I have very fond memories of participating in the Junior Ski Program every winter, starting from when I was seven. My sister and I were picked up in school buses at Reed High School and then transported to and from Sky Tavern.My wife just asked me how I had become such a great skier, since lessons are so expensive. That motivated me to see if the program still existed, as I have been stationed all over the world during my time serving in the Navy.We are on vacation right now in Germany and today I skied at a resort in the Bavarian Alps. My eight-year-old son has taken lessons previously in the mountains of West Virginia and my six-year-old daughter has been begging me for a month to let her try. Today, I paid over fifty Euros for a two-hour lesson. While I was paying, I thought to myself––this is half a season with the Junior Ski Program!I highly recommend the program to anyone wanting to give their children the benefit of great ski instruction at a low cost. I wish there was a Junior Ski Program everywhere––I would push to get stationed wherever one existed.Thank you for all you do for kids!
– Lance Burney
This season certainly posed it’s challenges with the weather and snow conditions, but the staff and volunteers that run the Junior Ski Program are invaluable! We have been part of the program for four years now (my son for all four years, and my daughter for the last two years).
I wanted to tell you about a certain incident that occurred yesterday that you should know about. My daughter has been struggling with one skill to get from level 3P to 4 this season. I truly think some of this has to do with the snow conditions, as she was able to do it at the close of the season last year. Since she finished last season as a level 4, she started this season as a 3P and stayed that way throughout the season. Yesterday after lessons, both my kids found me in the lodge. My son was happy to announce that he finally made it from level 6P to 7. But I could tell by the look in my daughter’s eyes that she didn’t pass. She’s never been too bothered by not getting punched, but this day she ran over to me, buried her face in my shoulder, and quietly began to cry. I felt so bad for her. Apparently, so did Doc Reynolds who was standing next to me. He leaned over to her, and asked what she was struggling with. She told him, “hockey stop.” Then he told her that “we would see what we could do about it.” He walked away for a few minutes before coming back. He told her to be ready in 40 minutes and he would take her up the lift to work with her. Neither myself nor my husband ever really learned how to ski, so we depend on your trainers to fill that gap for us. After about 1 hour with Doc, my daughter ran into the lodge with a huge smile on her face and exclaimed, “I did it! I did it!” She was so happy and ready to go ski some more! If Doc had not taken the time to work with her, I don’t think she would’ve wanted to sign up for the program next year. Now, I know that she will.
– Beth, Aspen ( 7 years old), Dakota (9 years old), and James Todd
Standing amid the throng of $400 skintight racing suits from Squaw Valley, large teams from Diamond Peak, Alpine Meadows, and Northstar in their colorful bibs, were three Sky Tavern racers in their plain bibs and hand-me-down ski clothes, amazed by all the hoopla of the race fans. This was the first race of the Tahoe League Series at Heavenly Valley in mid-January. Most of the teams had several coaches in matching outfits with radios and lots of training hours behind them. But we had our own secret weapon – we had Doc.
Doc is the Sky Tavern Race Coach who is an ex-leatherneck, as big as a moose, and with a heart to match the demeanor of a kitten. With equal parts motivation, support, and correction, Doc had the three very nervous first-time racers – Noah, Lindsey, and Naia – believing they would do very well, and reminding them, “its just about having fun out here, so go out and have some!” Watching Doc is like observing any professional who is dedicated to his job, as he gets down on one knee so that he can look his team members in the eye. After the race he said, “well, was it fun?” Everyone smiled and nodded their heads. It was fun alright, because Doc made it that way.
The incredible thing about this program is that any child in Reno or Sparks can come up to Sky Tavern and be a part of a race team that experiences the many resorts of the Tahoe basin and gets inspiration from a great and supportive coach. If you are looking to involve your child in a low-stress ski racing environment where he or she will be supported and appreciated for whatever they bring to the team, then Doc and the Sky Tavern Race Team is the place for you!
– Dr. Mike Selby