Friday, December 14, 2007

Niños on the slopes

This is a fun story about the children of the immigrants working in the service industry in this posh ski town. The priest who started the program that teaches skiing to the kids in grades 2-5, says skiing is the great equalizer here. DP

Program introduces Latino kids to the mountain lifestyle, bringing good times while helping to bridge a cultural divide

By Jessica Ravitz, The Salt Lake Tribune PARK CITY -The language spoken or jobs held by his parents were of no significance as Micah Muñoz peered up at the falling snow. Splayed out and giggling after his first-ever wipeout on the slopes, he was like any other kid at the Park City Mountain Resort last Saturday.

Granted, he was on flat ground and wearing only one ski, but the 7-year-old boy was merely minutes into the mountain lifestyle. His season had just begun.

Moments before, Micah and 50 other kids had lined up for this year's Niños on Skis group photo. Beneath goggles, helmets and puffy parkas, they flashed giddy smiles. The Niños program, sponsored by St. Mary's Catholic Church, exists to bridge the cultural divide between, generally speaking, the affluent whites of Park City and the Latino immigrants who work in the posh community's service industry.

"Here, in this town, skiing is the great equalizer," explained the Rev. Bob Bussen, known as "Father Bob," who tears down the mountain wearing his clerical collar. "If you can ski, you're as good as anyone."
Be sure to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

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