While some of us may still be lamenting the end of summer, for many here in Terrace the advent of fall means one glorious thing – ski season is almost here.
And over at the Shames Mountain Ski and Snowboard Club there’s no shortage of preparations taking place to get the team ready for the winter season and get the club’s young athletes geared up.
The club, which has been around since 1991, has three programs – the Mini Rippers, formerly known as “Nancy Greene” or “Husky Snowstars”, a half-day program for skiers ages five to seven and snowboarders ages seven to 10; the Shames Mountain Riders, a one-day program for skiers and snowboarders ages nine to 16; and the Northwest Freeriders, a two-day competitive program for riders 10 to 18. The club is for kids who already have basic ski skills down – the mountain offers learn-to-ski programs over the winter break to get kids up to speed – and kids usually work their way through the program for seven to 10 years.
“They’re going to have a busy year,” said the club’s Angie Healey of the upcoming season, noting a trip to the BC Winter Games in Mission and a handful of local events here at Shames, in Smithers, and in Kitimat.
“We’re helping out with the Kitimat rail jam this year, which has been a pretty successful event.”
As for the programs themselves, coaches don’t focus on one specific thing, said coach Chance Healey.
“Most of our time is actually spent skiing, very seldomly do we stop and do specific drills … We do a big push on ski anything, at any time,” he said. “With coaching, what you’re trying to do is watch the kids ski as much as possible and catch bad habits before they become actual habits.”
Those include inappropriate body positions, favouring one leg over the other, and movements that are going to make them weaker skiers in the long run. These vary athlete to athlete and require different methods of teaching.
“Instead of saying this is the only way, we try finding multiple paths,” he said. “A good coach can cater to 40 different kinds of skiers and everyone at the end will still be a stronger skier … With coaching, you can take an average Joe and they will end up the next world champion.”
The club also focuses on dryland training using trampolines, pairing with the Terrace Peaks Gymnastics Club to offer weekly drop-in sessions every Wednesday – which anyone can attend, not just members of the club.
The club will be at various locations around town until registration closes on Dec. 7 to answer questions and sign athletes up. They’ll be at Ruins this Saturday afternoon, and the Ski Swap Nov. 8 and 9. See the group’s Facebook page for more dates and locations.
And there will be a movie fundraiser Nov. 15 at the REM Lee Theatre, showing “McConkey” – a documentary about the life of ski base jumper Shane McConkey.