A new influence on the slopes | VailDaily.com

A new influence on the slopes

Nicole Formosa
Vail, CO Colorado

BRECKENRIDGE ” Aurora Central High School junior Josue Lara had never skied before this week, mainly because none of his friends at school are into the winter sport.

For Magaly Mar, a freshman at the same high school, it was a lack of motivation that kept her off the slopes. Junior Nelson Archelus stayed off skis but for a handful times in his life because it was too much trouble to travel from up to the mountains.

It’s kids like these that former Aurora school teacher and publisher of Boulder-based LaTeen Magazine Ayal Korczak hoped to reach when he planned a free day of skiing at Breckenridge on Monday.

“I think there’s this myth that inner city kids or minority kids don’t like winter sports, don’t go outside. So I wanted to speculate that: You know what? You give them a day out here and they’ll love it just as much as anybody else,” Korczak said.

He was right. After hours of turning and sometimes tumbling down the beginner slopes under Breckenridge’s Chair 7, the group of teens all said they anticipated a second trip to the ski hill.

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“It’s a lot of fun,” said first-time snowboarder Ramon Lopez, a skateboarder who had always wanted to test his skills on the snow.

The resort provided the teens with lift tickets, lessons and lunch at no cost through its diversity program, which is aimed at people who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to ski or snowboard, said diversity program coordinator Laura Allen.

The hope is that the kids or teens will pick up the sport in the future, she said.

In the program’s second season this year, Vail Resorts’ Colorado mountains have hosted 400 kids through Snowboard Outreach Society, 400 kids through Alpino Mountain Sports Foundation, and Keystone and Breckenridge each saw about 350 visits on their own, Allen said.

“We were turning people away,” Allen said. “…(The kids) seem to love it because they would never get this type of experience. I mean some of them, not necessarily this year, but last year one group that came up had never seen snow. They got out of the van and they were all touching the snow.”

Most of the teens are former students of Korczak’s from the five years he spent teaching at Aurora Middle School, or they write for his newly launched LaTeen Magazine.

The idea behind the primarily-English-language gglossy is to encourage literacy among Hispanic teens with content that interests them, he said.

The latest issue contains a feature on low-rider cars, a profile on Mexican-born Denver Nuggets player Eduardo Najera, quizzes, styles for prom and tips for getting into college.

The first issue came out last fall, more than a year after Korczak walked into a 7-Eleven looking for a magazine article from an Hispanic teen magazine to hand out to his class , and couldn’t find one.

“That sparked the idea right there. I did the math in my head: OK, here’s the fastest growing teen demographic in America, (and there’s) not a magazine for them,” he said.

LaTeen is currently the only teen magazine in circulation in the U.S. targeted at Hispanics, and Korczak has signed on subscribers in 40 states to date.

Even with Latinos’ buying power expected to reach $900 billion this year, the market to Latino teens is still relatively untapped, said Juan Delaroca, who owns Equipo Roca, a Denver-based Latino marketing firm specializing in action sports.

“A lot of companies just don’t realize that the youth demographic right now is predominantly on a multi-cultural level and heavily influenced by Latinos at that,” Delaroca said.

Publications like LaTeen can help educate teens on what they can do with their money and some of the opportunities available to them, such as skiing or snowboarding.

“A lot of these kids, they can’t talk to their parents about it ” they don’t have any connection to the ski resorts to be like, ‘What’s it like to go to the mountains?’ So they’re going to need resources like LaTeen Magazine to help them learn about it, then make those choices whether they want to be involved in it or not,” Delaroca said.

For more information on LaTeen magazine: http://www.lateenmagazine.com.

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