Vail Daily column: Core values drive Vail athletes |

Vail Daily column: Core values drive Vail athletes

Aldo Radamus

The mission of Ski & Snowboard Club Vail — to inspire character growth and excellence — starts with our coaching staff. They identify teachable moments, both on and off snow, on a daily basis, using them to instill our core values of character, courage and commitment in athletes of all ages.

We measure the success of our athletes by the character traits they develop during their journey at Ski & Snowboard Club Vail. It is these character traits that allow them to succeed in life. This success can take many forms, including earning a spot on a national team, competing at the NCAA level, attending their college of choice and enjoying a successful career.

It is for the above reasons that the Character, Courage and Commitment (C3) Award is so coveted at Ski & Snowboard Club Vail. The C3 Awards were established by Ski & Snowboard Club Vail several years ago to recognize outstanding displays of character, courage and commitment in our athletes both on and off snow. A total of six C3 Award winners are named each snowsports season via vote of the Ski & Snowboard Club Vail management team, one per month from November through April. This award series culminates with the selection of The Walter Kirsch Character, Courage and Commitment Overall Season Winner via vote of the Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Management Team from among the C3 monthly award winners.

C3 Award Winners

I would like to applaud our November, December and January winners, Parker McDonald, Jake Wenn and Florian Szwebel, respectively, for winning this prestigious award and share with you how these individuals personify Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s core values of character, courage and commitment.

Parker McDonald is in his fourth year with the Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Nordic program. Parker arrived at Ski & Snowboard Club Vail with a background in a variety of different sports and activities, but no knowledge of Nordic skiing or the physical and mental attributes needed to be successful at it. One year into his Nordic training, Parker began to pursue his Nordic skiing full-time and as a result, enrolled at Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy, the Eagle County public school academic partner of Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, where he is currently a senior. During Parker’s time with the team, he has matured into an adult, with an approach to the sport and to life his coaches are all proud of.

Parker’s sense of humor makes everyone feel welcome, which is a catalyst for the great team dynamic found on the Nordic team. He struggled the first couple of years, competing with athletes who were more mature and experienced. Through hard work and determination, he has closed this gap and is now a highly competitive athlete in his own right.

Jake Wenn, a full-time freeski athlete at Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, entered Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy as a senior in August. As a student, Jake needed to make a significant academic adjustment to keep pace with the coursework. Despite this being his 12th-grade year he comes into the building every day ready to attack the responsibilities and opportunities that are handed to him, bringing the meaning of hard work to new levels while all the while working to maintain a competitive snowsports edge.

Jake’s positive attitude in school and on the hill is infectious, playfully connecting humor to things he sees and does and always believing in others, causing growth in positivity in our community.

Florian Szwebel joined Ski & Snowboard Club Vail as a full-time alpine racer three years ago and is a junior at Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy. Florian’s dedication is evident, always displaying a positive attitude and consistently rising to the top through hard work and complete dedication.

In early season training, Florian took a very serious fall, was transported to the hospital and diagnosed with bad bone bruising and stretched ligaments. After taking off the requisite time to heal from this diagnosis, he competed in seven competitions, placing third overall (first for U18s) and fifth overall (third for U18s) in the Aspen FIS Super G races. This placed Florian second in the nation for year of birth of 1996 and ninth in the world for super-G. However he failed to finish the two giant slalom races, and continuing to experience pain, he returned to the doctor only to discover that he had been racing and training on two fractured legs for over a month. Since learning of the true nature of his injury, Florian has been working extremely hard in the gym with a goal to compete in the U18 Nationals in Copper, where he is aiming for podiums.

Please know that anyone can nominate any Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athlete for the C3 Award. Simply email for a nomination form and deadlines, and become a part of recognizing those members of our community who personify character, courage and commitment in their everyday lives.

Aldo Radamus is the executive director of Ski & Snowboard Club Vail. For more information, go to, email or call 970-790-5161.

Support Local Journalism