The Elmira District Secondary School alpine ski team is prepping to hit the slopes next week for their first Waterloo County Secondary School Athletic Association meet.
The team will be heading to Beaver Valley Ski Club on Feb. 9 to compete against other schools in the region, trying for the fastest time down the hill.
The recent weather patterns put a damper on their practice meet plans earlier this month, but one of the team’s coaches, Chris Finnie, says there is still time to prepare for the competition.
“We had one training day at Beaver Valley last month, and we were supposed to have a second mini-meet where the skiers could get their times, but it didn’t count. It was supposed to be a timed race so they could see where they ranked, but unfortunately, we couldn’t make it up there,” he said. “However, we do have a day, on Feb. 7, when we are going to Chicopee and there is going to be a race set up there.”
Finnie says the team is competitive compared to other schools despite one less day of practice.
“About half were on the team last year, and then we have the other half who are trying it out for the first time,” he said. “We have two students who could really compete. Last year, we had one of our female racers do really well at the mini-meet last year, and had some difficulties after that, but this year should be good.”
The alpine ski teams are divided into two groups: amateur skiers who just have fun on the slopes, and more experienced skiers who ski in clubs outside of school. This year’s EDSS team has only amateur skiers, but Finnie says that doesn’t matter.
“They are mixed in with all the other students who just love skiing, and want to try out the racing. We’re hoping to do well in some of the individual races, and it is nice to have the whole team of guys to compete as well,” he said, adding there were enough sign-ups for alpine skiing to have a full team of boys. “We wanted more girls, so we don’t have a full team there, but the guys will definitely be competing as a team and trying to get a medal.”
When they aren’t strapped in to their skis, team members have the option of dry land training at the school with help from coaches Finnie and Dave Vandenberg, but the main coaching responsibilities deal with safety, encouragement and of course, paperwork.
“There isn’t much in the way of telling them what to do on the hill, so it is just about support and really putting them in the position so they can succeed,” said Finnie.
The team will be heading to higher level competition, the Central Western Ontario Secondary Schools Association (CWOSSA) on Feb. 16 at Beaver Valley Ski Club.