Masters skiing offers adults a challenge
United States Ski Association (USSA) Masters Coordinator Bill Skinner has an offer most adult skiers can’t refuse.
"Masters training is the way to become the skier of your dreams," he says.
According to Skinner, the Park City Masters ski program has something for those looking to make their skiing experience more intense and fulfilling.
"It’s approximately 90 days of personal training with a coach or instructor, five days a week from late November to March," Skinner said.
Skinner describes the program as a full day of various training, all designed to help the mature skier improve. Each day, the masters program meets at Park City Mountain Resort (PCMR) and completes a combination of skills training, gate running, and skiing with the Masters coaches.
The program is meant to help the recreational skier improve and work on his skill as well as help competitive skiers prepare for Masters races.
Skinner says there are always three or four coaches on the hill and they work with a relatively small group of individuals. He boasts that the Park City Masters program and its skiers are known as some of the best in the country, but adds that many of them improved after spending time in the program. Masters racer Sally Tauber watched her skiing improve in the Masters program so much that it earned her a national champion.
"I was just a ‘middle-of-the-pack’ racer. The coaches worked with me, just like they do with all of us. Having the same people work with you all season long gives you a lot of confidence. They were able to tell me how to ski better and get faster, and so I started moving up in the ranks," Tauber said.
The Masters is also a good option for former ski racers who still have the desire to train and compete.
"Athletes who ski raced in high school or college are often amazed to discover that they can continue to participate in the sport because there is a large, worldwide community of Masters racers. There are division, regional, national and international races," Skinner said.
Park City Masters is part of the Intermountain Division, which is top-ranked on the national circuit. Many of Park City’s Masters’ skiers are also topping the charts, but others simply use the training sessions to keep them in optimal ski shape.
"About 30 percent of our people maybe race in one race a year, if that. Some never race. They are looking to improve their skiing," said Skinner. "Even fewer come to every weekday session or stay the entire day. They will catch a few hours of their favorite part of the training day, then go back to work."
And therein lies the beauty of the Masters program it offers something for any adult looking for a ski training program. Skiers have the opportunity to improve, compete and make friends with similar interests. Skinner says that most of the Masters skiers make life-long friends in the group. They also hold official social events, such as the upcoming season-opening party. Lunchtime with the Masters is spent watching video from the gate-training sessions, but it is also a time for laughter and camaraderie, according to Skinner. "Over the 15 years we’ve been doing this, we have about 20 people who have moved to Park City just because of the Masters training," Skinner said.
The full Masters program costs $860 before November 15 and $960 for the rest of the season. Program membership also offers perks not available to the general public, such as a required pass for skiing and training in the Eagle Race Arena. According to Skinner, on any given day, the Masters will be training side by side on Eagle with U. S. Ski Team racers, the University of Utah ski team, or the Park City Ski Team. Each day features three training sessions: from 9-11 a.m. the Masters complete skiing and racing drills; from 11a.m.-1 p.m., they run gates at the Eagle Race Arena with videotaping, and then take a lunch break followed by skiing with the coaches until 3 p.m. There are special rates available for those who wish to sample a day or week of training before joining the program. People with PCMR season passes pay $75. Those without pay $115, which includes a lift ticket. Money paid for the day rate will be applied to the full price if the skier decides to join the group for the season. Skinner expects training to begin this season on Nov. 28. For more information, call the Park City Mountain Resort Ski School or contact Bill Skinner at 647-2633.
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