This posting is to announce the recipient of the highly coveted, albeit infrequently awarded, Marmot Mom of the Month for the month of February: Barbara Hartley.
Barbara recently returned from chaperoning the Sugar Bowl Academy Freeride team on their recent comp trip to Crested Butte. In addition to cracking the whip come evening study time and assuring that all student-athletes were fed and in bed on time, Barbara arranged for a metal detector search of a crash site where a Go Pro camera made its final and, unfortunately, inglorious run, and also had the misfortune of having to accompany her son on a trip to the hospital.
The following is an unedited account of the events at Crested Butte.
But, before that, congratulations to Austin Schrage on a fine showing in Colorado!
Today is our travel day home and reflecting back on the trip both Trevor and I feel it was a great trip even though the results do not reflect it. First of all the kids were great. They all behaved responsibly and were fun to travel with. Every evening after a long and stressful day the athletes would settle down and spend an hour or two focusing on school work. I was impressed with their willingness to work on homework when I know they were tired and would have preferred to just “chill” like I wanted to.
Each evening after working on homework we would all look forward to walking into town for our evening meal. Crested Butte offers a variety of very good restaurants that are surprisingly affordable. This was also a great opportunity for the kids to meet up with athletes from the other teams and have some relaxed social time. It was fun to see the connections the kids were making with the other athletes, especially the Snowbird team. My impression of the big mountain competitors on this tour is they are great skiers, focused, mature and happy people and it makes me proud to see our kids so easily fitting into this role.
Because Crested is a challenging mountain that is unlike the terrain at Sugar Bowl our kids did not perform as well as they had hoped. Regardless of the results, the life experience the kids have gained from traveling as a team and connecting with the other athletes on the tour has been invaluable. We still have four stops left and the terrain at these venues is more suited to our teams abilities. They all hope to make Sugar Bowl proud this winter.
Austin Schrage, the most inexperienced skier managed to stand out on this trip. On the first day he skied a more conservative line than our other athletes, but skied it well and moved onto finals. Austin was our only athlete to make the finals cut. Austin continued to ski well in finals and bumped up his place from 24th to 19th. Way to go Schrage!!!
The other three athletes, Drew, Carrie and Daniel took much more aggressive lines and were not able to complete their runs without falling.
Carrie started out her run very strong, she was skiing fast, beautiful turns straight down the fall line of a steep section of the mountain. Carrie continued to ski smoothly without hesitation after stomping her first air. Carrie’s second air was much bigger and had a double landing, unfortunately she hung up on the lip of this feature and tumbled a long way over a solid rock band. We were all holding our breath anticipating the worst when she popped up smiling and tapping her head. The head tap is the sign to the ski patrol from the athlete they are okay will be able to ski to the bottom of the venue unassisted.
Daniel’s run was down the gut of Angle gully, a very steep and rocky section of the venue. Daniel started out with his typical beautiful technique looking relaxed and solid as he “Billy Goated” his way through the steep and unforgiving portion of Angle gully. Unfortunately on a narrow chute Daniel’s ski caught a rock and caused him to “hip check” which was enough to take him out of the running for finals. Had Daniel fallen instead of “hip checking” he would have gone for a long rocky slide that would not have ended in Daniel’s favor.
Drew was our final athlete to ski and everyone had high hopes for him as he has been landing his airs very solidly this year. Drew also began his run skiing fast and solid. Drew choose a run that entered into the lower portion of Angle gully. He easily identified his entrance with no hesitation, made two jump turns lined up and executed a huge jump while throwing in a mute grab. Drew landed well but his ski hit a traverse line during his recovery and he went down hard. Unfortunately the landing ripped his Go Pro from his helmet so we won’t be able to watch some amazing footage.
The next morning was spent searching the venue with a metal detector trying to located the missing camera with no luck. After giving up on the camera we all headed to the bottom of the finals venue to watch the rest of the competition. While congratulating Andrew Pollard from Snowbird on his great run (a running tackle) Drew was tackled from behind and hurt his hand. We ended up spending the rest of the afternoon in the medical clinic getting his thumb x-rayed and cared for. Fortunately the thumb has a torn UCL
My overall rating of the trip is a great success. I enjoyed traveling with these mature athletes and watching them perform on and off the hill in great style. I look forward to my next trip to Crystal Mountain and hope we can come back with some better results!
Thanks for trusting me with these awesome kids!
All my Best,
Congratulations to Barbara Hartley, Marmot Mom of the Month!