|Junior Bounous||Stein Eriksen|
Uintah Soul on Snow Sports Club
The North American Ski Journalists Association, NASJA, awarded Snowbird's Director of Skiing, Junior Bounous, its Lifetime Achievement Award this spring.
The Lifetime Achievement Award is awarded periodically for outstanding achievement in ski competition, skiing innovation, equipment design or other skiing accomplishments. In 1992 it was awarded for the first time to speed skier Steve McKinney and in 1995 it was awarded to Klaus Obermeyer. No awards were given in 93,94, or 96. Bounous has left an indelible mark on the history of skiing in the United States through his participation in and contribution to strategic events that have developed and advanced ski technique and instruction.
In 1971, Bounous became the first Ski School Director at Snowbird where he directs a staff of over 200 instructors who give over 33,000 lessons each year.
Bounous has won many awards and honors including the Alta National Gelande Jump in 1970, second place in a figure eight powder contest in New Zealand, and numerous powder skiing and industry awards. He is knows as a "Pioneer in the American Ski Industry" and one of the top powder skiers in the world."
At age 73, his silver hair doesn't stop him from skiing and teaching his
programs designed especially for seniors at Snowbird. In fact, you can find Junior hiking
Mt. Baldy on powder days for fresh tracks and he has the most beautiful form on the
1949- The first Forest Service sponsored certification exam in the Intermountain Ski Instructors Assoc.
1952- The first National Ski Association Certification meeting in Colorado
1958- The "Alta Meeting" which was the first full meeting of the NSA Instructors Certification Committee, to demonstrate and discuss technique, methods, mechanics, and to discuss the business of running a ski business.
1961- The founding of the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA)
1950's-60's- The development of the American Ski Technique and the writing of the various editions of the White Book
1991- Induction to the PSIA Ski Hall of Fame
During the off season Stein Eriksen won yet another award. The Intermountain Ski Areas Association gave Stein the Pioneer Award.
Stein received the Pioneer Award in recognition of his pioneering spirit and contribution to the early development of the ski industry. There have been less than a half dozen recipients of the Pioneer Award over the last ten years.
Eriksen has lived in the U.S. for the last four decades. Prior to joining Deer Valley, he was involved in the development of the Park City Ski Area, now Park City Mountain Resort, which was built by Edgar Stern, who later built Deer Valley. Before coming to Park City, Eriksen worked as ski school director at these resorts: Snowmass, Colorado, Sugarbush, Vermont., Aspen., Colorado, Heavenly Valley, California and Boyne Mountain, Michigan.
Stein learned to ski as soon as he could walk. He attributes his skiing style to his father, who competed in the gymnastics competition at the 1912 Olympics in Norway. His young son, Stein, also trained in gymnastics which, he says, "was a great foundation for skiing because of its discipline and the agility and flexibility it gave me."
After years of training and dedication, Stein competed in the Olympics held in Norway and won a gold medal in the giant slalom, and a silver medal in the slalom races. He then went on to win three gold medals in the World Championships in Aire, Sweden in 1954, including the slalom, giant slalom and the combined races.
At the age of 27 Stein announced to his friends and family that he would move to the United States to pursue a career. Although he bid farewell to his country, he vowed to return for visits, which continue today. This past November, Stein was awarded the Knight First Class honor by His Majesty the King of Norway as a reward for outstanding services in the interest of Norway, indicating his dedication to this home country.
Deer Valley Resort will help Stein celebrate his 50th anniversary of winning the gold in the 1952 Olympics during the 2002 Games. Deer Valley is the site of the slalom, combined slalom, aerial and mogul events.
Eriksen currently calls both Deer Valley and Montana home. He spends the off-season archery hunting, playing tennis and fly-fishing and other sports. Stein has four children: 16 year old, Bjorn; Stein, Jr. 28; Julianne, 30; and Ava, 33.
The man who spent millions beefing up The Canyons and buying Heavenly and Steamboat Resorts is optimistic about the ski industry. He says soon, resorts will experience "A freight train" of skiers and snowboarders. After taking out massive loans and selling American Skiing Company stock, Les Otten has become one of the biggest ski resort owners in the world.
