STOKED LA Snow Mentor 2017
Words by Katie Ferraro Photos by Jordan Lutes Photography
Snow Mentor 2017 is officially a wrap after what may have been the longest snow season in STOKED Los Angeles history, and it was worth every minute. Waking up at 5am on Sunday morning isn't easy on anyone, but we were grateful to have a large, committed group of both students and mentors to experience the season with us. It really does take a village.
Usually around week six or seven (of eight) we’ve exhausted all of the snow, but this year our students were treated to over 160 inches of fresh snow provided by mother nature. It was an extra special experience because most - if not all - of our students have never seen snow before STOKED, and they certainly have never seen it falling from the sky.
The fresh powder called us to carry out all of our normally scheduled snow season, except for the first day of the season. However, it wasn’t for the lack of snow, but due to an abundance of snow (108 inches!) in January. During the season the students got to feel what it’s like to snowboard in cold temperatures, but also got a taste of California snowboarding when it was in the 60’s on the mountain.
Snowboarding is by far the most popular amongst our students and for me, they are definitely the most rewarding. Everything from the drive up to Snow Summit when the kids see snow out the window and their eyes light up, to the pure joy of accomplishing riding down a mountain.
On the last day of the season, I was able to step away from my administrative duties and step into my role as a coach. I took a run with some of my students and it was the perfect way to end the season! They were absolutely killing their S turns with giant smiles plastered across their faces. They inspired me. Even when they fell, that didn’t stop them. They just took a deep breath, pushed themselves up, and proceeded down the mountain with the most fierce determination I have ever seen.
I could have stayed on that mountain with them forever (they didn’t want to leave, either!). Their energy was electric. It’s moments like this that remind me why I do what I do.
Without STOKED, the 74 kids in Los Angeles we took snowboarding this season likely wouldn’t have had the opportunity to experience what it's like to ride down a mountain on a snowboard, or even see snow or a mountain. It gives me so much joy to be in service to them.
*Special thanks to our partners at Snow Summit for a great season!