Two skiers enjoy the 3rd annual YouthFest Race Camp at Pats Peak Ski Area in Henniker, N.H., earlier this month. (Photo courtesy of Boston Ski Party)
The Boston Ski Party, one of 84 member clubs of the National Brotherhood of Skiers, hosted its 3rd annual YouthFest Race Camp at Pats Peak Ski Area in Henniker, N.H. The three-day race camp, which took place earlier this month, brought together more than 55 youth from Boston, New York, New Jersey, D.C. and Pennsylvania for a weekend of ski racing training.
One of the highlights of the weekend was the participation of U.S. Ski Team members that served as guest coaches. The athletes included Keith Moffat, Tucker Marshall, Warner Nickerson, Robbie Kelly and Charles Christianson.
They spent one afternoon conducting race drills, giving helpful pointers and racing these young athletes, predominately of color, ranging in ages from 7 to 17. “We were quite impressed with the level of young talent,” says U.S. Ski Team member Tucker Marshall. “These kids can really rip.”
Two of the up-and-coming young African American athletes in attendance included Boston Ski Party member Darnell Holmes, who now participates on the Elite Waterville Valley Academy race Team and Christian Kennedy of Black Ski, D.C.
Holmes is having an outstanding season. He is ranked in the top 6 in the Mac Cup Series for the entire state of New Hampshire. He has recently brought his slalom points below 100.
In 2011, Kennedy won the Pennsylvania State Championship in the J3 category. He went on to compete in the Eastern Junior Olympics at Okemo, Vt., and placed 15th in slalom. Both Holmes and Kennedy served as mentors to the 55 athletes in attendance.
Now in its third year, YouthFest provides an opportunity for young aspiring ski and snowboard racers to build the skills necessary to prepare them for competitive ski racing, and to someday make the U.S. Ski and Olympic Team. According to it’s mission, a key goal of the Boston Ski Party, and the National Brotherhood of Skiers is to “identify athletes of color that will participate in and win international and Olympic winter sports competitions representing the United States.” Toward this end, for the past seven years, the Boston Ski Party has operated a 10-week Race Development Program at Pats Peak Ski Area in Henniker, N.H. The program began with 12 minority youth and now serves more than 70 youths annually.
One of the largest programs of its kind in the country, partners include Youth Enrichment Services and the Pats Peak Ski Area, which provides weekly instruction and lift tickets for these aspiring athletes.
Jim Wall, Pats Peak’s director of services says, “Supporting cultural diversity on the slopes is not new at Pats Peak. We have been hard at work for over ten years to reach into the inner city of Boston. Working closely with organizations, like the Boston Ski Party, provides us the opportunity to earn the respect of the emerging inner city market.”
For his part, Darnell Holmes is enthusiastic about the opportunity. “I look forward to one day making the U.S. Ski and Olympic team and participating in the Olympic Downhill,” he says.
“I like to go fast – very fast, Bode Miller fast. I hope to one day be one of the best and fastest Alpine ski racers in the world. Until then I will continue to stay focused, determined, train hard, and prepare myself for that day.”
For more information about the Boston Ski Party, go to its website: www.bostonskiparty.org
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Barbosa has been skiing since he was 3 years old in a youth racing program operated by the Boston Ski Party at Pats Peak Ski Area in Henniker, N.H.
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For the last four years, the Boston Ski Party, a member organization of the National Brotherhood of Skiers (NBS), has brought young athletes of color to Pats Peak Ski Area in Henniker as part of its efforts to spread the sport of skiing.
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