Schools, non-profits impact reverberates through community |

Schools, non-profits impact reverberates through community

Ryan Galles
Principal Sierra House Elementary School

Last season, the second grade classes of Sierra House Elementary School participated in five days of skiing and snowboarding instruction at Heavenly Mountain Resort. This opportunity fit perfectly into our school’s focus on health, fitness and mountain sports.

The results of this on-mountain experience were fantastic. Approximately 75 percent of the students had never been skiing or snowboarding in their lives. By the end of the week, most were able to ski and snowboard on runs they never imagined doing before. We saw students persist through difficulty and adversity in ways that had huge positive impacts in the classroom, such as: the development of leadership skills, self-confidence, teamwork and critical thinking and decision-making skills. Our students also were able to see the natural environment of Lake Tahoe in a way that many of them had never seen it before. We anticipate that through this program and expanding opportunities for kids to ski and snowboard in all grade levels here at Sierra House that we will help to bridge a cultural and economic divide in these sports and our community.

Sierra House Elementary School is very grateful for the support we received from Heavenly, Kirkwood and Vail Resorts. This is a program we hope continues for many more years to come with their support. Here’s to hoping that the next great Olympic skier or snowboarder comes from the amazing diversity of our school and the support of our local ski resorts.

Corporate sustainability has always been fundamental for Kirkwood and Heavenly Mountain Resorts and their parent company, Vail Resorts. Vail Resorts Echo encompasses three core efforts: environmental stewardship, charitable giving and community engagement. Want to learn more about VR Echo? Go to

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