Give Back NH: Jackson Ski Touring Foundation

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

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What follows is a transcript of this week’s edition featured by the Jackson Ski Touring Foundation.

Ellen Chandler (Executive Director): We are a community-based 501 (c3) touring center with a network of trails that connect the entire city of Jackson – with groomed cross-country trails and snowshoe trails.

Jackson Ski Touring participates Project successful, an afternoon program run by the three elementary schools in Conway, New Hampshire. And we send two instructors and a truckload of skis and boots and a couple of sticks. We try to make the kids ride without sticks just because it teaches them better balance and 40 kids waving around with sticks is … a daunting activity.

My main job in the organization is getting kids on skis … as soon as they’re born.

Emily Benson

Mike Dufilho (Nordic Ski Coordinator): Yes, I would say that Jackson Ski Touring’s cross-country skiing program was really great for our family.

My name is Mike Dufiho and I am the Nordic Ski Coordinator for Jackson Grammar School in the small town of Jackson, New Hampshire.

I have three children participating in the program. A fifth grader, a third grader, and a first grader.

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

Hazel Dufilho (first grader): My name is Hazel and I am six years old. I love cross-country skiing in the forest!

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

Emily Benson (Board member): My main job in the organization is to get children on skis … as soon as they are born.

Emily Benson helps a young Jackson Grammar School student strap on skis for COVID protocols.

I was a preschool teacher here in Jackson for 10 years and we put the kids right on the trails. I think being outside really just builds that love for the environment.

And being able to provide the equipment to children whose families may not necessarily do so. I think that’s really, really important. The afternoon programs in some of the other school districts here in our region … they just give kids these opportunities that wouldn’t necessarily happen.

Mike Dufilho: Living in a resort town like Jackson, with so many second homes and so many vacation rentals, is really hard community finding – which sounds weird considering it’s such a small town that is challenging. But it is.

And when our oldest Alda was in kindergarten, we still struggled to find community – and I remember the first day they had the after-school ski program. It was like every single student in school. All the parents just got out of the woods together, went into the forest. It really brought home … community.

Ellen Chandler: We invite everyone with every skiing ability and every skiing interest to visit our cross-country ski trails. We have a website .

It will help you plan the right day because we have one Ski report this is updated every day at around 7:00 a.m. And then we have the information about the class or how to participate in one program.

Alda Dufilho: I would say there is a first time for everything and I would say you should try it because it’s fun and just so great.

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

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