TIMERS DON'T LIE
Randy was a typical racer who began his passion for ski racing at the tender age of 8. Having to move to Los Angeles from Colorado, however, distracted him from his goal of becoming a world class ski racer. Randy's single mother, a school teacher, would grade papers in the car, while waiting for him, after purchasing a lift ticket to let him ski as much as possible. Always looking for a set of gates to run, even sneaking onto an occasional Nastar course, kept him energized until he finally got his chance: a race near L.A. Snow Valley Mountain Resort opened up that opportunity, and it set the final hook in his young heart. His skill and success not only placed him high in his age category, but propelled his hunger for aiming for the 1988 Winter Olympics in Canada. He jumped in with both skis, hoping to join a local ski team with expert coaches. Sadly however, it could not be. Randy's family simply could not afford it.
Since training was not an option, he decided to go for it as an independent. No coaching; just self-teaching. Even that became too expensive very quickly. He could remember getting up at 4:00 AM to ride in the back of a pickup truck full of snow with his sleeping bag, and traveling up the windy mountain road, just to get onto the slopes. One season, that was over 40 trips. He got carsick every time. The driver always knew right where to pull over for him.
THERE WAS NO QUESTION ABOUT HIS DEDICATION, TALENT OR PASSION; ONLY THE LACK OF NEEDED FUNDING.
1988 came and went. The best he could do, was to be able to qualify for the U.S. Pro Ski Tour, but was again held back my limited resources. Sponsorships from ski manufacturers allowed him to have equipment for free and race fees were covered. The only thing missing? Money for travel and coaching. Although he started with the talent, he could never get to the next level and it turned into a hobby rather than the career Randy wanted it to be. He'd even moved back to Colorado to the ski town of Steamboat when he was 19, hoping that skiing 125 days a year would make up the time and create the reality. However, it was still a money game.
Is it all about the numbers? The clock? The money? Isn't there something even more valuable, ultimately, to offer our racers with such dedication? The US SKI TEAM thinks so and trains its coaches to value the whole person as well as the time clock, especially in the lower levels of competition. And that lower-level training pays off as the racer progresses to higher levels.
Values like rewarding hard work, teamwork, leadership, ethical motivation and stalwart citizenship are the end-game rewards possible and promoted at every level of training, starting at entry levels.
These character traits are always present in the people that rise as the real winners in society. And ski racing discipline is the perfect venue to nurture these character assets into our youth. HOWEVER, there is a great chasm in the available resources needed to bring it to fruition, as both a racer and a citizen, through the existing ski racing programs. This is the crux of the problem.... we simply cannot raise up a generation of talented skiers, much less leaders, without the the means. That clock works against them not only in terms of financial material, but in terms of age. The older the skier, the less opportunity there is for them to achieve their God-given potential, and the limiting factor is almost exclusively money. There are literally thousands of talented young racers out there, just like Randy. And Beth. And Jenna. And Chad. Over and over, the money issue continues to cripple the racer against the timer, and they struggle greatly to beat that age and money clock.... and the timers don't lie.
The US Ski Team endures the same situation at the elite level. At one point, a friend of little Randy's make the US Ski Team. In 1986, he and his dad had to raise $20,000 just for him to be on the Team. Today that number is $40,000, mainly to cover travel expenses. But what hasn't changed over time, is that there is incredible talent right under our noses, and it can't develop because families can't afford to send their kids to a ski team for training. The answer is simple; cultivate the athletes with real talent, by finding them early, and funding them.
The timers click steadily, and the talent slips away before it can mature.
So then, the great challenge is to find the resources for the earliest echelons of training, before the young skier times out age-wise. ALPINE PACIFIC SKI TEAM has a simple proposal whereby the young racer can earn their merit, and get the training earlier, without impacting the family's resources to devastating proportions. As a discipline, ski racing teaches our young athletes about discipline, respect, responsibility, delayed gratification and financial accountability. These are all the necessary ingredients to succeed in life, as well as in ski racing. Alpine Pacific Ski Team has been formed as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to allow youth between the ages of 10-18 to receive the coaching needed to take it to the next level without financial limitations. The racers must earn their merits, such as a jacket or patch of achievement, along with being given increasing responsibility to the overall success of the team. But the money needed for training and travel becomes the responsibility of the 501(c)(3). When donations are accepted, this is used by a governing board to pay for all basic expenses, leaving practice, teamwork, citizenship and the goal of higher education and competition to the athlete's concentrated focus. This also allows for many MORE racers to participate. It reduces parental financial stress, and gets the training in place at the earliest stages. A program like this would have made all the difference for Randy and his family. He could have gotten the professional training he needed, and maybe could have raced at the higher levels of competition. Let's now allow as many of our youth as possible beat that clock!
Alpine Pacific Ski Team has developed a unique approach to the racing passion: propel younger racers to pursue their career in ski racing, by developing their highest potential early without financial limitations. Please join us and donate today. Thank you!