June 17, 2021

Alyeska Snow Classic Official Reading 2020

Check out the reading of the Alyeska Snow Stake!  This year’s reading is 1 foot plus over last year’s reading of 2.68! A cold spring combined with a good snow pack mid- mountain means the snow hasn’t reduced too much until only very recently.

Thank you to Reid B and Eric T who where our official stake readers this year, and to Alyeska Resort for working with us to make sure we could access the snow stake to take the official measurement on the planned day.

The Alyeska Snow Classic is a annual fundraiser for Four Valleys Community School, and is a split-the-pot contest to see who can guess the measurement of snow at our snow stake on Mt. Alyeska. All funds raised support Four Valleys Community School community education mission.

We will be going through all the tickets soon to determine winner(s)! Thank you to all who sold tickets, bought tickets, and made your best guess. We hope you win!

Stumpy’s Early Winter Trail Challenge & Community History Project

Here’s the Challenge!
Print out a copy of this cool Stumpy’s Early Winter Trail System Map that was hand-drawn by Stumpy Faulker himself!
  • Print out and use the map to seek out the individual place names and locales along the Stumpy’s Early Winter Trails system.
  •  If you find a wooden place name, take a photograph of the sign and/ or with a member of your search standing with the sign.
  • Take a photograph of the surrounding area and/or with your search party.
  • Submit any knowledge you have of WHO or WHY the places listed on the map got their names in by any contributing information on the Stumpy’s Early Winter Trail Community History Project (or click blue button below). Share the survey with any long time Girdwood local who might remember some information to add. Bonus points if you fill out the survey for an elder because they are shy of technology!
  • Post your pictures on the Four Valleys Community School Facebook page or email cmcdermott@fourvalleys.org and you will be entered in a drawing to win a $50 gift certificate from The Ice Cream Shop. Drawing to take place on May 14th.
  • For more details, view the full project information here.

FVCS Summer Programs Open for Waitlist Registration

Waitlist registration is now open for our FVCS Summer Programs. What does this mean? Because the future of our summer session is up in the air, and because we do not not know when (or if) we will be able to operate our summer programs, we are taking sign-ups on a WAITLIST basis. You will be able to see dates and pricing information, and sign up as “Waitlisted” with no financial commitment into different classes. The advantage of signing up as “Waitlisted” allows FVCS to contact Waitlisted students directly when we are able to open up for regular registration.
Fingers crossed that the Corvid-19 crisis will allow life to get back to some version of normal in the near future. Until then, we are working hard to keep FVCS viable and remain positive about the future. Thank you for your flexibility and patience, as well as your support.
As always, all summer programs are based in Girdwood.  View all the FVCS Summer Programs here.

Four Valleys Community School Annoucement

With the Anchorage School District making the decision to keep schools closed for another week and suspending all rentals in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, FVCS must cancel all classes and programs for the Week of March 16, 2020 and very probably beyond. We are working to open registration for our Summer Programs in the next few days, and look forward to more providing recreational and educational classes in the future. Thank you for your continued support.

Alyeska Snow Classic Ticket Sales Begin March 1st!

ALYESKA SNOW CLASSIC 2020: It is dumping snow in Girdwood, and Alyeska Snow Classic ticket sales will begin March 1, 2020! Guess how much snow will accumulate at the 1096 ft level of Mt. Alyeska on the last day of the 2020 ski season. Guess correctly, and you could split the pot! Pop-up shops will be held all of March. Tickets/guess $5.00 each. Get a fantastic Alyeska Snow Classic cup when you purchase 6 tickets. Ticket sales benefit Four Valleys Community School.

Pick.Click.Give & Support FVCS

Please support Four Valleys Community School via Pick.Click.Give when you file for your PFD this year!  Your funds will stay here in Girdwood to support our programs. This past year we offered over 180 classes, events and programs specifically tailored for Girdwood residents. Your donations allow us to offer many extra free and low cost events that enrich our community, as well as give us the boost we need to develop new programs too. Thank you for your support!

FVCS Nordic Ski Club Gear & Registration

Four Valleys Nordic Ski Club starts soon! There is snow on the ground, and we cannot wait to ski!  FVCS Nordic Ski Club for Grades 1-6th and Kinderski with Coach Ari will begin Monday January 27th. For those signed up for our program, we have gear to loan and will distribute gear after-school on Wednesday January 8th.

