Small skiers take to the hill
The first major snowfall of the 2007-2008 ski season provided a perfect backdrop for the Park City Ski Team tryouts. Saturday morning a group of 65 young skiers gathered at Park City Mountain Resort and the kids’ excitement and enthusiasm was amazing to see as they worked with their coaches.
"Today we have kids ages 9 10 who are getting a chance to show us their skiing ability," said Program Director Dave Galusha. According to Galusha, the skills tests will determine if the kids will be on the Park City Farm Team, the Devo Team or the C Team. The program promotes teamwork and teach communication skills.
Galusha, along with Devo Head Coach Dar Hendrickson, and team coaches Patrick Rice, Eric McDermott, Eric Wilkinson and Eric Schmitz were putting the skiers through a four-hour workout. The coaches also get plenty of help from kids who have graduated from the Devo Team to ski at higher levels. Graduates serve as group leaders and provide assistance with every phase of the training program.
Hendrickson commented that, "The group leaders range in age from 14 to 16. They work with the Devo Team and provide encouragement for the younger kids. They make them feel very comfortable as we take them through the program."
"We watch each skier to see how well they handle themselves. In the end, the Devo Team will have mostly 10-year-olds with a few exceptional 9-year-old kids also making the team," said Hendrickson.
"Once we select the team members, we will train on the mountain every Friday, Saturday and Sunday," said Galusha. "Racing for the Youth Ski League Nor Am Division will be at nearby resorts including Park City Mountain Resort, The Canyons, Brighton, Snowbird and Snow Basin."
The Park City Ski Team is in its 4th decade of teaching young skiers. In 1980, the non-profit Park City Ski Education Foundation was established to oversee the financial aspects of the program. This season, more than 150 skiers are slated to participate on the team.
Skiers ranging in age from 9 to 10 years through high school graduates are developed by the program. The A Team, "Leaders of the Pack includes skiers over age 15 who compete in national and international events. The B Team, "The Pack" includes skiers who are nearing the A Team Status. The B Team competes in divisional, regional and national events. The C Team, "Future Leaders" includes skiers ages 10 to 12 who compete in divisional and national events. The Devo Team, "Leaders in Development" compete in divisional events.
The season’s first Youth Ski League race will be during the Utah Winter Games in January. The race will be skied on Picabo’s Run at Park City Mountain Resort.
For more information about the Park City Ski Team, visit their web site at http://www.parkcityskiteam.org.
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