The competitive ski-racing season may have ended in April, but the hard work of preparing athletes for the next one is just beginning.
"There are fewer kids hanging out around Howelsen this time of year," said Chris Puckett, the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club's competitive Alpine director. "But it still seems pretty busy to me."
This off-season, Puckett has spent his time attending various meetings, filling out the never-ending flow of reports for regional and national groups and recruiting a few new skiers to the Winter Sports Club's programs.
But in the next few weeks, his time will shift to several off-season training camps designed to give the club's athletes a jump on next season.
The first camp for J-3 and J-4 racers will take place in Copper Mountain from Saturday to May 30.
There also will be camps in Mount Hood, Ore., June 14 to 27; Mammoth Mountain, Calif., June 18 to 29; and in Bariloche, Argentina, July 3 to Aug 16.
Puckett said the camps are popular with the club's elite skiers. Most filled before the competitive season came to an end, and Puckett said he has 30 athletes who plan to make the trip to Argentina in early August.
But those camps will be only a small part of the Winter Sports Club's plan to keep its athletes at the top of their game this summer.
Puckett said the ability program would continue to offer the Breakfast Club -- an accelerated dryland training program designed for enhancing the physical condition of highly motivated ability class skiers. The program includes aerobic, strength, power and core training. Athletes meet four times a week from 6:30 to 8 a.m., and twice a week in the afternoons. Every Thursday after training, the participants of the club have breakfast at Johnny B. Goods.
Puckett said Drew Roberts was a regular at the Breakfast Club just a few years ago. During the past several years, he has been training with the U.S. team and was named to the national team earlier this spring.
"It's a full conditioning camp," Puckett said.
The group meets early in the morning so that the older athletes can continue to hold summer jobs.
For skiers ages 13 and 14, the Winter Sports Club holds a J3 conditioning program.
The program focuses on ski specific conditioning including aerobic, anaerobic, strength, power, flexibility and core training. Morning workouts consist of weights, hikes, runs, interval track work, stretching, games, field work, balance work and much more.
Puckett feels that the camps and off-season training programs are key for skiers striving to improve their skiing results in the winter. He also feels that, to stay competitive, the Winter Sports Club must continue to offer its athletes high-level training on a year-round basis.