Powderhorn will offer program for skiers 5 to 14

Young skiers can get a head start on a racing career or simply take immense leaps in their skiing prowess by participating in the Buddy Werner program at Powderhorn Ski Resort.

Named after the three-time Olympic skier from Steamboat Springs, the program offers skiers from 5 to 14 years of age the opportunity to learn how to race with skilled coaching and plenty of racing experience.

“The success of the program really speaks for itself,” Buddy Werner head coach Kim Kaal said. “We have a great resort that supports us and some great coaches with both ski racing and instructing experience.”

But don’t delay. The deadline to register is Wednesday.

Last year the program attracted close to 90 skiers, Kaal said, and that team went on to place second in the state Buddy Werner race at Sunlight Ski Resort.

This isn’t a learn-to-ski program; participants must be able to ski at least one intermediate run at Powderhorn.

“That’s right, it’s a learn-to-race program for kids interested in ski racing,” Buddy Werner chairwoman Dara Hartman said. “It’s that first step for kids who might want to go on” to the United States Ski Association race program.

Still, you don’t have to be a hard-core racer to benefit from the Buddy Werner instruction, Kaal said.

“You can absolutely see so much improvement, by leaps and bounds, in all the skiers from the beginning of the program to the final race,” Kaal said.

Some of that comes from the small classes, which average around seven racers per coach.

“There’s a lot of personal attention, and, of course, the coaches love to teach youngsters,” Kaal said. “We aim for seven kids per coach. That’s an effective group. It’s two chairs on the quad lift, and it gives the kids the opportunity to get to know and bond with each other.”

Some of the coaches have been working in the program for 20 years, Kaal said, offering an immense depth of racing and teaching experience.

The program costs $280 per racer, with that money paying for racing supplies and some coaching expenses.

Parents of racers are key to the program’s success, as they provide multiple services, Hartman said.

“Some of them help with race course setup, some of them watch the kids during breaks, there’s always something to do,” she said.

The program begins Jan. 2 and continues each Sunday through the end of February.

Because the emphasis is on learning and having fun, participants race for individual times, not in a head-to-head competition format. Each racer gets two runs on the race course on three Sundays. Races will be on Wonderbump.

With the registration deadline nearing, interested parents can get a registration form and information at the Powderhorn Racing Club website, http://www.powderhorn racing.org.


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