East Coast Kids Episode at North Highlands Nordic

by East Coast Kids, September 16, 2021

Join Liam and Lucas, hosts of East Coast Kids, as they spend quality time on skis at North Highlands Nordic!  If you’ve been wondering where to plan your next ski trip, be sure to press play to catch a glimpse of this club’s majestic beauty and trail system designed for skiers of all abilities.  

Thank-you Liam and Lucas!  We enjoyed watching you having fun, as you tried cross-country skiing for the first time.  We’re also happy you had the chance to meet Dennis Doyon, long-time club contributor; Daniel Murray, provincial team coach; and athletes from our provincial ski team.

East Coast Kids – Liam and Lucas are two bothers with similar interest and are excited to share their videos. Please visit and subscribe to their YouTube Channel.


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East Coast Kids visit North Highlands Nordic in this episode! Photographed (left to right), Lucas (host), Liam (host), and Daniel Murray (Nova Scotia ski team coach).

Video Highlights

Dialogue and select scenes from the episode below. Be sure to enjoy the complete video!

ECK | East Coast Kids:  Today we’re at the North Highlands Nordic cross-country ski trails.  This is located in the village of Cape North on the beautiful Cabot Trail.  We’ll meet Daniel Murray, coach of the Nova Scotia cross-country ski team.  He’ll show us all the stuff we need to know.  We’ve never been cross-country skiing before so we’re pretty excited to try it out! 

Enjoy the majestic beauty of North Highlands Nordic. Visiting skiers and snowshoers are welcome! Photographed – provincial team and youth skiers, Aspy fault in background.

ECK [to Dennis Doyon]:  Dennis, will tell us a little bit about the North Highland Nordic trails.  

Dennis Doyon, long-standing club contributor.

Dennis Doyon:  Back in the seventies, a bunch of skiers got together and said you know what it’s a whole lot more fun to ski in a line all in the same track, than to try to mess around with deep snow.  They all started skiing together, and before you know it, we were packing the tracks with ski-doos.  That was all in the National Park, about 20 miles from here.  

We ended up moving over here in the 1980s and we hosted the Canada Winter Games. Because of that event, we were able to put all the trail systems in, get some good grooming equipment, and the club membership kept growing and growing – until here we are now.  

The nice part about North Highlands Nordic is it’s in the north of the Highlands, so we always have snow.  Right now, throughout all of Nova Scotia there is very little snow, and we’re going to be skiing here until probably the last part of April.  If you’ve got to live in a snowy climate, you might as well enjoy it, right?

North Highlands Nordic is situated in a natural snowbelt. Often, when the rest of the province is green, this club has skiable snow. Learn more about the Cape Breton weather, by visiting the Cape Breton Mesonet, which provides live and archived weather and operates over 50 weather stations on Cape Breton Island.

ECK:  Tell us a little bit about the trail system.

The trail system has terrain for every skier ability including: gentle and rolling trails (green circle), intermediate terrain (blue square), and challenging hills (black diamond). The width of the trails is 16 feet, with grooming for skate and classic technique. Snowshoeing is also encouraged. Every trail is well-marked. Trail maps can be viewed at many locations along the way – ensuring skiers are well-informed of their location. Trail map photographed above.

Dennis Doyon: The trail system is a neat system because it’s about 12 km long, it’s a number of loops.  The loops are constructed according to skier ability, so in terms of beginner trails, we’ve got about 8 km and in terms of most difficult Black Diamond trails, we’ve got about 1.5 km.  By melding all of that together we can put together either a super easy beginner event or a high-end national-level competition, so it’s a really flexible trail system.  It was actually designed for skiing, it’s not an old road. 

ECK [to Daniel Murray]:  So what makes cross country skiing so awesome?

Daniel Murray is head coach of the provincial cross-country ski team. Murray grew up skiing at North Highlands Nordic. The 2021-22 season marks his 14th consecutive season as provincial coach. Learn more about Murray’s experience skiing and earning the 2020 Bryan Scallion Award.

