Prep Period: What is it and How do we make it work?!

 As we close in on spring and the end of the competition season, it is time to look to the Preparation Period, where our athletes will be going back to basics, working out new skills and getting to know their coaches for next season.

We see kids traveling the globe to be coached and to get time on snow. Some of these trips are in search of great coaching, some are for the cultural experience, all can stretch the wallet. We are aware of the real financial stresses when trying to attain high levels of any sport. As we look for ways to control the costs, we are working to design Prep Period programs that don’t require world travel, that utilize the snow we have locally early and late season, that seek out environments close to home, and follow the best practices of our European counterparts.

Our programs will be utilizing April and May skiing as much as possible – athletes can get as much as 12 days on snow during this time. This is when we go back to basics, try out longer skis, rip some fat turns in super fun corn snow or train basics on salted spring snow for harder conditions. Just as a soccer player counts touches on the ball, ski racers count “on-snow days”. These spring months in Colorado provide an economical way for our athletes to accumulate this valuable on-snow time. Our Mt. Bachelor, Oregon camp utilizes available snowfields within U.S. borders and provides the athletes an environment of focused practice bringing number of days up to 28 before the end of June. Our Colorado mountains provide the perfect natural gymnasium to get in shape during July and Aug. A short run up to Oregon in August for a tune up for our older athletes adds another week and we have accumulated 35 days before Oct. without pulling out the Passport.

As the coaches work with the athletes on goals and attainment of their goals, they will be helping to plan these programs, based on age recommendations of amount of time on snow, looking for blocks of time to be off snow for conditioning or playing other sports, while looking for ways to cut back on expenses. Conversations about these plans should begin now so families can plan and budget. Expect more specific direction from your coaches as we near the end of the competition season.

Just as the coaches have an athletically sound plan for the athlete’s competition season, they also have one for the “Off Season” – not really “OFF” if athletes have goals to reach elite levels of their sport, but without breaking the budget.

Happy skiing!!

Karen Ghent

Alpine Program Director, SSCV