Shiffrin credits Ski & Snowboard Club coaches at Vail event | VailDaily.com

Shiffrin credits Ski & Snowboard Club coaches at Vail event

Sharon Schmidt
Vail Valley Scenery

More than 150 people gathered at Larkspur Restaurant on Nov. 23 to kick off the winter season and celebrate the incredible generosity of Ski & Snowboard Club Vail's donors and supporters at its annual Celebration of Winter Leadership Council Dinner and Live Auction. Guests' relationship with Ski & Snowboard Club Vail varied — parents, alumni, coaches, board members, community leaders, sponsors and friends attended, to name a few. However it was clear they all had something in common: a commitment to support the youth of our community in their pursuit of competitive snowsports and, in turn, to inspire character growth and excellence in these youth both on snow and off.

The mood was festive and conversation was plentiful among the guests as they reunited that evening after the long off-season. But then, suddenly, you could hear a pin drop, as Ski & Snowboard Club Vail hometown alumna Mikaela Shiffrin took the microphone. In her characteristically down-to-earth and humble manner, she reflected on her days as a youngster at Ski & Snowboard Club Vail and how important her coaches, the heart and soul of the organization, were in getting her to where she is today. She recounted a recent moment at Golden Peak where SSCV athletes half her age jockeyed to ride the chairlift with their coach Simon Marsh, that same coach that she jockeyed to ride the chair lift with when she was their age. She also recalled begging her coach Rika Moore to let her ski through (instead of around) slalom gates for the first time; that same coach, to this day, makes sure her little athletes learn the same fundamental skills as Mikaela.

This alumna could have talked about her World Cup wins, her international travel, her celebrity appearances and her magazine cover shots, but instead she honored her roots at Ski & Snowboard Club Vail and paid tribute to the people who shaped her and many other skiers' childhoods.

"I could not help but reflect, during her moments at the microphone that evening, how this alumna embodies our mission to inspire character growth and excellence in our athletes," said Aldo Radamus, executive director of Ski & Snowboard Club Vail. "Mikaela displays these traits in competition. But more importantly, she displays these traits in her everyday life."

Sharon Schmidt is the director of admissions and communications for Ski & Snowboard Club Vail.