Friday, June 29, 2012

Bachelor In The Books

June pow day #2 at Mt. Bachelor
Mt. Bachelor June Camp – in the books! 12 days of skiing and everyone had a blast! In the beginning, our sarcastic motto was, “day 1 in 10 years” because Bachelor hasn’t opened for summer training camps in 10 years. Lets just say things got off to a slow start…
The motel where we stayed also hadn’t been open to full capacity in 6 years. It took a couple days to grease the wheels and get everything and everyone rolling at the same pace, including myself.
This camp was the beginning of my new job description working with the younger kids, 12-13 year olds (J4’s, or now as they call them in USSA, U14s). I spent last season working with the 13-14 year old (J3/U16) boys and had a blast. Initially when I went searching for a new coaching job in the west, I wanted to work with the J4s. When I landed the job with Ski Club Vail, they put me with the J3 boys. I was super nervous at first and went through a phase of doubting my ability to coach this group to the best of my ability. After the first month or so though, I got into it and felt more comfortable helping these kids on the brink of stepping up their game in the coming years to ski faster.  It turned out to be one of the funnest seasons of my coaching career, working with great kids who are so dedicated to the sport, and a crew of coaches, the “Z Team”, whom I learned so much from and had an absolute blast working so hard together every single day.
Z Team hard at work

Starting with a new group of kids and new coaches was slightly intimidating to me. It wasn’t the familiar crew that I had spent the previous season bonding with. What made my experience last year especially great was working with a female peer coaching the same group of kids. Having another girl to work with was incredibly empowering and comforting to relate to on another level. Don’t get me wrong; I can hang with the boys. I’ve spent my entire ski racing and coaching life hanging with the boys. But having another girl who’s also spent her life with the boys made it that much easier.
There will be a more gender diverse group of coaches for the coming winter, but at Bachelor, it was just me. So coming into a new group without my support system from last season took some time to adjust. After a few days of “adjusting”, it turned out to be more fun than I had ever imagined. The 12-13 age group is incredibly special because they are starting to become athletes with muscles, but are still mostly innocent and cute. They only grow into their egos, bodies and bad habits as they age…
Coming off the first ever SSCV Bachelor camp, I am beyond psyched to work with the U14s next season. We worked hard at camp and made big improvements to the kids skiing and my coaching. I feel more comfortable as a coach and more confident with my eye for U14s and beyond. 

Z Team out numbers the A Team by 3! (in trouble for no safety bar or helmets in this shot!)

new U14 "Dream Team"

Saturday, June 23, 2012

June POW

My stint of unemployment following a long, hard ski season at Ski Club Vail, came to an end when I resumed working for the Club at their first annual Mt. Bachelor summer ski camp. Its something special as it's exclusively for SSCV athletes (alpine, freeride, freestyle, nordic, snowboard), whereas many other summer ski camps are a mixed bag of athletes from all over that come to train with a private camp. 

June 23, 2012, Day 8 of Ski Club Vail’s Bachelor Camp was absolutely unreal. We drove up to the mountain through about 4 or more inches of fresh wet snow. 

It was dumping up there. 

Initially we weren’t that psyched about skiing because it looked so crappy outside. Once we got out there to test the waters, it turned out to be incredible! We planned to mostly free-ski and do drills for our first day of GS training after a full week of slalom. With about 5-6 inches of fresh that had fallen since 5 am, drills went out the window and enjoying the white gift was on the ticket for the day. 

Seriously, who skis powder in June? We do! We hit just about every trail and even the bits that seemed un-skiable earlier in the week due to rotten, sun-baked snow coverage. Then we hiked up the dome on the front side of the mountain and made more fresh tracks. 
One of my U14 athletes dropping in!

The kids have been working so hard all week and have been skiing so well that today was a great treat to free ski, hoot and holler, and simply enjoy the mountain for the day.  I am ecstatic to have started the second week of camp with such an incredibly high note. Hopefully the next 5 days will be just as fun!