By Chloe Sommer,
With less than a week left in the regular race season for the Davis High ski team, skiers and coaches take away skills and friendships from the experience.
The DHS ski team has a successful history at state championships, with one of the state’s largest teams, and looks to be maintaining the pattern for the 2015 competitions.
“I expect we’ll be on the podium at the Championships,” coach Bob Brewer said.
The outlook of success stems from months of training and practice. The team began dry land training in early November, kicking off practice on the slopes at Sugar Bowl Resort in late December. Luckily, the team had snow to train on.
“The snow conditions early in the season were great. December left us with good quality snow,” Brewer said.
But the conditions have been degrading.
From 2011-2014, California experienced the driest three-year period recorded in its history. While the storms in November and December provided some precipitation in the mountains, last month proved to be one of California’s driest Januaries on record.
“As the season progresses we are having a hard time with the snow that is left. It’s difficult to train, and the quality of the race venues is less. This Monday’s final race may be rained out. That said, the ability to adapt to less-than-ideal conditions and strong skiing skills have put us ahead of the competition,” Brewer said.
Senior Nick Bachand has been on the ski team since his freshman year in 2011, and has noticed how much conditions have varied over the years.
“I think this year was a lot better because there was a lot more snow than other years. There’s definitely been a lot more powder, but that has kind of made it tricky sometimes to race. [The slopes] get really soft, and can be difficult to ski on,” Bachand said.
Nevertheless, the ski team heads to the mountains season after season. The weather doesn’t hold them back from signing up to ski.
“Ski team provides a great opportunity for the total ‘team experience’ with physical training and competition and a great environment. You can’t beat snow,” Brewer said. He added that ski team has “a high social factor providing life-long friendships.”
Senior Davis Perez is in his fourth year on the ski team because of that very “team experience.”
“I used to play baseball, but I quit my freshman year. From there, if not for ski team, I wouldn’t have had a team to be on. It’s good to have something to compete in as part of a larger group,” Perez said.
Along with the company of the team come the benefits of training. Many students on the ski team feel that the team helps challenge them, building skills for future races.
“[Ski team] has definitely made me approach skiing differently. It’s a lot more intense than recreational skiing,” Bachand said. Perez agrees that with the intense experience, his skiing abilities have improved dramatically in his four years with the team.
Junior Sophie Chertok, one of this year’s standout JV skiers, is in her third year on the team.
“I ski because it is an indescribable feeling. You get to flow with the mountain, and it’s just super fun overall. This season I made some varsity races and I made new friends that I didn’t know before,” Chertok said.
For freshmen, sophomores, and juniors, the end of one season means waiting for the next to start. For seniors, however, it is the end of an era.
“The worst thing about coaching Ski Team is having to say goodbye to my seniors. After watching them progress and mature over four years and sharing in their individual successes and failures, you hate to see them leave,” Brewer said. “Ski Team is an enormous family.”