Four Valleys Community School | Glacier City Gazette
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Four Valleys Community School

Briana Sullivan / Special to the Glacier City Gazette Participants in Build-your-own-Basket design unique hanging planters at the annual class hosted by Forget Me Not Nursery last week.

Four Valleys Community School

Briana Sullivan
Special to the Glacier City Gazette

The anticipation is complete and all the good guesses will be examined. Official snow measurement was taken for the Alyeska Snow Classic on April 17, 2016. The reading on the Alyeska Snow Classic Measuring Stick was 3.29 feet (three feet, two tenths, nine hundredths). This contrast is a significant from the inaugural measurement of 8.20 feet in 2013 and 1.80 feet in 2014!

Guesses were submitted March 1-31 for a measuring date of April 17. Contestants guessed by purchasing tickets at $2.50 each and entered them into an Alyeska Snow Classic container. Fifty percent of the money raised will support FVCS and the remaining 50% will be distributed to the winner(s), who will be announced before May 17, 2016. You know who you are: Thank you to all those who joined the fun, played the game and supported FVCS.

Tennis smashed into April with tennis camps and clinics for all ages. The Girdwood School gym’s spacious courts provided plenty of learning opportunity and skill development before the arrival of May. Coached by professional Aaron Haines, the adult tennis clinic brought out some active locals who were definitely enjoying being on the court. The drills, action, and game were likely felt the next day!

Little Smashers Indoor Tennis camp and Tennis I began April 4 and filled quickly. The kids had a great time and positive experience with a new sport. Over 10 years have passed since FVCS was able to offer this sport. All in great timing too, as many of these youth are likely more amped and prepared for the brand-new tennis court in town park this summer.

Build-your-own-Hanging Flower basket class hosted by Forget Me Not Nursery had a blossoming turnout last week on both Thursday and Friday evenings. About 25 people participated around the Earth Day, sharing perhaps an annual tradition and feel-good spring activity.

Briana Sullivan / Special to the Glacier City Gazette Participants in Build-your-own-Basket design unique hanging planters at the annual class hosted by Forget Me Not Nursery last week.

Briana Sullivan / Special to the Glacier City Gazette
Participants in Build-your-own-Basket design unique hanging planters at the annual class hosted by Forget Me Not Nursery last week.

While spring is blooming before our eyes and the weeks before July will be here too soon, it’s not too early to think about Forest Fair. Forest Fair Pin Painting created colorful designs, with brushes sweeping away and many participants tapping into their creative side Friday, April 22. Don’t worry if you missed the fun, community, artsy event because four more classes remain. Forest Fair Pin Painting Class through May 20 takes place Fridays at the Challenge Alaska Building from 6-9 p.m. Help paint those famous Forest Fair pins. No experience is necessary, plus there is no fee for this class thanks to the Forest Fair Committee. Donations are accepted but not required. Register at

Alyeska Junior Ski Patrol Program finished second successful year

For five consecutive Sundays, 15 Girdwood youth, aged 10-14, geared up to shadow Alyeska professional and volunteer Ski Patrol through the Alyeska Junior Ski Patrol program. This program was made possible by FVCS, Alyeska Resort and the Alyeska Ski Patrol.

Patroller Bryan Epley was a leader of the program, who took time to elaborate on 2016’s program. The Alyeska Ski Patrol is made up of professional and volunteer members who work closely with one another to staff the Resort.

“The National Ski Patrol Young Adult Patrol program is designed for teenagers, ages 15-18,” Epley said. “Several members of the Alyeska Ski Patrol, both professional and volunteer, have children who are too young for the Young Adult Patrol program, but who demonstrated an interest in patrolling.”

That got patroller Scott Hickox thinking, who was the brainchild of the Alyeska Jr. Ski Patrol program. Hickox is also a junior high teacher at the Girdwood K-8 School who worked closely with Patrol management and FVCS to administer the program. Patroller Ben Kohler, along with Hickox, developed the daily plan, aided by about a dozen pro and volunteer patrollers, executing countless volunteer hours to make this class possible both seasons. The registration process was strictly first come first serve, available through FVCS. During the first year, the students worked closely with one another and this year students helped with some of the instruction.

“Our original thought was that the kids be about 10-14 years old,” shared Epley, and it turned out this year that’s what they had. 2015’s program filled the 10 spaces available and this year 15 youth participated, again filling the classes’ cap quickly. The 5th-7th graders were “given a broad exposure to patrolling and their compressed days were somewhat reflective of a typical day of patrolling,” said Epley. “They learned mountain geography, morning work run responsibilities and tasks, knot tying, how to use avalanche transceivers and probes in single and double burial scenarios, and basic first aid.”

The program is very exciting albeit expensive to operate, mostly due to insurance. “It is my hope that we develop some future professional and volunteer patrollers and instill a lifelong passion for patrolling and volunteering one’s time and energy in the community. Every participant has expressed an interest in returning next year,” asserted Epley.

The great group of kids and leaders made the program fun said Jr. Ski Patrollers Emily Hickox and Isabel Lukes. “We liked doing the dog demos with the Resort’s avalanche rescue dogs, doing the beacon searches, and skiing fresh pow!”

Both young ladies also liked the backboarding exercises and are looking forward to doing it again next year.

FVCS Executive Director Catherine McDermott expressed gratitude, saying, “Thank you for all who volunteered and participated; truly a great group of kids and leaders!”

Visit our Facebook page to see photos of the beautiful pieces participants created at Paint Night for Kids, basketball action photos and to sign up for the next one. Our summer schedule is loaded with camps and activities for youth of all kinds so visit our website to see what fun is going on in Girdwood. Plan your summer today.