Local kids connected to mountain resort through program
By Brandon Hansen/The Independent Staff
Chewelah Peak has been a hot spot for winter sports enthusiasts for many decades. Naturally the 49 Degrees North Mountain Resort has generated interest with area youth, partnering with area schools to provide skiing and snowboarding instruction to students. A few years ago, however, shrinking school budgets, liability concerns, and pressure from insurance carriers made it difficult for local schools to continue the partnership.
Fortunately, the 49 Degrees North Mountain Resort continues to offer a special program for youth in the Chewelah, Addy and Valley area. Begun three years ago, the Chewelah Community Ski School offers four consecutive Saturdays of lessons and skiing at a minimal cost.
“We saw there was a bit of a gap with that connection to local youth. With the schools having to take a step back, kids around the area weren’t getting access to the same opportunities as previous generations,” said Rick Brown, 49 Degrees North Director of Skiing and Snowboarding. “With the shrinking budget of local schools, we wanted to make sure local kids still had opportunities to experience the mountain environment. We decided to create something new, and that idea developed into the community ski school, a four-week program with special rates just for area families.”
Starting on February 11 and going until March 4, the community ski school includes a two-hour group lesson and then students can ski the rest of the day. Program costs start at just $100 for four weeks of lessons. Complete packages that include everything for the four-week session (lessons, lift tickets, and rental equipment) are only $220.
A retail price for the same would work out to $89 a day or $356 for four days.
This is the third year of the ski school, with the first year being tough due to a mild winter but the second year seeing good participation. Roughly 20 kids from the local community signed up for the school.
“Seeing the excitement from kids and what they were learning was awesome,” Brown said.
“They get to spend the whole four-week session with the same group and the same instructor, growing and learning as a team. Their enthusiasm and confidence really grows from week to week and they look forward to seeing their classmates each Saturday. Parents, too, have been really grateful we have been able to offer something like this.”
The ski school instructors are the same instructors that handle retail instructions at the mountain resort as well, so the quality of coaching and the value are really high.
Those interested in the ski school, must be from the Chewelah, Addy, Valley area. They can go to Communityskischool.com for a full packet to download and more information.
They can also contact Brown at 509-935-6649 x631 or RBrown@ski49n.com.
(Photos from 49 Degrees North Mountain Resort)