Alpine Ski Racing

A joke in my family is my claim that I’m a jock. I get laughs, and it all depends on how you define “jock”, right? In my defense, I was an alpine ski racer when I was growing up. I wasn’t great, by any definition, usually coming in the middle of the pack, sometimes peaking in the top 10, but rarely. But I had fun, and because of all that time on the snow at Cooper Spur and Mt. Hood Meadows growing up, I’m a pretty decent skier. It’s a gift my Dad gave me, doing a lot of driving, both up to the mountain and to races. Skiing, unlike some sports kids compete in, is something you can do and do pretty well into your retirement. My Uncle Rees skied well into his 80’s. You get slower and more cautious, but you’re doing it, and looking and feeling good.

This is something I wanted to pass along to my kids, but due to how far a drive it was to the mountain and my own issues, they just didn’t have as much time on snow as they needed when they were younger. But now, Clare has caught the bug. The fact that she was someone like Mikaela Shiffrin to look up to (congrats for your overall World Cup title!) makes it even better.

This year she took part of what they call a mountain development program in New Hampshire. It’s every weekend, on snow, going through some pretty intensive instruction in a group. The stated reason is to get these kids ready to join a race program. So down to Crotched Mountain we went over the winter, and last week was her first giant slalom race — what they call the Really Big Race. It was all the kids in the program, from 5 year olds all the way up to early teens. She did well, placing in the top 25% (but with the caveat that it’s all age grounds, very unlike a real race). I had talked to the assistant race director a few weeks ago, and he took a couple runs with her group, and we chatted. She’ll have a hard first month catching up to the U14’s (12 and 13 year olds) that have been doing this for longer, but he thought that she could do it. I was straight up with Clare, and she’s not only game, but enthusiastically so. Exciting!

So, expect a lot of ski posts come this winter!

Red course ready!
Follow the snow dye, kiddos
A bit out of breath

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