For those of us who are passionate about our winter sport, whether skiing or snowboarding, the opportunity to be raised and trained in either seems like an unattainable dream. For youth in South Lake Tahoe, this dream is not only attainable, itâ€™s readily available thanks to the non-profit Heavenly Ski & Snowboard Foundation who sponsors and trains young athletes primarily through fundraisers and donations.
One such athlete who had the opportunity to nurture his talent and prepare himself for a career in skiing is U.S. Ski Team member, Olympic hopeful and Heavenly High Roller Team Member, Sho Kashima. It was obvious from a very young age that Sho had â€œthat rare combination of physical talent, drive and intelligence,â€ says Foundation coach, Jere Crawford. Sho started with the Foundation at the age of 10 and joined Crawfordâ€™s team two years later after sampling all the different programs the Foundation had to offer and realizing he had a propensity for jumping and doing tricks.
According to Sho, his 7 years on the Foundation team and with Coach Crawfordâ€™s team, in particular, were some of his best memories growing up and the place where he made some of his closest friends. Sho says Jere â€œwas just a great, knowledgeable coach. The environment was great, too. We had plenty of help from Heavenly to set up all of the training we needed. Our typical days would be to free ski with Jere in the mornings, then go and train jumps and moguls in the afternoon when the snow got softer. It’s such a great program for all ages because Jere and his coaching staff keep everything fun, but there’s also plenty of technical and serious business as the kids get older to help us get to the top level of the sport.â€
Sho credits the Foundation for contributing to his wealth of knowledge and experience that has allowed him to compete with the best in the world. He got a taste of the Olympic fever in Vancouver in 2010 before a knee injury that put him out of the running. Currently ranked 17th in the world, Shoâ€™s aspiration is to give it another shot in 2014 and hopefully bring home the Gold for the U.S. and for Heavenly Mountain Resort.
To get to Shoâ€™s level of skiing, time, dedication, and focused training are essential ingredients in a young personâ€™s life. Many of us have sensed this kind of passion within ourselves, but have had to indulge it when our lives and jobs allow. We CAN, however, help a young person to have such an experience by supporting the Heavenly Ski & Snowboard Foundation. The cool thing is that you donâ€™t have to just write a check, the Foundation throws all kinds of fun and unique events that you can participate in for the price of your donation.
The next Heavenly Ski & Snowboard Foundation event is the 10th Annual Grapes & Gates, an elegant evening of wine tasting and gourmet food to benefit their Scholarship Fund. Enjoy a beautiful sunset over Lake Tahoe from the Edgewood Clubhouse’s North Room at 6pm, this Wednesday, May 11, 2011. The event features local restaurants, a variety of wineries and a silent auction. Tickets are $75, $65 for Foundation alumni. Reserve your tickets by calling Aimi Xistra-Rich at 530.314.9285.