Drills and tips that helped some of the world’s best ski racers have been passed on to Queenstown coaches.
Sasha Rearick, head coach of the US men’s alpine ski team, recently led a day-long clinic at Coronet Peak for five Queenstown Alpine Ski Team coaches.
Rearick demonstrated drills and techniques he’s used to spur top American ski racers like Bode Miller, Lindsey Vonn and Julia Mancuso to Olympic and World Cup medal glory.
Technique trends were also discussed and advice given on preparing athletes for new-regulation giant slalom skis.
QAST has trained about 65 athletes aged eight to 18 this season.
QAST chairman James Hadley says his coaches were very excited to learn podium-winning techniques from Rearick, who cancelled a heliski trip with Miller to take the clinic.
“We’re conscious our young athletes are very fortunate to train alongside international superstars at Coronet Peak’s Rocky Gully,” Hadley says.
“It’s awesome we were able to take the relationship from beyond shared lift rides and greetings to a more professional level this season via the session with Sasha and deliver on this objective in partnership with [skifield owner] NZSki.”
Rearick told the local coaches he felt there’d been a marked improvement in QAST this season under head coach Igor Stros and his team.
Stros was impressed at Rearick’s willingness to share his secrets and says the seminar was the best he’s ever attended: “It was invaluable to hear and see what Sasha determined as critical in ski racing overall and particularly in [Giant Slalom]”.
The coaching clinic was also a spinoff from Coronet Peak’s ability to attract top international teams, skifield performance centre manager Toby Arnott says.
QAST coach and former New Zealand ski team member Tim Cafe says: “Since the clinic we’ve put many of the stance drills into practice and are already seeing major changes in the kids’ skiing.”