Boys turn trash into season ski pass |

Boys turn trash into season ski pass

Mary Thompson

Pick up trash and win a season pass.

It was that simple for the Camino Kids, a group of eight boys, from Camino, Calif., who won the first place prize by picking up 136 pounds of garbage from the slopes of Sierra-at-Tahoe resort Sunday in the Kidsfest ’99 environmental celebration.

The boys, who are all between the ages of 9 and 13, also won a second season pass for picking up the most valuable piece of garbage on the mountain – a come-along winch.

“I also found two bottles of whiskey up there,” said 9-year-old Daniel Bye, who worked on the Camino Kids garbage collection team. “All that stuff was hard to carry.”

Formerly called the Buddy Werner Trash Pickup day, Sierra-at-Tahoe’s Kidsfest ’99 turned out to be much more than a garbage gathering party. Crafts, gymnastic instruction provided by Tahoe Gymnastics, a barbecue and an inline skating obstacle course were also available free of charge for kids of all ages. More than 300 people participated.

One of the most popular stops at the festival was the mountain boarding demo center. Like a skateboard on steroids, the mountain board has four beefy tires, step-in bindings and no brakes. A proficient rider can surf the board on varied terrain, including dirt roads and trails.

Brady Gunsch, head coach of the Sierra-at-Tahoe snowboard team, said the sport is great for getting snowboarders ready for the upcoming winter season.

“It’s really good for cross training because it has all the same aspects of snowboarding, such as using your knees to make the turn,” he said. “It’s just like carving a snowboard.”

Snowboarder Keelan Gardiner, 11, stepped on a mountain board for the first time on Sunday.

“It’s really not that hard,” he said. “It’s a lot like snowboarding; it’s freaky.”

Besides providing an opportunity to try out a new sport, Kidsfest also worked as a fund-raising event for the newly formed Sierra-at-Tahoe Education Foundation, said Karen Houser, Sierra-at-Tahoe’s snow sports school manager.

“The money from the raffle tickets and (refreshment) sales goes to the nonprofit,” she said. “The foundation is geared toward environmental education and making kids aware of the environment by getting them out there in it. That’s what today is all about.”

In addition to exposing children to the environment, Houser said the nonprofit Sierra-at-Tahoe Education Foundation focuses on education through recreation by working with kids with special needs such as learning disabilities, difficult family situations or children who simply can’t afford to enjoy the winter fun at ski resorts.

“We have initiatives beyond our competitive teams in that we’re planning to work with the school districts to host environmental days and have programs where kids will be able to get training with the ski patrol,” she said. “We really want to take this to the next level.”

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