Author Archives: John Greaser

Bosquet 2017

Greetings IC Parents,

Bousquet Coaching Staff and a return to winter conditions provided our contingent of IC racers with an efficiently orchestrated race. Several members of our coach cadre, Mac and Doug in particular, stepped forward and contributed additional logistic support to ensure smooth sailing (racing) throughout the day.

Compared to our home-based race, fewer racers, 42 boys and 39 girls, trekked to Bousquet. Non-the-less, our racers were energized and closed out a successful season on the up beat. 17 boys (40% of total) and 14 girls (36%) achieved podium status. An additional 13 girls (70% total) and 11 boys (67% of total) completed their season with top 10 finishes.

Throughout the season our U13-15 racers provided a spark to the overall success of the team. Numerous racers from this class achieved consistent podium status. As a group (8 boys and 3 girls) they have earned the right to advance to Tri State for next season. In terms of age and overall ability prowess, they demonstrated that they are prepared to continue their development within the Tri State system. Bravo!

We also witnessed consistent podium finishes from our 11-12 girls and boys as well. Our coaching staff supports and encourages these racers to consider continuing their technical and tactical advancement at the Tri State level of competition. Parents can check with individual coaches for additional feedback. Potential age limits may be introduced on a league basis for next season stipulating an upper level age cut-off for competition. Stay tuned.

A strong turnout for our annual dual GS challenge provided a vigorous and enthusiastic ending to our race season. Thanks to everyone, racers, staff and parents who participated. As is typically the case, the smorgasbord was superb. Hopefully everyone savored the home-style waffle selection provided by the Dohr family.

In parting here are a few pearls of wisdom gleaned from the book, Mastery… by George Leonard:

“We fail to realize that mastery is not about perfection. It’s about a process, a journey. The master is the one who stays on the path day after day, year after year. The master is the one who is willing to try, and fail, and try again, for as long as he or she lives. When your’re climbing a mountain, in other words, be aware that the peak is ahead, but don’t keep looking up at it. Keep your eyes on the path. And when you reach the top of the mountain (podium, finish line, promotion, etc.), as the Zen saying goes, keep on climbing.”

Please share with your racers.

Regards,

John Greaser

Otis Recap

Greetings,

The excursion to the Otis SL race was attended by fewer Catamount racers (39 total) than the average turnout to this competition for the past several seasons. Do in part of course because our U8s were held in lock down at our home base. However, the day turned out to be productive for the contingent of Catamount racers who competed. Although the course set was quite cut and dry, surface conditions presented a stimulating challenge. In spite of this factor, our racers, determined as always, deciphered tactics to pass this test. A few miscalculations culminated in a total of 9 faults (DSQs & DNFs) for the two combined runs. Quite minuscule when tabulated across a total of 78 runs for our racers. Percentage wise this total amounts to 0.1%

Trips to the podium were well represented by Cat racers. Nine girls (43% of total) raced to top 5 finishes. Another 5 girls joined the podium finishers to expand results to top 10 achievements (67% of total). Boys were equally represented on the podium with 7 top honors (39% of total). Seven additional teammates earned top 10 finishes (78% of total). Mathew Glatt, who is on his way to Pische finals, added another “fastest boy” title to his dossier for the season.

With one remaining race, Bousquet GS, one of our goals should be to increase representation for this event. Our racers have demonstrated grit, tenacity, perseverance, and a desire to improve their racing prowess throughout the season. They should have the opportunity to show case their efforts and hard work. Weather permitting, two runs are scheduled for this final competition. All Aboard!

Regards,

John Greaser

Catamount Race Report

Greetings,

Headed for the annals of alpine ski racing, February 5, 2017, will be heralded  as a banner day on all fronts. Our course crew had the course set and ready for inspection by 8:30, missing gate judges accounted for and in place for the first run, forerunners at the start area and on course by 9:00, timing system fully operationally after a day of trial-and-error on Saturday, coaches and racers ready to go for a 9:10 first run start, no delays impeding a second run, parents cheering section fired up, Dohr family antelope stew simmering and savored by many, no protests filed, results tabulated and ready for coach review in record setting time (thanks Glen and company), award ceremony capping the end of an exciting and fun-filled day, families safely heading home with several hours of day light to navigate by.

Catamount’s IC attendance of 115 racers surpassed the previous record which stood at 105 competitors; both records were set at our home course.   Sixty two boys and 53 girls accepted the formidable GS challenge.  Aside for a few minor lapses, Catamount racers finished clean and unscathed from their experience.

