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Mont Ripley hopes grant program will help kids participate in skiing, snowboarding

HANCOCK — For many kids, the start of the winter season is a cause for celebration. It means that skiing and snowboarding will soon resume on the snow-covered slopes of Mont Ripley.

However, taking part in these sports can be expensive, and for some families, the costs of equipment, lift tickets, and lessons can be prohibitive.

That’s why this year, Mont Ripley wants to spread the word about the Every Kid Sports Pass, a grant program that helps kids participate in sports.

Every Kid Sports is a national non-profit group with a mission of helping kids from income-restricted families play sports, and derive the benefits that come from participation. Since their national pass went live in June 2021, Every Kid Sports has awarded over 18,000 grants allowing kids to experience the benefits that come with playing youth sports.

The organization provides grants of up to $150, per child four times per year to qualifying families. These funds can be used to cover registration fees for recreation-level youth sports.

Mont Ripley learned about Every Kid Sports earlier this year from an affiliate group, the Michigan Snowsports Industries Association (MSIA). They hope that the program will help local kids get involved in skiing and snowboarding this winter.

“This gets kids interested in skiing and gives them a leg up financially in terms of being able to do something that they might not otherwise be able to do,” said Melissa Williamson, guest services supervisor at Mont Ripley. “And of course, we hope that this gets them interested in the sport so that they want to come back and do it year after year.”

Mont Ripley offers two different programs for kids. On Saturday mornings, kids aged five to nine can take skiing and snowboarding lessons as part of the Ripley Kids Program. Ripley Kids runs for six weeks and includes rental equipment.

For older kids of ages eight to 13, an after school program operates on weekdays. More information is available on Mont Ripley’s website, mtu.edu/mont-ripley/.

“We firmly believe that being outside in the winter is critical to the health, and the mental health and wellbeing of kids in the Keweenaw,” said Williamson. “Winter can be cold and long and the days are dreary sometimes. It’s important to be outside and to be physically active. We’re hoping that this helps kids get outside that wouldn’t otherwise be able to enjoy these programs.”

“Skiing is a lifelong love,” she continued. “Once you’re hooked on skiing, you can do it from the ages of 3 to 103. We love to teach people to ski and snowboard and really give them that lifelong love of the outdoors.”

To apply for a grant through Every Kid Sports, or to find more information, visit everykidsports.org. For additional information on registering for Mont Ripley programs using an Every Kid Sports grant, email the Mont Ripley ticket office at ripleyoffice@mtu.edu, or call 906-487-2340. The registration deadline for Mont Ripley programs is Dec. 27.

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