Ski and Snowboarding Lessons for Newcomers or Low-Income Edmontonian Youth

The Cause

The Edmonton Ski Club (ESC) is pleased to submit an Idea for consideration for the Field Law Community Fund. ESC is a non-profit organization focused on providing outdoor recreation opportunities to its community. Its mission is to provide accessible, affordable programming for all Edmontonians, reducing barriers faced by community members who have typically been excluded from outdoor sports. From Olympic athletes to kids taking their first steps into winter sports, ESC provides all its guests with a safe, welcoming environment and new skills with which to explore and appreciate Edmonton’s rich environments.
ESC’s Idea is to create a fully funded, barrier-free winter season of ski and snowboarding lessons for newcomers or low-income Edmontonian youth. This season would run for 10-13 weeks between January and March 2023, with the final season length being determined by the quantity of snow available at the end of March. It would feature weekly, 90-minute ski or snowboarding lessons for 23 youth. These seats would be split into 12 ski and 11 snowboarding spots; the participants would select one sport and attend its corresponding lessons for the duration of the program. At the conclusion of this season, ESC would help interested youth enter volunteer roles in its organization and help them acquire the skills needed to enter paid roles with ESC or another organization in the winter sports industry. The funds from the Field Law Community Fund would be used to cover the cost of rentals and lift tickets, and ESC would personally cover the cost of the lessons.
Through this Idea, ESC will be able to reduce the financial barriers faced by participants, empower them to engage in winter sports and provide them with a mentorship opportunity, boosting their physical, mental, and financial health.

Who Will it Benefit?

The group benefiting most from the project will be the 23 participants. Studies have shown that youth develop greater resilience in managing daily challenges when they spend time in nature, participate in group activities and engage in sport. In turn, ESC anticipates that the participants’ physical and mental well-being will improve through this outdoor recreation program. The skiing and snowboarding lessons will improve their balance, flexibility and cardiovascular endurance, reduce their stress and anxiety, and develop their interpersonal skills and self-esteem.
Many of the youth ESC serves rarely get to leave their neighborhood core and haven’t experienced skiing or winter culture due to inaccessibility and ski hills’ perceived exclusivity. This project would demonstrate to the participants that they belong on the hills and provide them with healthy alternatives to engaging in unsafe activities. Moreover, it would give the participants the skills and confidence they need to continue in winter sports, opening up more outdoor recreation opportunities for them. As they explore additional outdoor recreation options, they’ll stay active and engaged with their communities.
Another benefit for the participants is the opportunity to join ESC as a service provider. ESC has historically hired participants from similar programs after getting to know them. This hiring approach benefitted the youth as they were able to work with colleagues they knew in a familiar environment. ESC will extend the same opportunity to this program’s participants by helping interested youth transition into volunteers and later staff. ***To maintain confidentiality of our program participants we will not be providing pictures, but our socials and website do tell an awesome story of who we are.