In general, the ski industry is slipping. Fewer people are showing up at resorts to buy lift tickets. Here in Utah, the numbers are staying level. When pessimists ask Otten why he is willing to invest so heavily in winter sports, Otten answers with bold optimism. "The ski industry has tremendous potential for growth." Otten says the answer is within the Echo Boomers, the children of Baby Boomers. Echo Boomers are 19-30 years old. They number 78 million, which is identical to the numbers of the Baby Boomers. "Just as the Baby Boomers boosted the ski industry, the Echo Boomers will have the power to do the same. And more than ever before, people have a passion for the outdoors." Otten reminds reporters that the National Ski Areas Association also believes Echo Boomers have been identified as the next generation to send the industry soaring again.
Les Otten says his father was in the steel business and his father was very passionate about steel. He says at an early age, he found his passion was being in the outdoors. Now, he says, more than ever, Americans share that passion for the outdoors.
The Canyons resort has already made some history offering thousands of Honor Students in Utah a free season pass. At The Canyons, during summer, the resort will offer camps for children that run for 5 days. Children will take the Gondola up to the mid mountain lodge everyday where they will learn about outdoor recreation and the environment.
Summer could be a fairly active time at this Utah resort. Otten wants to see as much outdoor activity as possible. He said he wants to encourage mountain biking, hiking and horseback riding. Unlike many resorts, where hiker-biker traffic can sometimes collide, Otten says he would like to see the mountain separated by activity. In addition to the outdoor recreation, he wants the mid mountain lodge to serve as a gathering place. People can ride the gondola, see the view, enjoy the mountains and have lunch or dinner in the lodge. Currently, most resorts close their mid mountain lodges during summer.
The American Skiing Company has a unique way of doing things. One is the way Otten runs his ski and snowboard instruction. Otten says "I was at Disneyland with my family. One of our children didn't want to go on the riverboat ride. So I took my other child on the ride. When we came back, sure enough, our child wanted to go on the ride afterall. So, I was on that boat ride again. I noticed something. Each tour guide had the same speech and the same information to deliver. However, each guide delivered that information just a little differently. I thought ski lessons could be organized the same way."
Otten's team has also developed a new way of delivering instruction. It is all positive. Otten's ski schools focus on the positive. The instruction is called "Perfect Turn" and instructors become coaches. Those coaches are taught to point out their student's accomplishments and abilities, instead of criticizing form and pointing out problems.
The Canyons planned to open on December 20. Weeks after Utah's other resorts were already open. Still, construction wasn't complete and Mother Nature was not generous with snow on this particular flank of the Wasatch Mountains. So, The Canyons had to postpone the grand opening. What did Otten have to say about such a discouraging and dismal non-opening? Would it send his stock prices downhill? Otten stated, "Hopefully investors will realize that intelligence wins over greed." He was referring to the fact that the resort could have opened and collected lift ticket money, but the conditions would have been poor. It would not give people the kind of first impression of the American Skiing Company that Otten wants them to walk away with. The lodge was not completed and the runs were still interrupted by dirt roads from construction work. Otten said when guests come to his mountain he wants them to have a great experience.
Utah has a minority ski club that is bigger and better than ever before. It is called, The Uintah Soul on Snow Sports Club. Two smaller clubs merged, The Uintah Sports Club and Soul on Snow.
Ruth Gooden is the president of the combined club, "It was a goal of mine ever since I lived in Utah. Both clubs were small and if we came together we would have one strong club. One club was more adult, the other was more youth oriented. As one club we can have both. " Gooden has lived in Utah for 13 years. "People are absolutely welcome to join. I think for this winter, their youth would get a lot out of it. We have special skiing and snowboarding going on. Friday evenings teenagers will ski and snowboard at Snowbird. The resort is offering a very inexpensive package that is open to the public through Ski Utah and so I signed our group up for that."
