Masters Racing: Drill Bits
As long as there’s been a U.S. Ski Team, there have been coaches concerned that incoming athletes have lacked basic fundamental skiing skills. As a result, team coaches have long called for ski club programs to include more freeskiing and more drills in their training regimens. Year after year, cumulative experience has shown that aspiring racers without a strong foundation of these skiing fundamentals will be unable to reach their full potential — and that includes ski racers of all ages, including masters.
To help promote a focus on skills, the USST has tried promoting a variety of programs over the years with mixed degrees of success. This time around, with the inception of SkillsQuest, the USST Education Department is hopeful they have created one that will not only produce results, but also withstand the test of time.
One of the architects of the SkillsQuest program is Ron Kipp, the sport education alpine manager at USSA. His office happens to be in the same facility as national masters coordinator and head coach of the Park City Masters Team, Bill Skinner. Familiar with the principles of SkillsQuest, Skin- ner wondered that if the exercises and evaluation systems used for SkillsQuest were so good for juniors, why wouldn’t they be equally beneficial for masters ski racers? Seeing another opportunity to expand the program, Kipp eagerly looked forward to linking up with Skinner’s racers and running them through the test.