TUNA Junior Comp Team is for athletes, aged 11 – 14 and who are interested in learning the sport of ski racing or continuing to progress from DEVO Team.
Ages11 by Dec 31, 2024 to 14
Years in Sport1 – 8
Training focusWeight transfer, technique-specific drills, speed and general endurance, low and high-intensity training, strength training, keep a training log
CompetitionLocal races, IMD Youth Championships, U12/U14 JNQs
EquipmentClassic and skate skis, boots, poles, additional skis for conditions
Complementary SportsPlay sports off-season that complement skiing (running, cycling).
SeasonFall and winter with additional summer camps

Seasonal Programs

Summer Program: Camps and activities in Salt Lake and the surrounding areas

Fall Training Camp: A week of training in West Yellowstone, MT, the week of Thanksgiving.

Winter Program: 2 -3 days per week of dryland or snow as available from mid-October to March


The Junior Comp Team is for those skiers who would like to learn the sport of Nordic ski racing. The program is designed to teach and refine the fundamental techniques of classic and skate skiing, and prepare skiers for later membership on the TUNA Comp team. Racing is not mandatory, however the program will be focused on learning about ski training and racing. The curriculum for Jr. Comp is based on the specific developmental window of the age group—middle school. Ski games, short intervals, adventure skis, and racing strategies are all part of Junior Comp.

For more information, contact: jen.santoro@utahnordic.org


The Junior Comp program is focused around preparing lifelong skiers and competitive athletes if they choose. Skiers will have the opportunity to race in the local WCS series as well as travel events as appropriate, with coach support.

The coaches work hard to use the current best practices to teach ski skills through games and drills, along with longer ski outings. There can be a wide range of abilities in this age group. The coaches will divide up into smaller groups each day to accommodate various skill levels.

The expectation of the program is that the skiers are there to ski. While we expect to have fun, we also expect skiers to take responsibility for following coaches’ directions, maintaining a positive attitude about skiing, and participating in a manner which does not detract from everyone’s enjoyment.

Skier Contract

In Junior Comp, skiers are learning to ski race. While racing is not required, most of the activities in this program will be related to the agility, balance, coordination, and fitness that is appropriate at this age and stage of development, for skiers who aspire to race and eventually participate in the Comp team.

Activities will include, but not be limited to:
Longer skis (stamina)
Drills (speed and skills)
Games (specifically chosen to enhance skills)
Intervals (at an age-appropriate level)
Technique work, feedback, and practice
The coaches in Junior Comp are USSA Certified L100 or higher coaches with specific experience in coaching this age group.

While everyone has good days and bad days, our program is focused on skiing and learning to ski train. We have no “tryouts” or required prerequisites as long as skiers want to ski and try their best. In other words, we’re here to ski and practice skiing. We will teach ski skills to anyone who wants to learn. However, we can’t accommodate those who are causing a disruption or are interfering with others’ enjoyment of the program.

Skiers who are not following the agreement regularly will:

  1. Receive a private, verbal conversation with the coach, who will identify the issue and ask the skier to solve the problem, and a chance to correct behavior.
  2. The coach will contact the skier’s parent/guardian and the skier will sit out one practice. They will have a chance to correct behavior at the next practice.
  3. Be invited to receive a pro-rated refund from the program and/or opportunity for transfer to another TUNA program that better meets their goals.

Per Safesport, skiers who are too injured or sick to participate in the day’s activities should stay home from practice.

Meet the Coaches

Jen Santoro is a USSA L200 licensed coach. Prior to skiing, Jen was an elite road cyclist competing internationally. For the last 14 years she’s been dedicated to Nordic skiing, racing locally and nationally, gathering multiple Masters National titles and a Master’s World gold. Prior to coaching, Jen taught middle school and high school for 10 years. She has coached with TUNA for the last six years as coordinator for Learn-to-Ski, Devo coach, Junior Comp, and interim Comp coach. She serves on the TUNA Board as Editor of the TUNA News and new media, and is the programs administrator for the junior programs. She specializes in long-term athlete development, curriculum, and ski tech.

Jonathan Santoro is a USSA L100 licensed coach. He was a national-level elite road cyclist who has been ski racing for 14 years and has traveled to national and Master’s Worlds events and has a number of podium finishes to his name. When he isn’t coaching, he is a software architect in the energy industry and serves as a technical advisor to the TUNA Board. Jonathan began coaching six years ago with TUNA, starting with Learn-to-Ski, before spending the last three years coaching the 4th and 5th graders in Devo. Jonathan is a technique specialist who has worked with all ages of athlete to help them become efficient skiers. He also loves to teach “track craft” to young racers.

Parent Volunteers

TUNA is an all-volunteer organization, is continually in need of volunteers, and requests that the parents or guardians of each participant perform a certain amount of service hours at TUNA sponsored events or functions.

For skiers in the Comp/Jr. Comp program, you will get a $250 refund on your program fess if you complete 15 hours of volunteer service plus one 3 1/2  hour shift of greeting and pass sales at Mountain Dell per enrolled athlete.

NEW! Jr. Comp and Comp parents may earn hours by volunteering in the DEVO Team or Learn-To-Ski. Coaches training will be available.

We would highly encourage parents to consider taking on another greeting shift as Mountain Dell daily pass sales are vital to the health of TUNA Jr. Programs and the organization as a whole. Extra greeting shifts can be credited against needed volunteer hours.

TUNA parent volunteer guidelines and opportunities can be found here: http://www.utahnordic.org/volunteer/