Top freestylers train Team Summit at A-Basin |

Top freestylers train Team Summit at A-Basin

CAITLIN ROWsummit daily newsSummit County, CO Colorado
Summit Daily/Eric Drummond

ARAPAHOE BASIN – In 2001, 14-year-old Pat Deneen’s hunger for skiing couldn’t be fed locally. So, he packed his bags and his father drove him cross-country from his Snoqualmie Pass home in Washington State to Summit County for early season training with well-known freestyle coach John Dowling. Deneen and his father spent two pre-seasons (November and December) living in a camper at Copper Mountain’s parking lot because, as Deneen put it, “Dowling knows skiing.” “He’s task oriented,” he added. “It’s not often that you find that in a program. … I was getting serious with skiing and required early season training. I couldn’t get it anywhere else.”Seven years later, Deneen, current FIS World Cup rookie of the year, is back in Summit County to work as a guest coach with Dowling’s Team Summit Spring Mogul Camps at A-Basin.

“Everybody knows who Team Summit is in the freestyle world,” Deneen said. “I came to help John,” he added. “It’s really good for skiers to coach other skiers. You learn a lot about the sport.”Coach Dowling’s fifth Team Summit spring freestyle camp began Saturday, each day starting at A-Basin’s A-Frame with video and instructors’ daily plans. Both Deneen and Joe Discoe, another top-rated mogul skier, are assisting Dowling in coaching participants, ranging from youth to adult. Other coaches include Chris Carson and Whitney Henceroth (Team Summit and U.S. Development). Skiers from around the Rocky Mountain Division, as well as from the eastern and far west regions, have participated in past camps and, according to Dowling, some regulars participate year after year.”Camps usually feature a specific technical/tactical concept that we demonstrate through video analysis of top runs from the year,” Dowling said. “We then devise and implement a series of drills and exercises that work on developing the pertinent skills and movements. We run a lot of video on-hill and review progression.”

Coaches and athletes meet in the morning to review files from the U.S. Nationals and the World Cup, Dowling said, defining specific tactics that top skiers use like isolation of movement and having an organic form. Then, athletes hit the mountain, running drills on a full course built specifically for the training. Primary on-hill concepts covered during camp include balance, turn concepts, mobility and timing. Attention is also paid to freestyle tactics and competition preparation.”The conditions at the Basin are perfect for mogul training,” Dowling said. “There’s all kinds of skiing opportunities that might not be available at other camps.”Previous guest coaches include Team Summit alumni David Babic (U.S. national champ ’06) and Heather McPhie (World Cup rookie of the year ’06).

“Every year we try to keep it fresh and bring in new perspectives,” Dowling said. Camp is $50 per day and each registrant must have a USSA license. It will culminate on Sunday with a judged competition at A-Basin, free to campers but open to all. Camp athletes will go over competition techniques and strategies with coaches before competition. Registration will take place upstairs in the A-Frame on Sunday, 8 a.m. Athletes not participating in camps must pay a fee to compete in one of three different categories: youth, senior and veteran. Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 688-4633 or at,

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