Newbs to Olympic Athletes
Everyone has to start somewhere. Why not start at the best place? Copper Mountain pumps out winter athletes like nobody’s business. We take beginner racers and riders and transform them into rippin’ machines.
on October 30, 2011
Newbs to Olympic Athletes
Most people think entering ski and snowboard competitions sounds too intense for their liking. Maybe it’s the speed suits. If you’re thinking about those International Ski Federation (FIS) racers you see on TV, then you’re abso-LUTELY right. But 99.9 percent of racers aren’t at that professional level…yet.
Copper offers some killer training programs right here in Summit County. The best part is you don’t have to wait for college to join a club to destroy it down the mountain. If you think the best years of racing are behind you, think again pessimistic-Peggy!
Paul Krahulec, the Racing and Events Coordinator at Copper Mountain's, main goal is to give racers the best competition experience possible. Whether it’s the Colorado School of Mines, USASA, USSA, or the Australia International Team, Copper’s Race Department treats all their events like the U.S. Grand Prix. “We bust out all the stops, even for the kidos,” says Krahulec. The coaches at Copper work with some of the best racers in the county, along with some novice racers that are just learning the ropes. “We're all working on our turns out here. What better way to master your craft than competing? It’s never too late to work on your edge control, rotations, or ankle flection,” explains Krahulec.
Entering training programs and competitions are an awesome way make friends, hang-out on the mountain, and talk some serious smack. Copper Mountain's Village Race Series is the longest running race league in Summit County. Friends, co-workers, and individuals come out every Thursday and try to beat the clock. The Village Race Series provides weekly races and ends with a little fiesta afterwards. You just might hear the winner bragging to the bodacious babes at Jack’s, après-ski. Last place usually gets bamboozled into buying the first round!
Krahulec also serves as the Director of the United States of America Snowboard Association's (USASA) Rocky Mountain Series. Historically, Rocky Mountain Series riders flood the podium at the USASA National Championship, put on right here at Copper. Some riders compete to beat the best in the county while some just want to have fun.
"I competed in a ton of USASA contests... I always got dead last, I don’t think I ever got 1 medal... but it’s fun and you get to meet people, and ride good jumps! It’s all about just entering, don’t worry about the rest."
The list of athletes USASA has produced over the years is pretty boss. Here are some names of the USASA alumni you might recognize:
- Shaun White
- Hannah Teter
- Danny Kass
- Kelly Clark
- Ross Powers
- Gretchen Bleiler
- Seth Westcott
- Lindsey Jacobellis
- Andy Finch
- Eddie Wall
- Louie Vito
- Danny Davis
“If you pick up a free-skiing or snowboard magazine, chances are the people in the pictures started here,” says Krahulec. Copper offers training programs in most events: alpine racing, boardercross, skiercross, halfpipe, and slopestyle. Copper will be training for the newest FIS and 2014 Winter Olympics event, parallel slalom (PSL). “If it’s on the snow, then we got it," says Krahulec.
Best of all, Copper is proud to be the home mountain for the U.S. Ski Team. With a world class ski-training facility to call home, it’s no surprise that Ted Ligety and Lindsey Vonn finished first in the World Cup opener this past week in Sölden, Austria. “In the end, we’re offering more than just a competitive venue. We’re creating memories, friendships, and passion of winter sports.”