BY SUSAN LINDEN, JANUARY 23, 2018
Ascendigo’s Winter Adventure Camp is about so much more than skiing. Each participant is on the slopes with a private ski instructor from 9am to 3pm working on improving skills and breaking to eat lunch with the group. The group reconvenes during aprés ski from 3pm to 6pm for dinner and an activity based on the interests of the group. Activities include swimming in the Viceroy pool, exploring the Mammoth Discovery Center, bowling in Snowmass, sharing hobbies, and eating dinner at a restaurant with video games.
Winter Adventure Camp is about increasing social skills, going out into the community, building rapport, establishing trust and getting out of one’s comfort zone. The ski instructor and/or buddy gets to know the participant by learning his or her interests and then truly engaging in those interests whether it be a particular genre of music, video games, TV shows, activity, or sport. Building rapport builds trust and building trust breaks the fear barrier so that participants reach goals they have never achieved before.
“You could oversimplify it and say we hang out and have a good time, but for some of the campers, it may be the first time they have hung out and had a connection. It’s a pretty big release and it’s exciting,” said Matt Bates, Ascendigo Ski Pro. “It brings them joy.”
Matt recalls a particular camper who had a very strong interest in animated superhero videos and video games. By taking an interest, watching, and playing with the participant, Matt was able to establish trust.
“The camper went from not wanting to be at Buttermilk, to asking if he could ski more difficult runs at Snowmass, primarily so we could take the bus to the other ski area and watch the show together on the bus,” explained Matt. “Slowly, it went from him feeling forced to ski by his parents, to him asking me about improving this ski technique.”
Matt feels that because the camper shared his affinity for these superhero video and games with him, he felt comfortable with Matt sharing ski skills with him. The participant also learned to buckle his own boots, clean up after himself at the lunch table, and self-monitor the balance between skiing and extracurricular activities.
“Ultimately, he tried harder with his skiing,” said Matt.
Winter Adventure Camp is a 5-day experience held primarily at Snowmass Ski Area March 19-23 and March 26-30.
Get more information and to register.