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Hed: June skiers seek ribbon

Shauna Farnell

COPPER MOUNTAIN – Where there is fire in some places, there is water in others. Or snow … a little of it. Enough to ski on, believe it or not.

About 40 avid skiers from Team Summit have been using a strip of snow at Copper Mountain for the last few days during a race camp. This is typically the time of year for dryland training for the team, minus their annual trip to Mount Hood, Ore., next month.

“Nobody else in Colorado is doing this right now,” Team Summit coach David Culp said of the Copper camp. “It’s been an incredible opportunity for us to train. They’ve taken the time to groom and farm the snow into a lane for us. In the middle of our camp, we even had groomers go back up and go to areas where there was more snow and push it into the thin areas.”

The thin areas consisted of dirt patches skiers had to jump or walk over. The lane of snow, however, was enough to provide the team with gates to practice slalom and giant slalom turns around.

“I think it’s really good,” said Team Summit head coach Rob Worrell. “We’re utilizing every possible inch of snow we have in Colorado to get something done and try to help these kids progress with their skiing skills. We’re working hard.”

Some of the young Team Summit skiers in the camp wished they were selling lemonade or riding their bikes rather than putting their skis back on.

“It’s cruddy snow,” said Team Summit skier Dustin Murray, who made the trip up from Denver to participate in the eight-day camp at Copper. “You have to hike right in the middle of it where the snow ends, you have to take off your skis and walk a little ways. But, given the snow season we had, it’s good to have anything.”

Many of the skiers were taking the opportunity to demo new gear, and the overall goal of the camp is to help maintain ski legs year-round.

“The snow’s not at its best,” said skier Alex Gruber. “But we’re still skiing. As long as we get to ski, that’s the main thing.”

The ribbon of camp snow at Copper is disappearing by the minute, but the ski area will kick off camps again in the fall when it begins blowing snow for the 2002-2003 season.

“We’re really fortunate this way,” Culp said. “It lets us get ahead of our progression and fundamental work we do at Mount Hood. It’s amazing that we have this resource. The kids get to sleep in their own beds, eat mom’s food, and we’re getting a good amount of mileage out of it. It’s more affordable and it shows a great future for Copper. It shows they can do whatever they want. On a good snow year, the potential is tremendous.”

Shauna Farnell can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at sfarnell@summitdaily.com.


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