Ski4Life program a big success this winter

12 years ago

Ski4Life program a big success this winter

By Jon Gulliver

Staff Writer

    MARS HILL — Unseasonably warm March weather has put an end to the ski season at Bigrock, one in which more kids had a chance to experience the thrill of hurtling down the hill thanks to the Ski4Life program.

“The whole idea is you don’t have to stay inside in the wintertime.”
               — Mark Shea
Photo courtesy Mark Shea

    SPRINGTIME FUN sp-bigrock-dcx1-arsh-13 — Carly Guerrette, left, and Bobbi Jo Guerette, right, of Mars Hill enjoy the unseasonably warm spring skiing weather at Bigrock Ski Area recently with Snow School Instructor Susan Lavertu of Presque Isle.

    Ski4Life is an after-school activity program that provides an opportunity for youngsters grades K through 12 to develop skiing or snowboarding as a lifetime sport at an affordable rate. Thanks to a partnership with The Bank of Maine, the cost to the kids was just $6 a visit, which included the lift ticket, rentals and instruction.

    Bigrock Ski Area marketing director Mark Shea said the program was a resounding success this year.

    “There are certainly enough students in Aroostook County that want to ski, the challenge is getting them to the mountain,” said Shea. “The Bank of Maine sponsorship allowed us to overcome that hurdle, by lowering the overall costs of getting the kids here.”

    Shea said roughly 1,300 students participated in Ski4Life.

    “We were able to reach every community (school) from Caribou, Limestone as far south as Danforth and Sherman,” he said. “Only two schools in that 60 mile radius were not able to put something together.”

    He added most of the schools organized four trips to the mountain and several schools came more than four times.

Photo courtesy Mark Shea
  sp-bigrock-dcx2-arsh-13  SKI4LIFE — Snow School Instructors Susan Lavertu and Keegan Wakana (wearing vests) lead an activity for students from Caribou and Limestone as part of Bigrock Ski Area’s Ski4Life Program, which is sponsored by The Bank of Maine.

    “Some groups came seven or eight times,” he said.

    To illustrate how popular the program has been with the kids Shea points to the Ashland School District. This was the first year Ashland participated in Ski4Life, but the trip leaders said the kids were so excited every time the bus pulled into the Bigrock parking lot they had a hard time keeping them in their seats.

    “The kids are excited about getting out — they are being active — doing something they normally wouldn’t be able to do,” Shea said.

    Ski4Life is one of many programs designed to get people active. The Ski School, sponsored by the Aroostook Medical Center this year, was also a big success according to Shea. The mountain also continued its free ski nights on Wednesdays, thanks to corporate sponsorship.

    “The whole idea is you don’t have to stay inside in the wintertime,” said Shea. “There is a lot to do on snowshoes, cross country skis, downhill skis or on a snowboard. There is a lot of physical activity to be had and we just want to be a part of it.”