Thursday, September 20, 2007
Steamboat Springs The first winter storm still could be weeks away, but that hasn't stopped several Steamboat Springs High School athletes from getting a jump on the ski season.
"Skiing is one of the only sports with a flexible starting date," Alpine ski coach Chad Bowdre said. "We officially kicked off our season last Monday with a dry-land training session."
Seven skiers showed up for the first practice, but Bowdre is confident those numbers will grow long before the snow starts to fly in the Steamboat Springs area. He said many of the skiers still are playing soccer and running with the Sailors' cross-country team.
Bowdre said the early start allows the skiers to get the required number of practices in before the first competition and also will help get them into shape before they hit the snow for training in November to prepare for December competitions.
"I didn't make it to the first practice, but I plan on being there next Monday," Alpine skier Sarah Dixson said. The junior said she isn't too concerned about getting enough practices in before the first races of the season, but wants to start back with the team because it's fun.
"I just want to be a team player," Dixson said.
The team aspect of skiing is something Bowdre will stress this season. He said getting the athletes together earlier allows them to form stronger bonds.
"I'll have a better idea of how strong this team is going to be in mid-November," Bowdre said. "But we held an informal meeting this fall, and if all the skiers who said they were interested show up, it looks like we will be pretty solid this season."
The high school ski season consists of six Alpine and six Nordic races held at different ski areas across the state from December through February. This year's high school skiing championships are scheduled to take place in Steamboat Springs on Feb. 21 and 22. The Sailors also hosted the event in 2003.
Bowdre said the team practices at 3:45 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays. Interested athletes can show up at practice or call Bowdre at 291-9100.