The Inside Scoop: Aspen for Kids
One of the best things about vacation is the chance to try out some new activities like kayaking, horseback riding or skiing. The problem is, these activities require some skill, so careful instruction is needed to help kids learn what they need to enjoy these opportunities. It's easy to get overwhelmed when searching for the right fit for your child for anything, so we contacted Jillian Livingston from Aspen Blogger to help us get the scoop on the summer skills classes available. Here's what she shared about the Aspen Kayak Academy Kids Program, for example:
Founded and owned by Charlie MacArthur, an extreme kayaker who has been instructing kayaking safety for twenty years, Aspen Kayak Academy Kids Program is a way for children to learn basic kayaking and stand up paddling skills while exploring the Roaring Fork and Colorado Rivers as well as the Nature Preserve above Aspen. "The Nature Preserve is a beginners dream with a slow to moderate current and an occasional surf wave and fast jet of water to allow for easy and safe learning any time of the spring and summer. We do a lot of adventure and game paddling to make skills fun to learn," says Charlie.
Charlie is well loved by the kids he teaches, so much so that as soon as they are old enough, they return to instruct with him. Conor Flynn and Colter Beereboom are two such young men who learned to kayak with Charlie when they were thirteen years of age. "These handsome young studs are both expert freestyle and creek boat kayakers with international experience in Japan, Canada and New Zealand," says Charlie.
Sounds like something your child might be into? Jillian also offers insight into the children's water ski school at the Aspen Valley Ski Club Tramp Camp.
Team AVSC has Summer Tramp and Water Ramp classes geared toward teaching your child basic jumping fundamentals and new tricks. Elana Chase, the 2007 USSA Freestyle Coach of the Year, has coached the camps for the past six years and will be returning again next summer, much to the excitement of her previous students. Elana sheds some light on AVSC and their coaches, "There are so many over qualified, college educated and hard working individuals here in the Aspen area that choose to have alternative jobs. They have positive impacts on our micro-society and our youth of the Roaring Fork Valley and AVSC is full of these types! We're all so alive that the athletes are motivated to learn and be a part of it."
Elana won the National Award, The United States Ski Association Coach of the Year, but she is not one to rest on her laurels. "You have to stay on your toes and never rest. You have to keep things exciting and challenge the athletes or else the magic will be lost. If I give them 100% hopefully they are inspired to dig down deep and find that extra 10% of their own," says Elana.
Have you had any opportunities to try out these programs with your kids? Local bloggers like Jillian often have some wonderful insights, as do your Quintess hosts in Aspen, into what makes a place special. So don't hesitate to reach out - they are always happy to help you find instructors and activities to suit you, your children and your lifestyle.With winter activities will be picking up in a few short months, as your Quintess hosts about the best snowboard or snow skiing coaches in the area to make sure your kids get the right start to their winter sports training. We know you can find quality programs online, but the best way to judge them is always to ask an insider.
What other kinds of destination advice have you received from those in the know? Care to share?
Jillian Livingston is a writer and a filmmaker who has lived in the countryside near Aspen for over twenty years with her three boys and husband. Through stories and interviews, her blog, Aspen Real Life, offers deep and humorous insight into resort town living.
~ Laura, Guest Contributor