By Mary Clayton, Revelstoke Ski Club
This past weekend was a fast one for the Revelstoke Ski Club’s racing teams. Athletes 15 years and older were invited to a speed camp at Apex Mountain near Penticton, BC. The younger athletes, 11–14 years old, attended a speed camp at Silver Star Resort near Vernon.
Speed camps aim to teach the skills of downhill and super-G in a safe and methodical way. The courses are broken down into sections, so the skiers can train in stages before tackling the entire course in timed runs. Their speed is also measured using radar guns at certain points along the course.
At Apex, the older athletes trained alongside and learned from some of the best instructors and ski racers, including national team alumnus Jeff Hume and legendary coach Don Lyon.
The weekend was an “awesome experience,” said Coach Milan Arsovski.
“Giving the kids a chance to work with athletes and coaches from Alpine Canada increased their confidence immensely. I could see their skiing getting better day by day. I was so proud to see those youngsters shredding some tuck turns at more than 100/km per hour.”
At Silver Star, the approach was similar but on a gentler incline for the younger racers. Coach Donald Hall had high praise for the venue and the opportunity.
“It’s pretty amazing to have a 1.8 km long course all to ourselves, with such excellent safety procedures. This is where the kids start to learn how to handle real speed, which is an integral part of ski racing. This course allows us to approach high speeds carefully, in a controlled setting.”
For the racers themselves, the weekend’s speed training has been a real boost to confidence. “The Apex camp got me to where I need to be for this season’s super-G races,” said Mitch Smith, a consistent top-5 finisher at U16 technical events.
“This camp was a lot of fun,” added Max Scharf, another very strong RSC U16 racer. “I have never had the chance to ski a real downhill course before, and that was a great experience. It gave me a lot more confidence and I feel more comfortable on my skis at high speed, which is good.”
FIS racer Emily Unterberger echoed her teammates’ enthusiasm. “We don’t get to ski speed very often so it was great to get some more experience,” she said. “Even though the snow was a little soft, all the volunteers and coaches did their best to keep the track in good shape for us, so a big thank you to them.”
At Silver Star, U14 racer Linnea Allain hit 90 km/hr, the fastest speed of the younger racers. “It didn’t even feel that fast,” said Linnea. “We practice each section and really get to know the course, so it’s not scary at all. I’m going to go faster next year.”