Fun, teamwork and a big raffle win
The Crested Butte Ski Club was represented by its J5 athletes at the annual J5 Finale this past weekend at Sunlight Mountain, outside of Glenwood Springs.
The J5 Finale is one the biggest ski races of the season for the J5 level skiers, who range from ages eight to 10. The Finale saw more than 150 athletes from the entire state of Colorado as well as Arizona and New Mexico compete, in both the Giant Slalom and Slalom disciplines.
Racing for the Crested Butte Ski Club were Maddie Redden, Ansley Potoker, Tyler Koch, Ashton Mabry, Derek Shomler, and Summit Wallace.
The Crested Butte athletes had an action-packed weekend that began this past Friday. The Crested Butte Ski Club arrived at the freshly snow covered Sunlight Mountain Friday afternoon for light training. As much as we all love fresh and plentiful powder, it does make ski racing a bit difficult. Our athletes began their busy weekend by helping to clear more than eight inches of snow from a training course for a large portion of competing athletes.
Saturday kicked off the competition with two runs of the Giant Slalom on Sunlight’s Joslyn trail. The Joslyn trail is home to what Sunlight Mountain nicknamed the “toilet bowl,” a huge crater-like indentation located directly in the middle of the trail. The presence of the “toilet bowl” made for an interesting, challenging, and fun Giant Slalom event. The Crested Butte racers all made two successful runs on two different Giant Slalom courses with every racer finishing with no faults or DNF’s (Did Not Finish).
On Saturday night, our athletes were able to let loose at the J5 Finale banquet dinner, where food, drinks and laughs were shared by racers, coaches, and parents. Trivia questions were asked, raffle tickets were drawn, and many prizes were given. One of the prizes was a brand new pair of K2 twin tips taken home by one of Crested Butte’s own athletes!
Sunday brought the second day of competition and the technical Slalom event. Slalom racecourses can be very complicated for racers to figure out, especially J5 racers who are in their first couple of years of ski racing. Slalom courses hold many more gates than the GS courses, including delay gates, hair-pin turns, and flushes. In most Slalom races, there are two courses (one for men, and another for women) set right next to each other. This undoubtedly makes Slalom courses even more complex. Again, all of our Crested Butte athletes made two successful runs on two different Slalom courses, with no disqualifications or DNF’s. Although the J5 Finale did not result in any podium finishes for Crested Butte, it was without question a very successful weekend for our athletes.
These J5s are just beginning to learn the sport of ski racing. This is a sport that combines a teamwork attitude with an individual focus like no other sport does. Ski races are typically somewhat hectic events, with many athletes and coaches present, course inspection and start times (which more often than not change as the event progresses) to be remembered and adhered to, and a lot of equipment to handle.
All these factors combined with the actual art of skiing are a big load for kids that are eight, nine, and 10 years old.
Coaching these J5s throughout this winter, it has been great to see the progression and maturity of our athletes not just in their skiing ability, but also in the way they are learning to handle all the responsibilities that come along with the sport. This progression was clearly evident at the J5 Finale. Most important, it was clear that all of our athletes had a lot of fun.
Hats off to our J5 ski racers, and special thanks are in order for Sunlight Mountain for hosting a successful event, to all of the parents of our athletes for all their support, and to the entire Crested Butte Ski Club coaching and support staff for all their hard work though out the season.
Complete and detailed results of the J5 Finale can be found online at www.live-timing.com.