On the Journey
news reel: stories of People, places, and learning AT Aspen Country Day School
All about ACDS ski days
Why do we ski for PE?
The winter ski program has been an integral part of ACDS culture since the school's beginnings. Over the years, the focus has shifted from instruction, when students skied up to three afternoons per week, to community building. We use our afternoon ski days as an opportunity for students and teachers to get to know one another better and to create bonds within classes in Lower School and among grades in Middle School. During these outdoor adventures that help develop grit and hardiness, we often see students experience a new role within their class, whether by being a leader on the hill, helping a friend on a challenging trail, or demonstrating responsibility by carrying all their own ski gear (yes, even in Kindergarten).
How are the groups assigned?
Our teachers work with PE Teacher Alex Tiernan to create ski groups. We do not ability-group the students as we want to mirror the values of character, respect, responsibility, community, and perseverance. For instance, some students may be more timid on the slopes, and we want all students to learn to honor the courage it takes to ski with those who may be more advanced. We also want students to strive to develop their skills in groups with peers who may be stronger skiers or riders.
Are there ski lessons?
Our ski days are about building relationships and cooperation; so there is no formal instruction during the ski days. If your child is an inexperienced beginner skier, we encourage you to participate along with your child. The school is willing to facilitate a lesson with the Aspen Skiing Company, but the cost of this instruction is the family's responsibility.
How do skiers get to the mountain?
On ski days the school bus leaves campus at noon. The bus departs the mountain no later than 2:45 to return to school. If your child (Middle School) is going to remain at the mountain, PE Teacher Alex Tiernan must receive a written note from a parent by the time of the Middle School ski meeting that day. No emails, texts, or faxes to the office, please.
What happens at the end of the day?
All children without a note allowing them to stay on the mountain (or a parent present at the mountain) will be shepherded onto the bus and returned to school. Students will not be permitted to phone home from the bottom of the mountain to make last-minute arrangements.
Is there a fee?
The cost of the winter ski program is included in the annual student fee for children in Kindergarten and up. PreK fees are paid to Powder Pandas.
Is this optional?
No - the ski program is part of our school curriculum, so there is no provision for students to stay on campus when their class is skiing. Children who have a valid excuse must provide a written note signed by a parent and be picked up at school by 12 noon.
What's the Middle School ski meeting?
Each Friday morning at 10 am in the Dining Hall, students find out their ski group assignments and leaders. If a child is not skiing, a written note from parents is required -- no texts, emails, or faxes. A Middle School student who misses more than three of the 10 scheduled ski days, and who does not present a valid written excuse at the ski meeting, will receive an F for PE class on the spring semester report card.