the north face tent mules Dedication to ski team pays off
A series of cold fronts passed through this week, significantly improving ski conditions, but before we get to that, here’s the concluding piece about the Santa Fe ski team.
“Skiing is something you can do your whole life and it’s a most exciting way to find out who you are; that is what we concentrate on,” says Santa Fe Ski Team head coach Hubert Seigmann. “Our idea is to keep the opportunities here, and with the help of the UNM ski program we are building our own success track.”
One local skier he can point to is 16 year old Yanick Schlenzig, who has been on the team since he was 9. Now living in Albuquerque, Schlenzig makes the drive to the team’s home at Sipapu every weekend for training, but his dedication is paying off. A month ago he won a giant slalom at Purgatory against a field of 40 athletes from Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona.
“I love the sense of community we have,” Schlenzig said. “It’s an individual sport you race by yourself and progress by yourself but it is also very much a team sport. They help cheer you on, help with advice.”
Schlenzig noted that his improvement is more mental than physical, noting that his technical skills developed more in the first few years he began skiing. He added that the visualization process also is key.
“We get to inspect the course before a race and you try to commit it to memory,” Schlenzig said, “then run through it in your head over and over so you can anticipate tough turns.”
Jeffrey Gallegos, 9, is a promising young skier in the program. He won his age division race at Purgatory by what is an eternity in skiing 6seconds in his first heat, and by 11 on his second run. His dad, Carlos Gallegos, is on the team’s board of directors, and played a role in his desire to be on the team.
“A lot of [his success] has to do with being on the team, the training here at Sipapu and the good coaching,” Jeffrey Gallegos said. “I am focusing now on bending my ski, getting my hip in, pressuring forward in my boots.”
Santa Fe head coach Hubert Seigmann praised the younger Gallegos’ approach for his strong times.
“He is totally knowing what he needs to do in his drills,” Seigmann said. “He is not focused on the outcome, but the outcome is phenomenal when you focus on the basics. He left them behind on the flats because he knows how to milk every bit of speed. It was amazing.”
Assistant head coach Lexie Doth has been with the team on and off for five years. Seigmann was her coach at Ski Apache, when it fielded a team. Being a part time coach is a challenge but Doth noted, “I’ve watched the kids grow up and that’s been fun for me!
“They have great heart and work hard,”Doth added. “My motivation as a coach is not just to teach them how to be as fast as they can be, but to be able to ski anywhere in the world with confidence and control. A lot of other teams stress running gates and go hard just at skiing fast, but we teach technique and foundations first, and the ability to ski any hill. I’ve seen other kids were super fast but as they grow up they hit a wall because the foundation wasn’t there.”
The Santa Fe ski team oversees multiple programs designed for skiers of various ages and degree of interest. Fees range from $275 for an introductory program for youngsters to $1,150 for advanced racers. The masters program for adults costs $650. Financial aid is also available through the support of the Lennox Foundation. The team begins training in October, and also runs a 10 day summer program in Austria.
Ski Santa Fe picked up 15 inches over the past week with snow falling Thursday morning, pushing its base to 2 feet. A slew of new lower mountain trails opened,
including Bozo, Dr. Rich, Lower Fall Line, Lower and Middle Thunderbird and Upper Broadway. Saturday at Toady’s, and all weekend the resort hosts the Burton women’s snowboard camp and demo tent.
Taos Ski Valley received 13 inches this week, and reports a 20 inch base with snow falling. It has opened Lonestar, Moe’s and Poco Gusto. On Feb. 24, Taos Ski Valley presents a collaborative celebration of two fundraising events to raise money for two breast cancer organizations: the seventh annual K2 Bumps Challenge and the ninth annual K2 Paint for Peaks: A Snowboard Art Auction.
Sipapu gained 10 inches, bringing its base to 24 inches, and opened four additional intermediate runs, including Salt Lick, Beep Beep, Howdy and Downfall. On Saturday, it opens its newest Snow Castle, a multistory structure of slides, stairways and rooms topped by flags. It will hold treasure hunts over this holiday weekend, and the Santa Fe Brewing “Happy Hops Hunt”on Saturday. The mini resort will host the Lloyd Bolander Memorial Pine Cup Race on Feb. 24. The giant slalom fun race is open to all ages and abilities. Proceeds support the Santa Fe ski team.
Arizona Snowbowl, just outside of Flagstaff, has been in the flow; 15 inches of fluff has fallen, boosting its base to 30 inches. A handful of its expert runs are now open.
In Colorado, Wolf Creek picked up the most new snow 38 inches over the past seven days, bringing its base to 58 inches at midway. Purgatory received 27 inches and reports a 38 inch base and 97 percent of its terrain open. Telluride gained two feet, and now has a base of 35 45 inches with 97 of 150 runs open. Its excellent Revelation Bowl opens Saturday.
Monarch received 21 inches, and now has a nice 54 inch base. All its runs and terrain parks are open, including the steep and deep hike to runs in Mirkwood Basin. Crested Butte saw 22 inches fall, and reports a 46 inch base, with 91 of 121 runs open, but its High Lift and North Face Lift remain closed. And tiny Hesperus Ski Area, just minutes from downtown Durango, has opened. The 26 run, single chair, 700 vertical foot ski hill has the region’s largest night skiing operation.
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