Ski and Snowboard Club Vail, Red Sandstone Elementary to host open house for new program |

Ski and Snowboard Club Vail, Red Sandstone Elementary to host open house for new program

Daily staff report
From left, Mia Cullman, Ski and Snowboard Club Vail's Red Sandstone program coordinator; SSCV Chief Operations Officer John Hale; the Red Sandstone Tiger and Red Sandstone Office Manager Angie Kyle welcome community members to an open house event on Tuesday, Dec. 5, to learn more about a cooperative program for full-time competitive skiers and snowboarders.
Special to the Daily |

VAIL — Ski and Snowboard Club Vail and Red Sandstone Elementary School have scheduled an open house and Q-and-A for parents and children interested in participating in a new cooperative program between the club and the school. The program, which is making its debut this season, is an arrangement that enables elementary-aged students in the Vail Valley to ski or snowboard competitively on a full-time basis while providing a schedule that meets their academic needs.

All are welcome at the open house, including parents who are interested in learning more about utilizing SSCV’s part-time programs (one to three days per week) as a stepping-stone to the full-time Red Sandstone program next season.

The program was crafted by SSCV and Eagle County Schools to enable third-, fourth- and fifth-graders enrolled in a qualified SSCV program to train on snow four days per week (Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday). The offering is currently in place for alpine athletes, but SSCV and Red Sandstone hope to expand the program to other disciplines.

“This has been one of our top strategic initiatives at SSCV, which is integral to our vision of being the premier snowsports club in the world,” said SSCV Executive Director Kirk Dwyer. “If you look at all the greats in snowsport competition, 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 8.”

The program expands the partnership between SSCV and Eagle County Schools and builds on the success of the Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy — the first public snowsports academy in the United States. SSCV program fees are eligible for financial aid up to 75 percent, and there will be no additional cost incurred by the family for academic support sessions.

As part of this year’s rollout, SSCV has named Mia Cullman as Red Sandstone program coordinator for the upcoming season. Cullman is a graduate of Vail Mountain School and the University of Colorado Boulder. A former youth ski racer, she was also a member of the U.S. Ski Team and a collegiate racer who achieved both athletic and academic All American status while at Boulder. Cullman was also a teacher and race coach at Burke Mountain Academy and Crested Butte Academy prior to joining the staff at SSCV.

“I am excited to help our youngest full time alpine athletes navigate the demands of both the classroom and the sport of alpine ski racing,” Cullman said.

“The (Red Sandstone) cooperative program is designed to immerse our youngest full-time athletes in the juggling act of balancing academics with athletics. Our goal is to help them develop strategies to achieve academic and athletic proficiency and thereby acquire a crucial skill set at a very young age.”

During the school week, athletes will train from 1:30 p.m. to close on Wednesdays and Fridays; they will participate in a study session at Red Sandstone Elementary proctored by Cullman immediately following their day on the hill. Transportation to and from Red Sandstone will also be supervised by SSCV.

“We’re committed to the success of our students academically first and foremost,” said Marcie Laidman, principal at Red Sandstone Elementary. “We also recognize that we have students who wish to pursue their athletic dreams in snowsports at younger ages, and this relationship with SSCV will provide the best of both worlds for these student-athletes. We’re excited to be able to offer this unique program to any qualified elementary student in Eagle County.”

The open house is scheduled from 5 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 5, at the school building in Vail. Laidman, along with SSCV’s Chief Operations Officer John Hale, Academic Director Sharon Schmidt and Cullman, will be on hand to answer questions about their respective programs, as will representatives from a number of SSCV’s snowsports.

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