Tuesday, November 19, 2013

2013-2014 Season

Team Tonkawood is designed for the skier who is looking for a bit more from the Tonkawood Ski School.  More time on the hill, more coaching, more fun with friends, and more independence.  Team Tonkawood blends instruction, drills, games and racing in a team environment that is fun, challenging and exciting.
Team Tonkawood is designed to bridge the gap between recreational skiing and the more competitive race teams (USSA or High School).   We will be using team work, fun, and great coaching to teach kids how to get the most out of skiing in the Midwest.   While team members will have the opportunity to compete in four all day races (four runs each), our focus is less on the competition and more on the skills and attitude that are required to be competitive.
Skiing and racing are hazardous and the safety of the kids and coaches is our number one priority.  To keep the program safe the coaches will expect the kids to be able to:
  • Follow directions and obey safety rules
  • Get on the chair and ride safely without direct adult supervision
  • Use the buddy system when not under direct adult supervision
  • Wear helmets and goggles while training and racing
Team Tonkawood is focused on teaching children the skills required to race and compete.  Kids should have a strong basic turn (braced turn is fine).  Ski poles are not required, although most kids will progress to the use of poles relatively quickly.  Finally, if the mountain is open we are skiing: team members will learn how to ski in extreme winter conditions (with lots of hot cocoa breaks). 
Team Tonkawood has two program options. 
  • Full Program includes eight weekend training days and seven Wednesday nights for $525 if postmarked by October 15. $600 if postmarked after that date.
  • Weekend Program includes eight weekend training days for $400.
Cost includes all instruction and lift tickets for the Tonkawood races and practices.  Lift tickets for the three Midwest Race League races are not covered.

Registration is starting now.  Download the Registration file and send it in now. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

2012 - 2013 Season


Team Tonkawood is designed for the skier who is looking for a bit more from the Tonkawood Ski School.  More time on the hill, more coaching, more fun with friends, and more independence.  Team Tonkawood blends instruction, drills, games and racing in a team environment that is fun, challenging and exciting.
Team Tonkawood is designed to bridge the gap between recreational skiing and the more competitive race teams (USSA or High School).   We will be using team work, fun, and great coaching to teach kids how to get the most out of skiing in the Midwest.   While team members will have the opportunity to compete in four all day races (four runs each), our focus is less on the competition and more on the skills and attitude that are required to be competitive.
Skiing and racing are hazardous and the safety of the kids and coaches is our number one priority.  To keep the program safe the coaches will expect the kids to be able to:
  • Follow directions and obey safety rules
  • Get on the chair and ride safely without direct adult supervision
  • Use the buddy system when not under direct adult supervision
  • Wear helmets and goggles while training and racing
Team Tonkawood is focused on teaching children the skills required to race and compete.  Kids should have a strong basic turn (braced turn is fine).  Ski poles are not required, although most kids will progress to the use of poles relatively quickly.  Finally, if the mountain is open we are skiing: team members will learn how to ski in extreme winter conditions (with lots of hot cocoa breaks). 
Team Tonkawood has two program options. 
  • Full Program includes eight weekend training days and seven Wednesday nights for $525 if postmarked by October 15. $600 if postmarked after that date.
  • Weekend Program includes eight weekend training days for $360.
Cost includes all instruction and lift tickets for the Tonkawood races and practices.  Lift tickets for the three Midwest Race League races are not covered.

Registration is starting now.  Download the Registration file and send it in now. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Wild Mountain Video

While getting the camera ready for tomorrow's race, I realized that I had not downloaded the video that Dan Bolgar was kind enough to shoot at Wild Mountain.  It is about 10 minutes worth, and I didn't bother to edit.  My apologies to those that did not get any video, this includes Ethan, Cole, Chase, and Zane.

We will try and get everyone tomorrow if it is not too cold.  Here is the video, you may want to view in YouTube, I think it will be a bit larger.

sr



Sunday, February 5, 2012

Another Great Day

At a certain point you give up trying to figure out what is going on with the weather and you just count your blessings.

That was one of the best days I have had skiing anywhere.  Great weather no lift lines, really no one on the hill, and once again lot's of break through skiing.  We spent the morning skiing around and didn't set gates for the first two hours.

At one point Jerry and I had eight kids between us and we had all the kids just ripping through the terrain park. With all the boarders over at the tournament we had the whole place to ourselves.  If you avoid all the obstacles it sure is fun to ski in and around all those terrain features.

We then had a wide open GS course down Single Cedar followed by a quick slalom course.  I am just amazed at the progress all of our skiers have made.  Across the board everyone has made great strides and seems to be having fun.

Tuesday is our last practice, and Saturday we have our second race at Afton.  I will be providing more info on the Afton race later this week.


Monday, January 30, 2012

Wild Times at Wild Mountain

Saturday was our first big race at Wild Mountain and what a day it was.  Teams from Trollhaugen, Welch, Hyland, and Tonkawood all made the trip to Taylor's Falls for our first big race.

