By Alicia Dziak
Calling all thrill-seekers! Racing and competition season is in full swing on the slopes of Holiday Valley and HoliMont. Come to watch…come to play…come to be part of the action!
This week’s slope events included the NorAm snowboard slalom event Jan. 20-22 on the slopes of Holiday Valley, where athletes came from all over to compete. But if you missed that event, don’t worry—there’s still plenty of fun to be had, so mark your calendars, because spectators are always welcome.
Want to move from being in the crowd to being in the competition? Plan ahead for next year and take advantage of a variety of race-training programs at both of Ellicottville’s ski resorts.
Programs at Holiday Valley include:
• Alpine racing training in slalom, giant slalom, super G and downhill racing. Age levels range from U12 (12 and under) through U18-21.
• Freestyle/Freeride Training in moguls, and upright aerials in the terrain park and half-pipe.
• Snowboarding Training in slopestyle, rails, half-pipe and park skills. Team members compete in regional and national United States of America Snowboarding Association (USASA) events, as well as Holiday Valley sponsored events.
• Eagles A development program for kids ages 12 and older that includes ski racing, freestyle/freeride and occasionally snowboarding and other snowsports to refine their all-mountain skills.
• Masters Program recreational and competitive racing program or mogul skiing program for adults.
For more information on these programs, visit www.holidayvalley.com.
Programs at HoliMont include:
• Intraclub Racing with loads of skiing under the direction of a coach/instructor.
• Adult Racing that encompasses gate training with technical free skiing.
• JIV, JV and JVI Travel Entry Program, designed for young racers new to the travel program or those who desire a less intense travel schedule.
• Junior Alpine Travel Team, which consists of five age groups and requires membership in the United States Ski Association (USSA) and New York State Ski Racing Association (NYSSRA).
• Junior Snowboard Team, the traveling snowboard racing program that competes on the local racing circuit of the USASA. Groups concentrate on basic riding skills, slalom and giant slalom technique.
• Freestyle Snowboard, in which athletes advance through all aspects of freestyle competition, including half-pipe, slopestyle and bordercross.
• FLITE (Focus Leads Individuals to Excellence) for advanced skiers with an interest in Freestyle skiing. FLITE is broken down into club (intro) and team (competition) levels.
For more information on programs offered at HoliMont, visit www.holimont.com.
Corey Hacker, HoliMont’s FLITE team program director, says that FLITE is a great way to train and develop skiers into true athletes.
“We kicked off the competition season with great results at Bristol Mountain,” he said, noting that “this year we have a new group of talented ‘A’ athletes who have already proven themselves on the Eastern Championship Series circuit. Some of our new additions competed for the first time at Bristol, and many others will be participating for the first time at our local ‘B’ event.”
Because of the diversity of HoliMont’s programs, there really is something for everyone interested in competition. Michelle Solly, whose children participate in HoliMont’s travel race program, agrees:
“The HoliMont race program not only develops great racers but great skiers as well,” she said. “The program has wonderful coaches who dedicate their time and knowledge to the athletes and it shows in the results our athletes get in their races.”
Solly’s son, Maxxon, 14, who has been racing for HoliMont since he was eight, said that the best things about being part of HoliMont’s racing team are “the competition and the relationships that I have formed with my teammates.”
His personal goal for this season? “I want to make it to States in the U14 category, which will be held at Gore Mountain, and then move on to Easterns.”
Hacker invites everyone to “cheer on our local athletes at the HoliMont FLITE Cup aerial event on Saturday, Feb. 21, and in the moguls on Sunday, Feb. 22.”
Want to compete but can’t wait till next season? You can jump right in and participate in the NASTAR (National STAndard Race) program – described as the largest public grassroots ski race program in the world – this week! Holiday Valley offers NASTAR dual or single giant slalom races on Cindy’s Run every Wednesday through Sunday during the season from 12:30 to 4 p.m. The cost is $8 for a single run or $12 for all day. For more information, visit www.nastar.com.
If you’re part of a racing family who’s always out there cheering on your kids, participating in racing yourself, or are someone who enjoys watching the fun from the sidelines, ski racing and competition in Ellicottville is second to none. Get out and cheer for these talented and dedicated local athletes and be sure to check out the Ellicottville Times for the latest Holiday Valley and HoliMont athletes’ race results.
Jan. 31 USASA Boardercross Holiday Valley
Jan. 31 Freestyle Meet (moguls) Holiday Valley
Feb. 1 Freestyle Meet (slopestyle) Holiday Valley
Feb 7 USASA Giant Slalom Holiday Valley
Feb. 7 Phoenix Adaptive Race HoliMont
Feb. 8 Cleveland Metro Ski Council races Holiday Valley
Feb. 21 Red Bull All Snow event Holiday Valley
Feb. 21 FLITE Aerial Cup HoliMont
Feb. 22 FLITE Moguls HoliMont