I’m often asked by my buyers if I know anything about Seasonal Kids Ski Programs at Sunday River. Luckily I have firsthand knowledge of their programs as my now 9-year-old daughter Charlotte started in Mini Runners at the age of 3, then moved onto River Runners at the age of 5, and then joined GACP (the Gould Academy Competition Program) when she was 7 years old. On-mountain became her favorite place to be.
When she started in her Mini Runner group it was composed of other local kids and “weekend” kids. These weekend kids and their families owned either an on-mountain condo or an off-mountain property, which meant they had made the commitment to come most every weekend. Those kids became just as important to her as the ones she saw in school on a daily basis.
Charlotte’s group of Mini Runners changed only slightly throughout those first few years, and it was this group (forged by gifted coach Andrea Doherty) whom remained together through 5 years of epic ski moments, on-mountain games, and after skiing pool parties. The family-like experience throughout Mini Runners and River Runners was a huge gift to each child. Charlotte’s group became a powerful posse recognized by all!
It was a hard decision but at age seven, six out of the seven kids in her group decided to move to GACP. Leaving behind their beloved coach Andrea wasn’t easy, but they all wanted the next challenge. Acclimating to a new program with earlier hours and less coddling was made easier by moving as a group. GACP started a new program that year called Future Stars for kids ages 6 through 8 which bridged the gap between skiing fundamentals and competition skills. Charlotte and her group thrived in this program and it eased her entire group into more technical skills as well as more independence on and off of the mountain.
Now, in her second year as a U10, Charlotte’s finding her way as a racer. She’s learning that technical ability and a competitive spirit takes you only so far. That daily and weekly preparation makes a difference and dedication pays off.
Isn’t that the lesson we want our children to learn from any sport? Whether your child dreams of the Olympics or just wants to have fun, these programs offer all kids the skills they need to ski with confidence and find their own level of success.