For the sixth consecutive year, the Lake County Intermediate School third grade students and teachers had the amazing opportunity to engage in a learning expedition about the history and legacy of the famous “skiing soldiers” of the 10th Mountain Division. And, again in 2020, the culmination of this learning took the form of an assembly honoring the soldiers of the 10th and participation in the annual ski-down ceremony at Ski Cooper. 

As an expeditionary learning school, we love studying the 10th Mountain Division because it makes our learning authentic and place-based. These soldiers trained at Camp Hale and at Cooper Hill, our very own backyard. What’s more, these men certainly left their mark on the modern ski-based economy here in Colorado. 

We would like to give a big Panther “shout out” to the following people and organizations who helped make this event possible:

Thank you to the 10th Mountain Division — and especially to Terry Ploot, Hugh Evans, and Bruce Bjorgum. We are so glad we get to be part of this event.

A shout out goes to our wonderful volunteers for helping in the rental shop as over 50 new skiers were outfitted with skis, boots, helmets and goggles. Thank you to the many Lake County School District teachers and staff who rearranged their schedules to take part in this big day and to our other colleagues (including substitute teachers and administrators) who ensured everything ran smoothly back at school.

And, thanks to Ski Cooper for their generosity and especially to the very patient rental shop staff and enthusiastic instructors who introduced our “never ever” skiers to the sport. This will be a day our students will always remember. Hats off to Mother Nature for providing us with a bluebird and warm Colorado day after a cold week!

Finally, we are grateful to many families, descendants and current 10th Mountain soldiers, and other generous community members who contributed to support this event in future years and to Get Outdoors Leadville and Great Outdoors Colorado for providing grant funds to make this experience possible for all of our students.

Lake County Intermediate School Third Grade Team

Katrina Hanger

Brett Hanger

Katherine Page

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