LAKE SHORE -- Maura Halverson may not be ready to join the Brainerd High School Alpine ski team just yet, but she's working on it.
First the Baxter toddler had to learn how to snowplow down the bunny hill.
Halverson, age 2 1/2, spent four days last week at Ski Gull learning how to ski, thanks to a Learn to Ski program started last year by Lexi Zarling, 21, a former member of the Brainerd Alpine ski team and a current member of the St. Olaf College Alpine ski team.
Zarling started the program to get more children interested in skiing. Brainerd High School Alpine ski team members and alumni volunteer to teach children how to ski. The four-day program cost $50 per student, which included the lift tickets, lunches and lessons. Ski rental wasn't included.
Last year about 25 Brainerd area children participated in the program. Last week the program had 77 participants age 2 1/2 to 14 and 20 volunteer ski instructors.
"The high school kids like to work with the little kids," said Deb Zarling, who helped her daughter Lexi organize the program.
The new snowfall Thursday meant for a packed parking lot at Ski Gull. The fresh snow also helped to slow down the young ski students as they learned to ski. Harnesses that attached students to their instructors were also used to make sure the inexperienced skiers didn't get away from them.
Maura Halverson said she liked skiing -- and falling down.
"They're more limber so it doesn't hurt them when they fall," said Lexi Zarling.
"I don't know who gets more exhausted at the end of the day, the students or the instructors," said Deb Zarling. "One mom said her child fell asleep as soon as they got into the car."
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