SAGAMORE HILLS, Ohio — A group of students from the Boys and Girls Club of Northeast Ohio experienced winter sports for the first time. 

Through a grant from the Katz Amsterdam Foundation, established by the owners of Vail Resorts, which owns Brandywine Ski Resort, the students received several lessons, winter wear, equipment rentals and lift tickets for free.

What You Need To Know

  • Kids with the Boys and Girls Club of Northeast Ohio received skiing and snowboarding lessons at Brandywine Ski Resort
  • A grant provided by the Katz Amsterdam Foundation supplied lessons, winter gear, equipment rentals and lift tickets to the kids for free
  • The program helps expose kids to winter sports, who otherwise wouldn't experience them

“Just trying to get people that otherwise couldn’t get out to our resorts and couldn’t experience skiing and snowboarding out to our resorts,” said Brandywine Ski Resort General Manager Jake Campbell. “And really fall in love with it like we have here at our resorts.”

It may be tough for many to walk in the thick snow wearing ski boots, but it didn’t stop Anastashia Cook from making her way up the hill. 

“Because I like skiing,” she said. “But this is my last day here.”

It was the fifth and final lesson for Cook, 11, and her friends from the Steve Wise and Barberton Boys and Girls Clubs. 

Instructors worked with each student, but some of the kids discovered going down hill wasn't as easy as it looked. 

Jocelyn Maguire, 8, had a tough time staying up on her snowboard, but didn’t give up.

“Cause it’s fun,” she said. 

Joe Johns said he understands that determination. He’s been skiing since 1977 and became a ski instructor in 1987. 

“I went straight to the beginner hill, tears were coming out of my eyes and I thought, ’This is pretty cool,’” he said. “Now, I have to learn how to turn and stop. And I’ve been trying to learn that ever since.”

He said he sees a bit of himself in the students. 

“It’s our job to harness that energy, so they can do it safely,” he said. 

Speeding downhill is also Tristan Wallace’s favorite part of skiing.

“It looks like I’m The Flash,” he said. 

He said it feels like he’s flying. 

“It’s kinda hard, but glad we have some teachers on our side to help us and help us learn and learn to get better,” he said. 

With each run down the slope, the kids gained confidence and faced their fears, becoming snow sport fans in the process. 

“This is more fun than watching TV,” said Wallace. 

Brandywine Ski Resort is scheduled to close for the season March 13.