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The City Journals

Olympian Ted Ligety Inspires Next Generation of Skiers

Aug 10, 2015 12:06PM ● By Bryan Scott

Ted Ligety gave children at the YMCA a presentation on his Olympic skiing experience and how they, too, can follow their dreams.

By Jessica Thompson 

Taylorsville - He’s a two-time Olympic gold medalist and a five-time World Cup champion in the giant slalom. And on July 9,Ted Ligety taught children at the YMCA in Taylorsville all about following their dreams. The YMCA has a partnership with Ligety to provide a ski program called “Y I Ski” to give children an opportunity to ski in Utah. With partnership help from Deer Valley and Snow Basin ski resorts, as well as from USSA and National Winter Sports Education Foundation, about 50 children from Taylorsville and Ogden received financial help so they could easily afford five lessons with five ski rentals. The YMCA summer event held on July 9 hosting Ligety was to reward past Y I Ski participants and get them excited for the upcoming ski season. 

At the summer camp event, Ligety showed children a video of his latest win at the last World Cup championship, signed autographs and let them hold his gold medal from the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Some of the children attending the event were part of the Y I Ski program last January. As part of the program, children were involved in a small ski race. Ligety awarded medals to the top three boys and top three girls who won those ski races. Adrienne Shaw Smith, YMCA events manager, said, “This event really helps children be motivated to keep skiing. We had a little boy at the event say, ‘Ted started wanting to become a competitive skier when he was ten years old, and I am ten. He makes me want to be an athlete just like him!’” Ligety was born in Salt Lake City and grew up skiing in Park City. Having Ligety be a Utah local helps children connect easier with him, helping them realize they, too, can be successful at following their skiing dreams.

This event also helps youth understand skiing can help them stay active during the cold winter months when there are limited outside activities to keep their bodies moving. “One of the main focus areas of the YMCA is to help youth keep healthy active lives. We believe keeping kids active should be fun and something the kids enjoy, and doesn’t have to be work,” said Smith. That is why the Y I Ski event focuses on getting kids to find the fun activities winter brings outside, instead of using their time on the computer or TV. 

The YMCA is doing a wonderful job giving children chances to be successful at trying new things. Smith said, “I love that this event helps children build their self-confidence by letting them try to do something that they are not very good at or is new to them.” The Y I Ski event is not the only YMCA activity focusing on physical activity and self-confidence. This coming school year, the YMCA facility in Taylorsville will be hosting preschool programs, after school programs and adult classes, such as Zumba and a financial literacy class. Bring your family by the YMCA to see how they can help your family stay active and achieve their dreams.