By David Bagdon, Publisher
Region – Of the dozens of sports available to kids these days, very few of them can be considered truly family-oriented. One possible exception to this is the sport of skiing. It is a sport that can be enjoyed from as young as 5 years old to well into the 60's and 70's. As children grow, skiing provides a healthy way to bond and enjoy quality family time in the great outdoors.
Kevin and Tara Simon, of Shrewsbury, both avid skiers, have turned their love for the sport into a wonderful family experience with sons Patrick and Chris, aged 13 and 15, respectively. For the past seven years the family has been actively involved in the Ski Ward Race Team (SWRT) based out of Ward Hill in Shrewsbury. The boys both began racing for the team around age 8.
According to Kevin, the family is now fielding its second generation of ski racers, as he himself was a competitor in the program in the 1970's.? Although he has many fond memories of his own racing days, today his love of the sport is fulfilled through watching his two sons compete while developing their skills on the course.
“The Ski Ward Racing Team allows us a chance to enjoy skiing every weekend,” he said. “We usually prepare the skis on Saturday night and head to the race on Sunday. My boys love it, but so do Tara and I.? There are so many benefits to the program, aside from the great family time and new relationships, my boys have developed so much confidence in their abilities. When we ski recreationally, there isn's much terrain they can's tackle.”
Although the team is based out of Ski Ward in Shrewsbury, SWRT is part of the Eastern Massachusetts Buddy Werner Ski League. ?When not hosting a home race with another team from the league, the team travels to local ski areas such as Nashoba Valley Ski Area or Bradford Hill. The races are generally over by early afternoon, leaving time for a family ski day or just to get on with the weekend.
Although the term “racing” may sound daunting to some, the program is designed to introduce younger skiers to the thrill of competition in a low stress, fun environment. As skiers mature and their skills improve, the competition heats up, and race times get shorter. Above all however, the goal is to help foster a love of the sport in a safe, competitive environment.
According to Kevin, the people who belong to SWRT make all the difference.
“I can's say enough good things about the parents and racers from SWRT they are a real fun bunch of people. We all get together at the races and cheer our kids on. My boys have also made lots of great relationships through the program it really is a ton of fun.”
SWRT is coming off another winning season in 2012, and racers are eager to see the snow and get back to racing. Anyone interested in finding out more about the team can log onto www.skiwardraceteam.com for more information.