Students at Lax Kxeen Elementary and Port Edward Elementary School had an unforgettable afternoon on Shames Mountain’s slopes Monday, as teachers from both schools arranged to take them on a skiing trip.
It was the first time on a ski hill for 45 of the 49 students who went on the trip, and for Lax Kxeen Grade 4 and 5 teacher Karen Kowal, watching them overcome a challenge and learn a new skill was inspiring.
“It was way beyond just a field trip for these kids,” she said. “They’d never seen anything like it.”
The group arrived at the hill early in the morning, where they were given the option of using either skis or a snowboard. Once they made their choice, Marc Page, a snowboarding enthusiast and owner of Loaded Sports, answered their questions about the winter sports.
Then it was time to hit the slopes.
Kowal said many of the students were anxious at first, but became more comfortable as the day went on. By the end of the day, some of them were even able to ride the chairlifts.
“For them to be able to fall down over and over and get back up was amazing,” Kowal said. “We’ve seen huge growth in their confidence.”
“They picked it up pretty easily because they are young,” said Susan Kobza, principal at Lax Kxeen school. “They are like elastic bands, they fall and then they get back up and don’t give up.”
“Being able to have that discussion with them was pretty cool too,” Kowal said.
It’s the first time Lax Kxeen Elementary School has taken its students on a field trip like this. Kobza said the school raised funds for the trip through a bake sale and hot dog sale. Lax Kxeen’s parent action committee also contributed $1,000 to make the trip possible.
Kobza, who has taken students at other schools on trips such as this for 20 years, said she hopes to continue the tradition each winter moving forward.
“I’ll do it every year because they’ll never forget it,” she said.