Shumlin signs in new state sports

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With the support of Swanson, Vt. schoolchildren, Gov. Peter Shumlin signed a bill into law on March 8 recognizing skiing and snowboarding as Vermont’s state sports.

            Four years ago, Kristen Belrose led her class in research into possible state sports in her fifth grade class at Swanson Elementary School, as Vermont lacked an official one.

            The students decided that because snowboarding originated in Vermont and still maintains a rich culture in the state – especially due to the work of Burton Snowboards – riding should be made official. Skiing was added later to the proposed bill because of its large role in current Vermont culture.

            The students proposed the bill in their sixth grade year and it was first passed by the Vermont Senate in 2008. After a failure to make it through the House, the bill was reintroduced by Rep. Michel Consejo and the Swanson school and passed through both houses of Congress this year.

            The signing of the bill was done at the Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum in Stowe, as Gov. Shumlin and several others spoke about the new law.

            “This is an example of what’s so great about democracy in Vermont,” said Shumlin. “We get our kids involved early.”

            The students in the class, now sophomores in high school, said they gained invaluable knowledge about the legislative process works.

            “We learned how the legislature works and how to get things done,” said one of the students, Alex Banker.

            Burton expressed its satisfaction and pride in the state and students in the official recognition of the snowboarding as one of Vermont’s state sports, according to the Burlington Free Press.

            Vermont joins Colorado as one of at least two states that recognize skiing and snowboarding as official sports.