Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s strategic vision is a driving force behind everything we do as we aspire for our athletes to have the opportunity to become the best they can be. There are three phases of development not only in our sports, but in all youth sports — the discovery phase where the athlete develops a curiosity and love for sport, easily learning skills when provided enough frequency and participation at this formative prepubescent age; the intrinsic motivation phase when the athlete develops a passion for sport that motivates them to do more of their own volition; and the aspirational stage when the athlete aspires to become the best they can be at their sport, working tirelessly regardless of skill level to attain their goals.
As parents and as coaches, we must avoid preconceived notions of a child’s limits at each of these phases, realizing that each child is at their own unique level of physical and emotional maturation. I have coached athletes who far surpassed what others may have ever believed them capable of through their passion and work ethic, and through those around them believing in what they were capable of.
SSCV’s success is measured not by the results of our elite athletes, but by our ability to unlock the key for each and every athlete, regardless of age, skill level or snowsport, that will enable them to evolve through each phase to become the best they can be. It is important to note that successful evolution through these phases will not be without adversity. When youngsters challenge themselves to the limits of failure because of their love and intrinsic motivation for their sport, they learn and advance in their sport. It is remarkable to see how much athletes can learn through the vehicle of a competitive snowsport, not only serving them well during their time at SSCV, but providing them the confidence and skills needed to be successful in their adult lives.
It is not only our athletes that learn and grow through adversity. These past 10 months challenged the entire SSCV community in unprecedented ways — staff, athletes and parents alike — to work harder to navigate the times. In the face of the current pandemic, our devotion to our athletes remains stronger than ever. With the onset of COVID-19 related closures, coaches worked diligently to keep athletes engaged. Their collective efforts resulted in safe, socially distanced, COVID-19 compliant activities on and off snow, and also fulfilled an inherent need to create meaningful connections with our athletes in an otherwise isolating time and regardless of the circumstances. SSCV implemented changes in operations to remain in compliance with state and local guidelines and requirements to ensure the safety of staff, athletes, parents and the community-at-large and will continue to do so. The degree of dedication displayed by athletes, parents and staff to their sport and each other has been truly remarkable.
The 2019-20 season has been one for the books. As an organization, there has been significant growth in our capacity to train and accommodate our athletes thanks to the contributions and efforts of our many supporters and community partners. Two of the Club’s largest undertakings and most notable accomplishments of the past year (although they have been in the works for 30-plus years) have been the opening of the Golden Peak expansion and the completion of the SSCV clubhouse. The expansion is a tremendous asset in the training of alpine athletes (and for 2020-21, early season training for mogul athletes), and given its higher elevation and robust snowmaking infrastructure, is a game changer for early and late season training. The SSCV clubhouse is a community-wide gathering place which houses the SSCV technical services shop and The Steadman Philippon Athlete Performance Center. We look forward to getting past the risks of COVID-19 so that we may fully utilize all of these resources.
As we enter the competition season I see athletic depth across all snowsports, an exceptional coaching staff, world-class resources, venues and facilities, strong partnerships and a highly supportive community — the foundational pieces needed to be the best we can be. Based on results across all five snowsports SSCV has earned the distinction of being the top snowsports club in the US. SSCV’s goal to be the best we can be is a higher aspirational level for which we have established the foundation and will work to achieve.
Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s objective is to provide the level of quality commensurate to the needs and goals of all its athletes so they can become the best they can be. We aspire that more of our athletes will become the best in the world than any other club. SSCV is a Vail Valley-centric program.
Kirk Dwyer is the executive director and alpine program director of Ski & Snowboard Club Vail.