School District is closed, including snow days, early dismissals, or school vacations, OR if conditions are dangerous to children (cold temperatures, unsafe or icy trail conditions).

Practice times: Weather and trail conditions permitting, duration of practice may be extended in February to coincide with the longer daylight hours.

Participant Behavior Code: We expect that Ford Sayre nordic skiers will follow coaches’ instructions, adhere to COVID risk-mitigation protocols, make an effort to stay with the ski group, not interfere with other skiers’ learning, and generally maintain a positive attitude.  Should a participant not be able to follow these expectations consistently, the age group Lead Coach or BKL Head Coach will call parents to discuss. If the pattern of behavior continues, the coaches and Program Director may determine that the BKL program is not a good fit for the participant and the parent will be notified.  The program reserves the right to remove any participant from the program if inappropriate behavior cannot be modified.

Refund Policy: Please note that $40 of the program fee is non-refundable. Refunds of the remaining program fee will be issued at the discretion of the Program Director. Refunds cannot be granted for sessions not attended or canceled due to weather or safety factors.

Questions: Please contact the BKL Program Directors should you have any questions about enrolling your child in the Ford Sayre nordic programs for the upcoming season.

Co-Program Directors

Susie Matter, 603-266-9727
JuniorBKL@fordsayre.org, (Grades K-2)

Dennis & Elisabeth Kulakowski, 802-505-0560
BKL@fordsayre.org  (Grades 3-8)


BKL Nordic: 1st thru 2nd grade (BKL 1-2)

This program is geared toward our youngest children who are in First through Second grade. Children will learn fundamental skiing skills of agility, balance, and coordination with a focus on ski play and fun.

  • Prior Experience: None
  • Grades:  1st through 2nd grade
  • Technique: Classic
  • Equipment: Waxless classic skis (poles only needed for 1& 2 grades)
  • Practice Schedule: Mondays, December 7th thru March 22nd, 3:30-4:30pm (likely extending to 4:45pm in February, depending on conditions) & Ford Sayre Silver Fox Trot Festival, January 16
  • Location: Garipay Fields (Hanover, NH)
  • Program Fee: $165
  • Trail Pass: Our program fee covers the cost of using Dartmouth’s XC trails during practice. If you wish to ski outside of practice, please purchase a daily or seasonal trail pass from Dartmouth.  Application & info at: http://www.fordsayre.org/nordic/bkl/dartmouth-trail-passes/ 
  • Program Director: Susie Matter, 603-266-9727 JuniorBKL@fordsayre.org
  • Volunteer Requirement:  For every child enrolled in the program, one parent/guardian must volunteer for a minimum of one volunteer session.  More details will be provided at a later date, but there will be volunteer opportunities on & off snow, before, during & after practice times and during Ford Sayre events.

Registration for the 1-2 program closes on November 20th.  We will cap our registrations to 100 skiers so please register early!  Late registrants must contact the Program Director to apply, will be subject to a $35 late fee, parent must volunteer on snow, and is provisional based on us meeting our coaching ratio requirement.


BKL Nordic: 3rd thru 4th grade (BKL 3-4)

Our 3rd and 4th grade program teaches fundamental skills for the classic and skate skiing techniques. Having fun, while developing skills through play, will be an integral part of practices. For children interested in racing, Ford Sayre coaches will provide encouragement and support at local and regional races.

  • Prior Experience: None
  • Grades: 3-4
  • Technique: Classic & Skate
  • Equipment: 2 separate pairs of skis (classic & skate skis) OR 1 pair of combi skis; 2 sets of poles (classic & skate lengths) & 1 pair of Combi ski boots.

NOTE: We highly recommend 2 pairs of skis for 3-4 grade skiers (one pair of classic skis and one pair of skate skis). Technique-specific skis often lead to more rapid skill progression, and reduce the time needed to wax and maintain skis. If cost is an issue, skiers may select 1 pair of combination (“combi”) skis that work for both classic and skating technique. However, please be aware that this option requires extra time and skill to clean and re-wax the skis for different techniques (on a practice-to-practice basis.) Refer to our ski gear page for more detailed information on equipment and contact the Program Directors with any specific questions.

