Local snowboarders need a place to sit

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By Gabriel Vasquez

Cleaning out your garage?

Replacing your snowboarding equipment in the off-season?

Here’s a chance to put your old snowboards to good use.

A team of kids from the Los Alamos Youth Leadership (LAYL) program has volunteered to build benches for Pajarito Mountain Ski Area out of old snowboards.

Benches will make it easier for snowboarders to buckle in when they get off the lift, said snowboarder and Team XTC (Extremely Cool) member Arianna Rowberry, 17.

“There isn’t really a good place to sit down and strap in at the top of each chair,” she said. “This is a really big activity for the youth around town.”

Team XTC members presented the idea to Pajarito Mountain’s board of directors, who were positive about the project.

The board has agreed to help pay for materials like wood and hardware, and Team XTC will contribute the labor – but snowboards are needed to get the project started.

“People should help contribute to a really great cause that will make the ski hill a more enjoyable place,” Rowberry said.

The group hopes to build 10 benches, allowing for two benches to be placed at the top of each lift. It will need at least 20 boards, although members hope to get more.

A bench design proposed by 17-year-old snowboarder and team member Elliot Marcille, is to use a “movable peg system” that would allow the benches to move up and down as snow levels rise. He said that benches currently in place are often covered by snow and rendered useless.

Although flyers were posted at the ski hill and at the high school, the team has not received enough donations to continue with the project.

Team members have agreed to pick up snowboards from residents’ homes, should they decide to donate their old and used equipment.

As participants in the LAYL program, youth learn leadership skills, how to resolve conflicts and increase confidence, how to build better relationships with family and friends, as well as get to participate in various outdoor team activities.

“I got to help setting up a lot of different projects, and interacted with a lot of great adult leaders,” Marcille said. “It’s given me the experiences and resources that I need to learn.”

A big part of the commitment participants make in the program is to develop ideas for service projects that will help the community, and to effectively plan and carry out their projects.

LAYL members work with adult leaders and meet throughout the school year — individual teams meet every few weeks, and all the teams get together every couple of months.

“The adults in the program have really given us the tools to make us better leaders,” Rowberry said.

Last fall, Team XTC decided to “spiff up” the Sullivan Field ticket booth in time for homecoming by scrubbing, sanding, then painting the booth green and gold.

Other projects completed by LAYL teams include designing and securing funding for a new digital sign at the high school, holding student dances at Central Avenue Grill, cleaning up the LA mountain, improving safety on the overpass walkways at Diamond Drive by applying traction tape, and hosting a field day for elementary school children.

The year-long program starts during the summer with a two-day workshop facilitated by Sean Hall of On the Edge Productions.

Teens interested in joining LAYL should contact Lindsey Milligan at the YMCA – youthdirectorlaymca@gmail.com or 662-3100 – for more information or to get an application.

To donate old or unwanted snowboards, call 412-3108 in Los Alamos or 412-3737 in White Rock.

Barbara Marcille contributed to this story.