Bookmark and Share Updated Aug. 14, 2009

Bill Koch League Ski Games

Fun for kids of all ages...

by Mary Hamel

Below is a list of games use by the New England Bill Koch Ski League as tools for teaching skills on cross country skis. Some of the games may have specific skills in mind, while others promoted comfort on skis, a major component to the enjoyment of the sport. Make sure that the area in which you choose to play a game is safe for that particular game. For example, most tag type games should be played on relatively flat surfaces, young skiers can build up quite a bit of speed. Also in tag games, lunging to tag other players needs to be outlawed. The purpose of these games is to develop quick reaction time and turning skills, lunging defeats this purpose. We encourage parents to be included in all of these games. Children love the interaction with their parents and the parents of other skiers, making this a whole family experience. We invite you to send any games along that you use with your ski groups.

Simon Says

Place slalom poles or cones in-line, about 5 yards apart and run for about 50 yards. Simon stands at the end of the run and directs skiers by a wave of his pole (left or right)slaloming through the poles. Skiers start off about one every five seconds or so. All skiers must react to Simon's directions and once finished the course, head back to the start (outside of the poles). Make two runs side by sides approximately twenty feet apart. This activity can be done on the flat, down, or up. It can be skied with or with-out poles, run, tun with poles, done on roller skis/blades/skates.

Molecule Game

Form groups of 3,4 or 5 skiers and have them interlock arms, always facing in the forward direction (molecule must maintain horizontal pattern during the games).Set up slalom poles and do in relay format with two or three parallel sets of poles. This game can be done dryland-running or on skis without poles! An interesting way of introducing the side step!!! This game can also be played on the open field starting with groups of two. Anyone tagged by a player must interlock. Only end players may tag as the molecule grows. How can you modify or add a different twist to this game?

Figure 8

Start two skiers at a time at the beginning of in-line slalom run and have skier 1 go left and skier 2 go right! Do on snow, run, with or without poles.

Crazy 8s

Same as figure eight but on-snow with skier kneeling on skis and steering by grabbing tips of skis. Done on a downhill. Keep boots in bindings. Kids love it!

Human Slalom

Have skiers be in-line slalom poles. Start at one end of the line and have a skier peel off and run, ski, bound etc. through the human poles. Emphasize any skills you wish. Great way to move your group form one point to another.

Human Obstacle Course

Open field, send half of the group out on the field to make shapes and explain to the second half of the group that they should run (any locomotive movement) over, under, around, using jumping, crawling or ski related skills. Switch groups after a few minutes. Usually done as a warm-up.


Players spread out on a field in a random formation, each with a flag, hat, glove etc. (pieces of surveyors tape work great) tucked in back pocket or in the case of ski tights stuffed into their tights. On signal have players try and steal flags from each other. Once you lose your flag you must stand on it (flag) for the rest of the game. The person who takes the flag must throw it on the ground by the person he caught. Those caught can still steal flags of passersby but cannot lift foot from flag. Play until last player is caught. Play again ..... and again! Great warm-up. Twist - keep reducing the size of the playing field.! Play on snow or dryland.


Spread the group out in random formation. The person who is it will be the ghostbuster; all others are ghosts. On signal, ghostbuster tries to catch ghosts by tagging. Those caught must straddle legs and put arms out to side (haunted house). Haunted houses are freed when someone crawls under their legs. Haunted houses must remain stationary when tagged. Use more than one ghostbuster if the group is large. Group yells "1,2,3 Ghostbusters" to start game.

Hog Call

To be played on trails or in field. Divide into two groups. Groups A will be given part of a compound word or go-together (i.e. rocking -chair, shoe - lace, basket - ball etc.). Group B will be given the other part of the word. Groups go in opposite direction only to come upon one another in a certain time period. When groups cross they say only their word (this is the only spoken word allowed in the game). Objective: players must find their partner and get back to home base (prearranged spot). An example would be that the player from Group A who has the word "pop" can say "pop,pop,pop etc. A player from Group B has the word corn and upon hearing the word pop realizes that she has a match with that person. Have skiers put arms over shoulders, skip , double-pole sets, to back to the base. This is a great game for pole runs or skiing on a trail of 1 to 2 km.

Caterpillar Relay

Two, three or four teams each line up with skiers in file formation;. Each skier places skis outside the person in front of her, every fourth skier would start with skis together. Teams hobble, shuffle or do whatever it takes to get their caterpillar over the goal line.

Tracks and Trails

Place skiers in rows of four or five skiers. Make sure rows line up in north-south and east-west directions. Select two skiers: one to be the chaser and the other to be the chased. The leader will give a signal for "tracks" which means all rows face west with arms extended. While the chase in on, the leader changes to "trails" with all rows now facing south with arms extended. Runners or skiers who are it cannot cross rows, they must go up and down. (Traditional games called "Streets and Alleys").

Elephant Hunt

Place colored balloons on trees (low on trunk) and vary sizes. Best done along ski trail. Explain to kids that they are going on an elephant hunt. They must bring back the hide or ski for their prize. Use poles for breaking balloon (careful). This is a fun game for lollipopers (age 7 and under).


TD Bank