Dave Petersen

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I was fortunate enough to meet Billy Kidd a couple weeks ago at the Colorado Snowsports Museum in Vail. We were discussing who needs a mountain to start a ski career? Apparently not these athletes (although by Midwest standards Lutsen is a mountain!).

Who am I overlooking??? I'm sure there are many...these are just the five that came up in our discussion.

Midwest Skiers - Pugski.jpg

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scott43

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Some of the Canadian skiers started on a bump. Steve Podborski, probably one of our top 3 skiers ever, started on 650' of vertical at Craigleith Ski Centre in Collingwood. And there are others...
Know where Mark McMorris calls home? Mission Ridge Winter Park in Saskatchewan, with some 150 metres vertical. Steve Podborski? Craigleith Ski Club in Collingwood, Ontario with 180 metres vertical. Edi Podivinsky? Snow Valley in Edmonton. The list of our champions from ski resorts of less than 200 metres is VERY long: Anne Heggtveit, Lucile Wheeler, Jan Hudec, Betsy Clifford, Kathy Kreiner, Brian Stemmle, Todd Brooker… and I can keep going.
I think it's the compete level..the technical skills. You don't need big vert to learn skills..you DO need to focus and hone..
 

fatbob

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You don't even need snow

Dave the Rocket Ryding and World Champion Woodsy spent their formative years on plastic.
 

oldschoolskier

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The difference is availability of skiing. Big areas (ie Austria) almost everyone skis so its the volume of skiers that gives to opportunity for top performers to rise. In small hill areas, you ski because its all you got, so those that will be good, work to rise to make it.

Not saying one is better than the other, just that one makes it easier to get the opportunity.
 

KevinF

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Mikaela Shiffrin spent a great many nights at Storrs Hill in NH (vertical drop: 300 feet). She might not have started there, but it didn't hurt.
 

Uncle-A

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When you consider what you give up to get to the level of compilation both financial and possibly the future of your child, not so sure many parents are willing to risk the commitment. What if after all that work the skier was just moderately successful? Yes, I know that many of us on PUGSKI would give anything to be that good but we may be the exception not the norm.
 
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Dave Petersen

Dave Petersen

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I visited Buck Hill this past December, and while small they have a great ski racing program. Once school is out the place is flooded with young racers.

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James

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You can start at such places, but they all leave asap. Like Lindsey, Mikaela.
I think Kristina Koznick started at Buck Hill. Or maybe it was Sarah Schleper.
Things like slalom benefit from fast surface lifts. You don’t need much. Soon enough you do.
 
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James

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Lindsey skied in Vail and Oregon from the age of 7. Besides Buck Hill. They used to drive to Vail from Minnesota 16 hrs. She spent a lot of time in the program for young skiers who were too young to race USSA at that time. The “Gravity Corps” program at Vail emphasized all mountain, all terrain skiing. Very different terrain from Buck Hill.
 

Swede

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We have a Buck Hillish type of home hill (actually skied BH a few times when I lived in midwest), little bigger but similar, and our club has fostered a couple of World Cup winners (Jessica L-V and M Hargin) and hopefully new ones in the making (go Kervén). But let’s be realistic. By U14 they need bigger hills to be able to run proper GS and SG. You need to train a lot in difficult terrain and the ones who become good do. But a small hill can be a great start if the coaching is right.
 

Swede

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Lindsey skied in Vail and Oregon from the age of 7. Besides Buck Hill. They used to drive to Vail from Minnesota 16 hrs. She spent a lot of time in the program for young skiers who were too young to race USSA at that time. The “Gravity Corps” program at Vail emphasized all mountain, all terrain skiing. Very different terrain from Buck Hill.
A lot of kids in ”small hill programs” ski bigger hills too from early age. My daughters skied in the alps every year from around 5 years and plenty in ”bigger” hills in Sweden and Norway. I would say a majority of families in my region (Stockholm) who only has small hills, have cabins up north with bigger and more challenging terrain like Åre. I would assume it’s the same for families in the Midwest or on the East coast. Kids ski multiple resorts.
 

Tom Holtmann

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AJ Kitt's home mountain was Swain. Dianne Roffe also started at an even smaller hill near Rochester called Brantling. Same deal as Buck Hill - European Ski Coach starts a small academy at a tiny mountain.
 

Burton

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Add Pam Fletcher to the list, who started skiing at her dad's ski area--Nashoba Valley, which is all of about 250 vertical. One of my most memorable races was getting beat by her by about .25 seconds combined in a beer league race there about 10 years ago. Of course, when the winning times are about 20 seconds a run, .25 is a wide margin!
 

James

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Well Andrea Mead Lawrence, who was in the 1948 St Moritz Olympics at fifteen, skied at Pico Mt, VT.

She won gold in slalom and giant slalom in the 1952 Oslo Olympics. She was the only American to win gold at the Olympics in skiing until [edit] 1984 1972 - Sapporo, Barbara Ann Cochran Sarajevo, Phil Mahre and Bill Johnson.

Her parents, Janet and Brad Mead, owned Pico Mt. Brad Mead drowned in a boating accident in 1942 and Janet continued to run the area. Pico had the first T-bar in the US, in 1940/41.

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Pico 1940's.
https://www.newenglandskihistory.com/Vermont/pico.php
 
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hbear

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Surface lifts are king when it comes to getting mileage and time on snow that is needed to develop high level skiers.

There is a good reason the best training venues (not ski hills or mountains) for racing involve a good slope and surface lift....and a good reason the best skiers don’t often come from the major tourist skiing centres but instead the smaller hills with a t-bar.

Terrain, slope and run length are important. But not limited to chair lifts, lots of locations around the world with world class facilities that use t-bars. The turnaround time on surface lifts is unbeatable.

My daughter’s favourite training venues all use surface lifts and the amount of work they can get done simply cannot be replicated at resorts with chairlifts.
 
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