It was 98 degrees in Eastern Oregon and we were driving to go skiing. Who am I kidding? Skiing in July?
It was the summer of 2008 and my boys were headed to Summer Ski Camp with Ted Ligety on Mount Hood. Our ski club was small, and while many other clubs choose to rent a lane on Mount Hood and train together as a team, ski camp for our club was optional.
Going to camp turned out to be a great experience for our boys and for me. They learned a lot about racing, I got to ski in July with a friend, and we all had an Oregon vacation. Not bad!
Here’s the deal:
1. Timberline, the highest resort on Mount Hood is a big-time ski racing destination. The Palmer Snowfield is open almost year ’round and race clubs and ski teams from around the world train at Timberline.
2. There are a lot of options. Summer Ski Camp with Ted Ligety is not the only camp in town. For example, Mt. Hood Summer Ski Camps and National Alpine Ski Camp offer summer race training. Other camps such as Windells have a freestyle emphasis.
We chose Summer Ski Camp with Ted Ligety because:
(a) We knew other skiers who had attended it the year before and had a positive experience.
(b) One of my sons was below their minimum age for overnight campers, but they were willing to work with me so that I could bring the boys as day campers. The camp staff was super-flexible and included not only my boys, but also me, in all their activities.
While older kids might have been embarassed to have a mom around (and would go to camp on their own anyway) we enjoyed sharing the experience and I enjoyed getting to know the camp staff and coaches.
(c) The camp is small, with a target racer to coach ratio of 5:1 (and it is sometimes even a lower ratio), although campers are not assigned to just one coach. They get the benefit of working with all the coaches as they train for both giant slalom and slalom.
(d) We had the option of attending for two weeks or only one week. Since this was our first year, we opted to attend the second week and the staff fully integrated the boys into the program with no problems. The two weeks are essentially structured in the same manner with one day of freeskiing, two days of GS and two days of slalom.
(e) Ted Ligety would be one of the coaches! How cool is that? To get racing tips from the 2006 Olympic Alpine Combined Gold Medalist? Other coaches included top-ranked collegiate champions and current and former US Ski Team athletes.
This year, 2011, Ted will coach the first week and Andrew Weibrecht, the 2010 Olympic Bronze Medalist, in Super G will coach the second week.
3. Camp is not just about skiing. It is an Oregon outdoor experience. I can’t speak for the other camps, but in our experience with Summer Ski Camp with Ted Ligety the mornings were dedicated to gate training and drills. The afternoons were dedicated to activities such as pick up soccer games, hiking to breathtaking waterfalls, cliff jumping into the deep and cold Hood River and rafting on the Deschutes River.
Many of the campers were from the East Coast (and now I understand some are coming from as far away as Europe), but even for us westerners, some of these experiences were pretty exotic.
Yes, my family river rafts, but cliff jumping into a Colorado river? In Oregon, they would call what we have in the Rockies a creek. This is big water and the cliff jumping was so much fun that we stopped back at the river on our way home from camp, just to do it again.
Driving back to Colorado, again in 98 degree heat in Eastern Oregon, we talked a lot about ski camp. Both boys loved it and said they would go back. Within the next year however, both boys got more serious about hockey and decided to become freeskiers instead of ski racers so that they could play hockey in the winter.
But our memories of Summer Ski Camp with Ted Ligety are still positive. As a mom, I completely recommend the program. I saw visible improvement in my kids’ ski racing. In addition, the coaching is great, the scenery gorgeous and, it’s where I got my name….The Brave Ski Mom.
When You Go….
Choosing a summer camp for your children is a personal decision. While Summer Ski Camp with Ted Ligety was highly recommended to us, I spent some time on the phone with ski camp staff asking questions, hammering out logisitics and just trying to get a handle on whether or not my kids would fit into the program. Ski camp is not cheap and you want to make sure it will be a good fit for your racer.
If you have special circumstances, as we did, with an underage camper, find out how willing the camp will be to work with you and whether they will be any changes in the fees. If there are changes in the fees, find out up front exactly what is covered and what is not. Everyone will be much happier if communication is clear.
The dates for Summer Ski Camp with Ted Ligety for 2011 are June 25-July 7, 2011. It is a two-week camp again this year, with Ted coaching June 25 – July 1 and Andrew Weibrecht coaching July 1 – July 7. Campers can attend one or both weeks depending upon availability.
For more information check out the Summer Ski Camp with Ted Ligety website. Register and pay your deposit before April 26 and receive a $100 discount.
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