Kraatz shines during early season
The 2007-2008 ski season started early for the Crested Butte Ski Club athletes. Racers traveled to Copper Mountain for their opening weekend to get a head start on skiing and the racing season.
With eight athletes and two coaches, the kids got lots of on-hill time and feedback on their skiing, not to mention time in the hot tub. Immediately following the Copper Mountain weekend, athletes started dryland training. This six-week, comprehensive program focused on strength, power, agility and flexibility.
Thank you to Madeline Curry, John Starr, Sandy Robinson and everyone at the Crested Butte Community School for all of your help. With the athletes in shape and the mountain now open, Mother Nature offered her own help by giving us lots of snow and some incredible skiing. Athletes and coaches loved the face shots and soft turns, but were becoming anxious to get into the gates.
Skylar Kraatz (J3) and Renee Geary (J2) were seeing their first race of the season just around the corner. On December 22 and 23, these two athletes traveled to Vail for the first race of the Smartwool National series. It was Kraatz’s first time “racing for points.” She and Renee can now compare themselves against any racer in the country via this points system.
The Vail weekend consisted of one giant slalom (GS) and one slalom race, each race consisting of two runs. The GS hill was demanding and not kind to many athletes. But Geary skied confidently and finished both runs to earn herself a good race result. With only limited time in the gates, both girls proved themselves in the slalom on Sunday and lowered their points.
Christmas Camp is always a busy time for our athletes. Eight days are spent before and after the holiday training, free skiing, reviewing video and engaging in “chalk talks” to better each athlete individually. This year was compounded by a cold snap that made it difficult for the skiers to stay warm and focused on the hill. But the athletes persevered, knowing that the Age Class GS race was the light at the end of the tunnel.
The Crested Butte Ski Club hosted a fun race that was attended by local athletes and team members from nearby ski clubs that came in early to prepare for Sunday’s GS race. This fun race was open to any and all ski racing fanatics, young and old, but with the clouds releasing inches of white stuff on our mountain, many locals chose to ski powder over running gates on Buckley.
Hope to see you at the Fun Race next year—you might want to start training now as we have some fast kids in the valley!
Sunday, January 6 did not provide much relief from snow accumulation, but thanks to Reed Schaub, his course crew and the CBMR groomers, the race ended up only 30 minutes behind schedule at the end of the day—incredible! The Age Class GS consists of two runs, each run being a race. Our new J5 racers, Summit Wallace, Aiden Truettner and Maddie Redden, were successful despite less than ideal weather that created big ruts and low visibility.
Patrick Curvin, Tyler Koch and Ansley Potoker raced themselves to their first top-10 finishes ever! Josie Byron, Skylar Kraatz and Nicky Romano walked home with top-10 ribbons as well. Congratulations to all of our local athletes!
As quickly as she could put her GS skis away and grab her speed skis, Kraatz was off to Keystone for a week of downhill and Super G in the Smartwool speed series. This was Kraatz’s first time running downhill and she is a natural. The series consisted of two DH training days and two DH race days, all on the same course. Skylar shaved seconds off of her time with every run, closing the gap between her and the leader. Saturday and Sunday were Super G races with the course being different each day. Despite hours of training, racing and traveling, Kraatz did not waiver in her determination or energy level and proved herself as a quality speed skier. Congratulations Kraatz on a great start to the season! Results from all three of these races can be viewed on www.live-timing.com.
All of our athletes’ successes would not be possible without support from our community. Fostering and developing ski racers takes a village—thanks to all of you who helped during the Age Class GS. Thank you to the Nordic Inn for providing lodging. A huge thanks goes to CBMR for training lanes, hill time, grooming and patrol.
We also would like to thank the Gunnison County Metropolitan Recreation District, the Community Foundation of the Gunnison Valley and the Towns of Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte.
If you would like to be a part of our racing community, please contact the Crested Butte Ski Club at (970) 349-2996 or check out our website at www.cbskiclub.org. Stay tuned throughout the season and follow the successes of our athletes.