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For Nearly a Decade, Chris Yarsevich Gives Kids the Skinny on Skinny Skis: Volunteer Spotlight

Ten years ago, Chris Yarsevich and his wife Rachel moved to Greenfield after outgrowing their Saratoga Springs condo. With one child and another on the way, it was Greenfield’s rural setting and quiet roads that attracted them to their six-acre property. The young father had been Nordic skiing since the age of four, inspiring him to spread his love for the sport. Quickly thereafter, he began his own backyard learn-to-ski program to share his joy of skiing with his own children and their friends. In 2017, he pitched the idea to bring that program to the Town of Greenfield’s Brookhaven Park and the rest is history. Still today, Yarsevich is the lead instructor in our successful Nordic “Learn-to-ski” program, one that has grown to more than 60 kids a season.

“It’s so important for kids to be active outdoors,” Yarsevich said. “It’s amazing to see how quickly a child can advance from a total beginner to a proficient skier in a way that adults don’t.”

Yarsevich recognizes something very special in Greenfield’s Brookhaven Winter Park. “The fact that we are a free park and we have equipment to share, makes our ski program very accessible to children.” 

Yarsevich estimates that 90% of the kids enrolled in his program rent equipment from the town for a very low cost. He said cost can be a big hurdle to young children learning the sport, because a Nordic ski package can cost about $300 and children outgrow the boots and skis nearly every year.

Yarsevich and his wife of 15 years are active outdoor enthusiasts who Nordic ski, run, bike and camp. They have two children. His middle school daughter is a Saratoga Springs High School Varsity Nordic skier and an all-star mountain biker who competes with Saratoga Shredders. He has a younger son who also Nordic skis and bikes. Yarsevich is a “46er,” who has hiked all 46 Adirondack high peaks. 

Yarsevich is an industrial engineer, having worked for Gloversville-based Taylor Made Products, a boating and dock product manufacturer, for nearly 20 years. He graduated from RPI and helped coach the Shenendehowa Varsity Nordic Ski team throughout college.

When we have a snowy season, he estimates he skis at Brookhaven Winter Park 5 or 6 days a week, mostly in the evenings after work. He prefers the Red and Pink trails in the woods.

Look for signups for the TOG Nordic Ski Program in October.  The program typically takes place from 5:45 p.m.-6:30 p.m. each Thursday, from approximately mid December through March, weather depending. The program costs $40 and scholarships are available.

“This program grows every year,” said Recreation Director Jen Zeisler. “Chris is an amazing coach. His enthusiasm is contagious for getting kids active outside to enjoy our beautiful Winter Park.”

Town Supervisor Kevin Veitch agrees. “We could not operate our Nordic ski program without passionate volunteers like Chris,” he said. “Because of him, our park is accessible by all ages, not just grownups. Seeing our packed parking lot every Thursday evening is a great thing.”

He said the snow seems to hold better at Brookhaven Winter Park than other places throughout the region, which is a big advantage for his students. Even this winter, with its lack of snowstorms, he held class about 9 or 10 times.

Yarsevich started the Octoberfest 5K at Brookhaven in 2017 as a fundraiser for the park through his involvement with the HURT Nordic Racing Team (Hudson United Racing Team).  The park is currently free, but there are several donation collection boxes on the premises that create a fund for park improvements. Funds collected through fundraising were used for the purchase of a new Ski-Doo for grooming this year.

Thank you Chris Yarsevich for all you do for the TOG.

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