Trips to the podium were equally represented by our girl and boy teams.  A total of 31 racers (29%) earned this recognition;16 girls (30%) and 15 boys (24%) respectively.  An additional 28 competitors (59 total or 51%)  turned up the heat and raced to top 10 finishes.  Separated by gender, 31 girls (58% of their total) and 28 boys (45%) demonstrated that they posses the requisite skills to advance up the ranks and avoid playing second fiddle to any and all challengers.

An equal number of classes exist for girls (7) and boys (7).  In other words, there is the opportunity for 14 racers to reach the top rung (first place honors) in their respective divisions (U7 thru U13/15).  Ten Catamount racers effectively managed their resources, e.g., attitudes, skills and tactics and definitively earned the accolade of first place  finisher.  Viewed in other terms, Catamount racers were only 29% shy of completing a sweep of first place finishes.

Posting the 2 fastest combined efforts for the day were celebrated by Catamount racers.  On the boys side of the ledger, U12 Ryan O’Claffy’s  execution  of combined skills and effort accomplished this feat.  The Glatt Bros were on a mission and close in pursuit to attain the honor.  Sydney Dohr persevered and out performed the remaining field of girls to claim overall recognition.

Training attendance and our team’s work ethic has been impeccable this season.  Factors such as these contribute to the overall enthusiasm and team achievements.  Bravo!

“If there were an instrument by which to measure desire, one could foretell achievement”-
Willa Cather

Regards,
John Greaser

Butternut Race Report

Greetings,
 
Catamount racers kicked off, or more appropriately, kicked out of the start gate with a contingent of 97 competitors at the first race of the season. This total far surpasses any previous turnout for the season’s opener.  Fifty one boys and 46 girls were up for the challenge provided by Butternut’s GS course.  29 (30% of total) racers earned top 5 recognition.  When separated by gender, honors go to 17 girls  (37%) and 12 boys (24%) respectively.  Girls managed to place a team member from each age bracket (total of 7) on top of the podium.  Boys secured a podium rung in 6 out of their 7 brackets.  
 
When extending our focus to top 10 finishes, our racers demonstrated parity with 25 girls and 24 boys respectively achieving this status (49 total or 51%).
 
Vying for a sweep of top 5 finishes in the girls division were U8s and U12s.  Four racers from each bracket landed on the podium.  On the boy’s side, U13-15s narrowly missed a top five sweep with 3 podium qualifiers.
 
The day was fault free with 0 DNFS and DQS. 
 
Over the past several years, Catamount racers have consistently captured honors for the fastest time of the day.  Matthew Glatt kept the tradition alive by posting the fastest boy’s time of the day.
 
Koodos to coaches and parents for the ongoing support and commitment to make IC 2016-17 race season another successful one.  Rain, sleet, sparse cover, you name it, our race family has demonstrated that perseverance and an optimistic attitude can over come adversity.  Across all age groups, our racers have demonstrated improvement in both their technical prowess and tactical race savy.  Looking forward to another record setting attendance for our home race.
 
Regards,
 
John Greaser

Otis Ridge 2016

On 2/21/16 Catamount IC racers, minus 7 and under boys and girls, traveled to Otis Ridge to compete in the season’s only SL race.  In the absence of  our “rippers,”  61 Catamount racers (30 boys and 31 girls) charged out of the start gate.  Our racer’s start mechanics noticeably demonstrated improvement having spent time with coaches drilling and refining this aspect of  their game.  As normally is the case, Otis SL presented technical and tactical challenges for competitors.  A total of 58 competitors experienced hurdles (DSQs and DNFs).   Although not a surprise,  eighteen faults were experienced by 8 year olds.  Overall, however,  Catamount 8s fared better than their age group competitors.  Faults appear to be distributed evenly between girls and boys.

Well in spite of a topsie-turvey day,  Catamount racers secured a respectable number of trips to the podium.  Nine top 5 finishes were achieved by our girls (30  % of our total girls).  Of the combined 20 top 5 slots for the day,  eleven boys accomplished the climb up the podium (37  % of boys total).  Close to 60% (36 total), completed the 2 runs with times that earned  top 10 rankings.  Girls edged out boys with 19.  Boys fell short of this number by two.  Racers definitely had to be in the zone to reach this pinnacle.

For the second race in a row, timing issues did not did not surface.  We can extend a thank you to Catamount’s “timing team,”  Lindsy, Adam and Steve, who were recruited by Otis to assure the process ran smoothly.

Coming off a respectable outing at Otis, our IC team headed to Bousquet with U7s in tow;  or should we say the U7s headed to Bousquet with the balance of the team in tow.  The last race of the season typically draws fewer racers and families.  At both the Otis and Bousquet venues our numbers were considerably fewer than our season high of 100 registered at Catamount’s home race.  Thirty nine boys and 36 girls were challenged with Bousquet’s diverse course.  However, with softer surface conditions, our racers negotiated the pitch with comfort and finesse. 

