The Belmont Hill Alpine Ski season has been off to a rocky start, literally. Due to the lack of snow and unusually warm New England winter, the little snow that has fallen has melted away quickly. So, the on-mountain practices and races that the team would like to have started back in December were instead pushed to late January. Even then, as the uncertainty of the weather persists, what little time for skiing is typically up in the air. In place of on-mountain training, the team has been running “dryland training”, a mix of cardio and strength in order to be best prepared for time on the mountain. While not unusual in years past, Head Coach Feldman mentioned that it was “by far the longest stretch of dryland in [his] twelve years and Coach Trautz’s 20 years in coaching.
Nevertheless, the Alpine team has proven to be resilient, tackling whatever challenge comes their way. As on-mountain tryouts were impossible, and since everyone made the mile benchmark, cuts loomed over everyone’s heads as the season progressed forward. They continued through dryland until Coach Feldman canceled tryouts for the year, stating that, due to their tenacity, “everyone deserves to be a part of the program.” Considering the limits placed on the amount of skiers that could be brought to the mountain each week, Coach Feldman instated a mixed system: part of the team, “primarily younger and less experienced guys”, will rotate through IM sports each week while the rest of the team skis and then switch out with another group the next week.
Joining the team this year are two new coaches: Coach Wallace and Coach Creedon. Coach Wallace comes to Belmont Hill for her first year here after teaching at the Community Charter School in Cambridge. She has ample ski racing experience and brings great first hand knowledge of the sport to the program. Coach Creedon, additionally our Varsity Sailing Coach, also has ski racing experience and is a coach at Loon Mountain in New Hampshire, and so has already met a few of the members of the team before this season. Coach Creedon has a good sense of planning and organization and the team is excited to have him.
Moving forward through the season, the weather will continue to be a limiting factor. Despite the record lows of the recent weekend, the temperatures will continue to be high and racing and practicing will be constrained with low snow levels. Nevertheless, the team was able to have a successful race on Wednesday, February 1st. They raced at Wachusett, a larger course than Nashoba and competed against other ISL teams. Despite such few opportunities, Coach Feldman still “wants each athlete to experience accomplishment and improvement,” since, while ski racing is individual, it still is important to maintain a team atmosphere. The final goals for the team are to be competitive at both the ISL championship and their class at NEPSAC. The Panel wishes good luck to the Alpine Ski Team and the rest of their season.