  • Practice Schedule: Tu/Thu December 1st thru March 23rd,  3:30-4:30pm & Ford Sayre Silver Fox Festival, January 16
  • Location: Oak Hill or Garipay Fields (Hanover, NH)
  • Program Fee: $300, plus $25 NENSA membership (New England Nordic Ski Association)
  • Trail Pass: Dartmouth XC ski center season trail pass is required. Purchase separately.  Application & info at: http://www.fordsayre.org/nordic/bkl/dartmouth-trail-passes/ 
  • Program Directors: Dennis & Elisabeth Kulakowski, 802-505-0560, BKL@fordsayre.org

Registration for the 3-4 program closes on November 6th. We will cap our registrations for 3rd-4th to 50 skiers so please register early!  Late registrants must contact the Program Director to apply, will be subject to a $35 late fee and is provisional based on us meeting our coaching ratio requirement.


BKL 5th-8th grade, Adventure

This program is designed for skiers and families who prefer the recreational approach of skiing, the ease of waxless classic skis, and the opportunity to readily access and explore our local wilderness. The program will include skiing adventures on and off the groomed trails. The program emphasizes adventure, exploration, fun and skill development. Practice may also include learning about wilderness safety, orienteering, leadership skills, and exploration of the skate skiing technique. This program promotes skiing for health and fitness and as a lifelong sport.

  • Prior Experience: None
  • Grades: 5-8
  • Technique: Classic, with optional exploratory skate skiing
  • Equipment: Waxless classic skis required for classic technique days and may also be used on the exploratory skate technique days. Additional pair of Skate skis or combi skis are optional for the skate technique days.
  • Practice Schedule: Tuesdays & Thursdays, December 1st thru March 23rd,  3:30-4:30pm
  • Location: Oak Hill or Garipay Fields (Hanover, NH)
  • Program Fee: $300, plus $25 NENSA membership (New England Nordic Ski Association)
  • Trail Pass: Dartmouth XC ski center season trail pass is required. Purchase separately.  Application & info at: http://www.fordsayre.org/nordic/bkl/dartmouth-trail-passes/ 
  • Program Directors: Dennis & Elisabeth Kulakowski, 802-505-0560, BKL@fordsayre.org

Registration for the 5-8 Adventure program closes on November 6th. We will cap our registrations at 75 skiers (across Racing and Adventure) so please register early!  Late registrants must contact the Program Director to apply, will be subject to a $35 late fee and is provisional based on us meeting our coaching ratio requirement.


BKL Nordic 5th-8th grade, Development / Racing

The Development/Racing program is dedicated to the teaching and improvement of proper classic and skate techniques, and emphasizes foundational skiing skills such as balance, speed, and agility, while also building fitness and having fun. The various levels of skier abilities will be accommodated by smaller groups. Skiers will be strongly encouraged to participate in local and regional races. Coaches will support skiers through races, including individual goal setting, waxing skis on race day and cheering. Skiers and families are expected to learn to wax and maintain two sets of skis (classic and skate).

  • Prior Experience: None
  • Grades: 5-8
  • Technique: Classic & Skate
  • Equipment: 2 separate pairs of skis (waxable classic & skate skis) OR 1 pair of combi skis; 2 sets of poles (classic & skate lengths) & 1 pair of Combi ski boots. * Waxless classic skis are not appropriate for skiers participating in this program.
  • Practice Schedule: Tuesdays & Thursdays, December 1st thru March 23rd, 3:30-4:30pm & Ford Sayre Silver Fox Festival, January 16
  • Location: Oak Hill or Garipay Fields (Hanover, NH)
  • Program Fee: $300, plus $25 NENSA membership (New England Nordic Ski Association)
  • Trail Pass: Dartmouth XC ski center season trail pass is required. Purchase separately. Application & info at: http://www.fordsayre.org/nordic/bkl/dartmouth-trail-passes/ 
  • Program Directors: Dennis & Elisabeth Kulakowski, 802-505-0560, BKL@fordsayre.org

Registration for the 5-8 Dev/Racing program closes on November 6th. Late registrants must contact the Program Director to apply, and will be subject to a $35 late fee. We will cap our registrations at 75 skiers (across Racing and Adventure) so please register early!  Late registrants must contact the Program Director to apply, will be subject to a $35 late fee and is provisional based on us meeting our coaching ratio requirement.

