The “off-season”, what for most is a time to put away the skis and boards, is for competitive snow sports athletes the most important preparation period. During the spring, summer and fall, snow sports athletes participate in multi-sport experiences to develop well rounded athletic skills, as well as, specific conditioning activities. For freeski, freestyle and snowboard athletes, it is also a time to undertake a methodical progression utilizing trampoline and water ramp sessions to prepare to take new tricks to snow.
On-snow camps during the off-season allow athletes to improve fundamental skills, make important changes and learn new techniques and tricks without the pressure of impending competitions.
As much or more important than the gains that can be made in preparation for the upcoming competition season, is the healthy lifestyles promoted through year-round activity. A love of sport and active, healthy lifestyles, respect for self and development of “Character, Courage, Commitment” are the most important outcomes of the time our kids and young men and women commit to pursuing their dreams in skiing and snowboarding.
When the on-snow season ends in mid-April and after a few weeks of “active rest”, strength training and conditioning sessions resumed along with trampoline sessions for our acrobatics athletes. Weekend skiing options also became available at neighboring ski areas.
Early May included a mid-week early morning training camp at the Birds of Prey at Beaver Creek for alpine racers, filled with the excitement of training where world-class athletes from around the world gathered twice this past season at a World Cup as well as the Alpine World Championships. Made possible by the incredible support of Vail Resorts and Beaver Creek, racers were able to log important on-snow time before a full day of classes and without travel, lodging, meal or lift ticket expenses.
June included a three week on-snow camp for SSCV alpine and freestyle athletes at Mt. Bachelor in Bend, Oregon. Dedicated training venues for Ski and Snowboard Club Vail and the complete rental of the Entrada Motel for our “home base” creates an exclusive opportunity at the lowest possible cost for SSCV’s athletes. Afternoons were filled with video analysis, activities and conditioning including world-class mountain biking and hiking. With limited snow for Nordic training in Mt. Bachelor, a rigorous Nordic training camp was offered in Moab filled with mountain biking and other complimentary cross-training options.
With the unprecedented lack of snow in Mt. Hood this past summer, new summer venues were utilized by SSCV athletes together with a return to New Zealand for our older Alpine athletes to train at Treble Cone including some Southern Hemisphere FIS racing to get an early start on the season. Our U16 alpine athletes spent several weeks in Europe, including time on the Hintertux Glacier in Austria and an intensive block of slalom training in the ski hall in Druskinikai, Lithuania. Our 16 and 17 year-old alpine athletes spent several weeks in Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world training at Cerro Castor.
Freestyle athletes timed their several week stay in Chile perfectly to enjoy a just in time dump and amazing training courses in Nevados de Chillan. Many hours were also logged at the water ramps in Steamboat Springs and on the trampolines at the SSCV Acrobatics Room by freestyle athletes of all ages.
SSCV Freeski athletes hit the Utah Olympic Park in Park City hard for several multi-day SSCV camp offerings at the water ramps and trampolines.
All SSCV full-time athletes ages 14 and older are provided the opportunity to take part in a 4 day a week, two session a day strength training and conditioning program from the beginning of June through mid-August at the Minturn Fitness Center (MFC), a human performance center for SSCV athletes as well as community members resulting from a partnership between SSCV and the Town of Minturn. Athletes worked on increasing all aspects of their strength, conditioning, mobility and flexibility, along with learning recovery strategies and mental preparation for competition.
Our Nordic athletes of all ages not only endured, but enjoyed, a multi-day a week summer long program that included roller skiing, hikes, runs and mountain biking alongside strength sessions at the MFC.
With school back in session strength training and conditioning sessions continue for all SSCV full-time athletes as do trampoline sessions and fall water ramp camps for our acrobatics athletes. The final physical testing takes place in the next few weeks to clear athletes to get on snow.
Now we wait for the cold and the snow guns to do their job, in preparation for early season training on Golden Peak. As has been the case in the 6 years since the club’s investment in upgrading the snowmaking system at Golden Peak, the world is again coming to Vail this November to train alongside the club’s kids and aspiring Olympians.