Twin sisters Logan and Mackenna Simson have been on skis since they were 2 years old. So it’s no surprise that now, as 11-year-old fifth-graders, they jumped at the chance to enter the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) safety-awareness poster contest.
Their art teacher, Robert Ginieczki, let them know about the contest, suggesting the idea as an extracurricular option to his art students at Silverthorne Elementary and Frisco Elementary schools.
“I offered them support if they needed it, but they created it on their own and submitted it to me,” he said.
Ginieczki’s students have been participating in the contest for the last five years, submitting them through Copper Mountain Resort. Copper had its own in-house competition, choosing the top three posters from each school and sending those along to the NSAA for the national portion of the competition. One of these was the poster created by the Simson sisters.
“Their picture was one of two awards given to the best artwork nationwide,” said Shauna Bocksch, mountain safety patrol supervisor at Copper Mountain, who helped coordinate the contest. “It’s a really big deal.”
Any elementary student can enter the competition. Each year, the NSAA chooses two winning posters — one for most creative design and one for best overall safety message.
The Simson girls won the creative award with their portrayal of a young skier offset by a background of pine trees, mountains and snowflakes, underneath the words “Stay In Control!” in bright yellow letters.
The poster was a joint effort, the girls say.
“Mackenna drew the person and the letters and I helped color it in and draw the trees and snowflakes,” Logan said.
When asked how it felt to win the contest, Mackenna answered, “really good. (We were) really excited.”
The other winning poster came from Vermont.
Bocksch said the contest is important in promoting safety awareness on the mountain, particularly among young people.
“Getting the kids involved in thinking about safety leads to good behaviors and a better experience for everybody on the mountain, (especially) if we start when they’re little,” she said.
Ginieczki is proud of his students, not only for winning a national award but for the effort they put into their work.
“It’s pretty cool,” he said. “They definitely put some good time into it and effort. Those girls are super-talented and we talk a lot about just the artistic piece of it, and they’re skiers and riders so they’re out there and they know, so they can blend their experience out there with art.”