By Michael Willhite
Although the snow is just beginning to fall, the Park City Mountain Resort plans on teaching approximately 4,000 Utah kids how to ski or snowboard.
Hilarie Sedgwick, the resort”s communications coordinator, said this season”s Legacy Ski & Ride Program will begin a week later than planned, but will still provide free lessons that it promised to the kids who have already registered.
The program, in its third year of existence, was established to teach Utah kids how to ski and/or snowboard, so as to be more familiar with these sports once the Olympics roll around in February.
According to Sedgwick, only seven percent of Utahns ski or snowboard, which isn”t good for the state with “The Greatest Snow on Earth.”
So far, 10,000 kids have been tutored on the resort”s slopes over the past three years. Olympic sponsors such as Coca-Cola and Kodak make the program financially possible. The resort simply provides the venue and instruction.
“We know that the first time on skis or a snowboard can be an intimidating experience for some,” said Mary Flinn, the Resort”s Kids” Mountain School manager and supervisor of the program. “By paying attention to every detail and hand-holding the children through the process, we hope to make their first experience on snow much more enjoyable, so they”ll want to continue in snow sports.”
The program even allows for the participants to come back and ski with their family at a discount.
According to Sedgwick, over the past two years, 40 percent of the participants have come back with their families, and 25 percent have bought the discounted passes.
“Experiencing winter sports firsthand is the best way, I believe, for kids to truly feel a part of the action in 2002,” said Vern Greco, president and general manager of the resort.