8,000 at-risk youth learned to ski and ride for free

Since 2009, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows has donated nearly 8,000 lift tickets and rentals to SkiDUCK, helping financially disadvantaged, at-risk youth learn to ski and ride. During the 2016-17 season alone, in addition to providing nearly 1,400 lift tickets and equipment rentals, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows provided SkiDUCK with more than 400 free lessons. On average, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows donates nearly 1,000 lift tickets and rentals, giving more than 500 underprivileged kids a season the opportunity to ski and ride.

I can tell you that the boys were excited about the trip. They practically sprang out of bed at 4am Sunday. In my experience that’s just not typical for teenage boys. Not only that, but they were very grateful for the opportunity. The depth of that gratitude may not come through in their notes as they are all behind in reading and of course even further behind in writing skills. Just writing a note is a much bigger challenge than we would normally think. 


Of course their economic condition reflects all their circumstances and more.  Families live and raise their kids on about 8K per year and the likelihood that will ever change is very low. The boys recognize that their families are poor but they don’t understand all the ramifications of that. They are just starting to understand what it means to live in a culture of poverty, because until recently it was just the norm.


What they do know is that their families came from the jungles of Indochina, and that their grandparents probably never saw snow. They know that they can learn to ski from very patient, kind instructors. And that they can stand on the top of a mountain and look across the valley at a World Cup race course. To them, that means they have a chance to become part of the American culture and for that they are profoundly grateful.”


-- Jim Laing, Shoulder to Shoulder program

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