How an Inspiring Program Gets Rural Students Onto the Slopes


In rural Baker County, Oregon, many local children have a much different daily routine than your typical grade-schooler. With students growing up on farms and ranches, work duties call before the sun rises in order to maintain family operations. This leaves little time for these youth to even think about fun activities like skiing.

And when budget cuts in the Baker County School District reduced the scholastic week to just four days, students were left with a void. Thankfully, the Ski for the Health of It program filled it by offering lift tickets and rental gear to low-income area families to get them out on the local hill, Anthony Lakes Ski Resort, on the days that they would normally have been in school. The program is highlighted in the new short film presented by REI titled “Everyone Skis.”

The inspiring film is produced by Modoc Stories, a Hood River, Ore.-based outfit helmed by long-time Canoe & Kayak contributors, David and Michael Hanson. The talented brothers have previously highlighted the characters who define wild places from rivers in western Oregon to the Mississippi delta, and documented the contentious ownership rights of the rivers that drain the Southeast. The production team has now turned to the rural communities of eastern Oregon in this latest release.

The program is open to children from fourth to 12th grade, and is limited to first-come, first-served. You can check out all the details on its website, as well as apply for the program if you live in the area.

When it comes to helping the youth of today get active and outside, the Ski For the Health of It program is certainly doing its part in stoking out the kids in Baker County. After all, learning lessons outside is just as beneficial to child development as the ones they learn in the classroom.

If you’re looking for a feel-good little break to wrap up your workweek, check out how this rad program has found a way to fire up a community.

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