Vail Daily column: A day to remember for Ski and Snowboard Club Vail
Ski and Snowboard Club Vail Olympians
Aaron Blunck (U.S.), SSCV current freeski athlete.
Adam Crook (British Virgin Islands), SSCV alumnus freeski athlete.
Chris Del Bosco (Canada), SSCV alumnus ski cross athlete.
Annalisa Drew (U.S.), SSCV current freeski athlete.
Kaitlyn Farrington (U.S.), SSCV current snowboard athlete.
Faye Gulini (U.S.), SSCV alumna snowboard athlete.
Ayumu Hirano (Japan), SSCV current snowboard athlete.
Noah Hoffman (U.S.), SSCV current nordic athlete.
Heidi Kloser (U.S.), SSCV alumna freestyle athlete.
Stephanie Magiros (Australia), SSCV current snowboard athlete.
Mikaela Shiffrin (U.S.), SSCV alumna alpine athlete.
This past Saturday was a day of much reflection and celebration for me, truly one of the highlights of my 12 years as executive director of Ski & Snowboard Club Vail. On that day Ski & Snowboard Club Vail was fortunate to be a part of the 2015 FIS Alpine World Championships One Year Countdown Celebration, to send off our Olympians to Sochi, Russia, and introduce the next generation of Olympic hopefuls to Ski & Snowboard Club Vail.
In keeping with the “Dream it, live it, share it” theme for the upcoming World Championships, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail offered a complimentary Try the Club Day for some of the very youngest members of the community experiencing their first taste of what it would be like to become an athlete for Ski & Snowboard Club Vail.
Next, a full-time athlete admissions open house was held where both Ski & Snowboard Club Vail and out-of-town snowsports athletes and their parents filled the room to learn more from our program directors, coaches and academic partners about what it means to take their passion for a snowsports to the next level from an athletic, academic and character-building perspective.
OLYMPIAN SEND-OFF CELEBRATION
This special day culminated in an Olympic send-off celebration at Solaris Plaza, where Ski & Snowboard Club Vail alumna and past Olympian Sarah Schleper, alongside past Olympian Cindy Nelson, presented to a huge crowd Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s record number of 11 current and alumni athletes heading off to compete in the Sochi Winter Olympic Games. Three Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Olympians who had not yet departed for Sochi were honored alongside Sarah and Cindy on stage; they are Aaron Blunck and Annalisa Drew, both current Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athletes who moved to Vail from other parts of the country to pursue their snowsports dreams and will represent the United States in freeskiing, and Chris Del Bosco, a Ski & Snowboard Club Vail alumnus who grew up at Ski & Snowboard Club Vail and will represent Canada in ski cross.
‘DREAM IT, LIVE IT, SHARE IT’
Last Saturday’s events and the many snowsports athletes who participated in them could not have better personified the theme of the day — “Dream it, live it, share it”
How does one winter snowsports training and competition organization have a record number 11 current and alumni athletes representing six different snowsports and five different countries all qualify to compete in the Sochi Olympics? It is the confluence of a number of factors, guided by the strategic vision and support of our board of trustees and management team over the years. It starts with the great support of Vail Resorts and the town of Vail, the cooperation of the U.S Forest Service, a community that embraces active lifestyles and achievement, strong academic partnerships and supportive donors.
All of this facilitates a world-class coaching and support staff along with the year-round program offerings and the necessary facilities to support them. These are the men and women who impact our athletes of all ages day in and day out, teaching and guiding them, both on snow and off, and inspiring in them our core values of character, courage and commitment.
People asked me on Saturday evening how it felt for our organization to have this record number of Olympic athletes and alumni heading to Sochi. It was truly an honor to see so many athletes from our program celebrated that night.
As I reflected further on the events of this past Saturday — from the nervous 6-year-old about to ski through his very first gates at Try the Club Day to the rising fifth-grader wanting to know what it would be like to train in the mornings and go to school in the afternoon alongside the “big kids” they had been looking up to for years, to the young adults stepping onto the stage for their Olympic send-off — it is rewarding beyond belief that our organization has taught and influenced these 11 young men and women along their journey to becoming Olympians, helping to instill in them the character, courage and commitment needed to achieve this status. What is even more rewarding is the thousands of young men and women Ski & Snowboard Club Vail has had the opportunity to impact over our 50-year history and helped provide them the experiences and skills to be successful in life.
When asked by someone how I expect our Olympians to perform while they are in Sochi, I replied, “We know the character values our organization has helped instill in our athletes will enable them to succeed throughout their lives, long after their Olympic competition days are over. How they perform in competition is soon history. What is important is who they become.”
The events of this past Saturday were an affirmation of how Ski & Snowboard Club Vail helps our children’s dreams come true. These events were also an inspiration to continue and strengthen our collaboration with our partners, our community, our parents, our athletes and our staff to create the best and most accessible opportunities possible, both on snow and off, to continue to further our ability to make “our” children’s dreams come true.