Winter Adventure on the hill

Barbara Lawlor, Nederland.  At first it seems like chaos, 236 children of all ages and snowsports abilities clamber into the Indian Peaks Lodge at Eldora, needing: skis boots poles, snow boards, helmets jackets, gloves, lunches, encouragement and someone who knew the whole picture. In the last couple of weeks, Nederland Elementary Schools had the privilege of spending a day on the Eldora Mountain Resort slopes and trails. Each class had their own day on the hill with instructors to show them where their feet need to go, where their weight needed to be.

The goal for Nederland is to have 100% student participation, which is why multiple fundraising events are held every year. This year, the funds raised and donated enabled us to reduce the total Winter Adventure Days price to a $45 flat fee for each child.

“This is the least expensive WAD’s has even been.” says Cheree Stover. “We also offer a large number of 100% financial scholarships for WAD’s so that every child can have the opportunity to sled, ski, skate and learn with their friends, teachers and instructors.”


This year, the 236 students who participated represented 90% of the schools, some of them being hit by the flu going around.

Skiing still holds the most popular title, with 163 students; Snowboarding had 53 student and Nordic Skier included 20.

Winter Adventure Days’ total cost hovers right at $12k each year, which includes skating and snowsports at the RINK and a day of alpine or Nordic at Eldora, all rentals, bus fees and substitutes for the school.

The program is funded throughout the year by the NES PTA. but the main fundraisers are the Jog-a-thon in the Fall each year and the Silent Auction in the Spring each year. Some very generous donors this year, paid for almost 50 scholarships worth of donations.

Anyone can donate, it’s tax deductable, to NES Winter Adventure Days, online at or through writing a check to NES PTA and mailing to NES PTA/ 1 Sundown Trail/ Nederland/ 80466.

Eldora Mountain Resort also offers NES 35 scholarships each year which significantly reduces fees for lessons, lift tickets, and rentals. The PTA works closely with Eldora Group Sales, Snowsports and the Nordic center to make sure they can accommodate our students on the given day, that the instructors and instructor-student ratio is good quality and that there are sufficient high-quality rentals available for our numbers.

The EMR weather magicians also managed to arrange for a variety of excellent snow, sun and warmth, keeping the winds at bay this year at least while the kids were on the hill.

What the students take away from a day on the hill is an amazing breakthrough in a world they may have never known before. Fifth grader Skylar Deforest, with the help of his Ignite Instructor Alan Bernat, learned all the basics first: putting the skis on, standing up, bending knees, sliding skis forward and hanging on to the hula hoop that attached him to his instructor. He learned how to go slow, how to point his skis together to stop and how to keep up balance once he stopped.


Then came the big moment of actually stepping onto the Magic Carpet and hitching a ride up the hill. For a second, his body went a little faster than his skis but he learned how to stand upright while the carpet moved uphill.

Skylar spent the rest of his time on the hill getting better and better every run until he finally said that when he grew up, he wanted to become a skier.

Skiers and snowboarders share the slopes and instructor Hunter Amabile was patiently helping his class down the hill. As they sat on the hillside, perched on their boards with their heels down keeping them from sliding, Hunter took each one of them individually, showing them how push the heels down and put the toes up, controlling the board. Within a few runs, the students were no longer a danger to themselves or others.

The Winter Adventure Days participants have learned and will continue to learn a life-long recreation, a way to jump into our winter way of life and to enjoy the with confidence the ecstasy of knowing how to ski or snow board in their own hometown.

Barbara Lawlor

Barbara is a reporter for The Mountain-Ear.