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Saturday, January 26, 2013

This feels a Little bit more like Winter!

Welcome back to the U16 Blog!

It had been a little while since our last posting, it sure is amazing how quickly time can fly by in the ski-world! The past few weeks have been rather busy for the MMSC U16 crew as we have now competed in two Northern Vermont Council (NVC) races, and another USSA scored race while witnessing incredible conditions ranging from high heat with bouts of rain, to frostbite inducing sub-zero temperatures and rock solid snow. One could say that we have just about seen it all, but knowing just how unpredictable the weather tends to be in our region, one can say that only time will tell what is next for us. But as I have said before, every single day that we spend on skis offers its own unique learning experience to our athletes, some just may be a little harder to recognize.

On the evening of January 12th, The Schoepke family graciously hosted our first team social filled with great food, good laughs, and some very competitive video game duels. Thanks very much to Phil and Deb Schoepke for having us!

On January 13th, The crew traveled to Cochran's ski area to compete in our NVC season opener that featured a three run format for every competitor. The start list was set in reverse order for the second run before returning to its original format again for the third run. Due to the warm temperatures and recent moisture, the surface tended to get a little beaten up by the time those athletes running in the back of the pack were able to take their turn navigating the course. Our crew showed some very strong results as well as some potential areas that could use a little more work as we head into our next SL training block.

Excellent looking weather right after the MMSC crew finished fencing Main Street
This past Monday, 1/21, we had our second NVC competition at Burke Mountain. Our crew raced in a standard two run format GS in some radically different conditions for those we experienced at Cochran's. I do not believe that the temperature on Monday rose above zero degrees Fahrenheit for the duration of the day. Many chose to take on the new challenges presented by the cold in their own ways and maintain their focus for the race. I overheard an athlete at the start say that it was pretty difficult to psych oneself up for a high speed run when they cannot even feel their toes. I am sure many can relate to that situation. The first run showed great results by our athletes founded in solid fundamental skiing and tactics, the second run however proved to be a little more challenging. The unique terrain of Burke, when used to its full potential, can be very tough to navigate cleanly. But at the end of the day, athletes took the good with the frustrating, and walked away from the race having learned their own individual lesson.

On the Following Tuesday, 1/22, some of our athletes competed again at Burke in a scored USSA open event that has come to be know as the "Burke 100". This race also featured a typical 2 run format, but at the end of the day offered athletes the opportunity to improve upon their USSA point profile. In a nutshell, over time athletes will develop their point profile which essentially represents the historical success of each competitor. Each scored race that a competitor participates in offers them the ability to improve their points, thus qualifying them for the upper-level races down the road. Because most of our athletes are just beginning to shape their profile, our main goal as we enter the course is to get to the finish line as quickly and cleanly as possible- finishing the course is absolutely essential as we can only compete in so many scored events.

Trent displaying his new head-warming product
Wednesday featured a trip to the Green Mountain Freestyle Center in Williston, VT. This facility is often used by the MMSC Snowboarding program and offers a variety of challenges from trampolines to a foam pit. While the main goal is to have fun in the GMFC, we were also working on some very important aspects of ski racing such as balance, risk taking, and training in how to fall correctly. This was a great trip and a good time was had by all.

Looking into the near future, our crew will be taking full advantage of the incredible snow conditions currently covering Stowe and training a bit of GS before moving into Super-G. Everybody is fired up to go fast on the big boards. That will begin on Tuesday.

Our Next race will be on 2/3 on our home trail! We are hosting the NVC U16 GS right on Main Street! Time for a Home Field Advantage!

Until Next Time!

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