Ski Brule March 6 & 7, 2010.
The sun was bright, the weather warm, and the snow melting. However, the children were focused (for the most part) on ski racing.
The skiing was fun to watch. On Saturday, the children successfully and slowly skied slalom, I expected faster times. I have skied at Ski Brule many times when the USSA races were on and am accustomed to a lot of zooming youngsters on all the ski runs. They fearlessly tuck and schuss, lay down incredible carves, and really work their skis; so I expected faster times.
To be fair, the weather made for slow snow and looking good free-skiing is easier than skiing fast and turning on another’s whim! Also, their courses were longer than the NASTAR course I am used to running, and most the extra length is on relatively flat terrain. They were also skiing a slalom course with more and tighter turning.
It was interesting watching the youngsters and no matter where I was watching, I could pick out the better skiers. No matter whether it was at the starting house, in the middle of the course, or at the finish line (however, by the finish line time it was obvious). Some of this is obviously related to the skier’s age, the older children are obviously more powerful and more experienced, still within age groups it was obvious.
Some children would explode out of the starting gates, some would just give a push off. At the finish at the end of Sunday some would come in to the finish well tucked and spray a lot of snow stopping, while others would — just come in eventually and easily take the left to the exit.
While I was photographing, I saw one racer crash The frustration the young competitor felt was obvious. He got up off of the snow, the official informed him he did not miss any gates and was eligible to continue on. He did not continue, he skied out and then I did not see his descent to the bottom. One other wipeout I witnessed was on the middle of the slalom course, and the child was not getting up off of the snow. A race official mentioned urged his father to get to his son to see if he was okay. The father laughed it off, informing the official his son was just pouting, fortunately, that was the case.
I heard some post-race tears, but those were rare (even after poor runs), I heard more laughing and giggling than crying, and for ski racing at all levels that is the way it should be!