If you're wondering if the St Moritz program is right for your little athlete who has big race goals for 2018, we'd like to introduce you to Dash.
Dash and his little sister Storm joined St Moritz with their family for the first time in 2017 but has been skiing Thredbo since he was 2. As a 9yr old with a few interschool races under his belt and a penchant for speed, Dash fit right in perfectly with Manuel's race squad. Our race squad is made up of kids of all ages, but their abilities are all very similar. Even though he is one of the youngest in the squad by a few years, Manuel's intuition and flexibility to adapt the day's skiing program to suit his student's skiing AND mental maturity ensured that Dash flourished early on in the program.
Dash's skiing goal for the 2017 season was to qualify for the Interschools State titles which requires a top 10 finish place at the regionals. Something that he had not been able to achieve before. Being that he competes for his Sydney primary school in the Northern NSW division, which is held very soon after our program starts, Manuel had his work cut out for him. But, Manuel's years of experience coaching kids and our program's focus on holistic skills aquisition, meant that Dash did not have to spend every minute training gates to improve rapidly.
During the Interschools regional titles, Dash placed 8th, earning him a place at the State titles. He then completed the St Moritz July holiday program and prepared for the State titles in Perisher in August. As part of his preparation, he raced in a number of satellite races such as the TSRC cup and the Redlands cup where he made the top 10 and 12 despite being pushed into the under 12s due to his August birthday.
The State titles roll around in August at Perisher and with his 2017 skiing goal in the bag, Dash raced in the Alpine and Skier X without expectations. His preparations and St Moritz coaching paid off! He finished 9th in the alpine, earning him a spot at the National Titles in Mt Buller!
He then competed in our annual St Moritz race day. The conditions were less than favourable, but ski racing can't be all sunshine and groomers, so the kids raced anyway, adding to their "have skills, will ski in and on anything" bag of tricks, and we all had a ball! During classes, Dash had proved to be very eager to learn and progress, which saw him achieve our club's highest race award in only his first year of skiing with St Moritz - the Alice Jones award. This is awarded to the skier who achieves the fastest single run of the day and is in honour of our previous St Moritz athlete, Alice Jones, who went on to an amazing international ski career and Australia's best ever Olympic level Alpine result of 12th place in the combined at the Salt Lake City Winter Games.
Dash receiving the Alice Jones award at our presentation day along with trophies for the fastest U10 boy and the instructors award for most improved.
With the St Moritz program coming to a close in late August, a week before the Nationals, Dash and his coach worked hard on his overall ski technique which paid dividends at Buller. The day of the Div 5 boys alpine came and a huge cold front dumped a blizzard on Mt Buller. With conditions less than ideal (gale force winds and heavy fog rendered any course inspection completely futile), Dash took a start hut phone call from his coach Manuel back in Thredbo. With last minute pep talk and a season of skiing everything and anything in all conditions under his belt, Dash launched out of the start gate into the fog.
Unfazed by the "hideous" (according to his Mum) weather and very heavy snow conditions, Dash confidently and skillfully negotiated the tough course to earn a very respectable 16th place out of 63 starters. What's worth noting about his efforts, is that Dash was actually the 5th fastest competitor from NSW, meaning that most of the competitors who had previously beaten him at race meets with perfect snow and weather conditions, were nowhere to be seen when the going got tough. Training gates alone does not guarantee race results. Overall skiing competency and a training program focused on skills acquisition such as St Moritz, is what propelled Dash from a regional top 20 finisher, to a National level skier in one season.
We're looking forward to having Dash back in our program in 2018 and we can't wait to see what he and his coach Manuel can achieve in 2018. Go Dash!