“Go that way, really fast. If something gets in your way, turn.” These immortal words were spoken by Charles De Mar in the classic movie, Better Off Dead, and sums up the basics of alpine ski racing.
Clare is an athletic kid, and I’ve been remiss in getting her an outlet for that during the pandemic. Now that that sad episode is now over (even though some don’t want to admit it), it’s time to get her in a sports program. It’s a gift to yourself if you have a sport that you’re really good at in life, especially if it’s something you can do until your well into retirement. If you have that, you can really appreciate spectating world class athletes’ skills, sample what the world has to offer in your sport, and most importantly, have more ambition to keep active and healthy. My parents were kind enough to sacrifice to give me that, and I don’t tell them that enough.
12 is a bit late to start the path of alpine ski racing, admittedly, but only if you really want to be a player in the sport — to have any realistic shot at being one of the Greats. But that’s OK. I had a conversation with the assistant race director on Saturday, after he had a chance to take a couple runs with Clare’s mountain development group at Crotched Mountain. He opened with that statement, but was very open to having Clare join the race team next season. She’ll have to work hard the first month or two to catch up with the other members of the team, but she has the natural athleticism to do it, he believed. Most importantly, though, is that she is young enough to get the necessary skills to become a generally great skier, which is one of the main points in racing when you’re a kid. You get great coaching (which I don’t think I can provide), and you just get a lot of snow time — probably 30-40 days a year. The sheer number of days makes a huge impact to your abilities when you’re that young and you’re getting that muscle memory dialed in.
I’m excited for her. I’m also going to have to figure out how to be able to commit to the time it’ll take for me to keep her on the path. But it’s worth it!