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Not Your Typical P.E. Class in Telluride

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If you happened to be at the Telluride gondola this morning (or any morning this week) you will notice an abundance (over 100 pairs) of skis lined up, on the plaza. While it looks like an offering to the snow gods, it is not.  Just wait…Around 9 a.m., the school bus pulls up and over 100 kids spill out but they are not carrying book bags or dressed for school; instead they are in bright-colored jackets, snow pants, helmets and goggles.  These kids are ready to hit the slopes for a day of skiing.

skis plaza

This is not a field trip or even a special ski day for Telluride’s school children. It’s the winter physical education program, locally known as Ski P.E. and it begins in preschool and is available to students throughout high school. 

In January and February, kids get to trade the basketballs, volleyballs and gymnasium drills for skis and snowboards. The Ski P.E. program gives students in kindergarten through sixth grade the opportunity to ski one full day a week. Once in middle school and high school, students ski two afternoons a week.

The Ski P.E. program lays the groundwork for training at a higher level. It gives kids in the Telluride Ski and Snowboard Club (TSSC) competitive ski program an extra day of training in addition to the weekends. Some graduates of the TSSC program dominate junior competitions, compete at the World Cup level and even go to the Olympics. Telluride’s most famous athlete, Gus Kenworthy who won the Silver Medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, got his start in the Ski P.E. program.

When you are riding the lifts at Telluride and see a pack of kids carving effortlessly down the mountain, your first thought might be “Wow, those little kids ski a lot better than I do.” Do not fret.  While you were in the gym doing pushups and relay races during PE, they were on the slopes.  If only we could all grow up in Telluride. 

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