VMS sweeps Skimeister awards | VailDaily.com

VMS sweeps Skimeister awards

Vail Mountain School sophomores Sylvan Ellefson and Courtney Robinson picked up Skimeister awards, designating them as the best all-around, high-school skiers in the state of Colorado, at the 2003 Colorado State Skiing Championships last weekend.

The Skimeister sweep was a part of VMS’ domination of the category in 2002-03. Ellefson and teammates, Duncan Robinson and Josh Smith, finished 1-2-3 in the boys’ Skimeister race, while Courtney Robinson and Haleigh Armstrong finished first and second in the girls’ race.

“We’re not complaining,” joked Karl Hochtl, who coaches VMS Nordic with Dan Weiland. “I think the Vail Mountain ski team earned some respect. Some of the other teams saw our kids out for Nordic and then getting awards in alpine as well. We have a bunch of great kids.”

Hochtl should know something about the Skimeister. He won the award in 1992, while his younger brother, Kevin, also was a multiple-time winner.

“Most people have no idea about the amount of training it takes,” Karl said. “Nordic takes such a tremendous amount of training and effort and then you throw in the technique of alpine. You have an alpine race on Friday and then you have to come back for Nordic on Saturday. It leaves you sapped. To do this week in and week out every weekend requires a great physical and mental effort.”

Ellefson, if you talk to teammates and coaches, seems naturally suited to the challenge.

“He’s just full of life and full of energy,” VMS alpine coach Gusty Swift said. “After a Nordic race, he’s ready to keep going like he has as much energy as he had before the race.”

Ellefson, a first-year Nordic skier, gave some credit to his teammates.

“I was definitely happy to win because I knew I was competing with Duncan, who was second last year,” he said. “The competition keeps you going. I think you want to beat your own teammates more than other people. It’s definitely a positive thing.”

Like Ellefson, Robinson was a newcomer to Nordic this season. After her first freestyle race of the season, she wasn’t too sure of what she was getting herself into.

“I hadn’t skated much before and I didn’t know what I was doing. I was putting my energy in the wrong places. It was not fun. I was questioning why I was doing this,” she said with a laugh.

Robinson got the hang of it quickly, though, and her Nordic coach can pinpoint quickly the reasons why.

“Courtney brought a great sense of humor and perspective, which helps her keep the boys in line,” Hochtl said with a laugh. “She just jumped in with gusto and her competitive spirit wouldn’t let anyone beat her.”

“It was definitely a challenge – mentally and physically,” Robinson said. “You don’t get as much sleep when you’re trying to figure out which practice you’re going to, where it is and when it is. It keeps you on your toes, but it’s definitely rewarding in the end.”

Chris Freud is the sports editor for the Vail Daily. Contact him at (970) 949-0555, ext. 614 or by e-mail at cfreud@vaildaily.com.

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