By Peyton Jobe
For Sugar Bowl Academy’s Nordic ski racers, “home snow” this season means more than 200 kilometers of the most scenic and expansive cross-country skiing terrain known to America.
An agreement announced earlier this month will put Sugar Bowl Resort in charge of operating Royal Gorge – America’s largest cross country ski area.
Sugar Bowl Resort is home to Sugar Bowl Academy, an independent, college-preparatory school for competitive alpine, Nordic, and freeride skiers and the Sugar Bowl Ski Team, an organization serving over 400 junior skiers from around the region.
Understandably, the news, along with over 24 inches of fresh snow in October, has energized the Academy’s Nordic ski racers on the Sugar Bowl Academy campus and inspired the Sugar Bowl Ski Team to offer a development Nordic program based at Sugar Bowl Resort.
Based at Sugar Bowl Ski Resort, the development program will challenge young adults of ages 12 to 16 years old who have limited experience in Nordic skiing, but have an interest in improving in the sport. The program will be an introduction to competitive Nordic skiing. Head Sugar Bowl Academy Nordic coach, Jeff Schloss, will manage the program and the development coach to be named. Former University of Nevada coach and one of the most respected coaches in the country, Schloss has quickly built the Sugar Bowl Academy team into one of the best in the country.
“This is a big win for the SBA Nordic program,” said Schloss. “The SBA Nordic team and SBST Development Team can ski in and out right from campus and have access to 200 kilometers of trails without having to get into a vehicle.”
“It’s really exciting,” said SBA Nordic Team Co-Captain Katrin Larusson. “It’s going to be a ton of trails right outside our back door, so we will have a lot more trails to ski on than we have in the past.”
The agreement with Royal Gorge will open up great terrain for Sugar Bowl Academy to host school races and, more importantly, provide the opportunity to host national and international-caliber races, bringing the best skiers in the country right here.
Two races have been scheduled for Sugar Bowl/Royal Gorge this year, according to Schloss. A High School Skate Race has been scheduled for Friday, January 11th, with the course tentatively set to start and finish in front of Sugar Bowl Ski Team’s Village Hall and venturing out onto the Royal Gorge trails in Lake Van Norden.
Sugar Bowl/Royal Gorge will also host a U.S. Super Tour race on April 8th or 9th.
“This will be a hill climb race up to the top of Mount Disney, and will be the
culmination of the U.S. Distance Nationals Week, which will be having races all over North Tahoe for the week,” said Schloss.
“These races will attract all of the top U.S. skiers in the country, including the US Ski team. Local junior racers, including the SBA team, will also be invited to these races, and will get to see how they stack up against the best in the nation.”
All of that has the SBA Nordic community abuzz this week.
“It’s going to be so cool to have our own ski area that we can call home,” said Larusson.
For more information regarding Sugar Bowl Ski Team’s nordic development program, please contact the Sugar Bowl Ski Team Foundation at 530.269.7408 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Audrey Mangan (@audreymangan) is an Associate Editor at FasterSkier and lives in Colorado. She learned to love skiing at home in Western New York.