This year marks ELITEAM’s 29th year! Wow. Where does the time go? If you had asked us back in 1991 about our plans for ELITEAM, we probably would have said 3-5 years tops, and then we’ll be on to something else. But, here we are, 29 years later. The kids kept coming, so we kept going!
When we reconstructed our website last year, we included a section filled with “Alumni Reflections”. In the process we heard from many early ELITEAMers and it’s been so fulfilling to hear how ELITEAM has impacted their lives.
Every year we do our very best to provide a fun, positive and inspiring atmosphere for the kids. We are grateful that so many have carried that with them into their adult lives. Below are just some of the reflections we received.
Jimmy Ryan- Professional Skier, Warren Miller Films
ELITEAM helped me understand what it means to really pursue excellence–that performance in the winter starts in the summer, that talent is only part of the equation. ELITEAM taught me to love dryland because it provided an opportunity to progress as an athlete while my competition remained stagnant. Doug made trying hard cool, the coaches made it fun. I am so thankful for my summers at ELITEAM.
Megan Andrews- Physical Therapist
Doug and Kelley have created such a special environment at Eliteam that really allows you to grow and thrive as an athlete and a person. My first year at camp I was timid and a nervous wreck, but the fun and welcoming environment took my fears away and inspired me. Through my 11 years at Eliteam I gained confidence, discovered how to push my limits, and developed a passion for educating others. My experience at Eliteam lead me to my career as a physical therapist and given me the ability to help others overcome their obstacles and achieve their goals.
Jimmy Krupka- USST Nat’l Training Grp, Dartmouth Ski Team
Eliteam showed me how to embrace every aspect of becoming the best I can be at my sport; how to be the whole athlete. But most importantly, it showed me how fun the struggle can be: how, if you learn to love the gritty parts of the process, it barely feels like work.
Erin Fucigna- SoulCycle Instructor
ELITEAM showed me how important conditioning both the body AND mind is to excelling on skis. But even more importantly, ELITEAM taught me how important it is to have fun with my conditioning, my sport and my teammates! If you aren’t having fun and laughing while you’re working hard, then what’s the point!
Mikaela Shiffrin- US Ski Team, 2x Olympic Champion
I had so much fun at ELITEAM! Unfortunately I broke my finger the very first night, but that didn’t stop me from doing all the fun activities! It was quite hard climbing up the rope wall in the obstacle course with a broken finger. I also remember running through slalom gates drilled into the ground, which I have always found SO fun.
Alice Merryweather- USST, Olympian, World Jr. Champion
Eliteam taught me that conditioning isn’t all about hitting the gym, it’s about pushing your limits, enjoying the outdoors, and challenging yourself both physically and mentally.
Sam Damon- US Ski Team, Eastern Regional Director
What I remember from Eliteam was the friendships that were formed with people I’d never met or barely knew before, the learning that happened about subjects that I was keenly interested in at that age, the epic adventures we went on with so many eye opening moments of “what’s possible” along the way, and of course the extremely sore legs!
I was there during the dawn of email, and one of the things we did was exchange either email or snail mail addresses with the people you met. Everyone that I knew kept up correspondences and we were all keenly interested in what our friends were up to. We’d share feelings, music, and mundane day-to-day details about our lives, always looking forward to the next summer when we’d get together and… workout? At first it seems like such an odd thing to form a friendship around, especially when it’s one week per year, but everything at Eliteam was so exciting and fulfilling all at once, and the pace was so high that you couldn’t help but form strong bonds.
I also remember the more academic side of the camps, where we’d learn about nutrition, physiology, exercise science, and that kind of thing. The standard slate of Math, Science, English, and History is fine, but for a kid who’s interested in sports the opportunity to learn about things in the sport science realm was incredible. It was one of the first times when I felt personally invested in the material – I wanted to be an athlete and this was the path! And it also helped explain why my legs hurt so badly at that moment, which they always did about half way through day 2 until a few days after I’d returned home.
I can also remember having my eyes opened so many times as I witnessed guys and girls who were on another level at whatever activity we were doing. Riding mountain bikes with Andrew Whiteford – watching him wheelie the length of the soccer field with no front wheel, flying down the trails at a pace I’d never have achieved on my own, bunny hopping his way up the bleachers to the top step, then hopping off… this wasn’t a movie, this dude was living in the same dorm as me! Also when I met Kyle Hildebrand (he was a counselor when I was a camper) and we played soccer one day – I would never have thought that someone could be built like that (a brick shithouse!) and still run and cut and move that fast.
My peers and coaches at Eliteam showed me what it meant to be at a higher level, and they really pushed me to up my game. When you race your mountain bike, you do it in the big ring. When you’re running on the soccer field, you run as fast as you possibly can. And when you’re going through the Quick Feet SL, it’s all about rhythm and flow… and keeping your hands up. The people I met and the experiences I had at Eliteam were formative for me. I learned how to set goals, believe in myself, and then put the hammer down to meet those goals! I am so grateful to have had adults like Doug, Kelley, Kraig, and Aaron in my life!