SHS skiers have unfair advantage
If Summit High School deserved to be in the CHSAA State Alpine Championship held in Vail last week, your article might have been true about the High School settling for second place. Credit for the apparent Summit High School success in CHSAA championships during the last few years does not belong to the Summit High School alpine program, or to Coach Hauser. Credit belongs to Team Summit and its club racing program. Summit High School athletes show up at CHSAA ski events in Team Summit uniforms with corporate sponsorship logos sewn all over them. The same names in the top FIS race programs appear in the CHSAA events. There is no separation between the Summit High School and the Team Summit Club program. It is this lack of separation that makes a case for Summit High School being banned from all CHSAA sports. I can also make a case for the Aspen High School program, Steamboat Springs and, to some extent, Middle Park High School being banned as well. This is the Summit County newspaper so I will single out the Summit program. Let’s look at the CHSAA rules and examine the ways that the Summit High School program seems to violate the spirit of the rules with out actually breaking the rules. Rule No. 1: CHSAA ski season starts in November and lasts till the State Championships in February. No CHSAA athletes are allowed to train with their school Coaches before or after the “official season.” No CHSAA sport is allowed to compete or train on a Sunday, the Thanksgiving break or the Christmas break. That is fine with Coach Hauser and the athletic director at Summit High School, as their team is training with Team Summit. Wink, wink! In the Summer, Team Summit racers can train on Mount Hood and in New Zealand, Chile and Argentina. Rule No. 2: No athlete in any CHSAA sport is allowed sponsorship, by any equipment manufacturer, unless that manufacturer donates equipment to the entire school team thru the school district. I can name the sponsored athletes on the Summit High School team, but you could spot them holding their “sponsor-free” equipment on their interview with Channel 9 on Friday, logos facing the camera. I am willing to bet that the Rossignol and Salomon reps never were told that their equipment would be used in High School racing. Rule No. 3: All CHSAA ski events are to follow USSA rules for J1 and J2 races. USSA rules state that Slalom skis be 165 cm long. I have stood at the start gate as a hand timer and seen racers using 155 length skis in CHSAA Slalom events. Why haven’t the Summit coaches enforced the rules, or is a shorter ski an advantage in CHSAA slalom events ? Rule No. 4: No sports academy is allowed to compete in a CHSAA event, as sports training is a business and CHSAA wants to enforce the importance of education. This is something that can apply to Middle Park, Summit, Steamboat and even Evergreen High School, but what is the difference between the full-time race training offered by a ski resort or race club and a group like the Crested Butte Academy? If a student is not in school all day, but is allowed to study for three or four hours a day and then train for four hours a day, is not the end result the same ? I know CHSAA ski racers who do not set foot in their school of registration for two or three months of ski season, but are privately tutored and race train every day. Why are the Summit High School coaches not asking to close this loophole or asking that Crested Butte Academy be allowed to race in CHSAA events ? In a sport that has never been inexpensive, talent and ability will only take a person so far. It is the additional opportunities that money can buy that makes the difference in CHSAA ski racing. The real CHSAA state champion for the 2006/2007 season is Platte Canyon High School. Those kids survived hostage taking and the shooting of their friend. None of the Platte Canyon kids can train more then two days a week as the drive to the nearest ski area takes an hour or more after school closes at 2:45 p.m.The true all-state ski team would include the kids from Evergreen, Clear Creek. Nederland, Ridge View and Platte Canyon high schools. None of them are lucky enough to have Team Summit behind them. I’m reminded of a saying that my Father used: “They were born on third base and think they hit a triple.”As an aside, I have met the FIS super stars from Team Summit and they are a very polite, deserving group of young men and women. They deserve all of the USSA and FIS honors they have earned. Just make them decide between FIS and CHSAA.
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