Vail Daily column: Getting started in a sport for life. |

Vail Daily column: Getting started in a sport for life.

Aldo Radamus

When asked, I always recommend that parents enroll their children in Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s season long Future Stars weekend program at the youngest possible age of 6 (assuming they can get on and off the lift by themselves and ski or ride Golden Peak). This critical age for mental and physical development is an ideal time for children to gain the necessary skills to quickly progress in their sport in a fun and low pressure environment, including gates, moguls, park, pipe and all mountain terrain for skiers and riders, and skate and classic technique for Nordic athletes.

It is also the perfect time for children to develop their love for competition in the complimentary Steadman Clinic Vail Cup series. Just like maximizing the potential of your child academically by starting in kindergarten, your child’s snow sports potential is maximized by starting at the same age in Future Stars.

The Passion Ignites

These early childhood moments spark a passion that provides children with focus and teaches them lifelong lessons through the vehicle of competitive snow sports. As this passion ignites, so does the need to spend more time on snow and more time developing the physical and mental attributes needed to take their sport to the next level alongside thriving in a rigorous academic environment.

Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s full-time athletic programs in combination with its academic partners — Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy, Vail Mountain School and winter tutorial — enable children to balance athletics and academics in support of this passion, fully immersing themselves into a way of life focused on developing the total child.

Full-Time Programs and Academic Partners

An exciting partnership formed in 2007 between Ski & Snowboard Club Vail and Eagle County Schools resulted in the first public ski and snowboard academy in the country — Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy. The academy is a college preparatory magnet school dedicated to fifth through 12th grade Ski & Snowboard Club Vail full-time athletes. This innovative public school makes snow sports academy academics financially accessible.

When coupled with Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s financial aid initiatives to defray the cost of Ski & Snowboard Club Vail program fees and Opportunity Fund grants targeted at supporting travel expenses for deserving skiers and snowboarders, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail provides the greatest accessibility for kids to pursue their dreams of anywhere in the country.

Another exciting academic option for Ski & Snowboard Club Vail full-time athletes is available through a partnership with Vail Mountain School. Vail Mountain School is a college preparatory K-12 independent school committed to supporting its subpopulation of Ski & Snowboard Club Vail full-time athletes. Initiatives such as after school tutoring and an intensive July academic block to help lighten the third quarter load, are among the many ways Vail Mountain School supports its Ski & Snowboard Club Vail full-time athletes.

Ski & Snowboard Club Vail winter tutorial is an academic option for Ski & Snowboard Club Vail full-time athletes seeking winter term support. Ski & Snowboard Club Vail tutors teach students their school of origin curriculum one-on-one from early November through early April, enabling them to seamlessly return to their home school at season’s end.

As a result of these partnerships, young student athletes are provided a complete menu of local alternatives to boarding schools to pursue their snow sports dreams with no-compromises academics.

Open Houses

I invite you to learn more about Ski & Snowboard Club Vail full-time programs and academic partners at the Nordic Full-Time Athlete Open House on Saturday, Jan. 16, from 3to 4:30 p.m. and the Alpine, Freeski, Freestyle and Snowboard Athlete Open House on Saturday, Jan. 23, from 5 to 7 p.m., both at the Minturn Fitness Center at Maloit Park in Minturn.

award winners

Bella Mauro is Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s December C3 Athlete Award winner. She is 12 years old and in her second year as a full-time snowboard athlete at Ski & Snowboard Club Vail and Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy. Bella has shown Ski & Snowboard Club Vail coaches this year that she is ready to take her riding to the next level. She is committed to dry-land, trampoline and on-snow training every day with very few missed sessions. She has impressed coaches with her commitment to healthy eating, which is making a difference on snow as well as in the gym, showing further commitment to snowboarding. Bella continues to push progression at a very young age and was on the podium at our first two United States of America Snowboard and Freeski Association events this season.

Ski & Snowboard Club Vail is also very proud of Paula Cooper, Katie Bervy and Andrew Rogers, December C3 Athlete Award nominees, for their continued displays of character, courage and commitment.

Makayla Brown is Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s December C3 Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Staff Award winner. She joined Ski & Snowboard Club Vail in Fall 2014, a graduate of Carrabasset Valley Academy and a ski racer at Colby College. She coaches 12 and 13-year-old alpine girls. Makayla shows up for any project at any time on any venue. Her commitment to helping out with whatever comes her way each day is motivating and inspiring to everyone around her. With a smile on her face, Makayla always jumps in to help.

What it’s all about

More important than national team placements and impressive college acceptances are well-rounded youngsters prepared to enter their adult lives equipped with the many life skills developed through their competitive snow sports experience, reflecting the priceless benefits of Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s programs and its academic partnerships. For more information, email, call 970-790-5161 or visit and click the “Academic/Admissions” tab.

Aldo Radamus is the executive director of Ski & Snowboard Club Vail. For more information, go to, email or call 970-790-5161.

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