But winter is playtime at Nederland Elementary School. Every January, the entire student body gets a chance to frolic on our own snowsports playgrounds. Winter Adventure takes place two days a week for two weeks.
Last Thursday and Friday, first, third, and fifth grades chose to either Nordic ski, alpine ski, or snowboard at Eldora Mountain Resort; or to snowshoe at Mud Lake and skate at the Nederland Rink. The next day they switched places. Next week, the Kindergarten, second, and fourth graders will get their chance to hit the trails, slopes and ice.
The NES PTA sponsors the event and makes sure that all students have the equipment they need and scholarships if needed. It takes dozens of volunteers to make sure that 300 students get to where they are supposed to go and have what they need in order to do what they are planning to do.
It is a huge endeavor. Last week’s event went smoothly. Kids were jacketed, hatted, scarved, gloved, helmeted, and goggled for their sports. They rode buses to EMR and gathered in the racers’ building as their instructors herded them into groups and led them to their destinations. They rode Wild Bear buses to the Rink, where they took off into the woods on snowshoes or laced up their skates for their session.
In every group there were students who were trying out a sport for the first time and there were seasoned athletes who longed to head to the double black diamond slopes.
Last week’s Winter Adventure was blessed with mild, non-windy weather, which isn’t always the case; many volunteers will testify to some days where miserable, cold kids braved wind and snow to have fun.
Two pleasant weeks in a row would be a gift from the winter weather gods.
Nordic instructor Tracy Ross says she has been teaching Nordic skiing for three years and her NES group included two never-ever skiers and a few who ski well. She took the kids to the Stadium, a round, open area with a natural circular course and had them participate in some races. “They were instantly better,” says Ross.
Third grader Mary Jean Jarril said that her mother was a Nordic ski coach for the Nederland High School team and she is used to getting on the trails. Even though some students seemed to spend more time falling and getting up at first, the flexible young bodies didn’t seem to mind the effort and their fingers and toes didn’t seem to feel the cold.
On the big hill, instructor Henry Bremers says he has taught alpine skiing for the past 30 years, including volunteering for the Ignite Adaptive Sports and the Special Olympics. He has been a skier for the past 59 years and he and his double black diamond skiers were eager to hit the hardest trails on the slopes.
Many of the high school ski racers have said that it all began with NES’s Winter Adventure Days.
When the buses dropped the children off at the school at the end of their day outdoors, their cheeks were rosy, their layers of clothing has been shrugged off, and they looked like they had left all their energy at their various snow adventure sites.
It was a good two days for everyone.