A group of children learn to ski at Sky Tavern two seasons ago.
A group of children learn to ski at Sky Tavern two seasons ago.
Terasa Elerick was nine when she fell in love with skiing. Longtime 4-H volunteer Pat Irwin guided her down the slopes. 

Today he’s taken to the sky with his hot air balloon club. And Elerick hopes to reintroduce Pershing County’s 4-H members to the winter sport.  

“I skied with the 4-H but stopped as I got older,” she says. Elerick gravitated toward volleyball and softball. She also joined the dance team, graduating from Pershing County High School (Class of 2003). 

Adult mentors play a key role in all 4-H programs. 

Over the years, the ski club sputtered and stalled. Now it’s back and eager to welcome youth aged five through 18.

“Seeing as how Covid has changed sports, I thought it would be fun for us to try it again,” said Elerick. 

At their first meeting on Nov. 4, the Pershing County 4-H ski club elected several officers. They are Kelsey Collins (president), Zane Guilbault (vice president), Thomas Brooks (secretary), Lexie Portillo (historian) and Josie and Masey Brooks (sergeants at arms). 

Collins, 10, has been active in gymkhana, rodeo, basketball, soccer and gymnastics.  

As a leadership student, she recently spoke to the school board about events at Lovelock Elementary School, where she attends the fifth grade.

“I’ve never skied before but I’ve always been interested,” she says.

Student members will snow ski at Sky Tavern with trained instructors. Located on Mt. Rose Highway, 30 minutes from Reno, Sky Tavern is the oldest nonprofit ski and snowboard training facility in America. It’s been around since 1948.

“We will be skiing at the ski school starting the second week of January for eight weeks,” said Elerick. “There is a cost for lift tickets and rentals. Parents will be in charge of transportation. This is all pending any changes due to Covid, of course.”

The Sky Tavern’s website gives specifics about their Covid regulations. 

“It’s all worth it for a smile from that kid that makes that first turn without falling,” says a spokesperson.

Sky Tavern’s largest fundraiser of the year takes place on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 4 and 5.  The two-day ski swap at 4813 Kietzke Lane helps make skiing more affordable to families. 

Required face coverings and other safeguards will be in place.

“We just had company say they were bringing 300 new coats at 50 percent off,” says the website.

People can sell ski gear “cluttering their closets” by bringing it to the swap on Thursday or Friday until 7 p.m. Sky Tavern gets 18 percent, and the seller keeps the rest. The organizers won’t accept items like hats or gloves this year because of health concerns.

However, according to the spokesperson, “New and used skis, snowboards, boots and everything else you need to have fun this winter can be found here. Winter is coming. Friday night, food trucks are stopping by. Project Discovery has games to keep kids busy while you shop.”

On Friday, sales are from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. Saturday is from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., maybe later.

Most experts remark on the fast initial learning curve for snow skiing.

“Once you’ve got the hang of the snowplow turn, usually on the first or second day, you’re capable of skiing around the whole mountain as long as it’s not too steep. Even parallel turns usually come fairly quickly,” says an enthusiast.

“The most natural mode of transport we ever learn, walking, involves independent leg movement. So does skiing,” they add.

For more information about the Pershing County 4-H skiing club or to enroll in the 4-H, call Colby Burke, the 4-H Coordinator, at 273-2923. Her Email is colbyburke@unr.edu.

For more information about Sky Tavern, visit skytavern.org.