U12 kids throw down over two weekends of racing
by Woody Lindenmeyr
The last two weekends I had the pleasure of coaching most of our U12s in some of our final ski races of the 2017 season. We went to ski Cooper March 9-10 for the first ever Rocky Mt. & Central Division Super G training and race. Attending this event were Julian Arthur, Gavin Jobson, Mason Renick and Aksel Lindenmeyr.
The track was relatively flat, but was long and had one step-down jump built into it. While the course was not particularly technical it had some challenge for the athletes to stay low and extend the edging pressure in order to be fast. Our crew has trained Super G at our Prater Cup camp the last few years and had a bit of experience going into Cooper. The training runs went very well for our crew and we were anxious to get on the clock and see some times.
The last training run on Saturday morning was timed before the actual race run later that afternoon. The boys did not disappoint and in fact were quite surprising, with Mason winning the training run and all of them finishing in the top 55 of the guys’ field.
We were ready to race and they lit the track up that afternoon with Mason grabbing his first podium in third, Aksel taking sixth, Julian seventh and Gavin bumping up to 11th. Big thanks to ski Cooper for hosting a great speed event at this age group.
The team then headed to the U12 Champs at Powderhorn this last weekend, March 18-19. Again, I had the sole pleasure of accompanying five boys and one girl to this heavily attended event. With Avi Narayana, Gavin Jobson, Julian Arthur, Aksel Lindenmeyr, Mason Renick and Alex Weinberg making up part of the more than 200 athletes in attendance from Colorado, southern Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona and Minnesota.
We began with two runs of GS on Saturday, with each run being a separate race. The weather was reaching the 60s daily for several days and then firming up at night. This resulted in a very hard, fast surface on a fairly steep (at the top), long GS course with plenty of challenge, providing some 20 DNFs for the guys alone on the first run. However, none of those were from CBMST. The athletes really showed off the hard work they have put in this season and all executed our plan precisely by staying stacked, standing on the outside ski, with nice pressure above the gate.
With solid runs in the bank it was time to step it up in the afternoon heat on a heavily salted course. The salty surface proved troublesome for many, including Julian and Mason and 13 other athletes but also presented some opportunity and Aksel took full advantage skiing into two top ten runs (sixth and eighth) for the day, with Julian and Gavin punching into the top 20 for a run each and Mason with a top 30. Avi beat well over half of the 113 guys. Alex had very solid runs on the uncomfortable conditions and was very consistent and solid with two mid-pack runs.
On Sunday it was time to go disco sticking, as the slalom is affectionately called due to the quick, dancing rhythms of the discipline. The start was moved down the GS trail, but the surface was locked up and firm (like a dance floor) so the boys were to have at it first. The firmness of the deck and a tricky set claimed its toll for Avi and 22 other DNFs the first run alone. The other boys all laid down great runs with Aksel grabbing sixth, Julian 13th, Gavin 19th and Mason tracking down 28th. Alex had two solid runs and moved herself up 10 spots from her GS results the day before.
Under sunny skies and insane heat it was down to the final run of SL for the boys and they responded to the situation by taking off the governors and going for it 100 percent. They were rewarded for their courage with Avi skiing into 40th, Mason 28th, Gavin 17th, Julian sixth and Aksel stomping into second.
It was truly a coaching highlight event for myself. In 15 years of coaching I’m not sure that I have had such a great weekend. Between the exemplary behavior of our CBMST athletes and the performances they had, their wonderful families supporting everyone, the beautiful weather, the many coach friends and race organizers, the coffee delivered to all coaches at the start, daily, or the alp horn and yodeling entertainment (also at the start) that made this a stand-out weekend in my well-versed career. Thank you everyone! I love what I do and this is why!