ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Alpine team enjoys early snow

Numbers are definitely a problem in the Cloquet-Esko-Carlton alpine ski program this winter. Enthusiasm, however, is not. Coach Ryan Zimny has only eight skiers in his combined boys and girls program this winter, but hopes his team members will b...

Numbers are definitely a problem in the Cloquet-Esko-Carlton alpine ski program this winter. Enthusiasm, however, is not.

Coach Ryan Zimny has only eight skiers in his combined boys and girls program this winter, but hopes his team members will both improve this season and encourage others to come out for the team.

"Really, getting better from the start of the season to the finish is the goal," Zimny said. "We want the kids to do well, of course, but it's not about results. We have some kids on the team who are just out for the program for the first time and that means they'll be having some initial races where they're a little nervous."

One skier who shouldn't feel as nervous is junior Thomas Heren of Esko. Zimny expects Heren, who placed 15th at the state meet last season as a sophomore, to be in the mix again this year.

"I would imagine he will compete well at the section level and if he does well there, at the state meet, too," Zimny said.

ADVERTISEMENT

CEC won't have enough skiers to generate a team score in any of their meets this year, but that doesn't stop Zimny from trying to help make the team members better at their craft.

"It does mean we can work with them," he said. "But it's a tough season if you're looking for results."

Zimny said one reason numbers are down is due to "other options on the snow." The popularity of sports such as snowboarding and other extreme winter activities has hampered participation in alpine skiing.

"There are other things to do," he said, "and let's face it - the sport can be expensive with equipment and lift tickets, because you need a lift pass at Spirit Mountain for us to practice."

The estate of the late Joe Nowak left money for the school district to purchase equipment for its Nordic and alpine programs, which may ease the costly burden to athletes. Zimny has taken the money gratefully and used it as efficiently as possible, he said.

"We still have some of it left," Zimny said. "We've bought some rental equipment that's in good shape for our kids to use, and some of it in smaller sizes so the junior high kids can try it out and see if they like the sport. Joe meant so much to skiing in the Cloquet area, and this gift was really special."

So was the gift of some early snow, after a few consecutive winters with very little before Christmas.

"We're a little late, but not as much as in past years," Zimny said. "We're able to get out and practice regularly now because Spirit Mountain is open, and that helps a lot."

ADVERTISEMENT

Yet, the goals for this year's team are clear.

"Get better. Improve every day and have fun with the sport," Zimny said.

What To Read Next
Peterson’s unassisted goal lifts Springfield to the NAHL home win.
Thoreson’s third-period goal is the difference as Posch is tough in net for Minnesota.
Kevin Marx Noren's third-period goal decided it.
A replay review confirmed the puck entered the net with :00.3 seconds remaining.