Fridays at Eliteam are awesome. After working so hard all week, we reward the campers with a great hike up Mad River Glen ski area, followed by the sandpit SL, a swim, pizza, and lastly, Andrew’s Crazy Relays and the Jello Drop.
The hike was gorgeous and the group flew up to the top of the Double in 50 minutes. We hung out up there, talking and munching on apples and energy bars, enjoying the view.
This Friday was made even better by the appearance of Olympian Jimmy Cochran. He arrived at lunch and immediately headed out with the campers to practice the dryland slalom. He watched the campers, gave out pointers, and ran it himself. Some of the kids were pushing a little too hard to impress Jimmy, which resulted in some exciting crashes. Then he sat down with them in the Student Center and answered questions from the group for 30 minutes.
A sampling of Q&A’s:
Camper: What are you thinking at the start of a race?
JC: I think of only one thing. It may be technical, like “keep my hands up,” or I may focus on a particular section of the course that is tricky or difficult. If I focus on one thing, all that other stuff that can be distracting stays out of my mind.
Camper: Do you like it when your parents watch you race?
JM: Yes, I do. I know that sometimes they can be a distraction, but I like it when someone special is watching. I want to do well, to show off.
Camper: When did you start racing, and when did you get good?
JM: I started racing around age 7 or 8 at Cochran’s Ski Area, which my grandparents started. I can’t tell you when I got good, but I would make some progress, then plateau. Then make another jump up, and then plateau again.
After the talk, it was Sandpit time, and Jimmy was coming out to run it with us! The Sandpits have 13 gates set like a race course and drops 50 vertical feet. After an inspection run, we took two training runs followed by a timed race run. Jimmy set the early time of 16.44 seconds. The closest the campers got was 18.13 sec. There were lots of fantastic runs, with great technique. There were also lots of falls and crashes, but everyone finished.
The fastest boys and girls made it to the final round, and the entire group cheered wildly for every competitor. The loudest screams though, were for Jimmy. The whole crew chanted, “Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy!” His final run was timed at a blistering 15.75!
Jimmy had a sharpy with him, and throughout the afternoon, was signing shirts, hats, shorts, shoes and even socks. He is a true champion that stayed until every camper got an autograph. I don’t think they will ever forget the experience of meeting and running Sandpits with an Olympic skier.
After a pizza dinner, Andrew’s Crazy Relays and the Jello Drop finished off the day. Andrew added in a few new moves to keep things fun and fresh for the kids. The “Baywatch Run in Slow-Mo” was a big hit. Before bed, all the campers received their Eliteam 2008 t-shirts. There will be an army of blue ready to greet you tomorrow! See you all at 10am for the Eliteam Olympics.