Daniel Murray:  It’s a sport, once you get the basic fitness you can go out for hours, or even a half an hour – you get benefit out of the sport; if you can do skiing you can do almost every other sport.  

Are you ready for your lesson?  

ECK:  Yes, we can’t wait to try it.  

Daniel Murray:  We’ll have to get you geared up and look after your skis, and we’ll get you out on the trails. [ECK put on equipment.]

We’re going to head up the hill and do the lesson on the flat area.  Looks like we have a few provincial team skiers coming to help us with the lesson now.

Starting with the classic skiers.  You can see this is the classic technique that most people associate with cross-country skiing.  We call that the diagonal stride where you have the opposite legs and arms swinging – and riding the glide.

Ski team athlete demonstrates the classic skiing technique.

The skate technique, as you can see, more push to the side, which is why you have the higher [boot] cuffs and longer poles.  When you have nice groomed conditions like this, skate skiing can be really, really nice.  It’s a really fun one to do.  

Ski team athletes (photographed right, two skiers) and youth (photographed left, two skiers) demonstrate skate skiing technique.

ECK:  What do you like to do more skate skiing or classic?

Daniel Murray:  I’m a bit of a purist, I really like the classic, because you can do it in most conditions.  Skate skiing, when you get nice even conditions like this, love it, nice and fast.  I’m a pure cross-country skier, I like it all.  If I had to pick one, much like picking ice cream, I would pick the classic.

Do you want to give this a hook?

ECK:  Yes.

Daniel Murray:  OK.  The way I work when I teach most people, is I usually start with the classic technique, okay?

First little trick is we’ll try heading up this track with a diagonal stride.  One of the main things is you want to be swinging opposite arms and legs together.  When you get to the hills it might be short little steps, when you get to the flatter areas, you can get nice longer strides.  The key part of skiing, is when you get better at it, it’s how well you balance on the ski.

ECK:  When you’re going down a hill, how would you stop?

Daniel Murray:  The snowplow, just like downhill skiing.  Where you put in a wedge and have a good flex in the ankle, use the inside of your skis, and then you snowplow to the degree of the ski that you’re going.

ECK:  So you mean pizza slice?

Daniel Murray:  Exactly.

ECK:  What’s that Lucas? [Lucas looking into a mirror on a sign attached to a tree on the trail.]

North Highlands Nordic’s trails are adorned with hand-painted artwork. One example is above, the “Best looking skier on the trails” mirror.

ECK:  Apparently, I’m the best looking skier on the trail.

Daniel Murray:  Are you starting to feel confident on these skis?

ECK:  Yes.

Daniel:  You think you’re ready for a race of sorts?  Want to team up with some of those kids you saw skiing earlier?  How would you like to pick teams?

ECK:  We can do rock-paper-scissors to decide the best 2 out of 3.  [Liam and Lucas pick teams.]

Daniel:  On your mark, get set, go!  [Teams race.  Cheering.]

Lucas and Liam are off to race!

Receiving high fives from the provincial team athletes.

ECK:  Daniel, thank-you so much for having us cross-country skiing today, it was awesome!  I’ve never cross-country skied before and I had a great time.

Daniel Murray:  That’s so good to hear.  Glad to have you boys here and to enjoy Cape Breton winter in all of its glory.  See you fellas, good meeting you!  [Daniel and the ski team athletes leave.]

ECK:  How do we get out of hear?  I don’t know!  Come back! [ECK leave, skiing after team athletes.]


ECK:  See you on our next adventure

[Out-take.  Watch video for details!]


East Coast Kids – Liam and Lucas are two bothers with similar interest and are excited to share their videos. Please visit and subscribe to their YouTube Channel.


>Construction and Trail Addition at North Highlands Nordic

>The Ultimate Experience at North Highlands Nordic

>East Coast Kids | Facebook

>East Coast Kids | YouTube

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