Clubhouse Chronicles: Training as a Team Amidst COVID-19
This article was originally published in the Aspen Times as part of our column, Clubhouse Chronicles.
It’s hard to believe that a month has passed since we started summer programs. After months of discussion regarding “reopening” at Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club, we welcomed athletes back to our summer training venue, Buttermilk Glacier, June 1 with new safety protocols and procedures.
Our alpine athletes enjoyed three full weeks of drills and gate training on the glacier. Our freestyle and snowboard athletes are still at it, working diligently on their technique and air awareness, repetitively practicing tricks in order to develop the automatic processes necessary to safely take those tricks to snow versus the airbag.
One week after we kicked things off at Buttermilk Glacier, our bike programs started in Crown Mountain Park and have since been able to explore the Roaring Fork Valley from the trails of Prince Creek to the Snowmass Bike Park. Some of our bikers are relatively new, developing foundational skills each day. Others are excited to start competing as soon as we are able.
Most recently, we’ve been able to open the clubhouse doors to a limited number of athletes at a time to complete physical testing and start group strength training. As we head into July, we’re excited to kickoff a new year at AVSC with registration for 2020-2021 programs opening on July 1. While many of our athletes never stop training, summer is a particularly meaningful time as we reset and mentally and physically prepare for the challenges ahead with renewed passion, vigor and focus!
Aside from wearing buffs in June, being a bit more spread out, and sanitizing the airbag, trampoline and other shared equipment before the next athlete steps up, things feel remarkably normal at training. While we realize this summer’s experience is much different than that of past summers, this a sentiment that we do not take for granted!
Over these past few months our team — coaches, administration, athletes, parents and supporters — have been forced to re-imagine what we do. Instead of waiting for things to go back to normal, we’ve embraced our new normal of increased sanitization, mask wearing and distancing. We’re grateful to be at a point where we’re able to bring our teams together. Teamwork is a core value at AVSC.
While athletes can certainly progress in a solo environment, there is immense power in togetherness and shared experiences. Athletes find the courage to tackle the feature on their mountain bike they’ve been worried about after watching a teammate face the challenge head-on. They find the energy for two more box jumps during physical testing when they could have easily justified calling it quits. They take another lap on the glacier without thinking about the fact that it’s almost lunch time.
Beyond this incremental progress, they simply enjoy the camaraderie and liveliness of a group setting.
As always, we are excited to be able to mentor, teach and educate the youth of the valley. We will continue to provide these unique and meaningful opportunities to all the athletes at AVSC despite things being different. We will continue to work to break down barriers to participation, and as we know now more than ever, these opportunities can make an incredible impact in youth development.
There is always room on our team. If you know any young athletes looking to challenge themselves, develop a passion for winter sports, make new friends and benefit from the support of incredible mentors and coaches, send them our way! Registration for our competitive (TEAM) programs starts July 1.
In the meantime, I hope you are finding ways to connect with your own team during what has certainly been a challenging time for all.