Dear Team Summit Alpine Ability, Age Class and SRD Parents; Full-Time Academy Athletes and Interested Parties:
This season has been interesting, to say the least. The year was challenging in many ways. Athletes, parents and coaches were required to be better organized, more self-reliant and flexible. In some ways, the season was better than ever.
The benefits of day tripping to races, having more events at home and close to home, multiple races in one day and other necessary adjustments resulted in many cost and time savings and improved efficiencies in the competition calendar. Racing levels were appropriate for each age group and ability level providing all athletes the opportunity to compete and validate their efforts in training with improvements and progress in races. With some exceptions, the total number of race opportunities in each age group were normal or near-normal and even increased for some.
From a training standpoint, Team Summit athletes benefitted from exceptional opportunities through the support of our resort partners at Copper, Keystone and Breckenridge. Our season began successfully in October and after the final races wrap up, training camps start up again in May and June right in our back yard.
Resort support was at a new level this season with the exemptions made from the public reservation systems for our athletes to train and compete and the dedication of indoor spaces, when needed, for our younger athletes. We all learned to cope with being outside all day, managing our energy, warmth, hydration and nutrition in ways we weren’t forced to before.
With races being nearly exclusively on weekdays increased pressure was placed on students to keep up with school in order to receive the privilege of time off to compete. Some difficult, yet important, lessons were learned as a result. Weekday racing also increased responsibilities on our coaching staff causing many to work 7 days a week for periods of time. Our coaches maintained their enthusiastic attitude, passion for the sport and compassion for the athletes throughout it all. We’re indebted to and appreciative of the efforts of our coaching staff throughout the season!
ORGANIZATION AND COMMUNICATION
An area of opportunity for improvement in the Alpine Program is communication. While we recognized the importance for timely and accurate information and calendars, we dropped the ball on several occasions. Our members (athletes and their parents) were up to the task of significantly greater responsibility of registering intent for training and races, following through on race entries, executing releases and completing sometimes multiple health checks for the same day. Thank you! Team Snap was implemented to help with this communication and, over time, we all became more competent at using it.
What we did not recognize until late in the season was that the informal communication to share progress, receive feedback and build relationships were lost as we no longer had those beginning of day, end of day, alongside the race course or finish line conversations. Adding to this, we were late or in some cases entirely missed formal goal setting and in-season evaluations. This clearly left many feeling out of touch and under informed. For this I take sole responsibility and apologize for falling short of expectations.
As we approach the end of this season and nearly immediately begin the next with camps and summer conditioning for the older athletes, the coaching staff is working on completing year-end evaluations and distributing them the middle of this month. After your review, please feel free to reach out with questions or for discussion. We are planning to implement a regular “check-in” process for next year to improve in this critical area.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
While there were a number of individual quarantines, the infections among our athletes and their immediate families were few and, thankfully, relatively mild. Most importantly, during this public health crisis, our team activities were not identified as a source of transmission. Thanks to our Team Summit Community’s diligence following protocols, adhering to guidance from US Ski and Snowboard and our host resorts and the personal responsibility of our athletes, families and coaches we were not subject to any team quarantines.
With widespread testing, vaccines becoming more readily available to individuals as young as 16 and the beginning of moderating some restrictions, the hope is that we will be able to put this health crisis behind us in the near future.
At the same time, the realities of new variants, renewed lock downs in parts of the world, increasing case counts and the possibility of additional surges keep us needing to be vigilant. We must maintain best health practices while we continue to grapple with operating our programs in a “new normal”.
Our health protocols will continue into the spring and summer, or longer until the “all clear” sounds. Camps and training will remain physically distanced and congregation will not be allowed. Indoor settings will be avoided. This summer, we will offer age group appropriate conditioning that utilizes outdoor settings.
After much interest last spring, Copper Mountain is offering lane training space during May and June. Due to the quality of spring training and the high demand for space, Team Summit is subject to the same costs for training space and lift access as visiting teams. Costs for training space, lift access and salt are budgeted and included in camp fees. Coaching costs are included in season long program fees and not added to camp fees.
For our on-snow camp in Mt. Hood, there will be no group transportation or accommodations offered. Published protocols for Summer ’21 at Timberline have not changed from what was in place in Summer ’20. The camp will be again organized as a “Day Camp” with group on snow activities only.
