Vail Daily column: Summertime is prime time for ski club athletes
Summer is not a time of rest at Ski & Snowboard Club Vail. Instead, it is a time to prepare, both on snow and off, for the next snowsports competition season. This takes many forms, depending on the age of the athlete and their sport.
Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s summer season kicked off in early June with a club-wide camp at Mount Bachelor in Hood, Oregon. For the first three weeks of June, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail literally took over Mount Bachelor resort as well as the nearby Entrada Lodge for its team of 180-plus athletes and more than 30 coaches.
Through a partnership with Mount Bachelor, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail alpine, freeski, freestyle, Nordic and snowboard athletes of varying ages and abilities have access to custom venues designed to meet their specific needs. From the 22-foot superpipe, 20- to 60-foot slopestyle jumps, moguls lanes with jumps, 10 kilometers of Nordic trails, and slalom and giant slalom courses, to acres and acres of freeskiing terrain both on- and off-piste, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail coaches were able to provide great training for the 10-year-old development level grom or skier and Sochi Olympian alike. Even adult ski racers could participate in a master’s training camp alongside our top juniors and benefit from the great terrain and coaching.
The Mount Bachelor camp is focused on fundamentals and skill development. For our acrobatic athletes, this includes trick progressions facilitated by a two ton airbag. These experiences are critical for developing snowsports athletes hoping to bring their skills to the next level in the upcoming competition season. Summer training provides the unique opportunity to make progress without the pressures of upcoming competitions.
Mornings at Mount Bachelor (starting with a 6 a.m. wakeup call) were spent on snow, followed by video analysis and ski prep for the next day. Afternoons into early evenings were filled with multiple forms of off-snow physical activities, ranging from mountain biking, slack lining, trampoline time, skate boarding, stretching and strength training to swimming and rafting. Healthy buffet-style meals provided the necessary fuel, and lights out at 9 p.m. required little reinforcement after such long, intensive days.
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The progress made by athletes in this type of setting is beyond belief and the team building among athletes of differing ages, abilities and snowsports is another priceless outcome for the Ski & Snowboard Club Vail community.
VARIOUS TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES
As the Mount Bachelor camp ended, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athletes and coaches dispersed to pursue other summer on- and off-snow options within their specific snowsport.
Freeski athletes (park and pipe and big mountain) of all ages and abilities are spending time at the Utah Olympic Park in Park City with Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Freeski Program Director Elana Chase and several of her coaches honing skills and working on trick progressions. With access to six jumps of varying sizes into an aerated pool to soften landings and three professional “flybed” trampolines, athletes can make huge progress attending one or more of the six five-day camp sessions offered throughout the summer.
After the Mount Bachelor Camp, our alpine athletes ages 14 and older enter an intense conditioning period with double sessions four days a week of strength training and field conditioning through mid-August. FIS Alpine athletes age 17 and above headed off to New Zealand in late July for three weeks of training and several internationally sanctioned races. In early August, our 14- to 16-year-old athletes head off to Mount Hood, Oregon, for a slalom camp.
Senior snowboard athletes spent more time on snow at an Ski & Snowboard Club Vail camp in Mount Hood, making further progress on their skills for next season.
Throughout the summer, our Nordic athletes ages 10 and older undertake an intensive, age-appropriate dryland program led by Nordic Program Director Dan Weiland. It includes a multitude of age-appropriate activities for athletes ranging from roller skiing to strength training.
A mountain bike team is in its second season designed for beginner to advanced cyclists which trains throughout the summer and competes in the Vail Beaver Creek Mountain Bike Race Series run by the Vail Recreation District. With the start of the school year the Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Mountain Bike Team will compete in high school mountain bike competitions with an eye on defending its state championship this fall. The Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Mountain Bike Team is phenomenal cross training for its snowsports athletes and is also an opportunity for others in the community to get involved with Ski & Snowboard Club Vail.
Our mogul athletes are spending time at water ramp camps in Steamboat Springs under the direction of Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Freestyle Program Director John Dowling. John is also running an on-snow moguls camp in Mount Hood this summer for his junior athletes and in Zermatt, Switzerland, this fall for NorAm level skiers preparing for the all important team selection events in December
There is never a lack of things to do in the summer in preparation for the snow to come. Just think — in a few short months the world will again come to the Vail Valley for this FIS Alpine World Ski Championships season. Training on Golden Peak will begin on Nov. 1, and the mountain opens for what promises to be a memorable and exciting season on Nov. 21. Our athletes will be ready!