Birds of Prey for the kids
An unprecedented year yields strength and success for Ski & Snowboard Club Vail
Special to the Daily
During the 2020-2021 winter season, the Birds of Prey World Cup Races – along with many other ski races around the world – were canceled in response to the global pandemic. The tumultuous year brought challenges both on and beyond the mountain. But with those challenges came new opportunities for Ski & Snowboard Club Vail to accelerate and develop not only physical strength on the hill but mental strength as a community.
Amid COVID-19, SSCV athletes and alumni raised the caliber of local competition, as races were conducted in a restructured manner resulting in a very successful season at all levels of competition. The community of athletes, coaches and parents banded together in order to uphold the club’s mission of placing all athletes on their individual pathways to excellence, and more importantly helping these youngsters maintain a positive mental outlook in an otherwise isolating time.
“Despite the challenges faced throughout this arduous year, SSCV remained united against the common enemy of COVID-19,” said John Hale, executive director of SSCV. “It was all thanks to the diligence of our staff, the vigilance of our parents, the adaptability of our athletes and the support of Vail Resorts and our local health professionals. This year has forged lessons that will stay with them for the rest of their lives, on and off the snow.”
Fast forward to the 2021-2022 season, an excitement fills the air at SSCV as young athletes buzz that the World Cup event is being held in Beaver Creek once again. They see the possibility of achieving World Cup racing prestige through the accomplishments of SSCV alumni who, not that long ago, trained at Golden Peak or attended their school (or both), bolstering their determination and dedication to their sports.
The world-class coaching staff and the unparalleled resources that SSCV provide to their athletes establishes SSCV as one of the premiere snow sport clubs in the nation and the world. The recently expanded terrain on the Golden Peak Expansion yields 30 additional acres of training space, two new trails, a new surface lift and upgraded snowmaking fan guns. All of these additions add 600 vertical feet of training ground and 1,700 vertical feet of total terrain. The incredible on-hill training venues are complemented by a new state of the art Clubhouse at the base of Golden Peak.
On the scholastic side, SSCV’s academic partners at Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy, Vail Mountain School and Red Sandstone Elementary School work in conjunction with the coaches to promote the scholastic achievement of the racers as well.
This year alone 10 current and former SSCV athletes were nominated to the U.S. National Team for Alpine, including Paula Moltzan (A Team); Mikaela Shiffrin (A Team); Bridger Gile (B Team); Kyle Negomir (B Team); River Radamus (B Team); Nicola Rountree-Williams (C Team); Ava Sunshine Jemison (D Team); Trent Pennington (D Team); Allie Resnick (D Team) and Emma Resnick (D Team).
“The combination of support, motivation and opportunity that SSCV provides their athletes enables incredible success and a special community,” said SSCV and VSSA alumnus and U.S. Alpine Ski Team athlete Kyle Negomir. “The access to training facilities such as the Minturn Fitness Center and the nearby ski mountain, coupled with the public school academics support which included snow sport specific scheduling at VSSA, gives us the ability to take advantage of these opportunities, and really go after our dreams.”
Other SSCV alumni train and compete at the NCAA Division 1 collegiate level in tandem with pursuing their college degree. It is an extremely competitive avenue for Alpine ski racers and proving to be an increasingly viable path to the U.S. Ski Team. This past year alone, SSCV had 28 former athletes across 13 colleges named to NCAA Division 1 alpine ski teams (many of whom returned to train with SSCV last season with much of the collegiate competition season canceled due to COVID-19).
An unusual year brought further strength to SSCV values: character, courage and commitment, as their athletes flourished both on and off-snow in unprecedented circumstances, bringing new meaning to SSCV’s motto “FOR THE KIDS.”
Learn more about Ski & Snowboard Club Vail at SkiCubVail.org.