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Knocking down price barriers to make winter sports accessible to youth

Posted at 6:42 AM, Feb 13, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah is in the middle of one of the best ski and snowboard seasons in recent memory but that mountain experience can be prohibitive on many levels for many people in the Beehive State.

Teaming up with Solitude Mountain Resort, the YMCA is making mountain magic more accessible for Utah's youth through a collaboration called "Share Winter."

"This is their backyard but like we talked about it might not be that accessible to them," explained Dan Healy, who serves as the VP of Recreational Services at Solitude. "We're providing that accessibility, it's a very fulfilling and rewarding program."

The goal of the collaboration is to give young people between the ages of 8 and 17 the experience of skiing or snowboarding.

"It doesn't matter your religious, your political, your socioeconomic background, if you want to engage with us we want to engage with you," Lee Vaughn with the YMCA said. "We want to give your youth the opportunity to experience the jewels that we have in the state."

The program provides a subsidized and extended mountain experience over four Sundays at the resort. It includes a bus ride to the resort, a hot lunch and a two-hour lesson in either skiing or snowboarding.

Another YMCA program for teens between the ages of 15 to 17 years old allows them to become junior instructors where they learn the basics about winter sports and then get an opportunity to work at the resort.

Phoebe Chung and Calleigh Crowley are recent graduates and currently working as Junior instructors at Solitude they say it's a job they look forward to.

"This is a really awesome program," Crowley exclaimed. "And yeah, like this year I'm helping out instructing here so it's really awesome I'm a junior instructor and so is Phoebe. And it's just a really fun job, you get to work with kids and amazing people."