Ski Club Vail recognized for alpine excellence
EAGLE COUNTY — At the beginning of the season, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail managers held a meeting with their staff.
“We said, ‘We had an amazing year last year. There is every chance that we will outperform ourselves, but won’t be recognized,’” said Alpine Director Karen Ghent.
After being awarded Club of the Year, Freeskiing Club of the Year, Freestyle Club of the Year, Snowboarding Club of the Year and Alpine Club of the Year at the United States Ski and Snowboard Association Congress in 2014, there wasn’t much more recognition to be received this year. Not only that, “They like to spread the love around,” said Ghent, so the chances of being awarded club of the year two years in a row were slight.
However, after qualifying more athletes than any other U.S. club to the United States Ski and Snowboard Association’s U16 National Training Group and winning more than three-fourths the medals available at the U14 Junior Championships, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail was once again the obvious choice for Alpine Club of the Year this year. Ghent accepted the award on May 15 at the United States Ski and Snowboard Association Congress in Park City.
“I think this year our club demonstrated such a high level of excellence that it was undeniable,” Ghent said.
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In accepting the award, Ghent thanked the 40 coaches on her staff.
“They worked so are and are so passionate and care so much about making these kids better,” Ghent said. “That’s the reason we surpassed what we did last year, because they’re so committed.”
Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Executive Director Aldo Radamus said the award is additionally noteworthy in that Ski & Snowboard Club Vail is “the first repeat winner in the 16-year history of the award, the first four-time winner and winner for the third time in six years.”
When Ghent set her goals for the season, she said she thought they would be really hard to achieve, but she wanted to set high-level goals to continue their growth.
“Not only did we meet those goals, but we surpassed them in several areas,” she said.
Among those goals was to name one boy and one girl to the U14 national training group.
“One boy and one girl heading to the national training group from the same age group would be a big deal, a huge accomplishment,” Ghent said. “We sent one boy and three girls from that age group alone,” doubling their numbers from 2014.
Of the 36 Rocky/Central Division athletes to qualify to the U16 National Championships in 2015, 24 were from Ski & Snowboard Club Vail. At the Junior Championships in 2014, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail took home 25 medals. This year, the club brought home 28.
“We had set a goal to achieve 50 percent of the medals available at that event, which would be hard to do,” she said. “We ended up taking home 77 percent. Those are the kinds of things where I thought, ‘Oh gosh, this is going to be hard.’”
In setting goals now for next year, Ghent said if they are able to even meet the success of this year then they will be doing really well, never mind surpassing themselves once again.
“At some point, you have to accept that it’s not going to happen every year,” she said.