Skiing for the First Time at Wachusett Mountain

We try not to pick favorite outings, but skiing is tough to beat.  On Saturday, February 2nd, we spent the day at Wachusett Mountain with 14 kids from our partner organization Harlem Lacrosse Boston. After arriving at the mountain and navigating the “controlled chaos” of getting the kids geared up with warm clothing and rental equipment, we made our way to beginners hill.  We had 7 boys and 7 girls who had never been skiing before; they all were super excited and ready to take on this new challenge.

We spent the morning going over the basics of skiing with the help of two Wachusett Mountain ski instructors who prepared the kids to take on the mountain. Seeing the pure joy that comes from sliding down the hill on skis for the first time will never get old.   

After lunch, the majority of kids graduated to the “big” mountain.  With the help of Elevate Youth instructors and our amazing volunteers we were able to split into smaller groups and allow individuals to work at their own pace.  Supportive adults are at the core of Elevate Youth and we witnessed the power of this firsthand.

As we made our way to the top of the mountain, one of the girls, Rileigh, was getting frustrated at not being able to connect her turns.  She had just riden her first chairlift and was nervous about going down the big slope.  One of our instructors spent some time with her to demonstrate proper technique and encourage her to take on the challenge. At the end of the run, Riliegh was connecting turns in complete control.  When she got to the bottom she had the biggest smile on her face and said, “I never thought I could do it….. That was so much fun!”

On the ride back to Dorchester, another one of the girls, Carolyn, who had quickly mastered the basics of skiing by the time we left the mountain, asked if we could go skiing every day.  Outdoor recreation, especially skiing, gives our youth the opportunity to get outside their comfort zone and THRIVE.  We at Elevate Youth are consistently inspired by the youth we work with and we aim to give all kids we work with the opportunity to thrive in a new experience.

We are looking forward to at least 3 more ski trips this winter, which would not be possible without the generosity of Jeff Crowley and the staff at Wachusett Mountain.  

Alec Griswold