No offseason for Sunlight skiers |

No offseason for Sunlight skiers

Jeff Caspersen
Glenwood Springs Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado
Chad Spangler/Post IndependentLindsay Hoffmann gets some work during a dryland training session with the Sunlight Ski Team on Thursday afternoon. The team recently returned from a summer trip to Mount Hood.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Sunlight Ski Team members didn’t let the summer months pass without fitting in a little time on the slopes.

All they had to do was travel to Oregon’s Mount Hood, the site of the team’s first annual summer slalom camp, to make that happen.

Under the direction of Sunlight coaches John Bresnitz and Bob Lockard and Aspen Valley Ski Team’s James Haldeman, six Sunlight Ski Teamers made the most of time spent on the glacier-laden Oregon mountain they called home for a week in late July.

“It was a whole lot of fun,” said 11-year-old Luke Prosence. “It was a big blast.”

Prosence and his teammates honed their slalom skills for the better part of a week out west, rising early and hitting the icy slopes by 7 a.m. to work on form and cram in as many runs as possible.

Contending with the summer sun ” which rapidly morphed the icy pack to slush as the morning hours passed ” the Sunlight skiers were off the mountain by 11:30 a.m. or so.

Still, that’s far more slope time than they’d get back in Western Colorado, where their summer training is of the dry-land variety, spent mostly doing plyometrics work or running hills.

“It made me better,” said 11-year-old Quinn Kimminau. “I got more training in that week than during the whole season. John helped point out what I was doing wrong, and it was really good.”

Bresnitz, who began coaching the Sunlight squad last season, saw his skiers drastically improve as the camp wore on.

“These guys improved almost every run,” the coach said on Friday while overseeing a team dryland training session back in Glenwood Springs. “It was really intensive training.”

Intensive training wasn’t the only benefit to camp, which afforded team members an opportunity to bond. Bresnitz, a former FIS skier, knows as well as anyone the value of team-building excursions.

“I think it’s really important,” he said. “Skiing is such an individual sport. It’s really important to have a team aspect of it. It’s such a lonely sport.”

And that team component wasn’t lost on his young skiers, who enjoyed activities like go-karting, swimming and sampling various restaurants when not on the slopes.

“We did a lot of swimming, and that was fun,” said 12-year-old Alphonse Fischer. “We went to all the different restaurants every night. We tried a lot of different foods.”

“It was great,” 12-year-old Lindsay Hoffmann added. “It was a lot of fun to get to know everyone better.”

Expect the trip to be a yearly thing for the Sunlight skiers, who joined racers from all over the U.S. and Canada in flocking to Mount Hood.

“The environment is like no other where the majority of riders on the hill were training gates or practicing skiing skills,” Lockard said.

Needless to say, it’ll give the Sunlight squad ” which often gets overlooked in the shadows of Vail and Aspen’s youth programs ” a head start in readying for winter competition.

“It’s a big leg up,” Lockard said, “and another cool thing is they got to demo all of next year’s equipment. They’ll all know what they like best, what to purchase. It’s a big leg up.”

And just because they’re back from Hood doesn’t mean the summer training’s done. Three times a week back in Glenwood, they’ll be working tirelessly at the dryland stuff.

“We’re just getting our legs strong, our bodies strong,” Kimminau said. “Hopefully, it helps us for next season.”

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