The Copper Camp wrapped up with continued great training. It was one of the best years to date as far as conditions and we took full advantage of that with high volume days. We are lucky to have the opportunity to be out there for an extended period of time. Thanks to everyone who helps make that happen, including the teachers who run study hall. It may not be the athletes favorite part of the trip, but coming back still on point with studies is very important as we roll into the competition season.
We returned to snow on the 28th following Thanksgiving break. It is always nice to return home and get some laps at Stowe. With the mountain under new ownership, there have been a few noticeable changes already to what we have been used to - all for the better! Ski Patrol appears to be under the directive to have more of a presence out there as they have been posted up in the slow zone areas, giving the "slow down" wave to any and all passing by them. While it is a bit of an annoyance to shut it down even when WE are in control, it is kind of nice to have them out there keeping things safe for everyone! There seems to be an entirely new race crew running Comp Hill. New hill boss Josh seems to be like a great guy and has ben nothing but helpful to us thus far. It has been pretty entertaining to watch him put his new staff through training, which ranged from carrying bundles of gates, setting up the finish fence, double netting skiers right of Comp Hill, and then breaking it all down just to do it again! We even saw Igor sneaking over there...likely to make sure they were being trained properly.
The mountain has been great to us thus far, letting us use Comp Hill and SL Hill as a base for training. Both trails are closed when we are on them which is fantastic. It allows us to use all of the available terrain without having to deal with the general public. However, it doesn't completely deter rogue MMSC parents from getting lost and finding their way onto SL Hill! Nonetheless, it has been a solid start to our training at home and there are rumblings of the Main Street snow guns getting fired up on Wednesday! Keep your fingers crossed.
Being home has also given us the opportunity to utilize our new Mount Mansfield Athletic Center! This place is awesome. We currently have dryland scheduled Wednesday and Friday afternoon for the ladies and athletes are also allowed to sign up for addition time between 3:00PM and 5:00PM as long as they have free periods. There will be a member of the coaching staff in the gym during that time to keep the athletes on task and being productive. The facility has already proven to be a great asset and we look forward to learning more about how to better utilize it throughout the day.
The competition season is upon us as all of the athletes have had their first (some their second) starts of the season! After the long off season of dryland and on-snow camps, followed by the early season prep camp in Colorado, the ladies had the opportunity to get in the start gate. Majority of the ladies got their first start at Sugarbush in a VT Open SL. With beautiful weather and good conditions, we couldn't ask for a better start to the season racing on the T-Bar at Sugarbush! All of the girls put together some solid skiing for their first race, with many of them racing for the first time as a U16 which is always is big jump to make! Congrats to Mackenzie Arnott who skied her way onto the U16 podium, finishing 2nd.
The first FIS races in the East took place over the weekend and we had five of our U19 athletes compete. The races were packed with college girls so it gave our ladies a good opportunity to see what is out there at the college level. There was some great skiing in the field. It has been a long time since I saw 125 girls in a FIS race and the field was very strong. The top seed was all under 49 points which shows some impressive depth. We had some solid results and all of the girls came home knowing they have better skiing ahead of them. Congrats to former MMSC/MMWA athlete Sandra Schoepke who started 16th and finished 3rd in the first SL! It is a long season and we are just getting started! They were fortunate enough to meet the TD at the race, who happened to be my college coach! Naturally, she told them what an angel I was and how I am still her most favorite athlete ever...or something like that...
Coming up, we have a VT Cup SL at Stowe on 12/17! We are looking forward to having a race at home not just because we get to sleep in our own beds, but because we run THE BEST races! If you are around that day, slide over to SL Hill and watch the ladies ripping up the VT Cup circuit!