Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

Follow All The Winter Olympics Action Feb. 6-24 on NBC

Olympics Inspire Young Athletes at Ski Sundown

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    NBCConnecticut.com

    In the spirit of the Olympics, kids across Connecticut are testing their skills on the slopes.

    Sochi might be getting all the attention, but this weekend Ski Sundown in New Hartford is the place to be. Not only is the snow well groomed, they’re grooming so young athletes who could be future Olympians.

    You’re never too young to hit the slopes here at Ski Sundown.

    "We started both of our daughters when they were two," said dad Gilberto Perez, who makes skiing a family tradition.

    Today he’s rooting for his 6-year-old daughter, Sofia. She's already got four years of experience but says sliding down the "Gunbarell" trail made her a little nervous.

    "It looks like it’s steep," Sofia said.

    In fact, Ski Sundown officials say it’s the steepest trail in the region.

    But Sofia is well prepared. She’s in week five of the eight-week race development program.

    "I think what separates us is the enthusiasm we build with the kids," explained race program director Monti Montana, who said the fast-paced program helps the kids develop quickly. "I’ll tell you, some of the kids are extraordinary. If you watch them, they’re actually getting on angles with their skis."

    "You see people here skiing that have been skiing here for many years, and there’s no reason for them to stop," said Mark Meleschkewich, president of Sundown's race team, who said he's seen all the stir over Sochi translate to enthusiasm on the slopes.

    "In the lodge they’re watching the Olympics," Meleschkewich added. "Our kids go home; they talk about the Olympics. They watch all the sports."