Spots available for Loveland youth ski camp with Olympians, June 6-16 | SummitDaily.com

Spots available for Loveland youth ski camp with Olympians, June 6-16

It's been nearly a month since the lifts at Loveland Ski Area stopped spinning, and yet, Sebastian Brigovic has hardly missed a day on the cool, crisp corduroy of the Loveland racecourse.

"The snow is amazing up there right now," he said between morning race training and afternoon classes at University of Denver. "I was out skiing today, and it was fantastic. I really think no one else in the world has better terrain than we do right now at Loveland."

At 24 years old, he knows a thing or two about pitch-perfect terrain. He also knows what it takes to enter the daunting (and increasingly cutthroat) world of high-level ski racing: The Croatian native moved from his hometown in Eastern Europe to Colorado in 2013, shortly after he was invited to join the elite DU ski team. He showed international promise out of the gate and raced in several World Cup events — all en route to earning a spot on the Croatian Olympic ski team for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi. This season, he and DU dominated powerhouse programs like Utah and University of Colorado-Boulder to take the NCAA National Ski Championship — the program's 23rd title — an NCAA record. (The team is also home to former Summit Nordic superstar Taeler McCrerey, who won her freshman season.)

"You're still fresh from the season at this point," Brigovic said of summer training. "You're hungry to get out and gain that extra second, find more time on the course and, by that, I mean you want to continue developing as quickly as you can. Spring and summer is the perfect time for that."

And now, it's time for him to pass that mentality to the next generation.

This June, the DU champ joins Loveland Ski Club on the luscious snow at the Loveland ski venue for a two-week, late-season youth ski camp. The camp is open to youth skiers (U-10 to U-14) who plan to compete next season and want one final stretch of on-snow training, with coaching from Brigovic and a small corps of LSC coaches. The student-to-instructor ratio is capped at 6:1, which makes for personalized training for skiers from any and all local clubs. Spots are still available.

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"This time of year is great to work on fundamentals," LSC alpine coach Scott Graham said. "This is earlier than a lot of other spring camps, but, when you can come right here (and) stay in the state, it's equivalent to heading to Mount Hood or the Southern Hemisphere."

Fundamentals or no, Graham says this camp is designed for newbies or first-time skiers. He'd like everyone who registers to have at least one full season of racing under their boots, all to ensure the high-caliber instruction from Brigovic and his coaches leaves a lasting impact.

The two-week session begins with slalom in week one before transitioning to giant slalom in week two. Each day runs from 7 a.m. to noon — the earlier, the better for summer snow — and all campers get a snack break halfway through the day. Lodging isn't provided, however.

Along with on-snow coaching, Brigovic brings something invaluable for young-and-hungry skiers with their sights on the Olympics: real-world experience.

"I can surely tell them what I've done to get to that level, and it's that you have to work for it. You can't just work halfway and expect to get there," he said, adding that ski culture these days has shifted from a few extremely talented athletes to hundreds of talented skiers with religious dedication to the sport. "Growing up in Croatia — growing up in Eastern Europe — is a different regime. We work as hard as we can to be better than others and that's important for these kids to understand. You have to think about why you're doing this and how you're doing it. If you expect to be the best but you aren't training smart, it won't happen."

Brigovic also hopes to learn a thing or two from deconstructing the campers' technique. It's something he's been doing since he first joined the Croatian Alpine Ski Team as a teen: watch, learn and improve, no matter who's running the gates.

"As I continue to get better, I want to bring that to the kids. They will be working on everything I am working on, and I will see it more deeply with these coaches. I'll be able to see the solutions for the problems people have, and that will help me develop my skiing as well."

Loveland Ski Club summer camp

What: A two-week technical camp for youth skiers from U-10 to U-14, with one week of slalom and one week of GS training on a dedicated course (spots still available)

When: June 6-9, June 13-16

Where: Loveland Basin Ski Area race venue

Cost: $1,699

Each session runs from 7 a.m. to noon daily with a maximum of 6:1 skier to coach ratio. Week one covers slalom and week two covers giant slalom, and racers are encouraged to register for both weeks. The camp fee includes instruction, lift access and venue access for two weeks, plus a midday snack break every day. To register or learn more, contact LSC alpine coach Scott Graham at sgraham@lovelandskiclub.com.