Monday, March 23, 2009

The Inevitable

I was pretty tired while skiing on Saturday, but the girls in my group didn't seem motivated to ski a lot anyway. I had 10 girls show up on Saturday and a few of them had been sick during the week. Despite their low energy for skiing, they seemed to have plenty of energy for bickering and mischief.

The morning was focused on a parent-child moguls competition. My wife and daughter were going to compete as a team, but my wife was sick. So, I was going to compete with my daughter instead. When coaches compete with their own children, we usually get some catcalls from the spectators, most about us being "ringers". Realistically, many of the other parents are better bump skiers than I am, although my son and I did win our division of the competition two years ago. Bump comps are about style, not speed, and my son outpointed me that day two years ago to "carry" our team. I'm not a big fan of taking air or doing tricks off jumps, so his tricks carried us that day.

As we took some warm-up runs before the comp on Saturday, my daughter was lagging behind the group. She seemed really, really tired. We skied the bumps course once and the bumps were huge and icy. I suggested to my daughter that we not compete. I was afraid that she was so tired she'd get hurt. Her response was "Thank you, thank you, thank you."

It's interesting to watch the children over the course of a full season. Some of the children that show up every weekend get stronger as the season progresses. Others simply wear down.

Most of these children go to private schools during the week. Having a group of all girls this year, they participate in dance and gymnastics and other sporting events. On Friday night, they get in a car for a 3-6 hour drive to the mountain. They get a little sleep and then ski all day with me. Then, they spend Saturday evening doing social things with friends and they don't get enough sleep. Then, they ski all day on Sunday before the long drive home. For many of them, I think they simply get worn down by being so busy for months at a time. The most important part of my job is keeping the children safe and recognizing when to back off. So, while some of the girls wanted to push this weekend, some were clearly beat and I had to back off. This caused some of the girls to get mad at some of the other girls, even though I made the decision. So, I had to put up with a lot of bickering amongst the 10 girls on Saturday.

On Sunday, only 6 of the children skied. I let my daughter take a rest day, one girl skied with her family, and two returned home to MA for family events. The focus yesterday was a race and we had some new, high-moisture snow that made the race course really slow. Other than the race, I didn't push the girls hard at all. And with a smaller group, the fighting disappeared.

So, next Sunday is our last day. The weather forecast this week is for warming temperatures and no snow. The "inevitable" reference in the subject line of this post is about melting snow. Just a week ago, all 111 of the mountain's trails were open. Today, we are down to 104. By the weekend, we'll be down to 90 or so. The next weekend, the count will drop significantly as one half of the mountain ceases operations for the season. The end is approaching. We've had the least snow March in many years, so we're relying on snow that accumulated during a very good February.

The good thing about the end of ski season is that this means I can focus more on my running, and I won't we working 70-75 hours per week any more. Western States is 96 days from now and I still have a lot of work to do to be ready for that event.

This week, I'll run about 35 miles, lift twice and ski twice. The next week, I'll shoot for 45-50 miles, including one trail run, 3 days of lifting, and perhaps half a day of skiing, at most.

It must be spring because I ordered some new trail running shoes from Road Runner Sports last week.

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