Early in the morning on Saturday, December 9, the RHS Ski Team kicked off their season with high hopes at Killington Mountain in Vermont.
The optimism present in our minds stemmed from the fact that the team is poised for success in the coming months. Last February, the girls varsity team won the state title over several other qualified teams in the first year of the team’s existence. With a similar roster this year, the team seems to be a contender for the state title again.
For the boys varsity team, the biggest issue that we had last season was a lack of athletes that would allow the team to consistently win races. Despite the loss of talented senior Sloan Ruhl, the team has added several skilled racers to the roster, which puts them in a position to succeed this season as well.
At the base of Killington, the “Beast of the East,” we donned heavy jackets and equipment, then headed up the gondola to take our first run. A sense of excitement and anxiety over different issues floated in the brisk air. Throughout the offseason, skiers prepare physically and mentally; but unlike other sports, skiers usually go most of the offseason without skiing at all. This means that regardless of the hours spent in “dryland” training, the first run of the season was filled with uncertainty over brushing off the rust and getting used to skiing again.
All of our fear and uncertainty was quelled by the amazing conditions and relief from the persistent irrational nightmare that we forgot how to ski over the offseason.
Cole Sherman, a Sophomore varsity racer, said, “Once I got out onto the trails for the first couple of runs and carved a few turns on the freshly groomed snow I knew that it was going to be a great trip.”
P.J. McKenna seconded that sentiment of relief stating that, “It felt really nice to get skis back under my feet for the first time in a while.”
Saturday and Sunday were spent doing drills with the team that were oriented on improving the technique and speed of the racers in their skiing. These drills target specific aspects of technique such as the transition between edges or downhill ski pressure in order to isolate different areas for improvement. Besides drills, the days were also spent free skiing and roaming the expansive terrain that comprises Killington mountain.
This trip represented the present and future of the Ridgewood High School Ski Team. For such a small and new team, the victories over well established ski racing schools have come as a welcome surprise. This success is only due to the dedication of the racers on the team, and though their number may be small, their unique skill sets combine to form a powerful roster. Increasing interest in the Ridgewood community is an indication that the team is going to continue to expand and the successes will continue. Several middle school racers from Ridgewood joined the team on the trip to Killington, and they represent an untapped potential that Ridgewood has. Young racers in Ridgewood will join the team, and year after year, the team will dominate racing in New Jersey.
Graphic: Maraea Garcia