One of the club's most enthusiastic members is Raymond Christy. He says, " Skiing is my stress reducer! If I have a rough week, I get up there on Saturday in the clean air and I feel great." Christy used to run one of the smaller clubs before the merge. "The club provides a safe haven for introducing people to skiing. Whether they are adults or kids. It also gives a common bond to a lot of people, because one interest we share is skiing. Skiing draws out a certain camaraderie. When people ski, they leave a lot of their problems and their subjective thoughts behind. We all have our own personal baggage and prejudices, but the majority of the time, people forget that when they are skiing. When you couple the group sharing interests with the dynamics of the sport, that gives people a lot to talk about and share. "
Christy says the resorts really help the club by offering discounted tickets. "Brighton is one of our sponsors. Brighton believes in our club, introducing people to the sport, particularly under privileged kids. We get a discounted rate so it is affordable for a family to go skiing. Because right now, skiing is an expensive sport. There are a large number of people who live in the Salt Lake valley but don't ski. When you add up food, lift tickets, and gas, you are talking about $65 for one person. For a family more than $100. I've been skiing for 10 years, I have noticed many resorts are trying to make it more affordable for families and locals. And, this club really helps make the sport affordable."
Christy says once the club group gets to the mountain everyone breaks up into groups. "We split up into beginning & advanced. The intermediates ski above or below their level and that can be fun! You can challenge yourself with the better skiers or help out the beginners. The advanced group really tears up the mountain. " He says the group reunites for lunch and every talks about skiing and other interests. "After lunch we all do at least two or three runs together as a group. We take pictures or videotape. It is fun to ski with a large group. After a couple runs together, the advanced skiers break off, they have demonstrated enough patience, and the beginners are happy they don't have to put up with those who secretly want to leave them. At the end of the day the group reunites again and it's an opportunity to talk and mingle. A lot of people share pointers on technique and then, thats it, until the next time. It is usually the same people coming back again, because it is so much fun and they all love those discounts. Some of the people also call other club members and go to different resorts on their own."
The group gets together off the slopes as well. Christy says, "We have monthly club meetings and we talk about the calendar of events, we talk about upcoming ski days. Everyone goes to those. Canyon Sports Rental is a sponsor, they do equipment work shops, offer courses on different types of skis for different types of terrain during the meetings. It is a good social time too. At one point, our club had a lot of single people, we would gear our meetings so that afterward, people could play cards and go out together. Then as our club grew up and many of us had kids we would plan pizza parties. Now we have a lot of families and singles. Also, since we belong to a national organization we have two meetings a year. One is the national meeting called the summit and one is the regional meeting. People come to have fun, while some of us are conducting the business for the meeting. Last year we had our meeting in Vail. This year it will be in Sun Valley. We also belong to the National Brotherhood of Skiers, which is a national group of predominately 72 clubs all over the United States. By living here, I get to see a lot of people from all different clubs. Sometimes our club gets to interact with other clubs."
Ruth Gooden says this year the new club will have more events than ever. "We will also have events for snow- shoeing this season. Some people don't want to invest in skiing and snowshoeing is not very expensive. You can rent a pair for ten dollars. No lift ticket involved."
Christy says the club gets some great support from sponsors. "We have Canyon Sports, doing the workshops and offering discounts on rentals, Brighton helps with deals on lift tickets and other specials, we work with Olympus Hotel. When people come into town, we recommend our sponsor and the hotel helps us with meeting space. We do parties and fundraising events there and they give us a great deal. Dale Boot and Evolution Ski Company are also supportive. A few years back, we had 5 racers on the Solitude Ski Team. Dale boot provided boots, evolution provided skis, Canyon Sports helped with equipment and Solitude took great care of us. These members of the club were able to train, ski and race!
That was great, out of 32 kids, 5 kids did well enough to race. All the kids signed a pack to do well in school and ski together and it got them on the slopes and off the streets. That gave them a better life. I've watched a lot of these kids do well in school and graduate. I've watched these kids come in at 11 & 12 years old, and now they are graduating from high school and I have had a part in their development."
