Park City Ski Team wraps up impressive season
Director Jesse Hunt pleased with what he saw this year
The Park City Ski Team, a local youth ski racing program, is no stranger to success. There are more than just a couple of recognizable names on the program’s alumni list, including Steven Nyman, Resi Stiegler, Megan McJames and Olympic gold medalist Ted Ligety.
Like many of the current Park City Ski Team racers such as Max Miller and Brynne Hitchcock, all of them started as youth skiers. No one knows what today’s young athletes might become, but if their performances this last season are any indication, the future is bright.
Miller took fifth in the giant slalom discipline at the U16 Alpine National Championships event in Sugarloaf, Maine, last month, while Hitchcock took second in the slalom at the same event. Park City Ski Team U16 Head Coach Cameron Chin was elated to see the athletes capitalize on a season full of hard work.
“I think it was obviously rewarding after all of the work they put in,” Chin said. “It started in June with conditioning. They worked really hard. Their work ethic is really strong. … We knew [Miller and Hitchcock] were skiing fast and that they were strong within our division, but once they got to that National level, it was really great validation that nation-wide, they’re on the top.”
The performances by the U16 skiers weren’t the only successes from the Park City Ski Team this year. In fact, executive director Jesse Hunt was relatively pleased with what he saw from all levels.
“It’s been a great year for us,” Hunt said. “We’ve been blessed with great snow this year. We had some great training and great skiing at the resort, which always helps. Generally speaking, we had some kids really shine. That’s always fun to see. We’re trying to meet our goals in all of the age groups at all of the levels.”
Because the program has trained successful athletes in the past, Hunt and company have a metaphorical measuring stick that tells them what to expect year in and year out.
“That’s the barometer,” Hunt said. “Seeing a couple of those kids shine at [Nationals], it’s a good indication of where we stand, as a program, as a region, as a division.”
There were, however, some changes made this season that weren’t present in past years. On the U16 team, Chin created certain physical and ski-specific criteria, including conditioning, cardiovascular and core strength marks, which the skiers on his team had to meet in order to compete.
Miller and Hitchcock may have been the headliners of the group, but the criteria was set in place for the entire U16 team. With the success found this season, the Park City Ski Team could stick with the requirements moving forward.
“It certainly put a carrot out for them,” Chin said. “It was great to see, that as a group, as a U16 group, everyone stepped up to that. No one was deflated by it.
“Physically, this is probably one of the most fit groups we’ve had, on top of having some pretty talented skiers. Combine those, and you’re going to have some success.”
The Park City Ski Team will wrap up the season this week with some end-of-the-season divisional races at Snowbird. It will also host a season-ending banquet on April 21, where coaches will hand out team awards and celebrate the season.
But in two months, the dedicated skiers will be back training for the next year.
“We’ll have a break and get some time off after a long season,” Hunt said. “Then, we start training again in June, as a program. Those kids that are at the upper levels, who are really inspiring to make the top marks, they’re getting back on snow periodically throughout the summer.”
In the end, with a number of positive results at National events throughout the age divisions, it was another successful season for the Park City Ski Team, Hunt said.
“That’s always rewarding and gratifying to see the kids actually make those steps and then shine at the big events,” he said. “That’s been really fun this year.”
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