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Give Back NH: Jackson Ski Touring Foundation

View to Wildcat Mtn.jpg
Mike Dufilho
Avid participants of Jackson XC afterschool ski program enjoy a view of Wildcat Mountain

Give Back New Hampshire is a bi-weekly segment spotlighting New Hampshire nonprofit organizations. It airs every other Saturday at 9:35 during Weekend Edition.

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What follows is a transcript of this week's edition, which profiles the Jackson Ski Touring Foundation.

Ellen Chandler (Executive Director): We are a community based 501 (c3) touring center with a trail network that connects the entire town of Jackson— with groomed cross-country ski trails and snowshoe trails.

Jackson Ski Touring participates with Project Succeed, which is an after school program run by the three elementary schools in Conway, New Hampshire. And we send two instructors and a truck truckload of skis and boots and a few poles. We try to have the kids ski without poles just because it teaches them better balance, and 40 children waving poles around is...a daunting activity.

My primary role with the organization is really to get kids out on skis... as soon as they're born.
Emily Benson

Mike Dufilho (Nordic ski coordinator): Yes, I would say that the cross-country ski program through Jackson Ski Touring has been really great for our family.

My name is Mike Dufiho, and I am the Nordic ski coordinator for Jackson Grammar School in the little town of Jackson, New Hampshire.

I have three kids that participate in the program. A fifth-grader, a third-grader and a first-grader.

Alda Dufilho (fifth grader): My name is Alda. I'm 10 years old.

Hazel Dufilho (first grader): My name's Hazel, and I am six years old. I love to cross-country ski in the woods!

Alda Dufilho: I really like the cross-country ski program because I can ski with friends, and I like the feeling of the wind on my face.

Emily Benson (board member): My primary role with the organization is really to get kids out on skis... as soon as they're born.

after school program XC.jpg
Emily Benson helping out a young Jackson Grammar School student put on their skis, following COVID protocols.

I was a preschool teacher here in Jackson for 10 years, and we would toddle the kids right out onto the trails. It really, I think, just builds that love of the environment, being outside.

And being able to provide the equipment to kids whose families might not necessarily do it. I think that's what's really, really important. The after school programs in some of the other school districts here in our region...it just gives kids these opportunities that wouldn't necessarily happen.

Mike Dufilho: Living in a resort town like Jackson, where there's so many second homes and so many vacation rentals, it's actually kind of hard to find community— which sounds funny considering it's such a small town that that's a challenge. But it is.

And when our oldest Alda was in kindergarten, we were still struggling to find community— and I remember the first day that they had the after-school skiing program. It was like every single student in the school. Every parent just all came out skiing together, got into the woods. It really brought home... community.

Ellen Chandler: We invite anyone of any skiing ability and any skiing interests to come and visit our trails. We have a website, JacksonXC.org .

It will help you plan the right day to come because we have a ski report that's updated every day by about 7:00 in the morning. And then we have the information on taking a lesson or taking part in a program.

Alda Dufilho: I'd say there's a first time for everything, and I'd say that you should try it out because it's fun and it's just so awesome.

Check out this video of Mike Dufilho and his three kids cross country skiing to school!

Emily has worked for NPR member stations since 2007. Before joining the NHPR staff in 2012, she served as local host for All Things Considered as well as Director of Business and Foundation Support for KUSP, Santa Cruz, CA. While living in Santa Cruz, she also produced 2 weekly music programs Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (Free Radio Santa Cruz) and Taste of Honey (KUSP).

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