A few comments this past weekend from friends in the coaching ranks along those lines got me to thinking about our long game.
In between balance testing gusts at Sunday’s U12 GS race at Sugarbush/GMVS, the TD Mike Brown and I continued our conversation about what is healthy competition for the U12 age. The conversation came about because we were pushing the limits of what might be considered an inhospitable environment for human life not to mention that the course was longgggg for those little legs. It was important to keep in mind that it was all for a race that was for fun; a validation of hard work and in some cases, luck.
As kids legs were burning and the wind was doing it’s best to slow them to a crawl (it almost did for some), we discussed why this was the age to be silly, to play and learn some skills along the way. Why MRG was a great place for this age. Mike’s theory was that in a sport that is intensely subscribed to (all in, 24/7), that the athlete almost regardless of age, has between 7 and 12 years of prime competition before they burn out. This is the case for those that experience some success over their tenure or those that experience great success early in their career only. But those that are most successful, balance their intensity with other sports in their youth, experience moderate success along way- or they migrate from another complementary sport after they tap out there. Interesting that this month’s VARA commentary was about “Endurance”.
Point being, this is a great place to start as we fit the mold of fun and silliness. And this past weekend we did achieve a good balance for most of our groups. We mixed formal training (drills or training courses) with plenty of freeskiing on the main mountain because- it was good. It is good to remind ourselves that we are skiers first and ski racers second. And that training can wait if their are ropes dropping and faceshots to be had. There is that saying that Igor for MMSC reminded us: one day of powder equals ten days in the gates. That might be extreme, but we get the point.
As we role into the Olympics, we have our own alumi to celebrate. Racing for Rice and Harwood, alumni Noah Williams, Sarah Boland, Lindsay Jernigan, Alanya Morelli and Avery Paquin all found the front page (some victories, podiums and top 15 in fact!) at the Essex Carnival this past weekend. Clearly, the long came is working for them. We look forward to welcoming many of them back to MRG this coming Friday for the Harwood/U32 Duals (think Stowe Duals but for bigger kids). But if the weather holds, it will be tough for them to shy away from laps on the single for laps in the course. Who could blame them when skiing is this good?