Whitetooth Affordable Ski Program

Growing up in a ski town should mean that every child gets the chance to learn to ski or snowboard. Thanks to some new and old partners, the Whitetooth Affordable Ski Program will ensure that every student in grade 4 & 5 in Golden & Area A will get the chance to slide on snow.

The Whitetooth Affordable Ski Program was originally created and sustained by the forward-thinking of the Whitetooth Ski Society. Upon the sale of Whitetooth to Ballast-Nedam (developers of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort (KHMR)) in the late 1990s, proceeds from the sale were used three ways - first, to pay off the Society’s debt; second, to allocate some of the proceeds for the Whitetooth Legacy Fund (currently held with the CSRD); and finally, to create the Whitetooth Ski Society Fund (WSSF), which has since been held by the Golden & District Community Foundation (GDCF).

Compounding challenges in recent years, the GDCF's capacity to support local youth has been limited by lower investment returns on the WSSF’s endowment fund. So in September, after research and careful consideration of the original intention of the Whitetooth Ski Society, the Board has decided to modify the program so that it can maximize the Fund’s impact and focus on the local grade 4 & 5 classes.

“We looked at the program's participation over the last few years and realized that the passes were not getting used as much as we had hoped,” explained Lynne Romano, Chairperson of the GDCF. “So we called all of the parents and heard that the two biggest challenges were transportation to and from the mountain and not having a ‘ski buddy’ to go with. The program changed after meetings with the partners determined that there was a greater opportunity to impact more kids through additional support from KHMR and the School District.”

Under the new program, the collaboration of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, School District #6, Lady Grey Elementary School, Nicholson Elementary School, the Parent Advisory Councils, and GDCF, the Whitetooth Ski Society Fund are helping to provide the opportunity for approximately 125 children to ski or snowboard 4 full days at a greatly reduced cost at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort (totaling 500 skier days). By directly involving the schools, this new program will address the issue of transportation and improve social inclusion for this age group.  The response from the school administration and teachers has been great. They saw the potential to positively impact many more kids through this change and enthusiastically supported it.

Thus far, a few classes have already made use of the Program and they will be returning regularly for the remainder of the season. While there are bound to be hiccups getting a large group of 9 and 10 year olds on the hill for an entire day, the school administration believes that the process has gone rather smoothly.

Janne Arlt, Principal of Lady Grey Elementary School, has attributed this success to Kicking Horse’s staff, committed parents, school staff and volunteers that ensure all the kids are looked after while on the regular ski trips.
“The kids have figured out the routine and what they’re going to need to have an enjoyable day on the mountain. And some that can already ski well are taking this opportunity to learn how to snowboard with the support of an instructor.”

A parent of a Grade 4 student, Jenn Keilty, is impressed with the changes.

“My daughter is stoked after a day with her class on the mountain. Stoked, but tired!"

While the GDCF saw reduced investment returns in 2015, the upcoming 2016-17 season may include adding all Golden & Area A Grade 6s to the program if enough other donors can come on board.

If you would like to ensure that future generations of local kids will get to learn to ski and snowboard, please give to the GDCF’s Whitetooth Ski Society Fund at www.canadahelps.org."

WASP Applications & Participants By Year 
Winter Season
Applicants
Participants
Child
Youth
2007-08
21
21
7
14
2008-09
20
18
13
5
2009-10
23
23
9
13
2010-11
36
35
19
16
2011-12
40
38
30
8
2012-13
41
22
11
11
2013-14
29
23
13
10
2014-15
19
19
13
6
2015-16
Grade 4s & 5s
114
.
.

As you can see from the table above, demand for the needs-based Whitetooth Affordable Ski Program has changed over the years and our capacity to support local youth is limited by our investment returns on the WSSF’s $325,000 endowment fund, which represents almost 1/3 of the GDCF’s total endowment funds.

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