Near perfect weather and close to 400 racers on eight courses made for a really great day.  I could go on about the fun had by all, but I think the pictures (thanks Amy) say it all.

If you want to see the results, you can see the under nine year old results here
The ten and eleven year old results are here.

It's too bad that the results only look at the times and don't measure fun, 
because Tonkawood Owned the Fun Podium 


 Chase on the GS course


 Payton, on the hill and on the Podium

Sam and Harry, everyone looks good in lycra.



 Two of Emily

 Harry

 Louise on the Slalom course


 Sam in slalom and GS below


A podium for Sam

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Big Gates, Cold Wind, and More Breakthroughs

Another great day on the hill.  We started off at 2 degrees and calm with blue skies.  The snow was just great, firm and fast, almost perfect for carving.  Coach Jerry set up a really fun GS course using the full size panel gates that Three Rivers Racing (TR2) was kind enough to let us use.

By the time we were done with inspection, the wind had picked up a bit making it a bit chilly to stand at the top.  Fortunately, most of the run was protected by some trees and it was comfortable.  By the time we reset the course, it was really blowing.

The really great thing is that none of the kids were complaining.  If they got cold, they went in for a quick break but no complaints at all.  Even better, the runs just keep getting better.  I had hoped to get a bit of video to compare the kids runs today with runs from the first day of ski school, unfortunately it was a bit chilly to be shooting video.  So you will have to trust me, all of the kids are really progressing nicely.

In the afternoon, we switched over to slalom.  Our first course was a little challenging.  Coach Jerry introduced some of the course elements (hairpins and flushes) that make slalom tricky.  If you are curious, USSA has a short presentation that explains the different types of course layouts for slalom.

All of the kids were able to figure it out, but some of the coaches had a bit of tough time making it down the first run.  After the reset, the kids were presented with a much more straight-forward run which will be typical of what they will see at the races.  All of the kids did great.

We wrapped it up with everyone showing some of their best skiing of the year, and a lot of big smiles.

I have some additional info to share for next weeks race, but it will have to wait until later.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Tonkawood Second Half

Well the regular Tonkawood school has wrapped up but Team Tonkawood is starting the second half.  First, let's get caught up.  On Saturday we had our season ending in-house race, and it seems like everyone had a great time.  

On Tuesday Winter finally showed up just in time for the evening practice. It was 12 when we got out of the car and 6 when we headed home.  Fortunately all the kids stayed warm and took breaks when they needed them.  Hand warmers and possibly toe warmers can really help out on the cold days.  

Looking forward we have several more practices and races.  Gretchen Piper, will be holding a parents meeting at 9:30 out at PowderRidge while the kids are practicing.  She will go over race days and make sure that all of the parents know what to expect.  If you can't make it Saturday, please send an email and we will get the info to you.  

Saturday January 28, we have our first race at Wild Mountain.
Tuesday January 31, we have a practice at PowderRidge.
Saturday February 4, we have another PowderRidge practice.
Tuesday February 7, we have our final Tuesday night practice.
Saturday February 11, we have our second race at Afton Alps.
Saturday February 18, is President's Day weekend, we have no official races, but there is a USSA race at Afton Alps.  Talk to Heidi Hust if you are interested.
Saturday February 25, is the championship race at Mount Kato.  If anyone is interested in heading down on Saturday let me know we can try to coordinate plans. 

So lots of fun on the horizon.  One last thought before we go Ski Maintenance.  Sorry if I have a bit of a soap box moment here...

If your kids skis have not been serviced since the start of the season, it is probably time to have them sharpened and waxed.  Man made snow, thin coverage, and dirt in the snow is tough on skis.  It dulls the edges and can damage the base.  Wax protects the base of the ski and makes it more resilient scratches and abuse.  It will also make the ski glide and turn better.  Sharpening removes burrs from the edge and will help the kids to initiate their turns and hold the arc through the turn.

Bottom line, skis that have been tuned our easier and more fun to ski on!

One of our coaches, Woody Hust, has a business tuning skis for his fellow high school racers.  He has said that he would be able to tune some of the kids skis (wax and edges) before the Wild Mountain race on January 28. Woody has the bright yellow helmet, and will be out there on Saturday.

If the ski is particularly needy, he may send you to a shop to get the ski ground flat.  Gear West Adrenaline, Hoigaards and Pearce Snow and Ski all will do a great job with your kids skis.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Great Night!

When teaching kids to ski, it always surprises me to watch their progression.  Work on a skill, work on a skill, work on a skill, and then BOOM it clicks.

THE SECRET OF SKIING HAS BEEN REVEALED!

Tonight was one of those nights where things were clicking for all of the kids. The weather was perfect, the snow was good and everyone was having their best runs of the season.  Just a ton of fun to watch and be a part of.

