If you speak with John Dowling, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s freestyle program Director, about the success of his mogul athletes, he will attribute it to how much time they spend on snow. It starts in Switzerland in the early fall with the senior-level athletes and picks up at A-Basin in mid-October. The Ski & Snowboard Club Vail freestyle program is in full-swing for early season training by the beginning of November at Golden Peak with both a development level and an advanced moguls line, for its own mogul athletes of all ages and abilities as well as the U.S. Freestyle Team and other visiting freestylers from around the country. Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Freestyle athletes are back to A-Basin in May, on to Mount Bachelor for a Ski & Snowboard Club Vail camp in June and at a moguls-specific training camp in Mount Hood in July. The Olympic Park Water Ramps in Park City, Utah, along with year-round strength training, conditioning and trampoline sessions at Ski & Snowboard Club Vail facilities enhance our mogul athletes’ on-snow progressions even further.
WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A FREESTYLE SKIER
To be at the top of the mogul sport, a freestyle athlete requires refinement of an incredible number of skills — the edging and balance skills found in top alpine racers, the grace and acrobatics skills found in world-class gymnasts and the strength, agility, speed, focus and commitment necessary for any top athlete to succeed.
John Dowling, a Dartmouth graduate, who joined Ski & Snowboard Club Vail in 2012 as its freestyle program director, brings with him the maturity and breadth and scope of coaching skills needed to develop all of the above skills in each individual athlete. John’s athletic goals for his athletes are to promote measurable performance based improvements at all levels, to improve measurable results and to advance athletes to U.S. Development Programs. John is doing just that.
John previously coached at Carrabassett Valley Academy in Maine, Team Summit, the Canadian National Freestyle Team and most recently, Team Breckenridge. Among John’s many noteworthy accomplishments, he has coached 16-plus members of the U.S. Freestyle Team, along with Olympians, world champions, national champions and World Cup overall winners. At the time of writing of this article we are hopeful that Dylan Walczyk, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athlete and U.S. Freestyle Team member, and Heidi Kloser, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail alumna and US Freestyle Team member, will be among those mogul athletes competing in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Fun in the moguls begins at Ski & Snowboard Club Vail at age 6 in our Future Stars program, with opportunities to move into our Freestyle Program at age 7. The Steadman Clinic Vail Cup competition series includes a moguls competition on Feb. 16 for our youngest of athletes, 1998 birth year and younger. Entry is open to any youngster whether a resident or visitor and is complimentary for all. Please visit www.vailcup.com for information and to register.
From Jan. 10-12 Ski & Snowboard Club Vail hosts a Rocky Mountain Freestyle event for Colorado’s top Mogul skiers and March 8-9 a Rocky Mountain Division Devo event for youngsters. Both events are on Vail Mountain.
This year is particularly exciting for Ski & Snowboard Club Vail and its Freestyle Program as we host our first ever Freestyle NorAm Cup, the Freestyle NorAm Cup Finals. This season-long series culminating event attracts the top freestyle mogul athletes from North America, just short of the World Cup level. A number of Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s freestyle athletes will qualify for the event, which makes it even more exciting for us as a club to provide this type of home turf experience for our top athletes. The top performing men and women at the NorAm Cup Finals can earn a U.S. Freestyle Team spot and a World Cup start.
The mogul courses used by Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athletes are not just the work of mother nature. They are artfully crafted and maintained throughout the season in the wee hours of the morning through the diligent efforts of Vail Resort snowcat drivers along with the grueling manual labor and mogul course expertise of John Dowling and members of his coaching staff who chop, shape and reshape their courses, mogul by mogul, to create some of the finest freestyle venues in the country. Cookshack, the site of the NorAm Cup Freestyle Finals’ moguls and dual moguls competitions, is indeed a labor of love and commitment for mogul athletes.
John Dowling and his dedicated Freestyle staff work every day to bring out Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s core values of “Character, Courage, Commitment” in each and every one of the aspiring young athletes in their world class program.