There may not be snow, but for the athletes of the Telluride Ski & Snowboard Club (TSSC), the work leading to a successful season is well advanced.
Indoor and outdoor dry-field training for all TSSC athletes was launched in late October with 40-50 children training and training with weights on staggered schedules at TSSC headquarters at the bottom of Lift Seven. Between 425 and 450 athletes in Grades 1 to 12 are registered in all disciplines this year, including Nordic skiing and ice skating. About 50 of these skiers attended freestyle, park and downhill ski training camps this summer in Mt. Hood and Park City.
COVID rules remain in place for competitions this season, including restrictions against athletes traveling with coaches. Instead, athletes should travel with their parents and / or via pod-oriented carpools. While there are currently no mask restrictions in place for ski lift lines or chair lifts, there will, again, be small fields for competitions and one-day events, likely in the middle of the week, which can cause problems at school.
“Because we are not officially a school sport, we are trying to get some kind of recognition from the TSSC as a club sport in schools so that teachers and administration know that these kids are not just” skiing “”, explained CSTS Executive Director Justin Chandler. âIt’s not like these athletes are just skipping school. It really is hard work.
Since the first TSSC competitions are now starting, skiers and snowboarders must go out on the snow to train.
âWhich we usually do to train for the early season competitions anyway,â said Chandler. âWe will buy space at dedicated training sites like Loveland or Copper Mountain, which involves a lot of logistical planning, as many teams are doing the same. “
Chandler reports a strength on the All Mountain (grades 4-6) and Big Mountain (grades 7-12) freestyle teams, which see, by far, the largest participation of all TSSC disciplines.
Big Mountain Director and Head Coach Ryan Van Nuys says this is the first year he has had a team of athletes who have grown up skiing âwithin the structureâ.
âSeniors Ely Blakney, Lily Young and Chloe Herir are set for great years,â he added. “And Tia Schenk appears to continue to deliver impressive results in her first year in the senior competition category.”
Van Nuys is particularly looking forward to hosting the national home event in Telluride at the end of February.
Last season, six TSSC alpine skiers, each with a podium in a championship event, were named to the Rocky Mountain All-Star Team. Among Chandler’s new signings this season is Alpine U16 / U19 head coach Thierry Colas, a career elite alpine coach from France who has led teams from Europe to Canada to Park City.
âThierry has extremely high expectations for work and attendance, and the kids love it,â Chandler noted.
In an effort to align his athlete’s goals with the possibility of success, Colas has been leading vigorous dry-field training and fitness over the past month where U-16 alpine racer Booker O’Dell has caught his eye.
âI like his work ethic, his motivation and his commitment,â said Colas.
For the past five years, Colas has led his own traveling team across Europe, but the pandemic and its prohibitive restrictions have prompted him to land this new coaching position within the TSSC. With an “out of the box” coaching style and extensive international coaching experience, Colas says the key to her effective coaching style is “her eyes”.
âI have an amazing ability to analyze technique and explore the freedom of the body,â he explained. âMy goal is to relieve all the pressure on race day. The world champions have a routine, so I want my skiers to have a routine of timing, video analysis, with the coach on the sidelines, in order to be ready for race day.
Freestyle Director and Head Coach Jeff Yingling believes that a strong âcommunity and cultureâ sets TSSC apart as an organization.
âMy main goal as a coach is to create a positive learning environment on skis where athletes build their confidence and self-confidence, which is useful in other aspects of their lives,â a he explained.
In addition to hosting freeskiing and mogul competitions again this season, Yingling hopes to create a series of Southwest Freestyle events.
âHead Freeski Coach Nikki Jones and I are also working on an ‘Alta-bird’ trip in March that will focus on team building and recharging ‘stoke’ as the athletes make their way to their homes. championship events in late March and early April, âhe added.
He says local freestyle skiers Katie Dreitlein, Cole Paczosa and Freddie Mickel competed well last year, trained hard over the summer and are heading for a successful season. Mogul skiers Natalie Sharpe, Tula Emrick and Maddy Messier also demonstrated solid dry-field training while free skiers Taylor Carter, Sam Herman and Caleb Ward have a good chance of qualifying for the US Revolution tour events. next season.
Lack of snow, which led Telluride Ski Resort to push the start of the ski season to this Friday, has forced the TSSC to cancel its biggest annual fundraising event – Donation Day – generally, the unofficial opening of the mountain on November 24.
âNothing we do would be possible without Telski’s kind and generous support,â Chandler said.
For more information or to donate to TSSC, visit TSSC.org.