Baltimore Youth Experience Snow Sports through Vail Resorts Program
This past winter, 15 Baltimore Boys & Girls Club members, ages 11 – 14, had the opportunity to experience snow sports at Liberty Mountain Resort thanks to a generous grant through Vail Resorts in partnership with the Katz Amsterdam Foundation.
Youth were introduced to their choice of skiing and/or snowboarding through a series of five ski/ride days led by Vail Resorts instructors with support from Boys & Girls Club staff chaperones. To supplement their ski/ride experience, youth got a view into the outdoor recreation industry through a variety of sessions introducing them to the inner workings of a ski resort as well as related career opportunities. Boys & Girls Club staff utilized the program as a tool for leadership development, inviting youth to participate based on their attendance and participation records and giving them the distinction of our “Peak Performers.”
“I never thought a day in my life I would ever ski. And now I know how to ski. I know how to turn. And I’m excellent at it,” gushed Issac, age 13. “I’m still a beginner. I’m on my second day coming here and I got a chance to go down the big hill before anyone else did.”
The whole experience was made possible through Vail Resorts’ Epic for Everyone Youth Access Program. Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore was one of 11 nonprofit partner organizations—and one of four Boys & Girls Club organizations—chosen to participate in the program’s inaugural year. Support came in the form of a cash grant—to support staffing, soft goods, and transportation—and product donations including free lift tickets, ski and ride school, meals, and equipment rentals.
“One of the best things about snow sports is getting to watch that turning point, that click. When somebody has never tried it before and then they slide down the hill that first time maybe a little uneasy and then eventually [..] fall in love with the sport. And that’s what you really like to see,” explained Andrew DeBrunner, senior communications manager with Liberty Mountain Resort.
In an effort to grow the program to engage more youth, BGCMB’s 2021-2022 participants will be invited to return to the mountain again next year alongside a cohort of newcomers. There’s no doubt Issac will be leading the group.