January News

The Winter of ’14 finally took a short breather with some moisture last weekend, but snapped right back to winter weather with another shot of fresh powder this week. We are closing in on 100 inches of natural snow for the winter – and it’s only the middle of January. Perhaps a re-run of last year, with great skiing into April? It’s something to think about as you plan your March and April activities – the kids who took advantage last year are reaping the results now…

Progress

Speaking of results, congrats to JT and Mia for very solid performances at the FIS races at Mt. Ripley last weekend. And while we are acknowledging progress, it’s appropriate that we mention some of the athletes who have shown some remarkable progress in the past couple weeks in training and races: Lauren Kitada, Braden Cleary, and Lily Doolin. They (and quite a few others, including Devin Hope and Brennan Quigley) have thrown down some runs which caused us to have trouble identifying them from a distance. When you make technical improvements which make you hard to recognize, that shows the willingness to let go of old habits. As we said in last week’s broadcast, this is one of the keys to jumping to a whole new level in the sport. Keep it up!

Watching to Understand

If you haven’t already done so, please take time to watch the women’s World Cup slalom which was in Flachau, Austria this week (you can find the archive on Dishworld / Universal Sports). There are some lessons to be learned – among them, the advantages of maintaining a quiet upper body. Ms. Shiffrin is certainly in a groove right now – that first run was a thing of beauty. Note how, in the second run, even when she made mistakes, her quiet and balanced body position allowed her to quickly make the necessary recoveries. Good commentary from Steve Porino and Doug Lewis, too – although we are waiting patiently for Doug to start calling the ‘downhill ski’ what it really is: the ‘outside ski’ !!

Michigan Challenge

If you will not be racing in either the Mid-Am race at Spirit Mountain, or the U14 race at Brighton on February 1 – 2, plan on racing in our own Michigan Challenge. This year, the annual Everett Kircher Cup Slalom on Hemlock reaches it’s milestone tenth running. Please invite your friends from near and far, but then come ready to roll and help us keep this one in the family.

Speed Camp

Planning for our annual speed camp is underway, and this should be our best opportunity yet to get some wind in our faces, develop your comfort level with speed and air, and test out your long boards (GS skis are acceptable – no SL skis, please). It’s coming up on February 15 & 16 – one week before U14 & U16 qualifiers at Marquette – don’t miss it! Details to follow.

Sprongo

There are still a handful of you whom have not activated your Sprongo accounts – which means that we are unable to tag your videos, and that you are not able to view them. No need to remind you here of the importance of video as a tool to help you improve your skiing, right? Please email me if you have questions about how to do this.

Avoiding Injury

Finally, we are all wishing Matt Good and Sammy Swiss quick recoveries from their injuries. In both cases, these mishaps were a bit tough to take because both had been skiing very well and progressing quickly. They both can take encouragement from Mitch Makela’s recovery and quick return to good form. Considering how many athletes we have, and how much training we do, we still seem to be quite lucky when it comes to avoiding injury (only Sammy’s injury was incurred during training or racing). But it never hurts to occasionally remind ourselves of the habits and procedures which contribute to our ‘luck’. Please review our thoughts on avoiding injury – attached.

See you this weekend!

Cary

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