* NOTE: We highly recommend 2 pairs of skis for 5-8th grade skiers (one pair of waxable classic skis and one pair of skate skis). Technique-specific skis often lead to more rapid skill progression, and reduce the time needed to wax and maintain skis. If cost is an issue, skiers may select 1 pair of combination (“combi”) skis that work for both classic and skating technique. However, please be aware that this option requires extra time and skill to clean and re-wax the skis for different techniques (on a practice-to-practice basis.) Refer to our ski gear page for more detailed information on equipment and contact the Program Director with any specific questions.


BKL 5th-8th grade, Race Clinics

The Race Clinic program is designed for children enrolled in the Development/Racing program who are motivated to ski fast and interested in racing. The Race Clinic program provides an additional day of practice to focus on race-specific techniques and strategies, and dedicated time to train and prepare for upcoming weekend races or events. Coaches will support skiers through races, including individual goal setting, waxing skis on race day, and cheering.

  • Prior Experience: Must be enrolled in the Development/Racing Program, have experience in both classic and skate techniques, AND have previous racing experience.
  • Grades: 5-8
  • Technique: Classic & Skate
  • Equipment: 2 separate pairs of skis (classic & skate skis) OR 1 pair of combi skis; 2 sets of poles (classic & skate lengths) & 1 pair of Combi ski boots.
    *Waxless classic skis are not appropriate for skiers participating in this program.
  • Practice Schedule: Likely on Fridays, December 4th thru March 19th, 3:30-4:30pm
  • Location: Primarily at Oak Hill, Garipay Fields (Hanover, NH)
  • Program Fee: $175 additional to BKL program fee
  • Program Director: Dennis & Elisabeth Kulakowski, 802-505-0560, BKL@fordsayre.org

We will cap our registrations for Race Clinic at 45 skiers so please register early!  Late registrants must contact the Program Director to apply, will be subject to a $35 late fee and is provisional based on us meeting our coaching ratio requirement.


U14/U16 Race Program (Race Clinic & Weekend)

For 7th & 8th grade skiers who are passionate about ski racing and who desire a more focused training regimen. This program also includes Friday Race Clinic, plus a 4th program day on weekends this winter.  This additional day (either Saturday or Sunday each week, depending on race schedules) will include over-distance training on land (roller skiing, running, hiking), on snow (skiing!), and some extra race opportunities (citizen racing and/or Eastern Cup).  Skiers will work with coaches to develop and maintain a training log that will include elements of distance, intensity, and strength. Families will be responsible for transportation to practice and races, and any additional trail passes & race fees.

***Please note that the offering of this program is contingent upon the employment of the appropriate coaching staff. Any questions, please contact Head Coach Jay Davis at headcoachbkl@fordsayre.org***

  • Prior Experience: Program is open to 7th & 8th grade skiers who participated in the 7th & 8th grade summer and/or fall program. Other interested 7th & 8th graders must have a conversation with the U14/16 Coach (jntassistant@fordsayre.org) to discuss participation prior to registration.
  • Grades: 7 & 8
  • Technique: Classic & Skate
  • Equipment: 2 separate pairs of skis (waxable classic & skate skis)
  • Practice Schedule: Race clinic, plus 1 weekend day/week, December 5th thru Mar. 21st, Weekend practices will begin Dec. 5, Weekend time and location will vary each week.
  • Location: Variable
  • Program Fee: $350 additional to BKL fee
  • Program Director: Dennis & Elisabeth Kulakowski, 802-505-0560, BKL@fordsayre.org