Team Breckenridge ramps it up
September 23, 2010
For many athletes, the ski season starts long before the first snow falls.
And with the slopes dry and the lifts halted, a group of local skiers were in Steamboat Springs this summer, busy perfecting their jumps for the upcoming mogul season. On both trampolines and water ramps, Dylan Walczyk, Bruce Perry, Jr., and Alisha Scheifley all were looking to take their jumping to a new level.
All three are returning members of the Team Breckenridge Sports Club’s mogul program, coached by John Dowling, and plenty more of their teammates were also at the sessions.
“The importance is huge, particularly for mogul skiing,” Dowling said of the summer training. ” … Most top guys know it, and we even had our development-level skiers out there this summer.”
More than anything, Dowling said the off-snow sessions are about safety and knowledge. Skiers have to get certified with each aerial maneuver in order to compete the trick in sanctioned events. The certification process starts with being approved on a water ramp, before having to do it again on snow at Winter Park in December.
The entire process is designed to prevent skiers from attempting tricks that haven’t been adequately practiced, often requiring nearly 100 ramp launches to get the maneuver down.
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“At some point when you leave the jump, you’re not going to know down from up and there’s the chance of making a mistake,” Dowling said. “Every repetition you get on a water ramp or trampoline allows you to be that much more sure of what you’re doing and lessen the chance that those mistakes will be dangerous.”
Team Breck is a ski and snowboard program for all ages and abilities, but mostly centers on the development of junior athletes, many of which compete at the highest level of youth skiing. Dowling said a focus of the team this year is to continue to grow its grassroots-level program of athletes between the ages of 8 and 12.
At the sessions this summer, Dowling said the team had kids as young as 8 hitting the ramps.
It was some of the older kids, though, that used the training for what they hope will be a springboard to a successful competitive season.
Walczyk, Perry and Scheifley are three of the teams top returners this season, as all of them were medalists at the Junior Olympics last year in Waterville, N.H..
With the use of the ramps, all three athletes have upped their aerial tricks. (In mogul competitions, the jumps are worth 25 percent of the overall score. Fifty percent is for turns on the moguls, and the remaining 25 percent is for speed.)
Walczyk will be hitting a new cork-720, while both Perry and Scheifley are looking to get their back layouts certified.
While it may seem like Team Breck was getting in some extra offseason work, Dowling said the training was essential to his athletes’ progressions.
“Really, all we’re doing is keeping pace with everyone else,” Dowling said. “Everyone who’s competitive in freestyle skiing and flipping is utilizing these sorts of things.”
For more information on the team or to join, contact Dowling at email@example.com or (970) 390-6471.
To celebrate the Team Breck mogul squad’s one year anniversary as a program, the team is holding a fundraiser at the Kickapoo Tavern in Keystone’s River Run Village on Oct. 1.
Starting at 6 p.m., there will be a buffet dinner, beer from local breweries, live music from High 5 and an auction. A $10 donation is asked for attendance.
The auction includes skis, sporting goods, golf rounds, clothing, gift certificates to local restaurants an, a ski pass and even a trip to Maui.
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