It’s Fire (up) Season

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

It’s cold! Time to fire up the snowguns, and this blog. We’ll start in easy here, by just rounding up and linking to some articles from last summer/fall that were fun to write.

I’m still beating the drum of What’s Good For a Girl, the book I wish every female athlete and every coach of girls and women would put at the top of their to-do lists. In this article, I touch on why What’s Good For a Girl is Good For Women’s Sports. At some point I am going to dive deeper into some of the many issues that resonated with me. Until then I hope you give it a read or a listen.

The article “Degrees of Success” in Skiing History Magazine was my shameless excuse to talk to many of the 17—yes 17!!!—college graduates and former NCAA skiers currently on the World Cup. Some developed through NCAA skiing to get to the World Cup, some juggled both circuits simultaneously and some are starting their World Cup journeys fresh out of college. All are impressive and suffice to say, it’s not your mama’s/papa’s NCAA tour anymore!

Piggybacking off that theme, I spoke with the current World SL Queen Laurence St-Germain, who decided one college degree wasn’t enough and is going back for another in biomedical engineering. Smart cookie that one! And speaking of smart, her teammate Amelia Smart is getting her Master’s in Water Management while on tour. I’m super psyched to watch the Canadian tech women racing on their home turf this winter.

The last article I’ll call out is about the return of NCAA skiing at the University of Nevada. The Wolfpack hired Cam Smith as a coach and he’s got big plans—plus a boatload of community support—to bring top shelf college skiing back to the Tahoe area. At the end of October I went out to the Nevada Ski Ball to speak about the role of college skiing in the ski racing ecosystem. It was fun to reconnect to so many ski racing greats from the Tahoe area, and see the crazy amount of support for the program from the very top of the university.

On a related note, I was recently in very good company as a guest on Jimmy Krupka’s podcast, Arc City. Along with Peter Dodge and Aldo Radamus we talked about the state of college racing, and how it can be best leveraged for development of American racers. It’s a big conversation but we slayed what we could on an hour. I’ll share the link here when it goes live, but in a nutshell…college racing isn’t the only path for development but it sure as heck is a viable (and fun) one.

As I see it, unless we want to depend on the child prodigy/billionaire model of talent development, high level college skiing is also the only realistic way to keep enough kids ski racing long enough to know our country’s potential. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

(And PS, in an excerpt taken from his interview on SmartLess, John McEnroe’s seems to agree! “I think college is an experience that not only do you get to play as a team potentially if you’re in a sport, but you get to grow up a little bit and also have some fun before you work your way into a profession, and you’ll be more prepared to handle it. So I completely disagree with what they do most often.”)

Finally, I’ll touch on a familiar theme, as a gentle reminder before the stress of the season ramps up in earnest. Ski racing is a ridiculous sport. A mind-boggling number of factors (some within your control but as many completely outside of it) need to come together to have even a modest amount of success. The odds of winning are minuscule. The odds of having an OK day are slightly better. The odds of even finishing a run are not that excellent. Harsh reality? Maybe. But it helps explain why it takes so darned long to master this sport, and why you might want to embrace the Long Road concept.

If we all went into this and every season truly knowing the reality of how long it takes to develop to full potential, maybe we could lift the pressure off the legions of kids striving to be the best teenage stars on the planet. Maybe we’d be able to chill out, work/cheer our hearts out and enjoy the ride.

That’s it for now. Let’s hope the snow keeps flying and we’re all out there soon!

5 thoughts on “It’s Fire (up) Season”

  1. I love all your writing.
    The College racing has been important to me, since my children Chad and Jenni left US development and C team (not by personal choice , and accepted Scholarships CU Boulder. It was a blessing, sincevtheir fathers death a year earlier would have made almost impossible for College without skiing. We had invested literally our everything into their development, supporting their dreams.
    Jenni coached for a few years, then went into nursing. She is charge nurse at the local Gunderson La Crosse hospital.
    Chad has coached all through the years and went back to CU when Ritchie retired. He has an incredible wealth of experience and expertise,
    Having coached juniors and seniors alike, among River Radamus up to his World Junior success.,
    Thanks for writing abd for your healthy experienced articles.

    • Thank you for reading and weighing in Rosvita! I am so glad Chad and Jenni had good experiences at CU and that Chad continues the great skiing tradition there. What an awesome program to be part of! It seems like it is in very good hands and I look forward to watching the Buffs and all the college racers this year.

Comments are closed.