NJ's National Winter Activity Center Gives Youths Chance to Learn How to Ski or Snowboard Regardless of Economic Background


Winter 2017 – The National Winter Sports Education Foundation (NWSEF) announced recently that the National Winter Activity Center (NWAC) is open for the winter 2017 session. The NWAC (otherwise known as “The Center”) is the nation’s first private 501(c)(3) nonprofit winter activity facility dedicated exclusively to youth from all economic backgrounds between 6 and 17 years old, through partnerships with youth serving organizations located within the tristate area. With a mission to improve the overall health and wellness of our nation’s youth by providing access to winter activities, skill development, healthy meals and mentoring, the Center celebrated its accomplishments with a Grand Opening event for all those involved on Saturday, February 4th, 2017.

Last year’s soft opening allowed 800 children to take part in learn to ski and snowboard lessons during the seven-session program. Classes are in a 1-to-8 instructor ratio with PSIA and United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) trained “coaches.” This winter, 1,100 youth from within a 70 mile radius of the facility are set to participate. The youth are fully equipped with gear to join in morning or afternoon weekend sessions between 8:30 am and 5:00 pm, during which they meet with their coaches to receive mostly on-snow training. In addition, the day will include a snack and meal as part of the program’s core focus to improve the lives of the youth the Center serves. In total, participating children will experience nearly 40 hours of outdoor activity during a time of year when they typically opt to stay indoors and become sedentary. Important partners of the National Winter Activity Center include Ted Ligety, U.S. Ski Team, Olympian and World Champion, USSA, the International Ski Federation (FIS), and the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA).

“The Center continues to be dedicated to improving the lives of youth through our Elev8 learn to ski program which has grown in size since our inaugural year (2016),” said Schone Malliet, Founder and CEO of the National Winter Sports Education Foundation (NWSEF). “Aside from the numerous upgrades we make to the facility in order to better serve our participants and partners, we remain focused on our role in developing the next generation of confident adults who will be effective in a society of evolving communities, through winter activity which can be enjoyed throughout a lifetime. For me personally, making a difference in the lives of youth, having a passion for winter sports and the blessings I have received which then shaped my life, are all major contributing factors in how I am committed to pay it forward as the CEO.”

This winter, the NWAC will impact several hundred lives and inspire a new generation of skiers among children of all economic backgrounds that lack access whether economically, geographically or knowledge wise. The organization aims to introduce 7,000 children to winter activities by the year 2021, while retaining 50 percent as adaptors and encouraging 10 percent to eventually enter the world of competitive winter sports. Additionally, the NWAC will continue to work with U.S. Ski Team athletes to further improve their processes, as well as connect and ski with the kids, providing motivation and instruction.

Upon acquiring the Hidden Valley property, the NWAC invested more than $15 million toward overall improvements including new lifts, lighting, efficiently controlled snow-making machinery, outdoor plumbing, and renovations to the preexisting lodge. In the lodge, space was transformed into a brand new locker room, additional dining space, and all HVAC, electric, and bathrooms, as well as the kitchen were completely renovated with brand new appliances installed. On the exterior, the lodge has been freshly painted and decking has been completely rebuilt. An old race building on the property was demolished and replaced with new construction to hold competition, ski patrol and operations activities. Additional partners include SnowSports Industries America (SIA), Powdr Corp, Royal Trailworks, and HKD Snowmakers among others.

For more information about the National Winter Activity Center, please visit www.winter4kids.org.

About National Winter Activity Center

The National Winter Activity Center (NWAC) or the Center founded by the National Winter Sports Education Foundation (NWSEF) is the nation’s first 501(c)(3) nonprofit, facility dedicated to improving the lives of youth by providing those without access whether economically, geographically or knowledge wise to winter activities, skill development, healthy meals and mentoring. The Center introduces children between the ages  of 6 and 17, from cities such as Newark, NJ; Yonkers and the Bronx, and parts of Manhattan, to activities that they would not typically be exposed to or consider trying, while making it economically feasible to participate. The Center is located on the property of the old Hidden Valley ski area in Vernon, NJ and is the closest ski facility to NYC. It is the only facility of its kind in the country. Following a soft launch in January 2016, the Center hosts hundreds of children from local Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCAs and other youth organizations to offer training with PSIA and USSA certified coaches in its Elev8 program consisting of on and off snow sessions.

About National Winter Sports Education Foundation

The National Winter Sports Education Foundation (NWSEF) was founded in 2011 with a mission of assisting organizations in playing an effective role in improving the lives, health, and fitness of children through participation in winter sports. Its ultimate goal is to help more than 100,000 youth gain access to winter activities including skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and more, each and every winter. Donations support the group and its partners who include PSIA, USSA, SIA, NSAA, FIS, NBS, Powdr Corp, and many other industry and non-industry groups. Since its inception four years ago, NWSEF has funded almost 10,000 kids for introductory cross-country programs through organizations such as the Girl Scouts, YouthFest events in New Hampshire via funding to YES (Youth Enrichment Services), and Nordic Rocks, a cross-country program in the Midwest. One of the bigger programs NWSEF sponsors is the YMCA’s Ted Ligety Learn to Ski program, also sponsored by Ligety and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association and geared to kids who live in Utah but have never skied before. These sessions helped to inspire the creation of the NWAC program.