Rob Worrell resigns from Team Summit
COPPER MOUNTAIN – A dispute within Team Summit during the past two months has resulted in the resignation of Rob Worrell, former alpine director of Team Summit.
While the president of Team Summit’s board of directors, Dave Hartman, said the resignation was a career decision made by Worrell, Worrell said his contract, which ended May 31, wasn’t going to be renewed.
Instead of being director of the club, he was offered a job as a junior alpine coordinator, where he would work with kids under 14 years old.
“We just offered him a seasonal position because he basically wanted to do his own thing in the summer time,” Hartman said. “The board of directors wishes him well in his career.”
Worrell joined the club in 1999.
“That’s five years of time and work and effort; I’m proud of where the team has come,” Worrell said. “If I leave, there’s no doubt in my mind that I did my best effort.”
Worrell, who ran the entire racing program this year – including the juniors – started First Tracks Ski Racing Camp before his resignation. This business would organize and coach ski racers at various summer camps around the country. It would have competed with camps Team Summit traditionally offers during the offseason.
A meeting today was scheduled to help smooth the division that Worrell’s departure has created. Parents have expressed concern that they had no input into the decision to remove Worrell from the top coaching position in the club.
In response, Worrell is trying to form Summit County’s third ski racing club, what he calls Team X, which would join Team Summit and Quantum Sports Club as options for competitive skiers.
Mark Beling, the father of ski racers Drew and Beau, said the events have positioned most parents and coaches in the middle.
“If the new club could happen, we don’t know,” Beling said. “None of us have burned our bridges with Team Summit yet.”
Chip Woods, who was hired this season to coach the top-level ski racers for Team Summit, said he was shocked by the ongoing conflict. He battled with the board of directors as director of Ski Club Vail before leaving in 2002. Since then, he’s focused on coaching and avoided administrative duties.
“One of the reasons it was such a great winter was I was doing what I liked to do,” Woods said. “Yeah, I’m shocked. But I’m not pointing the finger at anybody. I’ve tried hard to stay out of the middle.”
Worrell, along with the coaches and parents, understands that a third ski racing club would divide the county’s resources dangerously thin. Mountain space, fundraising, volunteer time, travel expenses and coaches would be diluted, forcing the cost of the programs to rise.
Hartman sees a new club as dangerous, too, but still maintains that Team Summit can maintain its strength.
“We have more than 300 athletes, and you’re talking about 20 to 30 parents who have expressed concern,” he said. “We want to understand everyone’s concerns. But our freestyle and snowboarding programs are going great. There’s hundreds of parents who are enjoying the program. We’ll work through this.”
Worrell began his coaching career in Steamboat Springs, where he competed as an athlete under the direction of John Leffler, who now directs Quantum.
Worrell received his job at Team Summit in 1999, and helped the club through a tough transition.
At one point, each mountain had its own racing team.
When Copper Race Team merged with Summit Race Team, they formed the Summit County Winter Sports Club. Later, this club merged with Team Breck to form Team Summit.
Then, Quantum Sports Club branched off of Team Summit, bringing coaches and athletes from Team Summit into the new program. Worrell was hired to direct Team Summit, and a rivalry formed between the two clubs.
“The positive for having more than one ski club in the county is the competitiveness,” Worrell said. “This is major competition.”
Worrell said he would return to Team Summit if he was given the right offer. He also said he would help his wife, Anje, coach independently, and he would not count out helping Quantum Sports Club.
“I’m hoping to stay in the county,” Worrell said. “This situation got a lot of issues on the table, above and beyond me. This is all positive. If I had to do it over again, I would do it over again the same way.”
Ryan Slabaugh can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 257, or at email@example.com
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