As we anxiously waited for the Golden Peak Competition Arena to turn from brown to white and Chair 6 to spin this November, SSCV Alpine staff was also formulating a plan to protect the training venue in anticipation of finally skiing on Golden Peak. Ski racing is a risky sport that involves navigating numerous variables: fluctuating terrain, variable conditions and visibility, speeds ranging up to 40-50 mph on a regular basis, and natural obstacles. The job of the ski coach is to plan training progressions, connect with and inspire their athletes, know the rules of the sport, set and prepare the training environment, and know how to minimize risk.
Our coaches work hard to protect our environment, understand how the courses they set interact with the natural environment – hill slope, obstacles to avoid, predictable outcomes in the case of falls or equipment failure. They put in many hours of work installing nets from the top of our training hill to the bottom, in many cases doubling the layers of nets. An astute observer would have noticed that the initial net set-up occurred in one early morning and have been reset already three or four times as the snow has accumulated, melted, or frozen.
Our coaches have been riding in snow cats to make sure the surface is prepared exactly how we want it and directing the driver to push snow into thin areas. Teams of coaches have been out before and after dark with headlamps, injecting the snow with water to make a firmer surface; “buttoning up” nets; transporting and caching nets for efficient installation, and checking proper set-up of the protective measures.
This is all in an effort to provide the most effective and secure training for our kids. The quality of the SSCV training environment and the support of Vail Resorts are unparalleled anywhere in the US. I am not sure our kids know how good they have it! SSCV Alpine staff are grateful for the opportunity of training young kids in a quality environment, and don’t take lightly the responsibility of teaching kids to push limits while caring for their well being. I, for one, appreciate their dedication and hope to highlight their professionalism to you, the parent and athlete. When you have the chance, thank them for putting in the long hours and hard work!