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Skiers Train in Chile!

Follow updates from Proctor's Eastern Skiers training in Chile this August with blog posts below and images here

Days 3 and 4: 
Supposedly this is winter in El Colorado, but we are not really sure it is. It could be Miami beach... Maybe. I find myself asking, "Didn't we travel all the way to the Southern hemisphere to ski in Winter conditions?" Checking weather.com today for Andover NH, a part of the US that should be in full Summer mode, I couldn't help but note that it was warmer in Santiago and El Colorado, 7000 feet above sea level in the middle of winter, than it was in Boston or Andover today!  Yikes.  Have you ever skied in 85 degree weather?  We have!
 
Most of the Chilean ski resorts have suffered dearly from some of the warmest winter weather in decades.  Earlier this season, the snow and cold temps came as usual, and the skiing was great.  Then one day, Mother Nature stopped making snow and a few months later, added in heat - and plenty of it.  Each day we ski, we can see the snow disappearing, fast!  Many prominent teams are currently training here, and we are all making the best of adverse conditions.  Early mornings and creative training schedules are supported by all teams, and all trams are finding a good level of success!
 
Days 3 and 4 for us saw kids transition from GS progressions on slalom skis, to GS progressions and sectional gate training on GS skis.  Proctor traditionally starts our training camps on slalom skis with a GS focus.  Working from this angle allows athletes to focus on body position, stance and balance, without ski pressure.  We find that this formula magically sets athletes up for success when we transition to GS skis, especially the more intimidating FIS GS skis.  By allowing the athletes to feel theoutside ski away from their bodies with confidence on SL skis, we create a recipe for success when they MUST commit to that ski when they transition to the bigger giant slalom skis.  I'm happy to report that both improvement and success were had by all athletes!
 
Tomorrow, panel slalom, which is arguably the most effective GS training tool to emphasize, teach and transition into the equally important GS "movement".  Position, Stance and Balance help us find the key to early edge pressure and dynamic movement between arcs!

Days 5, 6 and 7: 
Days 5 and 6 began with a more deliberate push toward GS skis and introductory gate training.  After many days of balance, body position and movement through GS progressions on slalom skis utilizing drill courses for skill development, the athletes jumped onto the more challenging long skis!  For some, the jump from a 23-27 meter ski seemed daunting.  Everyone was nervous (read: frightened) about the new FIS GS ski.  I'm happy to report, it has not been an issue! (and not nearly as scary as athletes thought)  With deliberate progressions and consistent progress, all the new radius skis turned without issue.  
 
As we advance through the GS progression plan, we expect and deliberately create both build up and set backs.  Build up is easy, fun and obvious.  We use set backs as a useful tool.  Set backs instill grit and work ethic and teaches athletes to work though failure, which is something we have far more of in ski racing than success.  
The emotional fortitude of a ski racer is the most important skill we can teach, or try to teach.  Fortitude is something every ski racer needs.  Some have it at birth, some work to learn it.  
 
At the conclusion of Day six, the athletes have cycled through three rotations of build up and set back.  The best part of day six for the athletes was looking forward to day seven, our day off.  Day six was long, gritty and successful and the group earned, and was ready for, a day out of boots!
 
Day 7 - the day off.  
 Ski racing is a sport with extensive travel.  Often, skiers travel the world going from airports to ski resorts and never really seeing a larger part of the landscape or absorbing "non ski resort" culture, and ski resort culture is pretty much the same from New England to New Zealand.  The real reason we ski at Proctor, is to use skiing as one of many tools to grow great kids.  In the AP curriculum of ski racing (USSA/FIS), we value growth gained through travel.  Yes, carrying your own heavy bags, traveling in foreign countries, not losing passports, ordering meals in different languages etc, are all required and learned skills. However, for me, the real magic lies in kids seeing a new part of the word, the real world - not what we see on Fox news, but how it really is.  That's why the traveling ski racer is taught to be a global citizen who realizes respect, tolerance and understanding are critical to success in the global world we live in.

Day 10: 
Mother Nature is a powerful being! First, she gently rocked Chile with a 6.6 earthquake. Then, she dumped a 4 foot blanket of fluffy white powder all over the region. For most of us, myself included, two firsts transpired...It was our first "legitimate" earthquake and the deepest powder day ever skied. 
 
As we prepared for dinner last night (a wonderful "Chilean" barbecue put on by Monte's wife Allie) we were sitting around the Refugio, playing cards, chess and listening to music when the hotel started to sway, not shake.  If you ever been in a building during an earthquake, you'll know what I mean.  At first, it's a slow sway, and you're not really sure what's happening. The moment I knew it was an earthquake was when I saw the bottom of the curtains draw away from the window frame.  At that same instant Craig yelled...."quick, move under a doorway arch, is safer!"  Wow, an East Coast ski team was experiencing a legitimate earthquake while at ski camp.  I'm happy to report, we didn't lose power and no damage was sustained to the buildings or roadway infrastructure. When I asked Monte if this earthquake was considered "big" by local standards, he explained that unless the scale hits above an 8.0, no worries... The last really big earthquake in Chile happened a few years ago: an 8.9!  Happy to say, a little swaying and shaking was all we got.
 
After the excitement of the evening, we woke to "The Powder Day".  As we finished dinner and watched it gently snowing outside, the temps dropped and the snow accumulations increased. As coaches, we discussed the possibility of a powder day, but no one expected or predicted a 4 foot dump, especially after the extreme heat and snowless training lanes we have become used to during this camp. This morning, the coaches were the first to wake to a surprising 2 feet of snow on the deck.  Usually, the snow totals are higher as you increase in altitude at a ski area. I'm happy to report that they certainly were today! The Proctor group grabbed the third chair of the morning, capturing run after run of fresh, 4 foot deep powder runs! For most of us, this was the deepest snow we've ever skied.  So much fun!  Enjoy the pics, they should say it all
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Located in  Andover, NH,  Proctor Academy is a private coeducational day and boarding school for grades 912. Students benefit from a rigorous academic program, experiential off-campus programs, fine and performing arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.
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