As part of Catamount Outdoor Family Center in Williston’s non-profit mission to promote family and community well being through activity and education in a natural environment, Catamount is now offering youth ski programs for children ages 5-13. Eric Bowker, Catamount’s Executive Director, describes what he says will be “an important addition to our already popular programs. Catamount is known already as a great place to ski, an excellent terrain for all skier types, and for having a trained staff that caters to a wide spectrum of abilities. We have a history of excellent educational programs here and are thrilled to be offering a youth ski program of our own.” The youth ski program will divide into two groups ages 5-7 and 7-13; age and developmentally appropriate splits that will support learning. The younger group is called the Little Rippers. These children will participate with parents, enjoying the sport of skiing together and having fun in the snow. The older group, an equivalent of the popular Bill Koch League program, is called the Zoomers. The Zoomers program is designed for the developing skier through the budding racer and will often separate based on group needs. “Busy families have a hard time fitting in outdoor physical activity in the winter, and it’s so important to our bodies and our spirits. Cutting down on drive time will make it that much easier for everyone,” Bowker said. The program runs Jan. 2-Feb.25 once or twice a week on Monday and Wednesday afternoons starting at 4:30 pm. Darkness is usually a factor this time of year, but the skiers will be using Catamount’s lighted night ski trail which in and of itself sounds like a really neat treat for kids. Bowker concurs, “My kids love to go night skiing, there is something really special about going out under the lights. I’m excited to share that with even more kids this year!” Catamount offers these programs at reasonable rates and eventually hopes to start a scholarship fund for this program like they have for their popular Mountain Bike Camps in the summer. “We see that as a really important community outreach, but this program is just starting up this year,” Bowker stated. “Unless we have a donor who wants to earmark funds for this program, we’ll have to work that into our giving campaign for next season.” For more information on youth ski programs for ages 5-13 at Catamount Outdoor Family Center in Williston, call (802) 879-6001 or visit www.catamountoutdoor.com.