We are tentatively planning a return to the Stelvio Glacier in Italy with our FIS, U16 and select U14 athletes. While we are not sure whether travel to Italy will be possible or what the requirements will be, we should assume that a negative COVID test and proof of vaccination will be required. In this instance, we will offer group accommodations and meals and to the greatest extent possible, create a “bubble” for our two week camp.
There will not be any new non-member access to Team Summit May or June training camps in Copper.
Camps in May are available to Team Summit athletes registered for either 2020-21 or 2021-22 programs.
Camps in June are only available to Team Summit athletes accepted for 2021-22 programs.
August Camps in Mt. Hood and Stelvio, Italy are open to limited number of non-members at a cost that includes coaching fee.
Detailed camp information, costs and registration is now available here:https://teamsummit.org/camp
Meetings at the national, regional and divisional level for next season are beginning in the next several weeks. There will be much discussion around evaluating the things that were implemented this past season and whether some of these will be long term initiatives to progress the sport for the future. With no certainty of what health risks and protocols will be, planning will be with the current situation in mind and perhaps a Plan “B” for when we return to a “new normal”.
As an Alpine Program, we saw substantial increases in the number of Full-Time athletes in our Academy Programs and increased enrollments in our entry level programs. Some of our programs already exceeded our ideal program size.
Maintaining an appropriate size is critically important in order to nurture the desired club culture, improve interest and accessibility within our community and enhance personal and athletic outcomes for our members. There is a delicate balance between growth and the increased revenue that helps our programs become sustainable and self-funding and growth that stretches resources resulting in a need for additional resources (coaches, training space, administrators, equipment, etc.).
With this in mind, the Alpine Leadership will review the ideal program numbers this spring and limit program size now and into the future.
Our goal is to continue the club atmosphere were all members are part of one club, sharing the same resources and responsibilities; and not siloed into increasingly narrow slivers. By covering critical responsibilities with a minimum number of Full-Time seasonal staff and supplementing daily needs with Part-Time daily staff, we can control costs, improve accessibility and increase quality.
Team Summit Colorado is increasingly attractive to families from outside our community seeking opportunities to support the athletic passions of their young athletes. Our nearly 8 month on-snow season, supportive resorts, excellent training, density of racing and exposure to national teams from around the world ensure there is no better place anywhere in the world to aspire to be a ski racer.
Every young athlete who has already joined our program or is growing up in our nearby communities should have access to this opportunity. Our goal is to continue to have a club with a wide range of interests and abilities where the common thread is passion for the sport and the desire to improve. We are determined to be inclusive of those just starting out and athletes aspiring to and on track to becoming professionals in our sport.
In support of this philosophy, our priority is to existing members, new local and Colorado families followed by commitments to new out of state athletes. We will be mindful of program size limits both for the upcoming season and the future as racers advance through age groups in the program.
Enrollment is open now for the 2021-22 programs by logging into Campminder. Please be sure to select 2021 as the season. Payment of the Volunteer / Work Deposit fee is required to reserve a program spot for next year. Program fees will be finalized by approval of the board on April 16 and will be posted in Campminder the following day. Fees are expected to increase around 3% for Full-Time Programs.
Registrations will be considered for approval on the following rolling schedule to ensure that all current members have the opportunity to re-enroll:
Beginning April 17 - Returning athletes enrolling in Full-Time Programs (Age Class, U16 and FIS Academy, PG)
Beginning April 27 - Returning athletes enrolling in Part-Time Programs (Age Class U10, U12 and U14, Ability Part-Time)
Beginning May 7 - New Colorado athletes enrolling in Full-Time or Part-Time Programs
Beginning May 17 - New out of state athletes enrolling in Full-Time or Part-Time Programs
Thank you to all for your patience, understanding and support throughout the past twelve months. Somehow, we were able to keep the wheels on and rolling (for the most part)! The athletes made enormous progress whether that was evident in race performance or still under the surface building momentum for next season. Most of all, the coaching staff appreciated the opportunity to be part of supporting the passion and dreams of our athletes.
Please reach out to any of us to catch-up, with questions or for any reason whatsoever!
TEAM SUMMIT COLORADO
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