Going to ski school | SteamboatToday.com

Going to ski school

Hayden elementary students hit the slopes in P.E. class

Mike McCollum
Hayden Valley Elementary School kindergartner Dominic Lenahan tries to get up after taking a spill while cross-country skiing outside of the school Tuesday. The kindergartners have been skiing once a week as part of a unit in physical education.
Matt Stensland

— As Matalinn Haptonstall skied down a gentle slope Tuesday afternoon next to Hayden Valley Elementary School, her kindergarten classmates fell one by one. At the bottom of the hill, Matalinn was the only student left standing.

“It’s kind of slippery today, and I don’t know what I’m doing,” said Matalinn, 5, who wasn’t concerned about falling. “I learned how to get up when I skied the other day.”

Matalinn is one of about 25 kindergarten students strapping on skis once a week this winter as part of the elementary school’s cross-country ski program. Older students, in grades one through five, ski twice a week.

“The kids love it, and I love to teach it,” said physical education teacher Ginny Glenn. “A lot of them seem to : catch on right away, and some of the kids take a little bit longer to learn, but that is how muscle memory is.

“My favorite part of teaching it is getting outside with kids,” she continued. “Getting outside in the winter is exciting, and it’s a nice chance to learn a life sport. : Once they catch on, they remember it for life.”

The only thing on 6-year-old Brock Hunter’s mind was getting down the hill.

“I’ve sledded this hill before, but skiing is harder, but more fun,” he said. “I’m glad we are outside and not inside all day.”

Riley Owens, 5, raced down the hill in a pink ski outfit with a fluffy feather boa around her neck. She said skiing came easy to her, and her favorite part of the sport is going fast.

Skylar Martinez, 6, yelled “Yeah baby,” every time he skied down the hill.

Joyce Baker has assisted with the ski program for more than 20 years, since her son was a 4-year-old kindergarten student gliding down the slope.

“Skiing is in their blood around here,” she said. “And by the time they go back in to school, they are so tired they are ready to sit down and listen.”

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