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Vail’s Red Sandstone Elementary School adding alpine ski training program

Red Sandstone elementary school is offering alpine training for students as young as third grade, through Ski & Snowboard Club Vail. The program begins next school year.

For information

The program is open to any Eagle County student who has been accepted into a qualifying Ski & Snowboard Club Vail program. Students must complete an on-hill evaluation this ski season. Those arrangements can be made through the SSCV offices.

Enrollment in Red Sandstone’s program may begin immediately.

For SSCV questions, call Director of Admissions and Academics Sharon Schmidt at 970-790-5161.

For school-related questions, contact Angie Swim at Red Sandstone at, 970-328-2913.

VAIL — Your Little Lindsey Vonn or Miniature Mikaela Shiffrin can begin training through a local public school as early as third grade.

Beginning next school year, Red Sandstone Elementary School in Vail will partner with Ski & Snowboard Club Vail for more on-snow training days, along with academic support.

The program is for students in grades 3-5. They have to be enrolled in a SSCV U10 alpine program, which costs $5,150 a year for Colorado kids. Financial aid could cover up to 75 percent of that, said Geoff Mintz, communications manager for Ski & Snowboard Club Vail.

The youngsters will train four days per week: Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. If there is enough demand, then the program will expand to include Nordic, snowboard, freeski (park, pipe and big mountain) and freestyle (moguls).

Academics before athletics

During the school week, Red Sandstone athletes in the program will train Wednesday and Friday afternoons, and then hit the books in a study session at Red Sandstone after they get off the mountain.

"We're committed to the success of our students academically first and foremost," said Marcie Laidman, Red Sandstone principal. "We also recognize that we have students who wish to pursue their athletic dreams in snowsports at younger ages. This relationship with SSCV will provide the best of both worlds for these student-athletes."

For SSCV Executive Director Kirk Dwyer, the goal is lofty but uncomplicated.

"This has been … integral to our vision of being the premier snowsports club in the world," Dwyer said. "If you look at all the greats in snow sport competition — Mikaela Shiffrin, Lindsey Vonn — all of them have one thing in common: a lot of time on snow during the golden age of skill development, which generally begins at age eight."

Ski & Snowboard Club Vail's enrollment is around 650, Mintz said, up from 577 in 2014.

Red Sandstone's enrollment has tumbled from 283 students in 2012, to 218 this school year.

Along those lines, Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy was launched more than a decade ago as the nation's first public school sports academy. VSSA enrolls students beginning in middle school. VSSA students must also be full-time SSCV athletes.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.