Photo by Polly Lynn
Maggie Rice, and her Trailblazer group from Killington
Elementary School, skied with Selectman Jim Haff and Killington
Resort President Mike Solimano last Thursday, Jan. 17.
Rice and Solimano are pictured together after a brief
interview near the top of Skye Peak.
KES kindergartners through sixth graders enjoy afternoons of
skiing and riding on Killington Mountain, Thursdays throughout the
winter. KES students have already participated in the first two KES
Trailblazer Days of the season, on Jan. 10 and Jan. 17, with the
help of more than 30 volunteer instructors, including parent
coaches and chaperones, Vermont Adaptive instructors, Killington
Mountain School students acting as ski/ride assistants and
equipment transporters. There are nine scheduled Trailblazer days
Jan.-March this winter.
"This program, a vital part of our physical education program,
encourages healthful exercise to last a lifetime and builds
community within our school population," said KES Principal Loren
M. Pepe, in a recent newsletter. "It offers many of our students an
opportunity to learn to ski and ride that they would not otherwise
Killington and Pico Mountain Resorts offer students at KES
affordable passes, which is crucial to making this program
successful, and school-wide. Additionally, KES counts on parents
and other community volunteers to help equip and outfit students in
need and to help lead the program.
"I would have been a much better skier today, if I had grown up
with a program like this," said Killington Resort President Mike
Solimano, who joined a group of 5th and 6th grade Trailblazers for
the afternoon, Jan. 17. "I'm glad all elementary students here in
Killington have the opportunity to learn to ski or ride… that's
The Trailblazer program at Killington Elementary began decades
ago and has been a strong part of the KES curriculum and experience
"They've been doing this for over twenty years, since before I
was a student at Killington Elementary," said parent and selectman
Chris Bianchi in Ramshead Lodge, Jan. 17.
"It's so much fun to ski with friends... we are lucky here in
Killington," said 5th grader Maggie Rice, student correspondent for
The Mountain Times.
Rice was able to interview President Mike Solimano near the top
of Skye Peak before their final run down, last Thursday.
Q & A with Mike
By Maggie Rice, student correspondent for The Mountain
Maggie Rice: When did you learn how to ski?
Mike Solimano: When I was in college.
Rice: Do your kids ski? Did you teach them?
Solimano: Yes, I taught them and, yes, they do
Rice: How important are ski programs like this for
Vermont kids and ski resorts?
Solimano: Very important.
Rice: Would you encourage other schools to do a ski
Solimano: Yes, I would and I want my kids at
Rutland to do it too.
Rice: One last question, what is your favorite run?
Solimano: I enjoy Cascade a lot.