New gear has been provided by a generous donation from Sherry & Bob Dugan, as well as a grant from the Anchorage Ski Educational Foundation.

Donations and our outstanding volunteer coaches make this program happen!

Register online: www.fourvalleys.org.

Why Support to Four Valleys Community School?

Why give to Four Valleys Community School? We are based on a simple community education model: to provide programs that utilize our community and local resources, promote life-long learning, and emphasize recreational, cultural and educational opportunities for local residents of all ages. As such, we are proud to be a legacy non-profit serving Girdwood residents.

This past year we offered over 180 classes, events and programs specifically tailored for Girdwood residents. There were over 1700 separate enrollments into our programs, and 95% of these are Girdwood residents. We also serve Indian, Bird and Portage but most of our registrations and support comes from Girdwood residents.

This past year we offered classes ranging from everything from Make Your Own Tie-Dye T-shirts to Basic Hunter Education. Other classes included:

  • First Aid/CPR and Wilderness First Aid
  • Visiting veterinarian
  • Wooden Spoon Carving
  • Felting classes
  • Fused glass plates and bowls
  • Ukranian egg dying
  • Glacier Valley Quilters
  • How to release your dog from a trap
  • Salsa making
  • Chess club
  • Two Lego League teams

Because we have a Memorandum of Agreement to rent the Girdwood K-8 School after-hours, we are able to utilize that newly renovated facility and bring the general public to the school for our classes and events. We schedule many areas of the school, but use the Gym more than any other space. This past year we provided a broad range of recreational opportunities for all ages, including:

  • Weekly adult fitness and recreational classes: Indoor Soccer, Pickleball, Basketball, Volleyball, Indoor Tennis, ping pong, early morning Circuit Training and dance/cardio classes. Stand Up Paddle boarding and hip hop dance. During the school year we also have the indoor running track open to the public for no fee.
  • Seasonal and weekly kids recreational programs include:
  • FVCS Cross Country Running
  • FVCS Nordic Ski Club and Kinderski
  • Open Gym times for Junior High and High School
  • A 6 week Indoor Soccer league
  • 3 Kung Fu classes that run 1x/week during the school year
  • Swimming lessons
  • Open gym for pre-school ages
  • Hip hop dance classes

During the summer we concentrate on placed-based educational programs for local kids. Programs start very soon after school ends, and run up until Girdwood Fine Arts Camp begins just before the start of the school year. This summer we had 250 enrollments for about 300 hours of programming.

This summer our programs included:

  • Outdoor soccer
  • Summer Playground
  • Adventure camps: Fossils and Geology, Metamorphosis, Art and Exploration, Tides and Ecology, Wilderness Skills, Yoga and Field Sports.

We are also proud of our partnerships with other non-profits in the Girdwood Valley and the free events and programs that we offered over this past year either as a sponsor or partner, to further our mission to promote community engagement.

In 2019, these events included:

  • Hosting town meeting for Girdwood Area Plan (GAP Night)
  • Hosting the Shiloh Baptist Choir for a performance (Girwood Inc)
  • Promoting placed based education by working with the Beulga Whale Alliance to host citizen science trainings (4) to monitor Beulga whale activity in the Turnagain Arm
  • We had an Earthquake Awareness night, working with Girdwood Rotary to help coordinate our Earthquake Awareness movie. The movie was filmed and edited at one of our summer camps, and funded in part by the Kenai Mountains Turnagain Arm Natural Heritage Area. The Red Cross and the Girdwood Fire Department and CERT program was present as well.
  • We partner with the PTA to fund the school play and Girdwood K-8 School Days of Service.
  • We provide marketing, registration and administrative support for the Girdwood Fine Arts Camp.
  • We provide marketing support as well as juice and cookies for the upcoming Health Fair, which is a Girdwood Rotary program.
  • We also worked with Girdwood Rotary and Girdwood Fire Department to host a Bike Safety Clinic for kids participating in Bike to School Day.
  • We also provided funding and hosted Alaska Native Cultural Night at the Girdwood School, and will be doing another this winter highlighting Hispanic cultures in our community this winter.
  • We work with the Girdwood Lion’s Club to provide two scholarships for graduating High School seniors from Girdwood.
  • Each year we host a big community Ski and Sports Swap. We mobilize about 100 volunteers to help us pull that one day sale off. It is also a fundraiser for FVCS, and proceeds go toward helping the Girdwood School PE ski program as well as our community education classes.  We are also hoping to restart our Scholar Athlete Award ski pass program in partnership with Alyeska Resort this spring.
  • The Girdwood Forest Fair Committee generously has provided us with funds that we use to provide program scholarships and financial aid so that all members of our community have access to our classes, regardless of ability to pay.

