Sixty-five Lake Tahoe Unified School District students learned to embrace gravity during the class' first day learning or refining ski and snowboard skills. The group hit the slopes, often literally, Tuesday as part of a three-day package for South Shore fifth-graders organized by Heavenly Mountain Resort. Heavenly provides the equipment rental, the lift ticket and the instruction — almost a $600 value per child — while the schools provide teams of students eager to spend the day on the hill. Tahoe Valley Elementary School student Cameron Jackson strapped into his snowboard before sliding down the bunny hill toward California Lodge. Tuesday was Jackson's first time snowboarding, and he said he hopes he can continue with the sport. “It's really fun and I can't wait ‘till I get older so I can keep snowboarding. It's really hard. Going down the big hill and lifting up your toes, you fall a lot. I never knew this was here,” Jackson said. Like Jackson, many of the students who participate have never strapped or stepped into a pair of bindings before. Skiing and snowboarding are expensive sports even for South Shore residents — a one-day snowboard lesson plus lift ticket and rental costs $192 for a child at Heavenly, according to the resort's website. Never-evers can choose between skiing and snowboarding, while the advanced riders hop on the Gunbarrel lift for more specialized instruction. That first day on the mountain can be intimidating for some students, but Tahoe Valley Elementary School teacher Laura Miller said any initial fear is usually short-lived. “The kids progress so quickly. It's awesome. At first they're scared, but soon they just love it,” Miller said. Irene Kaelin, another fifth-grade teacher at the LTUSD school, started registering her class in the decades-old program more than 15 years ago. It's important to take advantage of the outdoor opportunities Tahoe offers, she said. The lessons also bring the class together as students support one another on their way down the slope, Kaelin said. In his reflective orange goggles, Schade Fielder practiced his edge work Tuesday with the help of a Heavenly snowboard instructor. Another novice rider, Fielder had never skied or snowboarded at the resort. Fielder found that the hardest part about the sport was keeping track of all the tips his instructor gave him —toes up, knees bent, butt back and hands ready — but he said he'd begun to get the hang of it. “It's really fun. I thought snowboarding would be more fun than skiing. It's more like skateboarding,” Fielder said.
Rec Center hosts Parent's Night OutThe Recreation Center located at 1180 Rufus Allen Blvd. will be open Thursday, Feb. 14 for a Parent's Night Out. For $25, parents can register their child for the event that runs from 6-10 p.m. and includes a pizza dinner, swimming, games, a movie and crafts. Registration closes on Feb. 12 at 5 p.m. Call 530-542-6056 to reserve a spot. Recreation Center staff can pick-up the youth from the Boys & Girls Club main site if the students are registered by Feb. 12. Ballroom dancers waltz through LTCCLake Tahoe Community College's Connect Community Education program will offer a six-week beginning waltz and basic rumba workshop that starts Feb. 22 from 6-7:30 p.m. The class will take place at the LTCC main campus. Register online at http://tinyurl.com/cwx3c2e or call 530-541-4660, ext. 717. Lake schools seek volunteers for annual School House RocksVolunteers are needed for Zephyr Cove Elementary and Whittell High schools' biggest fundraiser of the year, the school auction, which will take place Feb. 23 from 6-10 p.m. Free babysitting will be available at Kahle Community Center. Call Zephyr Cove School Counselor Jenay Aiksnoras at 775-588-4574 to sign up.Weekly meetings take place Fridays at Svadhyaya Yoga Studio behind Safeway in Roundhill starting this week at 4 p.m. El Dorado READS program returns to countyBarsotti Books partnered with five regional organizations for the second annual El Dorado Reads program. County students will read Joan Barsotti's book “Okei-san: A Girl's Journey, Japan to California, 1868-1871.” The program, which runs from April 9 through May 30, will be avaliable to all fourth-grade classrooms in El Dorado County. Participating schools will have the opportunity to apply for grant funds for a field trip to visit the Wakamatsu Tea & Silk Colony Farm in the Gold Hill area, the site where the book's plot unfolds.