Summit Ski Team building a legacy
January 11, 2013
When most people think of ski teams in Park City, they think of the Park City Ski Team, a program that has produced elite talent, including Olympians Ted Ligety and Steven Nyman.
What they might not be aware of, however, is that there is another ski team producing competitive alpine athletes in Park City.
The Summit Ski Team, founded in 2001, has steadily grown and now features about 100 racers in several competitive divisions, from the under-8 division up to the under-18 group. Summit calls Canyons its official home course, but practices on most of the slopes in the area.
On days when the team is practicing, the racers’ bright green jackets can be seen in clusters up and down the slope, gathered around coaches to receive instruction, or careening around gates trying to improve their speed.
The team strives to be family-oriented, with parents making up some of the coaching staff and comprising a majority of the seats on the board of directors.
"It’s a family thing a lot of times," Zach Brown, 16, said. "That makes it fun."
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In fact, Brown’s father, Matt Brown, is the director and head coach of the team.
The Summit Ski Team also emphasizes having fun and producing well-rounded athletes. Most skiers practice only four days a week, leaving time to pursue other interests.
Zach Brown said he enjoys participating in other outdoor activities like mountain biking when he’s not on the slopes. He added that several of his teammates pursue interests in other sports like lacrosse and football.
When the team is out on the course, racers are divided into three groups based on age and skill level. They receive coaching that fits their level of competition.
The first group is the intro division, which features racers just starting their ski racing careers. This group is comprised mostly of athletes ages six to 10.
Next is the competition development group, made up of athletes mostly from ages nine to 12.
Finally, there’s the alpine competition group, featuring the most advanced racers on the team.
The competition skiers are starting to get into the busiest part of their season. After competing at the Eric Hays Memorial in December, the team will compete in an upcoming Youth Ski League race at Park City Mountain Resort on Jan. 26, among other events.
Scotty McGrath, one of the team’s most successful racers in the under-14 division, said that just because the skiers like to have fun doesn’t mean they don’t race hard and have goals.
"I want to win the season championships at the end of the year," he said. "That’s a big deal."
For more information on the Summit Ski Team, visit summitskiteam.org