The first week of the STELIP recreation program had the program participants traveling to Boler Mountain for a very enjoyable, but ultimately passive afternoon of snow tubing; gravity does do most of the work, after all. However their second trip to Boler Mountain this past Saturday, February 3rd demanded far more engagement and commitment from the youth should they have any hope of successfully snowboarding down the hill by the end of the day.

The 4-hour day began with a one hour lesson on the essential skills of snowboarding: balancing on your heel-edge and your toe-edge; moving across flat and uphill terrain with one foot loose from the strap; how to stop, and how to direct yourself from left to right down the hill. Before long the group was sliding, somersaulting and skidding down the modest bunny hill, before being left to their own devices for the remainder of the afternoon at the conclusion of the lesson.

Youth has that enviable quality that allows for new skills to be quickly absorbed, internalized and then exercised, and as such all of the budding boarders were travelling smoothly down the hill after only a few hours of independent practice; a ‘level-up’ was required. Upon inquiring with the Bunny Hill attending staff, the group was directed to ‘Easy Street’, the suggested progression for new skiers and snowboarders who have conquered the Bunny Hill and are looking for new challenges. Up the chair-lift they went–four to a chair–with some nervously tumbling off at the end of their ascent.

Easy Street, much larger than the Bunny Hill, had some of the students feeling anxious but ultimately confident. Down they went, slowly and then faster (and faster), all the way to the bottom, sticking to the left so as to avoid a portion of a different trail holding various jumps and ramps along the length of its design. Ten youth made the trip to the top of the hill and ten found their way to the bottom, riding high on their latest and greatest victory at Boler Mountain.

The Active Elgin program continues this Friday at the YMCA, with swimming being the featured event.