Session 3: Girls just wanna have fun (and rip)!
Blogger: Coach Intern for Session 3 Karin Rand. Karin is a former camper and the first ever recipient of the Keely’s Camp Tecnica Blizzard ‘Girl on Fire’ Scholarship. The scholarship awards 2 pairs of Blizzard Skis, One pair of Tecnica Boots, and a spot to a Keely’s Camp of her choice. Thank you Karin for your enthusiasm, knowledge, and awesome work ethic for Session 3. You will move mountains girl!
Wow! What an amazing week it has been! I think I am more exhausted after a week of coaching than I was two years ago when I first came to Keely’s Camp as a camper. There is never a dull moment here at camp because with a house full of girls ages 9-**(Jennifer’s age?) there are plenty of stories, songs, jokes, questions, skits, and giggles to go around.
When I arrived I was informed that I was going to have my own group of girls to ski with rather than just tagging along with a coach. As nervous as I was, the girls made it easy for me by working hard and just wanting to have fun skiing rather than being TOO focused on the drills. This fun-loving attitude paid off as each of them made great improvements in their skiing and became confident enough to take laps by themselves, and to make friends with other girls older than them.
Each day had a little bit of a different rhythm. The first night everyone was excited and nervous. Looking forward to getting on snow while also worried about forgetting something at the house, getting along with the other girls, and not getting lost in the shuffle up on the mountain.
Once everyone finally fell asleep, everyone woke up again at 5:20, worried that the scheduled wake-up time of 5:40 was not early enough. Luckily everyone had enough time to pack their bags, load up Jerry (Keely’s truck), have a delicious breakfast from Jennifer (Keely’s mom), and hop in the van.
Once up the road we all piled out and began the long slog to the lift with our backpacks and skis on our shoulders. We were able to put our skis on when we reached the rugs just before the lift. And so we made our way up the two chairs to the top of our lane. With the Keely’s Camp flag waving we knew this was home base.
Day one consisted of drills within our groups. For my group (Mackenzie (9), Bridgette (10), Eleri (10) aka “the littles”) this meant a little bit of drill work and then a little bit of follow the leader. After snack at 10am we continued to familiarize ourselves with the snow and I broke out my GoPro to add a little fun to the drills. We finished the day with a big human slalom all the way down our lane.
At the end of the day we were so excited for lunch from Jennifer after our long ski and walk all the way back to the van. The day wasn’t over as we then had a tuning clinic and dry land consisting of Perch on a Birdie (a crowd favorite), soccer, kickball, and a swim in the river. After dinner more ski tuning took place and finally it was time for bed. For me, this meant doing multiple laps around the dorm to make sure everyone was actually trying to sleep so they wouldn’t be too tired the next day. Just as I was going back to my room to get ready for bed, one of “the littles” entered my room with a case of homesickness. While she laid on my bed talking to her dad a second girl came in, also homesick. Soon after, all three littles had carried their sleeping bags, blankets, and stuffed animals into my room making my otherwise empty room full with the support and comfort of new friends.
Day two was much smoother as everyone knew the ropes. I had another successful day with “the littles” as we ran brush gates, stubby gates, and even practiced going around the tall gates. The GoPro was a big hit again as we got videos of the girls skiing slalom and doing some jump shots during break. They even hiked up the course at the end of the day to get en extra run because the lift line took too long. The afternoon was filled with getting ski demos and a beautiful waterfall hike. That night, homesickness did not seem to be an issue, and neither did falling asleep as everyone had their lights out by 9pm with very few reminders.
Day three brought more slalom gates for the crew and I even got to help set the course. It was great to get up on one of the first chairs with the coaches and help set and salt the courses, a job that includes lots of heavy lifting made to look easy by the coaches. In the afternoon Eleri learned to cross block! It was awesome! She knew she wanted to do it all day and was clearly ready but didn’t have pole guards or a chin guard. All of a sudden the next run she and Mackenzie came off the lift having switched poles, gloves, and helmets because Mackenzie had the right gear and wanted Eleri to use it so she could achieve her goal. It was incredible! The afternoon had us competing in the woods in capture the flag followed by a swim in Timothy Lake.
Today we got to get out on our GS skis and I got to set another course. The beauty of having the fabulous female coaches that we do is that I didn’t feel like I was going to do the wrong thing and I wasn’t afraid to ask questions. They create such welcoming and encouraging environment for everyone. After ripping GS all day we took the afternoon to pack our bags and plan our skits for tonight.
As an intern I have loved getting to know the wonderful athletes as well as the amazing coaches. These women are strong and confident and able to hold their own in a coaching field dominated by men. Spending time with these awesome women has given me three more role models who prove that girls can move mountains, and ski, bike, and run on them too! Spending time with the coaches alongside the group of athletes ages 9-14 also showed me that girls do indeed remain quirky and silly and laugh at silly things no matter what age. I am so glad to have had the opportunity to spend 5 days with all of these wild, chatty, strong, goofy, ripping skier girls. The enthusiasm and love for skiing that these girls brought to camp was the best reminder of why I love skiing. Being able to spend the day outside on a beautiful mountain with a bunch of girls that love to ski and can’t wait to rip another run as well as very accomplished female coaches who are genuine people and want everyone to succeed, well that’s just about as good as it gets!