Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Two ski teams offers a choice

My 8-year-old son races on the Hailey Ski Team as a J-6. He has had a thoroughly positive experience with this team. The coaching bas been excellent and the coach-to-skier ratio is low.

After gate training, the team gathers in the HST locker room to review taped video footage taken of each athlete going through the gates that day. Each racer's performance is critiqued in a positive manner by the coaches as all the kids watch, listen and learn. The kids enjoy this part of the day of coming together. There is a buzz in the air. My son loves to be a part of this small and focused group, and it shows in his skiing. Recently, here at the Intermountain Race he placed second in both the slalom and GS races. His biggest competitor and Hailey Ski Team buddy placed first in the GS. The friendly rivalry between these two promising athletes, teammates and friends is invaluable.

I am proud of my son's racing ability, but I am more proud of his love and attitude for the sport. The Hailey Ski Team is an exceptionally supportive team. There is a lot of camaraderie and enthusiasm for all the racers. The o1der racers have embraced my son and they often ski together after practice. He is having a b1ast.

He is up on the mountain at 9 a.m. and catches the last chair of the day on Lower River Run to do jumps just one more time. I am truly grateful to have had the opportunity to be part of The Hailey Ski Team. I cannot believe it may not be able to train on Baldy next year.

Personal1y, I think having two teams where the kids can choose to ski is what makes both teams better. If Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation wants to create a first-rate ski- racing center, then let them do it. But why should it be at the expense of losing a fellow Baldy team that has been putting out some great results, and building tons of enthusiasm for the sport? Both teams are great in their own way, but they are different. It is their differences that make our young Baldy skiers so lucky. They have a choice. I hope that isn't taken away.

Jennifer Zuniga


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