As I woosh down the trail across the early season snow chasing my kids, I am suddenly struck by the fact that skiing with them is all of a sudden easy. I am no longer picking up floppy bodies off the limited scope of the bunny hill while I watch the pristine corduroy of higher elevations from a distance. I’m not worried that my little guy might not make it down the interminably long distance of a run from the top of the mountain. There’s no threat that if we don’t finish this run up soon we might not make it back to the house in time for a scheduled nap.
But hitting the slopes is not all routine this year. The Bretton Woods Race Team is our new adventure for the season. Bridget has looked up to those red-jacketed bombers for a while now, and she’s now old enough to join their ranks.
As with any change, I’ve met this one with a mixture of anticipation and reluctance. With the joy of exploring the mountain on skis at a more comfortable level now, I’m not totally sure I want to give up that time with my kids. Chatting on the chairlift about which side of Bode’s Run has the best powder or scheming over hot chocolate at Stickney’s Cabin, planning which tree runs to conquer next, is the best part of these days. I know I won’t witness every moment once I hand them over to their coaches.
But my little birds are learning to fly. After a weekend of skiing with their new groups, even little six-year-old Timmy is carrying his own skis to the base of the lift. Eight-year-old Bridget is asking if she can take runs with her new friends on her lunch break.
And they’re learning how to be better skiers. Although the ultimate goal is become a strong racer, at their ages, right now their coaches are focusing on the fundamentals of good form, skiing with confidence, and most of all, having fun out there with other kids.
Like figuring out how to first get back on the slopes as new parents, the ski racing world is going to be as much of a learning experience for me as a parent as it is for the kids. Although I’ve been a skier since junior high school, I was never a ski racer. I’ve watched pro athletes like Bode Miller and Lindsey Vonn take on the Olympics and World Cup, but my understanding of grass roots ski racing is pretty limited. Suddenly there’s age categories and different race categories and USSA memberships.
Luckily, we’ve got some great new coaches at Bretton Woods, and I know I’ll be relying on them to help us navigate this new world. I’ll have some posts on some of the fabulous new staff soon, but for now I can tell you that our head coaches have already made being a Ski Racer Mom a great experience. Gus Demaggio and Miki Fera are a husband and wife team who are not only experienced race coaches, but also parents as well. Miki has been coaching young athletes since 1998. A native of Romania, she has competed in three Olympic Games, three University Games and three World Championships. Gus developed and directed an international private race academy, Team Excel Ski Academy, which placed many athletes on national teams. He has also worked as a Head Coach and Ski Team Director. I’m so excited to have my kids work with them.
Any Ski Racer Moms or Dads have advice for this family?