Monday, December 11, 2017

Home Sweet Home

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.

Comp Hill

SL Hill

SL Hill

SL Hill

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!

Friday, November 17, 2017

A new season is upon us!

Welcome to the 2017-18 season! With a new season, comes a revitalized blog! This is the first of our weekly blog posts to keep people up to date on happenings as our season progresses. This year, the blog will be connected to our Instagram account, mmscwomensprogram. When a blog is posted, there will be an Instagram post directing followers to the blog! That being said, here is what we have been up to...

MMWA opening weekend was November 4th and 5th, one of the earliest starts to date. Athletes and parents were put through the rigors of orientation weekend as well as the MMWA 25th Anniversary Celebration in our new athletic center. It is always an exciting time of year as many of the student-athletes, parents, teachers, and community members have a chance to say hi after spending months apart.

Before we get into the nitty gritty of the first two weeks, please welcome Elle (pronounced ELL-ee) Gilbert to the MMWA/MMSC staff! Elle comes to us from Middlebury College where she was a four year member of the ski team and qualified to compete at the NCAA Skiing Championships. This is no small feat as the field is comprised of the 34 fastest collegiate female skiers in the country. We are fortunate to have Elle join the staff and she is fired up to share her experience, knowledge, and love of skiing with all of our athletes. Not only will she be helping athletes on snow, but she will also be teaching a couple of classes and is a dorm parent at MMWA. Welcome, Elle!

Elle keeping it safe!

Returning to our staff this year are Mike Anglin and Pat Quiet. They will both continue their respective roles from the 2016-17 season; Mike working primarily with the U16 team and Pat with the U19 team.
With a short first week, the athletes had a variety of morning activities as they prepped for Colorado. Their week consisted of very important wally ball training, time in the new gym, hiking around Spruce Peak and getting a tour of the new MMSC Service Center. The group flew to Colorado on November 9th to begin their on-snow training. Here are a few shots from the first week at MMWA:

Once on snow, we were fortunate to have a week of bluebird days! We started with skills and drills on SL skis while battling the Copper opening weekend crowds as well as the Snow Patrol who were doing everything they could to help keep everyone safe. And slow. With skills, drills, and mileage taking us through the weekend, we then moved into the lane space for some extended paneled SL with GS focused movements. While the struggle was real at the beginning of each session, we saw all of the athletes making gains by the end. The attitudes have been incredibly positive even during times of struggle. All of the athletes have been instructed to keep one important word in mind to help maintain the positive attitude: PERSPECTIVE. We come out here to get early season mileage, work on our fundamental base, and spend time together as a team. Making daily gains is about keeping things in PERSPECTIVE and respecting the PROCESS. Not unlike something as simple as fetching a bowl of cereal. There is a step by step process and each step deserves respect. All of the athletes have been tasked with finding a coach in the morning to tell them two things: 1) Something they saw in video that they were doing really well, and 2) something they are going to work on during training on that particular day. We were lucky enough to run into our favorite Colorado skiing enthusiast, Ski Funk! He stopped on one of his laps to put on a dance party for the team. This guy is the best and is absolutely loved by everyone in the group. His love of skiing and funky music is contagious! Check out our Instagram account for some footage of our Ski Funk experience!

We are currently taking our first day off so we can be well rested to finish our camp strong. We have three more days on snow before heading back to Vermont on November 21st. It seems as though we will be returning to a winter wonderland as Stowe opened for the season TODAY! We will be able to commence training following the Thanksgiving break and it will be nice to get on home snow and train at our altitude!

That's all for now but please stay tuned as we are looking forward to keeping you informed throughout the season!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Remember that time I was going to post every week?

I'm back! I don't have an excuse for my lack of continued posting in CO. I will say though, the last few days of the trip were amazing. We seemed to get a bit of fresh snow each night and during the day! The training and free skiing conditions improved everyday, giving us plenty of mileage for the remainder of the trip. The girls did their best to keep track of their runs each day, give or take a run or two because sometimes they would miscount or forget to count or just use a number their friend used...BUT, we ended with the following numbers:

Days on Snow - 11
Total Runs - 1205
Approximate Vertical - 2,108,750 feet
Mileage - almost 400 miles!

Needless to say, we skied SO MUCH! The girls worked hard, improved their skiing AND their wallyball skills.

Since we have been home, it has not been quite as snowy. The Northeast seems to be in a troubling weather pattern as everyone is struggling for snow. We have been pretty lucky that Stowe Mountain Resort has been creative in setting us up with training space. We have bounced around a bit from Ridgeview, Lower Northslope, and have finally settled on T-Line. It has been netted and we will be able to get some productive training for the next couple of weeks. THANK YOU SMR and thank you to Igor for being so persistent in making sure we are taken care of on the mountain!

Here are a few shots from the last couple of weeks:

Copper GS

Finally home at Stowe!

Until next time!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Day 6 & 7 - Colorado Camp

Day 6 moved us into lane space for some apex GS on the upper lanes. When the girls are in a lane with brushes and being "told," where to turn for the first time, things can be difficult. The first few runs were no exception to that! The girls struggled to bring some of the skills they had been working on over the first few days into the lane. After the first couple of runs, we refocused and each athlete brought their individual focus to their runs. The progress we saw throughout the day was fantastic! Every girl made gains in their skiing and they have some stuff to think about as we move forward with our progression.

Day 7 brought us back into the lane space for more apex GS. Although fatigue was setting in as it was our 7th consecutive day on snow, the girls worked really hard and the level of skiing was completely different than the day before. The coaches were impressed with the way the pushed through the fatigue to have a successful day. We took the afternoon off and will roll that into a morning off to give them 24 hours of recovery without losing a day.

We will head out to do a bit of free skiing after lunch and then we have a 1:30pm lane for GS training.

Until next time!