Coach’s Corner: Nationals training picks up as winter slows down |

Coach’s Corner: Nationals training picks up as winter slows down

Well, winter came and went. We were (mostly) all excited to have a few powder days. Better late than never, right? Those few days already seem like a lifetime away as temps are now hovering in the 40s and 50s. Mother Nature sure is fickle this … do I call it a “season”?

When I think of a season I think of mildly consistent weather patterns representing the belief that one time of year is different than another. Spring is fresh, bright with rising temperatures, people starting to emerge from the cracks and crannies to take in the warmth. Summer being hot, flora and fauna alive and well brandishing a sense of vitality and prosperity. Fall is a time of mild lethargy, colors getting a bit dull, and cooler weather moves in, a sign that harsher weather is upon us. Winter, in my mind, oh glorious winter, is a time when we are blanketed in a pristine, white, untouched canvas, bundled up, ready to make use of the precipitation for our various forms of athleticism and recreation.

That latter epoch is apparently over; we seem to have almost completely bypassed spring this year. Bikes are coming out, travel plans are already formalized and the need for hot cocoa completely abandoned.

For those not quite willing to give up on winter yet, the warm temperatures and declining snow base do bring some benefits. We can unzip our jackets, no fear of frostbite, only sunburn, with the cool wind blowing through our hair. The snow itself is not as firm, making for a softer surface instilling in the adventurous a sense of confidence. This confidence is great for those athletes looking to progress their skills and abilities.

In particular, our Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club athletes are now willing to try a few more things. Features they’ve been eyeing from Coney Glade lift seem a little more in reach now that the landings aren’t bullet proof. The possibility of adding another 180 to that spin we’ve been working on all season doesn’t seem to have such grave consequence.

With the playfulness and slushiness of what feels like summer our athletes have a renewed sense of progression. They’re riding harder, going faster and pushing it bigger than they have all season long.

These temperatures have also forced us to be a little more exact in our riding. We have to be lighter on our edges or we can sink in or slip out. We have to have the timing of our takeoffs absolutely precise, or we could catch a rut or clip an edge on the lips of features. We basically have to be “on point” with what we’re doing.

While we may in fact be coming to an end of the season, it’s a great time to try for that one last new trick while also perfecting what we’ve been working on this whole season. The freeriding might have come to a close when Mother Nature ushered in this new weather, but it’s provided an opportunity to perfect the freestyle. Snowmass ski resort is now the perfect stage to prepare our competitive athletes for the upcoming United States of America Snowboard Association national championships.

Josh Ganz is a snowboarding coach for the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club. Email him at

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