Christy says not only did his skiing and circle of friends expand from the club, but also his business skills, "One time we took 65 kids up. Getting them from vehicles, into equipment, into lessons and to the meeting place. All the kids go to lesson in the first part of the ski season, we encourage kids to learn and not just go out on the mountain. I learned a lot organizing those projects. For me personally, I have really grown from the club and sharpened my coordinating and networking skills. So, I think the club is great for skiing, and business. A club is just like a little business, you have newsletters, ski trips, hosting other clubs, being a resource of information. It is a good opportunity to use all of those skills. But really, I did it for the fun. We have a saying about our non-profit group, we say, Its not for profit, its for smiles.
"Whose Mom are you?" a twelve year boy said to me.
"Oh, I'm not a mom." (I had promised my sons age 12 and 17 that I would not divulge my identity to anyone.)
"I thought that you had to be under 18 to come to this camp," he said.
"No, it didn't say it anywhere on the camp brochure," I answered him.
"How old are you, then?"
"Oh, I think you are about 28," he answered. He was like my own sons-anyone over 25 is ancient. That sounded pretty good to me but almost 42 would have been more accurate. He continued, "Do you think you can keep up with any of the skiers? You know, this camp is for experts who compete in mogul competitions."
I hear myself telling him, "Don't worry, I won't try to pal around with you. If I can't handle the skiing, I will call my mom collect and have her come and get me."
This is my third summer season to ski on the glacier of Blackcomb. Every season my sons and I stay longer than the year before. We are already trying to figure out a way to have the funds to stay the entire season next year.
The glacier summer skiing lasts from mid-June until mid-August. I attend the Smart Mogul Skiing camp, which is run by John Smart, a three-time Canadian Olympian. I like this camp because of the coaching, the ratio of skiers to coaches, and the level of skiing found at the camp. This camp has some World Cup women competitors, many National level skiers from their prospective countries and divisional champions. There are other camps which cover varying levels of skiers. The only requirement is loving to ski the bumps. I have found that the best way to learn to be a better mogul skier is to spend several days of intense training with video and coaching. This will dramatically alter your bad habits and enable you to move out of your comfort zone. The chemistry of the camp can push one to a new level of skiing as well.
Let me give you a sample of what it is like to spend a week skiing at the glacier. First you have to get to Vancouver, whether it is by plane, train or automobile. You can be picked up at the Vancouver, British Columbia airport and then driven about an hour and a half to the Blackcomb-Whistler area. The camp usually assigns roommates, but if you want to stay in your own hotel room you can, it just costs more. Camp rules are pretty strict for kids. They have curfews and coach surveillance. Don't worry, most of the kids who come to summer camps have dreams of gold medals and they get their sleep. And the adults, after exercising hard all day, they just try to get their ski boots off before they fall asleep.
On the first evening we meet and get a schedule for the week. We get free sunscreen , t-shirts and power bars, which will be necessary items for glacier skiing. The camp schedule looks like this: Breakfast is every morning at 7:30 a.m. After breakfast, we head up to the glacier. Stretching is at 9:00 a.m. at the top of the mogul course. We ski until 12:30 p.m. and then have juice break. Videos are done after that until 2:00 p.m. Lunch is at the bottom of the mountain at 2:30 p.m. Dryland training starts at 4:00 p.m. Supper is at 6:00 p.m. Then, we watch videos and jump on the trampoline until 9:30 p.m. Bedtime is at 10:00. This is the schedule for three days on snow, then a rest day, and then three more days on the snow.
A typical glacier day is waking before 7 a.m., dressing for the worst ski conditions, and walking to breakfast in your ski gear. Breakfast is buffet style with hot and cold dishes. My boys think it is gourmet because we eat cold cereal every morning. Then we head to the first chairlift. Some mornings (excuse me, many mornings) are foggy and rainy in Canada, so we opt for a chair with a bubble to stay dry. These lifts allow us to see marmots, grizzlies, black bears, waterfalls, lakes, and the rain forest of British Columbia. We take another chairlift, and then catch a schoolbus to a third chairlift. The third chairlift takes us to the Horstmann Hut on the Horstmann glacier! On a clear day, from this vantage point we can see to Alaska (or possibly just the mountain ranges of British Columbia). They call this part of Blackcomb .Seventh Heaven, and on a clear day, it is.
