Team Summit launches ski mountaineering program with local athlete, coach Jaime Brede

Summit County local Jaime Brede, right, skins uphill during the International Ski Mountaineering Federation World Championships in March 2019 in Switzerland.
Photo from U.S. Ski Mountaineering Association

DILLON — One of the most accomplished and respected members of Summit County’s winter sports community is joining forces with Team Summit to launch a program for a sport growing in popularity.

Jaime Brede of Breckenridge, a member of the U.S. National Team at the 2019 International Ski Mountaineering Federation World Championships, was hired by Team Summit as the club’s first ski mountaineering head coach.

Along with racing for the U.S. at the 2019 International Ski Mountaineering Federation World Championship in Switzerland, Brede competed as a professional athlete in Xterra Triathlons and cross-country mountain biking. In the Summit County community, her coaching resume includes ski mountaineering for Summit Endurance Academy, mountain biking with the Summit Tigers and master’s swimming for the town of Breckenridge, among others.

Brede in 2014 also installed the Summit County branch of The Cycle Effect, a nonprofit organization using mountain bikes to educate and empower young women. She also serves on the U.S. Ski Mountaineering Association’s Athlete Advisory Council.

Team Summit Executive Director C.B. Bechtel said the club has had conversations about adding a ski mountaineering program over the past two to three years as the sport has grown in popularity. Bechtel described Summit County as the sport’s competitive epicenter and said with the sport tracking to potentially become an Olympic sport in the new few years, it made sense to add skimo to the club’s programming.

“It was a matter of when we launch a new program wanting to launch it well,” Bechtel said. “It was a matter of timing, having all the pieces come together with our resort partners and finding the right leader for the program, because there’s sufficient enthusiasm for it from the young people in our community.”

Bechtel described Team Summit’s skimo program as Brede’s “to design and lead.” Brede said the program will be U-19, for athletes between the ages of 12-18. She said there will be programming for athletes being introduced to the sport as well as programming for more experienced, older racers looking to further their development and training.

Brede said she expects Team Summit’s skimo season to consist of regional Cosmic race series events as well as the U.S. Ski Mountaineering Cup and other higher level events, including some in Summit County.

The new coach stressed her excitement to work with other Team Summit coaches, namely in disciplines like downhill skiing, to help improve ski mountaineers in Team Summit programming. Brede said the program will call Copper Mountain Resort its primary home and will also train and practice at Breckenridge Ski Resort, Keystone Resort and Arapahoe Basin Ski Area.

Bechtel and Brede said though skimo will at first be for older youth athletes 12 and up, club members will have the ability to train and compete in skimo and other Team Summit winter sports disciplines.

“From a skimo perspective,” Brede said, “I know quite a bit about endurance training, aerobic fitness, muscular endurance, going uphill, cycling, running, but I’m really looking forward to gleaning more coaching insight on the downhill part of this, to see what the coach’s methodologies are.”

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