Vail Daily column: Ski and Snowboard Club Vail’s year in review
The past 12 months at Ski & Snowboard Club Vail have brought unprecedented achievements and accomplishments.
After completing a comprehensive and nearly two-year-long process, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail received Gold Medal Club certification from the United States Ski & Snowboard Association. The certification team examined all aspects of club operations including governance, SafeSport, finance, communications, mission, vision, athlete experience, development and service to the community.
CLUB OF THE YEAR
The annual United States Ski & Snowboard Association Awards Banquet saw Ski & Snowboard Club Vail win awards as Club of the Year, Alpine Club of the Year, Snowboard Club of the Year, Freestyle Club of the Year and Freeskiing Club of the Year. Never before (and likely never again) has one club won four of the major individual sport club of the year awards and overall Club of the Year.
Twelve of our alumni and current athletes competed at the Sochi Olympics and inspired us with their poise, character and performances including two gold medals and one silver.
PREPARING ATHLETES FOR LIFE
While we rejoice in the athletic success of each athlete, our ultimate objective as an organization, from the 6-year-old Future Stars athlete to the Olympian, is to spark a dream and ignite a passion that will provide focus and teach life lessons through the vehicle of competitive snowsports, enabling these youngsters to remain healthy of mind and body and go on to succeed in their adult lives. This past year alone, college acceptances for our athletes included Bates, Colby, Dartmouth, Harvard, University of Denver, University of Vermont and Williams, adding to the legacy that regardless of what path Ski & Snowboard Club Vail alumni take, they have gone on to be successful, resilient and active people in all walks of life.
The scholarship program has made strides this past year, with nearly 20 percent of our athletes (110-plus) receiving financial aid, exceeding $170,000 in total. Ski & Snowboard Club Vail is moving further toward our goal of ensuring that any child wishing to pursue their dreams in snowsports can reach their potential regardless of their means.
Now in the club’s second year of a comprehensive education program, the last two weeks of October are filled with educational opportunities for coaches, athletes and parents. Topics included coaching techniques, sports parenting, concussion protocols , talks by inspirational speakers, communication strategies, van safety, SafeSport and club policies; this commitment to staff development has made a tangible difference in our programs and sets the national standard among snow sports clubs.
These extraordinary accomplishments of the past year would not have been possible without the continued support of Vail Resorts, current and past families, alumni, supporters and friends throughout the community. I am eternally grateful for all that our extended Ski & Snowboard Club Vail family does to provide life changing opportunities to the youth of the Vail Valley.
As we look forward, many opportunities remain.
Progress continues towards the redevelopment of the clubhouse. Approval for the project has been received from the town of Vail with plans calling for an expansion of the club’s space from 6,000 square feet to 28,000 square feet. Funding for the project will be obtained from the sale of one or two penthouse residential units on the upper two floors of the new building.
The proposal to expand Golden Peak to create much-needed training venues for the kids is under review by the U.S. Forest Service, with hopes that an approval would allow construction to begin in the summer of 2016.
The Residence Center plans create subsidized housing opportunities to attract and retain great coaches and meet the needs of kids currently hosted with families. The project will be self-sustaining once completed. The goal is to house the first staff and students in the fall of 2016.
Most importantly, an opportunity fund is being created to provide accessibility for local kids and insure that advancement is based on effort and performance.
Together, we will fulfill the dream in 2015!
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.