Steamboat Springs All it takes is a glance at the slopes of Steamboat Ski Area and it seems clear the ski season has come to an end.
But when Deb Armstrong, the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club's competitive Alpine program director, looks at the mountain, she sees something different.
She sees a new beginning and an opportunity for local skiers to step to the next level.
For the first time, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, with the cooperation of Steamboat Ski Area, will offer the Bashor Ski Camp for Alpine racers.
The camp, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, is expected to draw 27 skiers of different ages and abilities. Armstrong said she plans to break the camp down into two sessions each day. The first session, from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., will be for the older skiers. The younger skiers will ski in the afternoon session, which is scheduled to run from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.
"Everybody involved with this camp has gone that extra mile to make sure that it happens," Armstrong said. "The ski area listened to us and then did everything they could to make it happen."
The truth is that this is just one weekend and one camp. It represents a small portion of the off-season training most top-level skiers go through each year to stay competitive on the slopes.
But Armstrong expects the camp to pay off and thinks it's a great opportunity in a time when many parents are faced with making tough choices.
"The economic environment makes it tough on parents right now," Armstrong said. "Normally, our skiers would have to travel for this spring camp to someplace like Summit County or A-Basin. Parents would have to pay for travel expenses, hotel rooms and lift tickets. This way, we get to keep our athletes close to home."
The idea of holding a camp on the slopes of Mount Werner after Steamboat Ski Area closed is not new. Roger Perricone, the manager of competitive services for the ski area, said the idea has been tossed around for several years but that the details had not come together. This year, the senior management team at the ski area worked to make the camp possible. It was too difficult to get a lift open to transfer the skiers up and down the mountain, so a snowmobile will be used for the task.
"This is a small enough group and the slope is short enough that I think we can get it done with snowmobiles," Perricone said. "This is a test. We are going to have to take it one year at a time and see what happens. But we understand how important these camps are to young skiers, and we understand how important it is to keep them close to home." Armstrong and Perricone are excited about the Steamboat camp and the benefits it will bring to skiers. Armstrong said there could be other training sessions later this spring but only if the weather cooperates.
Last week's rain and high temperatures were not great, but Perricone and Armstrong expect the skiing on Bashor to be good this weekend.
"Last year, we had six skiers," Armstrong said about the camp, which was held outside of Steamboat Springs. "This year, it has really grown. That means we are reaching out to more skiers."