About 15 students cross-country skied to school along Butcherknife Trail on Thursday. The Ski to School program promotes healthy life habits of daily exercise.

Photo by Mike McCollum

About 15 students cross-country skied to school along Butcherknife Trail on Thursday. The Ski to School program promotes healthy life habits of daily exercise.

Strawberry Park students strap on skis for morning commute

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The Ski to School program encourages students to find alternate modes of transportation to help the environment.

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Sebastion Elkins, 8, was one of about 15 Strawberry Park Elementary School students who cross country skied to school along Bucher Knife Trail on Thursday. The Ski to School program promotes healthy life habits of daily exercise. Students are also encouraged to find alternate modes of transportation of transportation to help the environment.

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Sebastion Elkins, 8, was one of about 15 Strawberry Park Elementary School students who cross-country skied to school Thursday along Butcherknife Trail.

— Strawberry Park Elementary School student Brenden Selby said it was a shame he had to spend Thursday sitting behind a desk on a powder day.

With the crisp morning air reddening his cheeks, Brenden found a way to cut some turns before class by skiing to school with classmates Finn O'Connell, and Joe and Luke Borderding.

"It's a lot of fun; there's lots of downhills," said Brenden, 10, who skied on borrowed cross country skis provided by Strawberry Park's physical education department.

More than a dozen Strawberry Park students - along with a few teachers and parents - strapped on skis and made the 20-minute trek along Butcherknife Trail for Ski to School day.

Skiers met at 7:50 a.m. at Stehley Park to begin the ski journey.

Sebastian Elkins, 8, said Thursday was the second time he has skied to school as part of Strawberry Park's Green Community Committee.

"It was worth getting up a few minutes early," said Sebastian as he skied to the front door of the school, zooming past his classmates who had just exited a school bus.

The Green Commuting Committee also encourages Strawberry Park and Soda Creek Elementary School students to participate in Bike/Hike to School days every Friday in the spring.

Students who bike or hike to school on Fridays will receive raffle tickets each time they participate. At the end of the school year, an ice cream party celebration will be held for both schools, and prizes will be awarded to the raffle winners.

Walking or biking to class may be a scene reminiscent of any small town where students live close to school, but parent Stephanie Smith said skiing to school particularly honors the history of Steamboat Springs.

"It's like how students used to ski to the old schoolhouses in Steamboat," said Smith, who skied alongside her daughter Riley Smith. "It's our history, and they are getting a sense of the experiences of those students."

"And it's a lot of fun," Riley said. "It's a nice way to go to school."

Danielle Skov made the cross-country ski trek with her daughter Posy, 4, and son Mac, 7.

"The kids just finished a six-week cross-country program in their PE class," she said. "I think this is a pretty good way to build on that. : It's also a way to teach students about alternate, green ways to commute."

Isabelle Boniface, 6, just enjoyed playing in the snow.

"I just like to ski," she said.

- To reach Mike McCollum, call 871-4208

or e-mail mmccollum@steamboatpilot.com

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