Park City Ski Team hands out honors
The Park City Ski Team honored outstanding participants, coaches and community members on Friday at its annual awards banquet, held at The Yarrow. A crowd of approximately 150 gathered to celebrate the program’s success and recognize those who have contributed to its mission of "producing gold medal kids, not just kids who win gold medals."
The ceremony paid a special tribute one member who has dedicated an unprecedented 20 years to the team. Dar Hendrickson, head coach of the first-level "Devo" team for 10 and 11-year-olds, won the Eagle Award for his extraordinary commitment. Program director Dave Galusha called Hendrickson’s milestone "the highlight of the ceremony."
"Twenty years of Dar is a big deal," he said. "Normally in ski coaching, five or six years is it. Staying for so long, especially with the same program, just doesn’t happen often in this sport."
Despite his years of dedication, however, Hendrickson said he didn’t expect to win the honor. "I’m floored," he said. "I’ve just been here a lot of years." Hendrickson attributed his longevity to a love of coaching young athletes. "I figured out early on that coaching older kids comes with baggage that you can’t change. Young skiers, you can still alter and put in the right direction."
Hendrickson’s early involvement with racers makes him arguably one of the most influential coaches in the program, a role he says he appreciates. "Kids have come back years after I’ve coached them and say, ‘he’s the reason I am the way I am today.’"
Hendrickson said the program’s inclusion of more younger kids than at most other ski schools has also improved the quality of the program, since Devo skiers can see where their hard work can take them. "Each of the kids should feel the others before them," Hendrickson said.
Galusha said the community environment of Park City has also contributes to the team’s success. "Park City itself is much like European ski towns, where people know about racing and are excited about it." The result of the environment combined with the ski team’s coaching methods has been a long tradition of sending kids to the U.S. Ski Team. This year’s Skier of the Year, Hailey Duke, has extended the streak to nine years in a row, following the tradition of Ted Ligety and Bryon Friedman, among others. The 21-year-old from Boise, ID finished third at the U.S. Alpine Championships this year and placed seventh in her first European World Cup after starting 57th with less than 24 hours notice that she would compete. Galusha said he has no doubt the tradition will continue next year. "The U.S. team already has an eye on some of our athletes," he said.
Also honored at the ceremony were community members who have significantly supported the team. Leslie Thatcher, radio host on KPCW, won the Friends of the Park City Ski Team Award for her Tuesday-morning interviews with Galusha throughout the season.
The Park Record publisher Andy Bernhard won the Newspaper Award for what Galusha called ‘phenomenal’ efforts in ticket sales.
"I hope some people feel badly," Galusha said. "We give out packs of 10 tickets to parents and community members at the beginning of the season, and we always get nine back. That Andy sold 50 is amazing. He’s really worked hard for us this year."
Awards for participants also honored the most improved, most dedicated and best sportsmanship at each level, as well as the top performer and academic awards. But Galusha stressed that each of the team’s members finished the season a winner.
"You’re all gold medal kids," he said at the banquet. "You’re a winner as part of this program."
2007 PCST Awards
Eagle Award – Dar Hendrickson
Friends of the Park City Ski Team – Leslie Thatcher
Newspaper Award – Andy Bernhard
Skier of the Year – Hailey Duke
David Wright Memorial Scholarship – Nicolas Tomczyk
Cathy Swing Memorial Scholarship – Maggie Kraft
C Team Awards
Most Improved – Hannah Hunsaker and Riley Peek
Peak Performer – Peter Papineau
Season Performer – Kiley Morgan and Nigel Elliot
All Mountain Siers – Keegan Swenson and Sophie Frankenburg
Dedication – Hailey Ingham and Sam Burbank
Hard Charger – Hayes Graham
B Team J3 Awards
Most Improved – Christoph Lentz
Top Performers – Sydney Staples and Michael Turner
Comeback of the Year – Katie Bernhard
Sportsmanship – Jessica Karz and David Tauber
Dedication – Jessie Delacenserie and Sam DuPratt
Most Improved – Stephen Perry & Katherine Dunleavy
Outstanding Performance – Andy Phillips
Conditioning Excellence – Sean Cummiskey
Sportsmanship – Abigail Stanislaw and Martin Anguita
Dedication – Jazz Olshen
6th Grade – Katy Greene & Riley Peek
7th Grade – Sophie Frankenburg and Kiley Morgan
8th Grade – Mason West
9th Grade – Jessie Delacenserie and Abby Greene
10th Grade – Zachery Zapinsky
11th Grade – Trine Vik & Nicolas Tomczyk and Maddie Singer
12th Grade – Maggie Kraft & Tyler Shinn
Anita Lewis, Brent Ovard and Travis English were influential in shaping how residents interact with the county.