Vail Daily column: Club ignites passion for skiing in kids | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily column: Club ignites passion for skiing in kids

The theme of the 2015 FIS Alpine Ski World Championships — “Dream It, Live It, Share It” — strikes a familiar chord at Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, where we strive each and every day to spark a dream and ignite a passion in a child which will provide focus and teach life lessons through the vehicle of competitive snowsports. As Ceil Folz, president of the Vail Valley Foundation and head of the 2015 World Championships Organizing Committee, stated, “A World Championships is an opportunity to celebrate athletes at the top of the sport, but it’s also an opportunity (to) recognize and support the next generation of ski racers.”

It has been exciting to watch Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athletes personify the 2015 World Championships theme during this first week of the Championships, whether viewing or participating in the Opening Ceremonies where this theme provided inspiration throughout the evening, volunteering on the course, training alongside or watching their heroes compete or being part of the Dream It Team. Regardless of their role, these children are the future of ski racing, and watching them dream, live and share these moments this past week has certainly been an inspiration to me.

I am often asked by parents at what age should they start their children on this journey. My advice is always the same — the sooner the better. The Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Future Stars program is a season-long program designed for children ages 6 and older who can get on and off the chairlift by themselves and comfortably ski with poles on Golden Peak. Future Stars exposes youngsters to alpine racing, moguls and park and pipe, focusing on creating passion, skill development as well as participating in the complimentary Steadman Clinic Vail Cup competition series. Ski & Snowboard Club Vail offers similar programs for young snowboarders and Nordic skiers.

Providing this opportunity to children not only grows a love of snow sports and active lifestyles, it creates an irreplaceable base of experiences that ensures that potential can be fulfilled.

I am often asked by parents at what age should they start their children on this journey. My advice is always the same — the sooner the better.

A look to our history

This past weekend, the first class enshrined to the Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Hall of Fame and Wall of Excellence were celebrated for their achievements as athletes and leaders. Inductees spanned the six decades represented in the club’s 52-year history of serving more than 10,000 kids from the community. Stories from the weekend and speeches from the inductees centered around the community, family, lifelong friendships and the lessons learned while being involved with the club. As Rudd Pyles-Knutzen, the first racer from Ski & Snowboard Club Vail to be named to the U.S. Ski Team said, “What the club really did was teach me how to lose.” Perseverance, determination and learning the Ski and Snowboard Club Vail core values of character, courage and commitment are the true gold medals we give to all our kids.

A look to the future

Ski & Snowboard Club Vail continues to look ahead to the many opportunities that remain for the kids of the community. The long-planned expansion of Golden Peak’s competition arena, a residence center with dormitories and staff residences to attract top coaches and teachers and an Opportunity Fund to ensure that any child in the valley is able to pursue their dreams are important initiatives for Ski & Snowboard Club Vail. Plans to re-develop the clubhouse are approved and ground will be broken pending the sale of the residences on the top two floors that will fund the construction of the new facility for the kids.

The organizers of the 2015 FIS Alpine Ski World Championships, recognizing that the members of ski clubs throughout the country are the future of alpine ski racing, launched a video challenge contest just prior to the start of the World Championships to “bring these young athletes,” according to Ceil Folz, “the recognition, and for one lucky club the financial support, to help them continue to follow their dreams.”

Ski & Snowboard Club Vail has entered this challenge with an inspirational video, including clips from Ski & Snowboard Club Vail current and alumni athletes, yet another personification of the Dream It, Live It, Share It theme of the 2015 World Championships, and yet another testament to the important role that Ski & Snowboard Club Vail plays in these young people’s lives. Please consider voting for Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s video once per day at http://woobox.com/j4q543/vote/for/5799585 between now and Saturday to help Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athletes continue to Dream It, Live It, Share It.

Aldo Radamus is the executive director of Ski & Snowboard Club Vail. For more information, go to http://www.skiclubvail.org, email sschmidt@skiclubvail.org or call 970-790-5161.