Are Winter Sports a Common Interest?


Monarch Mountain in March 2021, looking toward Beeline and Little Joe ski slopes. Monarch opens soon and is a prime destination for skiing in southern Colorado. Picture by Nicolai Schreck.

Ski season is upon us.

With plenty of resorts around the state, some more accessible to AAHS than others, the thought of partaking in winter sports is apparent. This is highlighted by the various destinations students travel to. Monarch Mountain (right) is the closest major ski area to southern Colorado and beyond. Some people even come from as far as New Mexico and Texas. Many students like skiing as a sport that they can participate in during cold months when they cannot play summer sports. There are plenty of major ski resorts along the Interstate 70 corridor west of Denver, such as Vail, Aspen, and Copper Mountain. Do Air Academy students and teachers like these winter sports, and where do they go? Here are some students’ and teachers’ thoughts on their sports interests’ origins.

Many students like these winter sports as a way to connect with nature in the bitter cold. Many common sports are only weather-specific to the summer.

“It’s very fun and you’re out in the wilderness, it gives you a reason to enjoy the snow and be active,” sophomore Nick Saxerud commented.

Many times, skiing is a pastime enjoyed by families on trips, sometimes with outposts in these locations.

“We had a condo in Breckenridge, we would go there a lot. I would very much get burnt out from skiing a lot,” senior Mathias Bong expounded.

However, many students do not have vacation houses, so some turn them into day trips or overnight trips in temporary residences.

Usually we get a season pass to Loveland and/or Monarch and we make it an overnight stay to get some skiing in,” freshman Sawyer Newell expressed.

Day trips are not without merit, as many skiers at Monarch (and others) day trip from Pueblo and Colorado Springs.

“We make day trips to Keystone, it’s a ton of fun,” sophomore Finn Mitchell said.

Many teachers like to ski as well, at different places in and out of the state.

“I’ve only ever been to Copper, but I grew up in Alaska, so I enjoyed skiing quite a lot,” chemistry teacher Rachel Valiquette iterated.

Copper is a resort located near Frisco, west of the Denver metro.

Some tips about starting to ski include finding an easy and relatively flat place to start, learning how to get back up after a fall, and knowing the essentials to staying warm and dry on the slopes. Also finding a good ski area or resort to start at can go a long way towards your progression. Many people want to start skiing, but can’t learn the basics and unfortunately cease their passion.

Skiing is a common interest among Coloradans and tourists alike, and Air Academy is no different. Students of all ages and skill levels flock to various resorts around the state and region. With the winter break and inevitable vacations apparent, along with many ski resorts and areas open, many students will be hitting the slopes frequently.