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Sunlight skiers are off to a fast start

Sean de Moraes
sports@postindependent.com
Sunlight Ski Club member Ethan de Morales comes down the slopes at Sunlight Mountain Resort during one of the team's preseason practice sessions in late November. The resort has drawn more then 100 skiers to its youth programs.
Courtesy photo |

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — With an abundance of early season snow, the Sunlight Winter Sports Club ski team has been off to a fast start with more early season training so far compared to recent years.

The team started in September with dry-land training and moved on to snow in October and November at Keystone, Arapahoe Basin and Ajax Mountain in Aspen. Sunlight’s early snow conditions have also allowed the team to train locally prior to Thanksgiving through the holiday weekend. The team is now in the full swing of training and is looking forward to its first valley series race this coming weekend in Aspen.

“Sunlight does an amazing job keeping the runs groomed and the snow in great condition for our racers to train on,” Sunlight coach Leigh Sheldrake said. “It offers some of the most technical terrain available to hone their skills and remain competitive amongst the other ski clubs around the state. All of the kids look great this year and are way ahead of past years with the early season training we were able to get in.



“We are excited to have a growing club, and we couldn’t do what we do without the support of Sunlight and all the volunteer hours that the parents and other members of the community put into the club, and the local company sponsors who support us,” the coach continued.”

This year, the team will travel for age-class races to Loveland for a Giant Slalom, Breckenridge for a Super G, Aspen for a Slalom as well as age-specific championships in Crested Butte (also the Junior Olympic qualifiers for the under-14 age group), Powderhorn and Telluride. There will be several other races this year that the Sunlight team will compete in, including Sunlight’s own U12 Festival in January. Others include dual slaloms, the GS Spectacular and the Loveland Derby.



This year, Sunlight will also welcome back Buddy Werner racers throughout the state, hosting the Buddy Werner Finale in March.

The number of participants the team boasts has grown on an annual basis. This is the largest team Sunlight has seen in a while, with seven U14s, six U12s and two U10s who train every weekend as well as on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.

The Buddy Werner program, coached by a slew of local parents who volunteer their time every Saturday, is also anticipating an increase in numbers. Sixty-five children are already signed up to begin on the first Saturday of January, with the season continuing through mid-March. A new program that helped the number of ski-team participants grow is the introduction of a part-time ski team program designed to introduce children to the world of competitive ski racing at their own pace.

Information on joining either club can be found at http://www.sunlightwintersportsclub.com.


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