It has certainly been an inspirational week at Golden Peak watching athletes of all ages, nationalities and abilities train side-by-side in slalom, GS, super-G and moguls under sunny skies with incredible early-season conditions thanks to the dauntless efforts of Vail Mountain staff. And
I was not the only one watching. Media from around the globe shot B-roll of Olympic hopeful alpine racers the likes of Ski & Snowboard Club Vail alumni Lindsey Vonn, Mikaela Shiffrin, Paula Moltzan and Will Gregorak, and the social networks were abuzz around the world with reports of excellent training. U.S. Freestyle Team athletes Heidi Kloser (Ski & Snowboard Club Vail alumna) and Dylan Walczyk (Ski & Snowboard Club Vail current athlete) inspired our young mogul skiers with their focus and work ethic.
Our young freeski and snowboard athletes trained alongside pros including current Ski & Snowboard Club Vail freeskiing athlete and Olympic hopeful Aaron Blunck, as well as Ski & Snowboard Club Vail snowboard athlete Ryan Wachendorfer, who just earned his first World Cup start.
These scenes cause me to reflect on why we do what we do each and every day at Ski & Snowboard Club Vail. We are all part of something much bigger than the organization itself — something that inspires children to have dreams and strive each and every day to make those dreams a reality.
I could see those dreams in the eyes of Lindsey, Mikaela, Paula, Heidi and Will in their younger years at Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, and I can see those same dreams in the eyes of the current Ski & Snowboard Club Vail youngsters training side-by-side with them this past week.
Helping dreams come true
Each day at Ski & Snowboard Club Vail is spent inspiring current and aspiring snowsports athletes to formulate and achieve their dreams. From coaching Olympic hopefuls to providing complimentary trampoline, Nordic and snowboard training sessions to introduce local youth to our programs, our hope is to spark a dream which will provide focus and teach life lessons throughout childhood. Although not every athletic dream is realized, I strongly believe that a focused youngster will remain healthy of mind and body and go on to succeed in their adult life. This is our ultimate objective as an organization.
Accessibility is key
Although Ski & Snowboard Club Vail is extremely proud of having the largest group of current and alumni Olympic hopefuls in our 51-year history, we are equally proud of the 600-plus youth who will be part of our club this winter.
In order to insure that our programs are accessible to all kids in the community with a dream and the passion for snowsports, much of our focus is on insuring accessibility. These efforts are made possible through the generosity of businesses, corporate sponsors and individual supporters and volunteers via outright gifts of time and money. As well, special events, such as Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s annual Ski and Snowboard Swap, last weekend’s Celebration of Winter Cocktail Party and Silent Auction and our upcoming Leadership Council Dinner and Live Auction to be held on Nov. 23 at Larkspur, provide support for the kids. Funds raised through these efforts provide discounts covering 25-40 percent of the cost of our programs for local youth. On top of this, scholarships are also awarded to 20 percent of our kids based on financial need.
Through our partnership with Eagle County Schools, local full-time Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athletes in grades 5-12 may attend Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy, the first publicly funded dedicated snowsports academy in the country. The Minturn Fitness Center is a partnership between the town of Minturn and Ski & Snowboard Club Vail and is another example of making the best possible resources available to our community and kids. Ultimately, nothing we do is possible without the enormous support of Vail Resorts, the likes of which exists nowhere else on earth.
What dreams are next?
There is not a day that passes where my management team, our board of trustees and I are not thinking of innovative ways to serve the youth of our community. Scenes like those at Golden Peak this past week are truly what inspire me and other like-minded folks in the community to continue to work together to create the best and most accessible opportunities possible both on snow and off to help make “our” children’s dreams come true.