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Brad Taylor  - Director Alpine Operations, The Heights Ski & Country Club

Performance Level Certified, C.S.I.A Level 3, National Coaching Diploma - Toronto 2005, Level 3 Official

Welcome to the 2018/19 snow season. Now that we have seen our first snow fall, it is time to really get excited about winter activities at the club. I am starting to settle into my role and have met a number of staff and club members along the way. I am set up in the race office on the lower level. Please feel free to drop in and say hi. I am happy to answer any questions about our Snow Programs or you can email me at btaylor@theheightsofhorseshoe.com

The Heights -  Program Goals

  • To create a “Ski for Life” culture amongst our members.
  • To build The Heights racing/snow sports program into one which exceeds its membership’s expectations for safety, FUN and skill development.
  • To provide a creative outlet for young skiers to explore, challenge, and develop their skills in a positive and trusting learning environment.
  • To follow the LTAD (Long Term Athlete Development) model as described by Canadian Sport for Life initiative. Check out their website here!
  • The Heights racing programs will increase membership subscriptions to the Club because parents will want their children to participate in our programs.
  • The Heights racing/snow sports programs will support and supply extensive staff training. Our staff will be Certified and Licensed. Our coaches/instructors will stay current to NEW and diverse coaching methodologies.

 

Frequently Asked Race Questions  

How are ski teams/groups selected? It has been proven that skiers of “like” ability should train and race together within their age group. We will utilise Snow Stars skill attribute bench marks to determine skills and abilities within each age group up to U12. Time trials will ONLY be used as a skill attribute NOT as a time benchmark for U10 athletes.

Why aren’t my kids doing more gate training? Generally speaking young racers should only spend 25% of the season training time in gates including practice and racing.  It is very difficult to learn basic skiing skills when skiing gates. Young skiers will progress much more quickly when they spend time perfecting their skiing skills. As they get older (14+ years of age) they will gradually spend more time doing gate training and race simulations up to but not in excess of 50% over the entire season.

Why are other clubs training in gates more than us? This is only a perception. Most clubs do their free skiing skill development (up to 25 days) in the early season in fall camps before a lot of other clubs start their programs. When they get to the competition season (January to March) the training focus turns to race preparation in courses.

Why do coaches stand around so much, shouldn’t they be skiing with the kids more? Taking a position at the top, side or bottom of the training run enables the coach to speak individually to each racer as they arrive or leave the training hill.  The emphasis is on the racer’s skiing and the feedback that the coach is able to provide based on their direction and observation of the racer’s performance. Young athletes learn much more by “doing” than they do by the more passive forms of listening and viewing.   

What can I do as a parent to help my child’s team? You can volunteer to be a Team Manager, volunteer to help host your child’s at home races, take the time to get to know your child’s coaches and speak to them about what they are doing. Come to all your child’s races and special events and perhaps help to organize one.

Do the kids have to wear their helmet all the time? Yes. We require all race participants, including coaches, to wear a helmet whenever they are free skiing, gate training, or racing.

Does my child need pole guards and shin guards? Young racers should not have pole guards or shin guards until such time as they are ready to “cross block” slalom gates. This rarely happens before U14. If they have this equipment before they are technically ready, it will cause them to reach across their body to hit the poles and this results in them developing poor technique. Consult the coaching staff before you get this equipment for your child.

Do my kids need two pairs of skis? It is not until U14 that young racers start to train and compete in specifically different events - Slalom & Giant Slalom. At U14 and older it is difficult and could be at times dangerous for young racers to be training or racing on the wrong size and shape of skis. Slalom skis are shorter and turn much quicker than GS skis which are intended for larger and faster turns. 

What is Snow Stars Skills day? Skills day consists of various stations that are set up by the coaches for the athletes to ski through. Some include moguls, brushes, stubbies, full gates and timing. All the stations challenge the athletes in a safe environment. Athletes will be benchmarked against the Alpine Canada Snow Stars skill attributes.

2018/19 U14/U16 OCUP - A joint effort with Glacier Ski Club

OCUP (or Ontario Cup) racing is the highest level of racing below F.I.S. (National/International) level racing in our province. For athletes to compete at this level, it requires a considerable amount of commitment through time, financial support and training. If we were to equate OCUP to hockey it could compare to a regional rep team who plays up to 3 or 4 times a week at various arenas. One step below a Junior level commitment.

For this season we have a committed group of families that have qualified to compete at this level. To assist in training and development opportunities, The Heights' has teamed up with our neighbors to the north, Glacier Ski Club, to create a larger training squad and provide better terrain choices for our members to train on. This team will train at both Mt. St. Louis and at various escarpment clubs to better prepare to race on longer and steeper terrain. They will occasionally train here at The Heights'. Please make our Glacier families and athletes welcome if you see them on hill or in the clubhouse. Qualification for an OCUP program is for athletes to ski at Snow Stars Level 5 or above. For more information about OCUP teams please contact Brad.

 

For more information on Snow Sports Programs, please contact Brad in the Race Office.

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