HMS Reports Super Season on the Slopes

students and chaperones skiing

Together with HMS Ski Club advisor Shyella Mayk and a few parent chaperones, a coach bus full of students traveled to the Camelback Resort in the Poconos this winter for some fun on the slopes!


The newly formed Heritage Middle School Ski Club was a huge success this school year with four fun trips to Camelback Ski Resort. HMS health and physical education teacher Shyella Mayk recounts how the club came to be, as well as how the first season went! 




students skiingIt all started one day in physical education class when the students were just about to start their warmups in the Heritage gym and suddenly Eli Risis asked, “Ms. Mayk, does Heritage have a ski club?” I replied, “No, but this is something I would definitely want to start!” A bit later that same day, I began the research to understand what programs and deals the local ski mountains offer to student groups. Many of the ski mountains have school groups that attend on a weekly basis and even offer lessons to groups coming on weekdays. The Camelback program was the most flexible and suitable for our Heritage school group. Our principal, Mr. Kelly, shared my enthusiasm and we got permission to make it happen for this school year! We just had to run our trips on the same scheduled dates that were approved for the high school ski club.


My next step was to gauge the interest levels among our Heritage students. I sent out a Heritage Ski Club interest form and got 115 interested responders!  I secured a 50-seater coach bus for the designated trip dates and made a reservation form where the students signed up for a seat on the bus for the dates of their choice. They could choose to come to just one, two, or all three trip dates. Even though there weren’t enough seats for everyone who signed up, there was an organized waitlist for each trip date and I was still able to include several students from the waitlist when there were last minute seats available. 


The day before our first trip, I held an in-school meeting with the students to go over the schedule of the trip, expectations and safety rules. Aside from the mountain’s safety rules, my most important rule was that students must be with at least one other student at all times. They basically needed a “ski buddy” to partner with throughout the day. That person could be a student or one of the chaperones. The students knew how to contact me in case of an emergency situation and a member of the ski patrol boarded our bus each time upon arrival to remind students about safety. students skiing


The students skied and snow boarded all morning, took a break for lunch and a “face-to-face” check in then skied and snow boarded all afternoon. 


We had several volunteer parent chaperones who joined us and I’m very appreciative for their assistance: Barbara and Christopher Pinkham, Boris Kizhner, Liati Hai, Tara and Greg Kanter, and Jeremy Nachtigall.


Three Saturday trips were originally planned ahead, but the students loved going so much that as we were on the bus ride back home from our last trip, the students unanimously voted to have one more trip and we made it happen!


The school group staff at Camelback were so helpful and assisted with our ticketing and rental needs every step of the way. I’m so grateful for the student, parent, and administrative support I received throughout the process of putting in the efforts to have Eli’s inquiry come to fruition.


The newly formed Heritage Ski Club ended up being a huge success. I look forward to organizing it annually! It was a highlight of the school year for the students and for me!