The National Winter Sports Education Foundation is proud to announce its representation as the United States Ski and Snowboard Association’s nominee for the 2016 FIS SnowKidz Award.

As part of the ‘Bring Children to the Snow’ campaign, the FIS Member National Ski Associations were invited to submit their projects to compete for the ‘FIS SnowKidz Award’. This award is presented every other year and aims to recognize and promote the best examples of bringing children to the snow, in varying national circumstances.

With programs that include Nordic Rocks, Ted Ligety Learn to Ski and the National Winter Activity Center, the Foundation demonstrates its long term, sustainable commitment to creating participants, competitors and fans. The Foundation is dedicated to providing the opportunity, and necessary direction and funding for children between the ages of 6 and 17 in schools, youth organizations and USSA clubs or programs, and especially those in underserved communities, to experience or compete in winter sports. With every program it is the intent of the Foundation to support and develop initiatives that provide youth with an introduction and proper instruction for competition in skiing, snowboarding and cross country skiing. In partnership with the USSA, the Foundation aims to introduce 100,000 youth to winter sports over the next few years.

“The mission of the Foundation is not only to bring kids to the snow, but to engage them and make them understand what the snow can offer,” said Schone Malliet, the CEO of the National Winter Sports Education Foundation/National Winter Activity Center. “By providing our participants with what they need to have a memorable experience including a state of the art training facility, a passionate group of formally trained mentors, brand new gear, and more, we are able to change their lives during their time here, if not possibly forever.”

The Nordic Rocks Program was created to introduce elementary and middle schoolers to the excitement of cross country skiing. The program provides students with a chance to engage in Nordic skiing during the school day, alongside their teachers and classmates all while learning the benefits of a healthy and active lifestyle associated with outdoor sports like skiing. Over the program’s history, NWSEF contributed over $85,000 in financial support. In the 2015-16 season, the program had participation from 12,500 youth from more than 60 schools who received 1,800 pairs of skis, 550 school days of instruction and an accumulation of 2,750 hours where staff was involved.

This past winter the Center, which acts as a youth-only training facility, was able to serve 800 youth from various organizations in the NY/NJ tristate area. The foundation will look to double that number in the upcoming year. After hosting 4,200 sessions of instruction, 3,400 meals, and countless hours of outdoor activity for its participating youth, the center is just one of the many reasons the Foundation is proud to be in the running for the internationally-recognized award.

The Ted Ligety Learn to Ski Program provides children with the opportunity to learn how to ski with affordable pricing for families. The program has been a huge success in its second year and allows “never evers” to achieve far beyond their athletic capabilities, all while enjoying winter sports.

“I always wanted to get the next generation doing something like this, that otherwise wouldn’t be able to do it,” said Ligety, two-time Olympic Gold Medalist skier while visiting Ogden’s YMCA and a YMCA in Salt Lake City. Children can sign up for Ligety’s program through the YMCA and take a series of ski or snowboarding classes.

For more information on the Center visit nwsef.org and winter4kids.org.