Auburn Ski Club program puts children on the slopes

By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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The Auburn Ski Club is preparing to teach young foothill skiers a sport they can enjoy for a lifetime. The nonprofit Gift of Skiing is a program that trains children as young as 6 in the art of skiing. Bev Mann, the program’s director, said Gift of Skiing is important to the Auburn Ski Club because it promotes family members competing in winter sports together. “Skiing is a sport you can do with your children instead of just watching,” Mann said. “Skiing is something you can do as a family for years and years. We’re very family oriented and we like to see families learning a skill and a sport.” Bill Clark, executive director of Auburn Ski Club, said the Gift of Skiing program continues the original goal of the historic club. “It really hits home to what the Auburn Ski Club is all about, which is getting foothill families involved in the snow,” Clark said. “The ski club history goes back to 1928 and this is so much what the pioneers of the ski club were all about.” Gift of Skiing has been in existence for about eight years and is an expanded version of the development program that previously existed in the Auburn Ski Club. It consists of two groups, the Cisco Kids and the Boreal Bombers. The Cisco Kids range in age from 6 to 12, and are Auburn Ski Club’s beginning skiers. The Boreal Bombers are usually 7 to 13 years old. They are the next skill level up in the Gift of Skiing program. Mann said that students are placed by their skill levels as well ages. If a student is 6 years old but has skied several times, he or she may be eligible for the Boreal Bombers. The Bombers’ training starts on Saturday. The Cisco Kids begin on Dec. 20. Training goes through March with eight days of training for the Cisco Kids and 15 days of training for the Boreal Bombers. There are still a openings available in each group. While these are development ski programs, Mann said students have to at least know the basics when they enroll. These are not programs for kids who have never put on a pair of skis. “They need to know how to stop to get into the program,” Mann said, adding that students in the Cisco Kids will learn other skills such as turning and stopping abruptly. Mann said the Gift of Skiing students enjoy the companionship the program has to offer. “These are kids they get to ski with week after week,” Mann said. “When they know they’re going to be with these kids they just met, it’s kind of neat, and they have fun.” In addition to having fun, the program helps the kids develop skills they will rely on throughout life, Mann said. “The more doors we open to kids, the more well-rounded they will be,” Mann said. “They have to use their heads while they’re skiing. They have to be responsible. It’s one of those nice things that helps round out a person.” The two programs expect about 65 participants this year. There is an enrollment fee of $255 for the Cisco Kids and $455 for the Boreal Bombers. Parents and their children must be members of the Auburn Ski Club to enroll in Gift of Skiing. Annual dues are $40 for the first club member and $20 for each additional member. “It’s a very inexpensive way for families to let their children learn a new skill,” Mann said. “It’s the bottom of a pyramid. The more they learn at the beginning, the faster they will be able to move onto bigger and better things in skiing.” The Journal’s Bridget Jones can be reached at ---------- Gift of Skiing What: Auburn Ski Club’s introductory ski program Ages: 6 to 13 Call: Bev Mann at (530) 878-2888 or Eric Garayoa at (530) 426-3313 E-mail: Web site: