News

CK, it’s time to hit the slopes

By ERIN BEIL

Staff writer

If rain in the city means snow in the slopes, it’s time to break out those skis and snowboards and carve some fresh tracks.

Whether it’s the rejuvenating feeling of ripping down a mountain through fresh powder, learning how to snowplow on the bunny hill or watching other snow-goers while gliding up the chairlift, a day at the mountain cannot be replaced.

Back for its 35th season, the Central Kitsap Ski School is still accepting students who want to learn the skill of skiing and snowboarding this winter. Application forms, which can be found in school offices or www.ckskischool.com/signingup.htm, must be postmarked by Friday, Nov. 30. The mandatory meeting for all ski school participants is at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6, in the former gym at Central Kitsap Junior High School.

“It’s a way of enjoying the winters in Washington,” said CK Ski School Assistant Director Eric Samson. “Once you fall in love with mountain sports, you get excited for winter.”

Regardless if students are novice or expert skiers, the CK Ski School provides lessons for students from younger than 12 to 18. For eight weeks, students will be bussed to and from Stevens Pass where they will either take lessons, or if they have been a part of the CK Ski School for more than three years, can go up and just ski or ride for the day. The cost of the CK Ski School package, which includes eight weeks of lessons, a season pass and transportation is $649 for students 13 and older and $529 for students 12 and younger.

“The kids get so excited about the weekends,” Samson added. “They build and find friendships ... for a lot of kids, this is their sport.”

In addition to the package, students must provide their own ski or snowboard equipment, or they can rent from the mountain. Samson said with terrain ranging from novice to expert, skiing and riding is something students can do for the rest of their lives, continually getting better.

“It’s a good way to get you through the winter blues,” Samson said. “This is a stable program that has been here a long time ... it’s multi-generational.”

The CK Ski School is every Saturday with busses departing for the mountain at 5:45 a.m. The busses will then take the Edmonds/Kingston Ferry and begin on the trip to Steven’s Pass. After checking the weather reports at Monroe, the busses will wind their way up to the ski area where students will unload and meet at the ski school building to begin lessons. At the end of the day, students will re-board busses between 3:15 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. to head home.

“Kids have the freedom to make mistakes because they’re learning,” he said. “We get a lot of first-timers, then the kids get hooked.”

Samson said the instructors at Stevens Pass are trained professionals in both skiing and snowboarding and have the latest in technical and safety training.

The CK Ski School will take place out of the lower Pacific Crest Lodge. Stevens Pass and CK Ski School staff stay radio-connected the entire day for the student’s safety, continually checking the Stevens Pass Ski Patrol Kiosk for students names for added safety. There also are two emergency vans available in case students are hurt or sick, however, there are less than 12 injuries per year out of nearly 2,600 annual skier visits, according to the CK Ski School Web site.

For more information about the CK Ski School, contact director David Keller at (360) 830-0830 or visit www.ckskischool.com.

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