VAIL, Colo. (CBS4) – It was a great experience in the high country Sunday for a group of Summit County kids who go to learn how to snowboard.
The children also learned valuable skills they can use the rest of their lives.
Hundreds of under-privileged kids hit the slopes at seven resorts across the state. For many it was the first time.
“These kids are just getting their first experience on a board. We talked about courage this morning and the kids are definitely using it all day,” SOS Outreach volunteer Peder Hansen said.
For the 18th season, SOS Outreach is teaching under-privileged kids how to snowboard and ski.
“The sport is used to create the passion and engagement to develop the character, teach the core values, and give them life skills.” SOS Outreach founder Arn Menconi said.
SOS Outreach is one of the charities Vail Resorts is most involved with. Not only do they donate lift tickets and equipment for the kids to learn. But they also donate the instructors and the time on the hill.
“We also donate over $1 million in cash and in kind. We see about 2,000 kids come through our Colorado resorts. The kids benefit, but our instructors come back energized and fired up when they participate in the SOS,” Kristen Stewart with Breckenridge Resort said.
“I see them grow in confidence and responsibility to their community. And a lot of them even come back to be mentors to the little kids when they’ve gone off to college,” Hansen said.
“We don’t want to do a one-and-done program. We’re designed in order to do a long-term relationship with the kids so we can have a real impact in their lives,” Menconi said.
SOS Outreach started in Vail in 1993. It’s now a nationwide program with both winter and summer time activities.
This winter SOS expects to teach 5,000 kids how to ski and snowboard at 45 resorts across the country.