By Kealan Schilling
A couple Saturdays ago the first group of inner city kids from downtown Salt Lake got their chance to take a ride to the mountains and go snowboarding for a full day, all expenses paid. Youth City, a program for under privileged kids, has had the luck of landing local celeb, DJ Knuckles, as one of the counselors for the program. Knuckles who’s been with the program for four years now, started out teaching the local kids music recording, and giving DJ classes on how lay down beats and scratch wax.
When asked if he wanted to do any other classes Knuckles eagerly said “hell yeah, skateboarding”. Knuckles now spends the summertime driving local kids ages ten to seventeen around in a van, and taking them to local skate parks. He tells me that a couple of the kids are from different places in Africa and around Somalia, and only came here a couple years ago and began English lessons. Knuckles happily announces to me that “It’s just great to be a part of the program, and see these kids get a chance to do something they otherwise would never be able to do. “
This winter the idea of taking some of the kids snowboarding came up, and after an attempt to get on the Burton Chill program that came up short, Knuckles turned to Cole Taylor, owner of Technine snowboards. When Cole heard what Knuckles was trying to make happen, despite his busy schedule, his only response was “Ok, lets do this. How many kids are there, and what do we need?” With the help of Josh at The Click snowboard shop supplying the boots, and Park City’s own Jim Mangan supplying the kids with tickets, Cole and Knuckles got everyone geared up head to toe, and headed to the slopes. Cole stated “I always see these kids shreddin’ in down town Liberty Park, building little icy ass kickers, or sliding picnic tables on a little hill, so it’s cool to get behind something like this, and get ’em up on a real mountain.”
As far as the day went, I can only say, I’ve never seen more ear to ear smiles from kids who’ve just fallen on their butts, and then been sprayed with snow (courteous of the various T9 nine crew members roaming the bunny slopes looking for fallen victims). Everyone seemed to be having a good ol’ time, and for someone who grew up sliding down the hills of golf courses outside Boston, it hit home. Getting these kids to the mountains, and sharing the fun of snowboarding, reminded us all what it’s really about.