This is not the place to be without sunscreen, great goggles and sunglasses, and hats
with brims. It can start out as a cold day and the glacier will heat up like a light bulb
on a petri dish or it can start out warm and turn into a nasty storm. Most campers carry a
backpack to add layers or remove them as the conditions warrant. We carry our juice break
and a water bottle as well.
At this point, we put on our skis! One can see the mogul fields, the racecourses and huge half-pipes and tabletop jumps for the snowboarders on the upper T-bar. We spend a few runs warming up, sideslipping and salting the glacier where huge ice chunks have formed from the previous night.
Our camp mogul course has 4 lines of about 128 moguls each (512 in all). We lost them to a huge snowstorm one day this summer and had to remake them. There are two competition airs in each line. These differ from jumps that one sees free skiing. They are right in the mogul line that a skier chooses to ski. They are huge enough that a skier is able to do triple and double maneuvers on them. The hot athletes are doing triples that may include two twisters and a spread, or possibly a double daffy and a twister, or even a helicopter with a spread in the middle of it. Along with the course, there are smaller airs for practice and a quarter-pipe for grabs and twisting maneuvers. This year they added the absorption tank, that is, rollers built so skiers could work on absorption and extension.
Each day we work on different aspects of our skiing: absorption, extension, proper body
stance, aerial maneuvers, pole plants, directness, turns and preparing for competitions.
The video is excellent for helping us see and correct our mistakes.
The skiers can get off the glacier by riding the chair lifts down and by those same bus rides encountered on the ride up. However, the more adventurous way is to ski the Sudan The Sudan is the fastest way off the glacier. It allows you to miss the chairlift and bus ride but you have to ski some steep terrain and, depending on the snow level, there is a leap of faith over the rocks to get into it. It has a nasty long traverse with crevasses that widen as the snowmelts. There is no stopping on the traverse and after skiing moguls most of the day one has to decide if he has the strength to make it. . The Canadians have resolved the out of bounds problem. They have posted a sign at the top of this couloir, which says, "You will pay for your own rescue."
In the Smart Mogul Skiing camp, dryland training is roller-blading, mountain biking, roller hockey, soccer, swimming, running, plyometrics, and physical testing. We live for the rest day. The rest day is usually spent on mental training and traditional paintball in the forest of British Columbia.
Our last day of skiing is the dual moguls competition. In moguls, 50% of the score is speed, 25% is air and 25% is turns. Judges at the bottom of the course render scores. The dual mogul format will be new at the Olympics at Nagano this year. Duals are much more difficult than single moguls. Two skiers run side by side. (Just a funny personal note: I was easily the favored winner of my race but I fell, lost my ski and had to retrieve it by climbing over two moguls the size of Volkswagen beetles. I got to the finish line three moguls behind my competitor but had to bypass the second air to do this. The other skier moved on because speed is 50% of the score.) At the end of competition day, there are prizes for the winners, Oakley sponsorships for promising skiers, and assorted prizes for all campers.
The best part of summer ski camp is that there is the video for us to review the rest of the summer until the snow falls. We have made new friends from all over the world who share a love of winter sports with us. If you have an interest in being a summer camper, watch for advertisements in the spring ski magazines which have descriptions and price lists of most of the camps all over the world. If you opt to attend John Smart's camp tell him you heard about it from me. Next year, I'll be there. I'm probably the oldest woman on the glacier (the one with the gray hair and the Shiatsu massage schedule memorized). I would love to see more "recycled teenagers" skiing there, as well as all of the younger skiers. If you are interested in skiing locally with the United States Ski and Snowboard Association's Freestyle program, contact USSA at (435) 647-2666, e-mail at mailto:email@example.com or contact me at my e-mail address: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org. You could be the one bringing home the gold to Salt Lake City in 2002!
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