The Mike Wiegele Helicopter Skiing (MWHS) Cat Skiing program is back for another season, offering children a chance to learn the winter sport and appreciate some of what the North Thompson Valley has to offer.
The program takes place on Saddle Mountain every Saturday from Jan. 19 to March 16 with a goal to provide as many children as possible with a chance to try a day of cat skiing on Blue River’s favorite local mountain.
“It’s been an ongoing program here in Blue River for many years and actually it’s the second generation getting involved in it now,” said Deanna Kristensen, marketing coordinator for MWHS.
”It’s something that’s a big part of the community here.”
Kristensen added it’s a beneficial activity for children to be able to participate in as it builds confidence and teaches them skills they can use to take advantage of the recreation in the valley.
Maymie Tegart, who’s helping organize the program this year, agreed the cat skiing program is a great opportunity for those who get involved, saying she wished there was a similar program she could have participated in when she was younger.
“This annual program helps promote winter sports and offers kids a sense of pride for the North Thompson Valley,” Tegart said.
“They are fortunate to grow up in such a beautiful area and there is no doubt it will be a special memory for them. Riding in a helicopter will be a once in a lifetime experience for many and skiing fresh powder is an added bonus.”
MWHS’s Cat Skiing program is run by donation, and all funds go directly to the Blue River Parent Advisory Committee to help fund field trips and special projects for students.
The suggested donation is $50, which Tegart said is a big help to the school because even an average field trip to Clearwater for the day can cost around $150.
During the day, children and youth will take a quick helicopter ride to Saddle Mountain, where they will get to try out cat skiing with two seasoned and certified MWHS guides.
Elementary and high school students in the North Thompson Valley are welcome to register, but it’s encouraged participants be able to turn and stop on their skis or snowboard independently on blue runs.
Priority for seats will be given to Blue River students between the ages of eight and 13 years-old who are registered before Jan. 6.
Parents have to sign a waiver in person at the MWHS front desk and children must come prepared with their own ski or snowboard equipment and lunch for the day on Saddle Mountain.
“It’s some of the best skiing in world right here and initiating kids with it, it’s an amazing opportunity for them to see and gain the skills that will continue on with them for a life time,” said Kristensen.
“And it’s really neat to see them grow up through the program.”
For any questions regarding the program or to register your children, contact Tegart at firstname.lastname@example.org