Catamount racers, as they have throughout the season, demonstrated their prowess by capturing a substantial number of top 5 finishes.  Our girls secured 12 top fives, or 33% of their total participants.  Whereas 15 boys, or 38% of total earned a berth on the podium.  Stretching results out to top 10 finishes, 21 of our girls, or 58% of total,  achieved this honor.  Catamount boys etched thier mark in the snow with 25 top 10 finishes, or 66% of total.  Our boys earned bragging rights by out racing fellow competitors to Number 1 rankings in six of the seven divisions.

Coming into the Bousquet race, our U7 boys podium streak was on the line.  By the end of the day, however, the sweep was still alive.  Our 7 year old boys walked up to the podium with their fourth consecutive, and unprecedented, top 5 sweep.  A superb culmination and exclamation mark to a rewarding and safe race season.

Thanks to dedicated mentoring from coaches, an operations  crew that faced weekly challenges to provide us with skiable terrain, along with up-beat attitudes from our racers, Catamount IC completed another successful race season.  Thanks  also to our parents and everyone who persevered to over come the unusual winter conditions.  We are more accustomed to driving to-and-from race venues in winter storms not on rain soaked road surfaces.  Bravo! 

Addendum:  Answering the Call, AKA A Hero’s Journey

Starting out on a journey to become a ski racer begins by answering a “Call”.”  The invitation to adventure comes in many forms: encouragement from a parent or significant relative, desire to follow in the footsteps of an elder sibling, or aspirations to become the next Bodie, Sarah, Ted, Lindsay, etc.  The candidate might be hesitant at first to answer, but once the bug is caught, he/she crosses  a threshold where a return to the ho hum life without ski racing no longer seems quite as appealing.

Once the candidate begins the journey she/he is confronted with many trials and challenges.  The aspiring racer soon learns that comfort associated with the “wedge”  will only impede and not advance progress.  New skills must be learned; tipping and rolling ankles and knees, hands/elbows up and forward, parallel stance (what’s that),  pressure and edge the outside ski, engage the inside one to compliment the outside (what do you mean by that)  shoulders square and looking ahead to the next turn ( well I’d rather look down at my ski tips if you don’t mind).

As did Luke Sky walker,  the aspiring racer will enter a “dark cave” and face many challenges, obstacles and tricksters, such as course setters who set goofy courses.  He/she will soon learn that the bunny hill is off limits except for one-ski training.  Although groomed slopes will be skied from time-to-time, the racer will more often be exposed to clumps of mixed glop, and yes “Ice.”  While in the cave the racer will be introduced to GS and SL courses not necessarily to their liking, and did I say “Ice”  at every gate.  Coaches will make certain that the racer is especially exposed to less than ideal conditions at the first 2 gates over the pitch of the Catamount slope.  The racer will consistently be presented the difference between early and late so that their understanding will assist them in arriving early for every appointment for the rest of their life.  While battling monsters in the cave, the candidate may be tempted to cross further to the dark side and enter the “park zone” or consider joining forces with the “shredders.”  He/she will be dissuading from such temptations.

At first the discovered progression and evolution may seem a bit intimidating and counter intuitive to the aspiring racer’s way of thinking.  We understand and will help them assimilate and sort out the barrage of new information, and temper concerns.  They will form alliances with mentors, namely coaches, and allies (buddies) who will share in negotiating the peaks and valleys of the journey. 

Candidates will methodically work their way out of the cave.  The “Hero’s Journey”  is a special calling and those who are willing to “take up the sword” and persist in the  ordeal will be transformed into a confident adventurer (alpine ski racer).  The rewards are many.  Improved technical skills along with an enhanced understanding of how to apply them tactically to their advantage in a race course will serve them well in competition; especially at the infamous Otis SL.  Each aspiring ski racer will forge their own trail.  Some will continue to take their development to the college level.  All participants will however have discovered  life-long appreciation of the Tao of Skiing.  The process will certainly be repeated in many adventures yet to be experienced.

 

Regards,

John

Catamount Race Summary

What a difference a week can make, especially in the Yin-Yang world of IC Ski Racing. A week ago at Butternut we were struggling to keep our composure and focus on the “Tao of Ski Racing.” Timing issues galore interrupted the smooth transition between boys’ and girls’ classes. We are not completely certain as to why two courses were necessary. At Catamount, we make no distinctions between U7s and U14s when it comes to setting courses. We do not designate terrain for U7s only. The Catamount race bares testament to our younger racers’ up and coming racing prowess. If they can manage the terrain during a grueling training session, they earn the right to race “IT.” In comparison, Butternut terrain falls way short of Catamount’s degree of difficulty, yet younger racers were assigned a less challenging course to race. What lesson did we take away from the Butternut experience? For one, whatever road we travel , it’s a good idea to know when Yang is upsetting our Yin and vice versa.

