Skiing is one of the most enjoyable forms of winter activities for millions of outdoor enthusiasts. However, skiing can be an expensive sport and all too often a large number of underserved kids simply don’t have the means to ski or snowboard. After all, the cost of buying such equipment as skis, bindings, boots, poles and goggles along with the necessary apparel – gloves, ski hat, ski coat, long underwear and more – can add up pretty quickly. Add to this the price of lift tickets, which can cost up to $200 per day per skier, and it’s easy to see why some people don’t have access to the slopes.
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Vail Resorts, Inc. is doing its part to broaden engagement in skiing and riding to underserved youth throughout the country. As part of its Epic for Everyone Platform, Vail Resorts, Inc. announced a significant expansion of its current youth access efforts with plans to launch new programs at resorts that serve major metropolitan areas, including New York City, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Boston, Cleveland and Seattle. The company will provide free lift tickets, ski school, equipment rentals and other services to local non-profits who will combine those services with youth mentorship for enriching on-mountain programs across Vail Resorts’ growing portfolio.
Vail Resorts Chief Executive Officer Rob Katz and his wife, Elana Amsterdam, will personally donate $10 million over the next five years to participating non-profits to help develop and expand programs, fund transportation and support other needs necessary to provide mountain access and engaging experiences. The goal of the new initiative, which is expected to launch during the 2020-21 winter season, is to enhance access to winter sports for underserved youth and inspire the next generation of skiers and riders.
“I am incredibly proud of the work our company has already done to broaden engagement in the outdoors and am very excited about the opportunity to dramatically grow our reach with our expanded footprint of 37 resorts,” said Katz. “There is already incredible enthusiasm for getting kids on the mountain, and Elana and I feel fortunate to be able to support and accelerate these efforts. We look forward to working closely with many of our existing partners, such as SOS Outreach, as well as other organizations already focused in this area, such as the Share Winter Foundation, to truly make a difference in the lives of kids and teens, and within the sport itself.”
The Katz Amsterdam Charitable Trust will immediately work to identify non-profit partners and begin making charitable donations to allow the new and expanded programs to begin next season. The Trust will be looking for non-profits who work with underserved urban youth and are passionate about the benefits of getting kids outside. Through direct grants from the Katz Amsterdam Charitable Trust, and in some cases EpicPromise grants, participating non-profits will receive funding to help with transportation costs, cold weather gear and other needs necessary to run a successful and enriching program.
Vail Resorts already has one of the most expansive programs in the industry in the area of youth access, with in-kind charitable contributions totaling $5.6 million per year, supporting nearly 4,500 underserved kids across Colorado, Utah, Lake Tahoe, Chicago, Detroit and Minneapolis-St. Paul. With the new programs in place, Vail Resorts plans to host more than 10,000 underserved kids and teens annually by expanding to its resorts that serve the cities of Akron-Canton, Baltimore, Boston, Cleveland, Columbus, Kansas City, Louisville, Milwaukee, New York City, Philadelphia, Seattle, St. Louis and Washington, D.C.
The new youth access initiative builds upon previous initiatives to improve accessibility. Others include the new Epic Day Pass, a highly-discounted pass product for new and occasional skiers and riders, the Military Epic Pass and Epic School Kids, which offers free days of skiing for kids in kindergarten through fifth grade in certain regions like Colorado, Utah and the Pacific Northwest.
All of Vail Resorts’ North American properties will be involved in the program, including all the Peak Resorts properties. Vail Resorts, Inc., through its subsidiaries, operate 37 world-class mountain resorts and urban ski areas including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Crested Butte in Colorado; Park City in Utah; Northstar and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada; Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada; Perisher, Falls Creek and Hotham in Australia; Stowe, Mount Snow, Okemo in Vermont; Hunter Mountain in New York; Mount Sunapee, Attitash, Wildcat and Crotched in New Hampshire.
Ski areas that will serve specific cities include: Hunter Mountain in New York; Mount Sunapee, Attitash, Wildcat and Crotched in New Hampshire; Stevens Pass in Washington; Liberty, Roundtop, Whitetail, Jack Frost and Big Boulder in Pennsylvania; and Alpine Valley, Boston Mills, Brandywine and Mad River in Ohio. Each resort will provide on-mountain access (lift tickets), ski and ride lessons, equipment rentals and lunch, all free of charge to participating non-profit programs. Each youth organization will have their own approach to how they administer their programs with participants.
The Katz Amsterdam Foundation and Trust will begin looking for nonprofit partners in the targeted urban areas. Individuals or nonprofits that already have outdoor access programs or are interested in beginning one should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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