Youth ski and snowboard team teaching professional fundamentals

For the Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort’s All Mountain Team, moving up with downhill skills is kid stuff.

All Mountain Team is a local development program designed for youths ages 6-17 who have mastered the fundamentals of skiing and snowboarding and want to continue with professional instruction.

Two four-week sessions are planned in January, February and early March at Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort, 6725 Lee Canyon Road on Mount Charleston.

Riders are divided into teams based on age and ability level and learn to pound the powder in racing, terrain park riding, free riding and all-mountain progression.

Resort president and general manager Kevin Stickelman said the program is designed for race and ski development. It started in 2006. Riders learn on the resort’s nine runs and back-country terrain.

The complexity of the clinics enticed local father Greg Smith.

His children compete as high-level tennis players, and All Mountain Team offered cross-fit exercises that improve balance and leg strength vital for their sport, he said.

The Oregon native, who spends winter heliskiing in Alaska, had scoffed at the difficulty of the Las Vegas resort before his daughters Madison, 8, Samantha, 13, and Gabrielle, 15, joined All Mountain Team in its inaugural year.

"It’s not the ease of the hill that’s important," he said. "It’s not an advanced hill, but the education of the All Mountain Team teaches them more than the fundamentals of carving."

Ski school manager Gabrielle Barel coordinates the program and she said she assigns her most trained staffers to coach the groups.

This year, the resort is slated to host competitions via Nastar, a ski racing group. The All Mountain Team could be groomed to one day compete, Barel said.

The weekly clinics aid with ski and snowboard coordination and skill, but All Mountain Team also focuses on equipment maintenance, snow safety, powder texture in the event of a snow slide and weather education, Barel said.

"We try to make it an educational program as well as a training camp," she said.

The Smiths learned to race in powder and navigate all-terrain hills such as ducking through trees and edging on varied slopes.

"It’s a nice variety and what kids today want," Smith said. "They don’t want to go through some flags. That’s boring."

Because of the Smith daughters’ training, their father said they hold their own with skiers in Utah who race daily.

"They’re crushing it now," he said.

Madison and Samantha plan to join the team again this year. The girls ski and snowboard during lessons.

"I like them to do both to match their friends," he said. "We just love it. It’s great on their legs."

Session one is set for 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each Saturday in January. Session two is planned from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Feb. 4, 11 and 25 and March 3.

For riders ages 6-12, each session is $299 or $499 for eight weeks of instruction.

Riders ages 13-17 pay $399 per session or $599 for the eight-week courses. The price includes team registration, an unlimited season pass and lunch on program days.

Season-long ski or snowboard equipment rental can be added for an $149.

Participants must be savvy enough on the slopes to stop and turn in both directions. Helmets are required.

For more information, visit skilasvegas.com, the All Mountain Team — LVSSR Facebook page or call 385-2754.

Contact Centennial and North Las Vegas View reporter Maggie Lillis at mlillis@viewnews.com or 477-3839.

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