Not wanting to dwell any longer on Butternut , I feel the Tao is encouraging us to move toward the light. The light being Catamount Race Day. For the first time this season, one hundred enthusiastic Catamount IC racers entered the start gate. My tally sheet indicates that 51 boys and 49 girls respectively demonstrated their ever-improving race skills, techniques and strategies. After a challenging training day on Saturday, on less than favorably conditions, some members of the coaching staff were experiencing aggida in anticipation of questionable surface conditions for race day. Oh contraire, conditions couldn’t had been any better. The night groomers laid down a beautiful carpet, the course setting crew set a line to our racers’ delight, and our racers responded with glee as they performed admirably. No timing issues; Lindsy made sure of that. Ski patrol positioned on their ready alert, and when needed for assistance responded with no hesitation. It was a joy to watch IC graduates forerun the course. Coaches ever present with encouragement for their racers. Parents volunteering in all capacities; you betcha. Thanks Peter. Prompt tabulation of results, Oh Yea! The race was completed with plenty of reserve time to allow families to travel to their destination and root for the Jets or Patriots. What a day!

A number of patterns across age classes are beginning to surface between races. In each of our races to date, Cat U7 boys have attained quite an unprecedented accomplishment. They have secured the top 5 spots in every race. Several other classes have come close to sweeping the podium also. Our interclub league is divided into 14 classes; 7 classes for girls and 7 for boys. Over the course of the past two races, Cat racers have earned 7 first place finishes at each race. In other words, 50% of the first place honors have been bestowed upon Cat team members. Our racers accumulated a total of 26 top 5 podium spots for the day, boys 16 and girls 10. Stretching the results out to top 10 achievements we note that a total of 47 racers, or close to 50% sizzled through the course. 27 boys and 20 girls skied fast enough to make it to this bracket. Very few faults, DNF/DSQ, were recorded for the day.

We have two bye weeks and then back-to-back races to complete the 2016 season. We will shift gears over the course of the next several weeks and begin preparation for the Otis SL and Bousquet Combi. Thanks for the continued support. A few more snow events would be nice.

Regards,
John Greaser

Blandford 2015

Greetings IC parents,

Perseverance triumphed over ideal training conditions leading up to our initial race for the 2016 season. Results can be categorized as incredible, no phenomenal. Catamount parents accompanied a total of 76 racers to Blandford. In attendance were an even number of boys and girls; 38 each. Results from this race surpass any opening race day in the past 15 years; or any previous race during this period.

A total of 27 racers, 36%, powered their way to podium recognition (i. e., top 5 places). On this day, boys led the charge with 16 top five finishes, or 42% of their total, and girls captured 11 top five spots, or 29% of their respective total. Working our way down the depth chart, we can observe that numbers are even more impressive. Catamount racers commandeered 43 top 10 finishes, or 57% of our racers achieved this result. Slicing the pie into smaller pieces, we see that 20 girls or 53%, competed ski-to-ski tip with our boys. Boys added 7 additional racers to round out their total of 23 top tens. Viewed in another light, 61% of our boys raced to a top 10 finish.

From a group perspective, top honors are bestowed upon our boys 7 & U class. The podium was a canvas of Catamount racers for this class. Several additional racers within this group “edged” their way into a top 10 finish. Girls class 11 and boys age 10 are close behind. But for now, boys 7 & U rule!

Yes results occupy our attention, and rightfully so. But the racer who shows up for training with a smile and returns for a 2nd run in spite of falling short of his/her expectation for the 1st run deserves equal attention and recognition. Skill improvement and acknowledgement of a racer’s effort to refine their skills remain a priority of our program. This aspect of the learning process can be molded and influence race results. We continue to emphasize this aspect of ski racing over achieving a particular result. Attitude counts.

Regards,

John Greaser

Blandford Recap

Greeting IC Parents,

I trust our initial race for this season was rewarding for your “race family.”  Blandford, the Host Mountain,  provided a superb race venue.  As was apparent, they have been struggling to retain snow as most areas in Southern New England have witnessed thus far.  Surface conditions held up well for both morning and afternoon runs.  As a result, very few errors were committed by Catamount racers, as was the case  for racers in general.  Every Catamount racer deserves a pat on the shoulder and a hug for the smiles and positive attitude they brought to the race venue.

A big thank you is in order for our IC coaches  for their commitment in assisting your racers’ preparation for the Blandford race.  Given the lean snow conditions thus far, and minimal training opportunities to date,  our coaches also deserve a tap on the shoulder and a hug as well.  More to come regarding the results from Blandford.

Regards,
John Greaser