Our next session is on Saturday at PowderRidge where we will be having a race in the morning and a practice session in the afternoon.  Saturday's race is an in-house race and is very informal, no race order, no bibs.   The kids should meet at the bell at 9:30 as usual.  The coaches will take the kids out to get in some warm up runs and to inspect the course.  Racing will commence around 10:00 and be finished by 11:30 (very informal).

The race will be held on Single Cedar right in front of the lodge.  Parents can watch the action from the lodge or come out on the hill to get a better view.  We are looking for a few more volunteers to help with timing if anyone would like to join the fun (no experience required).  In addition, having someone to help shoot pictures and/or video would be great (I will bring a video camera).  If you can help out, leave a comment or send me an email.

After the race we will join in on the end of ski school lunch in the lodge.  After lunch we will have an awards ceremony.  The team will meet at the bell at 1:00 for additional training in the afternoon.  Practice will wrap up at 2:30.

Upcoming Events
Tuesday January 17 - Practice at PowderRidge 5:00 - 7:00

Saturday January 21 - Practice at PowderRidge 9:30 - 2:00
   - We will have a short parents meeting in the lodge once the kids are on the hill to explain about the upcoming away races.  We will let you know the logistics and answer any questions you may have about the races.  The races are a great time, I hope that all of the kids can make it.

Tuesday January 24 - Practice at PowderRidge 5:00 - 7:00

Saturday January 28 - Race at Wild Mountain
   - Be at the hill by 8:30.
   - Headed home by 4:00.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Real Gates

Another session in almost perfect weather!  Although the lack of natural snow is a bit discouraging, no one can really complain about being outside this winter.  With temperatures hovering around freezing, frost bite wasn't really a concern.

For our second Tuesday night session we made first turns through 'real' gates.  Up until this point the team has used brushes to build our courses. Setting up the brushes on low angle slopes, with wide open turns has encouraged the kids to get on edge and make nice (fast) round turns.  We have also thrown in a lot of extra brushes that help to guide the kids through a nice round turn.

This week we raised the challenge level a bit by adding stubby gates to the mix.  Working on Single Cedar, we set two courses.  On the first slope, we laid out a tight GS with the stubby gates with brushes to indicate the appropriate line.  On the lower slope we threw in our first slalom turns.

It was really remarkable standing at the bottom and watching the kids progress as they made their passes through the slalom course.  The first trip was a challenge for everyone.  Lots of the kids had to really throw on the breaks in order to make the turns.

By the end of the evening, all of the kids were getting it.  Nice turn shape, skis on edge, hands forward.

We wrapped up a bit late, everyone was having way too much fun.  Sorry if we got the kids home a bit late.

On Sunday we have another full day session.  Practice starts at 10:30.  We will be out there by 10:00 if any of the kids want to be on the snow a bit early.

 


Saturday, December 3, 2011

2011-2012 Season Begins

Our first session on the 'snow' started today with a dry land session at Wolf Park in St. Louis Park.
  • Slack-line training
  • Plyometrics in the amphitheater
  • Mini-Obstacle Course
  • Playground
  • Panerra for Lunch




As I type this, it looks like we are getting some real snow.  Tomorrow is clinic day as all the instructors return to PowderRidge.


Tonkawood Dev Team


Tonkawood  Development Team ---  The “Dev Team”
The Tonkawood Dev Team is designed for the skier who is looking for a bit more from the Tonkawood Ski School.  More time on the hill, more coaching, more fun with friends, and more independence and room for growth.  The Dev Team will blend drills, instruction, and racing through gates to provide kids with a team environment that is challenging, exciting, and a great chance to make friends. Dev Team members need to have a strong basic turn, and a desire to improve. 
The Dev Team is designed to bridge the gap between recreational skiing and the more competitive race teams (USSA or High School).   We will be using team work, fun, and great coaching to teach kids how to get the most out of skiing in the Midwest.   While team members will have the opportunity to compete in four all day races (four runs each), our focus is less on the competition and more on the skills and attitude that are required to be competitive.
Skiing and racing are hazardous and the safety of the kids and coaches is our number one priority.  To keep the program safe we have a few expectations.  Kids have to be able to follow directions and obey our safety rules in order to participate in the program.  Each skier is required to wear helmets and goggles while training and racing. Dev Team members need to have a strong basic turn, and a desire to improve. 
Kids on the Dev Team will be taught to work together (buddy system) to ride the lifts and navigate Powder Ridge without direct supervision from the coaches.  The team will also teach kids how to prepare and deal with more extreme winter conditions; if the mountain is open we are skiing (with lots of hot cocoa breaks.)
Cost includes all instruction and tickets for 7 weekend sessions at Powder Ridge, 8 Tuesday evening practices at Powder Ridge.  The tuition includes coaching but not lift tickets for the 4 races.