The reason that I don’t often report on an ERSA or National race is simply because it is such a full on day, you cannot really take it all in amid the blur that is a days racing. So for the un-initiated, here is a brief(ish) summary of what to expect.
The day always starts with a 5am roll call with parents across the county throwing back the covers to an audible moan ‘ 5 o’clock already?!?! After shoving breakfast down the kids, ramming them in the car, squeezed next to ski bags, tents, chairs and boot bags, we speed our way to whichever regional event it happens to be. You arrive anywhere between 07:30 and 8:00, get kids (big ones too) changed and out to the slope for an early warm up or open practice.
If you are lucky, as we were today at Brentwood, any early rain soon clears to reveal a beautiful, blue sky day.
Poles are in and its all up to the top ready for course inspection. If you are a competitor, before you know it you are in the gate and ready for the first run. Nervously watching the few runners ahead of you, trying to get last minute information from the track, you launch yourself for all your worth at the slope below, hoping that A: you complete the course; B: you get a good time; C: you don’t let your team or our coaches down.
After the individual racers have completed and lunch eaten, its time for the post lunch races to begin. First off we have the club team relay races where two teams race head to head with the next skier starting after an audible bleep is heard from the top.
Next up the Hero races where all the non-team or ‘independent’ racers were put into groups and race head to head. No relay bleeps for this race, it’s just whichever team has the most wins our of their 9 skiers. With 8 teams competing in this battle it really is fast and furious.
So how does Wannabes and Junior Club come in to play? Well its the best pre-racer training you could ever get. Our coaches and instructors spend hour after hour, day after day volunteering to coach our kids (big and small) on the skills needed to make them fantastic skiers. And you know what? Watching our juniors like Jacob, Freddie, Neve, Lucy, Zoe all turn into fantastic little races that both parents and the club can be proud of is just living testimony to the value and worth these volunteers bring to our racers.
Today we witness the maturity and honour in our team. We had some amazing ‘independent’ skiing from the likes of Beth(s), Blane and Isabelle to name a few. We had tears of frustration from a awesome looking Sonny. We had shock and amazement as Freddie got a Bronze at prize giving. We had a wry smile from one of our coaches who came home with Gold, showing how it is done. We witness some amazing skiing from the top 16, top 32, team races and Hero races. We watched on as kids like Zoe and Sam demonstrated fantastic development and skills and performed brilliantly.
Is it then, really a surprise when we see the award tables dominated with Norfolk Skiers both old and new? I guess not…
So with prize giving wrapped up for another week, its time to say our goodbyes and head home, via a McDonalds or service station for rations.
So keep up the Junior club sessions, the Friday Wannabes, Masters, Ladies club or free skiing….because the future with NSC is so bright, you’ll need your Raybans!!!
Many thanks, Piers..