Coach’s Corner: Ullr Has Arrived
We’ve all heard that classic ’80s song from Queen and David Bowie, “Under Pressure,” right? The message of that song is basically running through my head at the moment. While some of the pressures Bowie and Freddie Mercury were singing about were a lot heavier than my topic, the overall message is the same.
Competition season at the Regional Aspen/Snowmass United States of America Snowboard and Freeski Association level is now over for our Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club athletes. Granted we have Nationals coming up, but that’s a month away. We have time in-between to put aside the fears, concerns and pressures of winning and proving something to our peers. Right now for the time being, we can go back to playing on the mountains for the reason most of you readers are sacrificing warm beds on weekend mornings. For the love of it.
I doubt that many of us got into these winter sports, or at least stuck with them, for anything but the proverbial “love of the sport.” I know that’s why I packed up my car with essentially all my earthly possessions, depleting my bank account solely for the thrill of finding real snow on something other than the rolling hills of a golf course in Kentucky.
AVSC snowboard athletes have persevered through the rigors of competition season, including but not limited to irritating schedules, poor weather conditions, even lack of preparation in the halfpipe (Due to the late opening of the Snowmass pipe, some of our athletes’ first day in one this season was an actual competition.). They did this and more yet still made it out the other side alive and accomplished.
While the competition schedule is planned months in advance, barring unforeseen circumstances such as inclement weather, the timing of this lull from competition seems to be quite fortuitous.
Look outside. It’s been puking snow! It’s actually a point of frustration that I’m sitting inside trying to meet my deadline for this article. We’ve had an uncharacteristically dry season. Which for us training in gates, slopestyle and halfpipe venues could be looked upon as a blessing. We didn’t really have the distraction of that pesky champagne powder to keep us from focusing on our goals and progress.
Well, that’s not the case anymore. We’ve achieved many of our goals or come close to it. We still have some cleaning up to do, there’s always room for improvement, but now we have no looming deadlines to steal our attention away from the Poma lift. We can make our way to the top of the Cirque, bombing down the steeps into the trees with knee-deep fluffiness, smiles barely visible under our snowstaches, hooting and hollering. Without the dangling pressure of competition we can do this completely guiltfree.
Some may see it as a bit late, but now that Ullr has finally gifted these great mountainsides we can hop out of bed bright and early solely for the love of the sport, the feeling of floating through powder. This season we can give ourselves one more chance.
Josh Ganz is a snowboarding coach for the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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