All of our programs and initiatives are managed by a part time staff of three.  Staff is supported by a 12 person Board of Directors who are all full time Girdwood residents, and are devoted to keeping community education and recreation locally available.

Four Valleys Community School is truly a community based organization with Girdwood at the core of our DNA. We are committed to providing meaningful educational, cultural and recreational opportunities for all members of our community. With the continued support of our community we look forward to continuing as a key organization that reflects the dynamic spirit of Girdwood.

Please consider joining our list of supporters by including Four Valleys Community School in your end of year giving. 


Skier & Rider Safety Education December Movie Series

Snow Vibes and High Fives: Skier and Rider Education Movies for Local Youth

This December Four Valleys Community School and High Fives Foundation are partnering to bring a series of skier and rider safety education movies to be shown to Girdwood youth and their families. Each movie night is sponsored by a Girdwood-based ski industry business, helping to reinforce the outreach effort and safety message.

The High Fives Foundation is a non-profit based in Truckee, California whose mission is to prevent lifechanging injuries and provide resources and hope if they do happen. Their video series and B.A.S.I.C.S (Being Aware Safe In Critical Situations) program was created to reach young athletes in order to promote smart decision making in the mountains and prevent injuries of any kind.

Each movie features famous skiers and snowboarders telling their own stories while promoting injury awareness. The videos also interview athletes who have suffered an injury from a skiing or snowboarding accident and are on the path to recovery. “What interested me about the videos is that they are filmed and presented just like a Warren Miller type of ski movie, but they are designed with safety messages in mind,” said Catherine McDermott, organizer and director of FVCS. “We are hoping to inspire and educate our local kids to make great decisions while out skiing and riding this winter”.

Chugach Powder Guides, Alyeska Resort, and Powder Hound Ski Shop are sponsoring the video series. “I think it is important to have local businesses that are part of the ski industry involved to reinforce the idea that promoting safety is paramount in all aspects of the sport whether in the backcountry, or pushing the benefit of wearing a helmet, talking about what to do in a collision, or how to stay safe in the terrain park.”, said McDermott. In addition to helping present the movies, Sponsors are providing door prizes and a grand prize for a drawing on the final night.

Girdwood Middle School teacher and Alyeska Ski Patrol member Scott Hickox will be the MC of the events. “Our target audience is skiers and riders in 4th grade and up. But really, the idea that being safe and smart on the ski hill is good one for everyone to hear, no matter your age”, said McDermott “Bring your family, bring your friends, and let’s hope it snows soon”.

Movie showings will take place on Tuesday evenings December 3, 10 and 17 from 7-8:15p in the commons of the Girdwood K-8 School. There is no charge for the events.

Pottery Classes From Local Artist Barbra Lydon

About Barbra Lydon: Barbara Lydon is a multimedia artist who specializes in ceramics. During the summer, she works for the Forest Service in Prince William Sound, where she gathers inspiration for much of her artwork. In the winter, she works out of her home art studio in Girdwood, teaches art classes, and also works for the Forest Service coordinating a multi-agency artist residency program, Voices of the Wilderness. Barbara enjoys creating both sculptural and functional art work, and loves using bright colors on whimsical, handcrafted pieces.

CLAY ORNAMENTS: In this two session ceramic class, local artist Barbara Lydon will share a variety of techniques to inspire the creation of one-of-a-kind ornaments. Artists will each create five clay ornaments using a variety of hand-building techniques in the first class, and then hand paint them with glazes in the second class. A great idea for a special gift to give or to decorate your own tree!  Class sizes limited to five students.

Register for Clay Ornaments Here!

CLAY HANDPRINTS: In this open house ceramic class, local artist Barbara Lydon will host a session to create clay hand or foot prints as a long-lasting reminder of those fleeting childhood days. A great idea for a special gift or to save for a family keepsake!

Register for Clay Handprints Here!