Just when it seemed all summer fun was at risk of cancellation, Mt. Hood managed to reopen Timberline with reduced capacity and new health protocols to meet demand for safe summer training. Twelve SPAC athletes, Coach Nils and Dave Lyon were up to the challenge of a uniquely special week of building skills and reigniting passions for ski racing. SummerSPAC 2020 was a success due in part to the incredible commitment and responsibility shown by parents, participants and coaches.
Initially planned as a 5 night sleep-away camp experience, SPAC parents quickly pivoted to provide lodging and individual transportation for their child when Oregon’s Health Authority deemed it necessary. Add to this daily mountain health screenings, routine hand sanitizing and required face covering and we all came away with one-of-a-kind ski camp memories. It was truly an adventure for the entire family and especially our parents that juggled and flexed the definition of working remote.
SummerSPAC Day 1 training involved remembering how to ski after many months, general drills, and a focus on facing down the hill while doing falling leaf pivots. Days 2 and 3 were set for GS skills practice. Days 4 and 5 centered on Slalom. Summarily across all days we kept up the pressure on the outside ski and aimed for the right line under the gate. A great highlight of our on-hill time was a special visit from U.S. Olympic Alpine Skier and World Cup racer, Jacqueline ‘Jackie’ Wiles. During a pause in her drills (and ours) she came to speak to SPAC campers. Jackie encouraged our athletes not to let anyone tell them what they can’t do and reminded them to keep on dreaming and skiing! Read more about Ms. Wiles at jacquelinewiles.com.
When SPAC campers weren’t cruising down the Palmer snow field they were connecting over huckleberry shakes, bike rides, waterplay in the river, or speeding down the alpine slide. Due to local health statutes we avoided large group workouts directed by coaches and instead left camp afternoons informal. With so many parents in town it was easy to meet the varied interest in activities. This year the week was unexpectedly as much of a parent’s camp as it was an athlete’s camp.
Special thanks to all the diligent Dads, Moms and siblings that supported the shift to the day-camp model and made the trek to Mt. Hood for a weird yet wonderful 2020 summer week together – yet apart.