Well, we are rolling into the final days of skiing before our U12/U14 team departs, while the U16 crew remains for another five days. The weather has certainly been beautiful, both up on the glacier and down here in town, and the training has been incredible. It is so great to watch all of the national teams and athletes from all over the world converge here in Saas-Fee to take advantage of the same training that our kids are getting.
The U12/U14 team did the traditional Gleischergrotte hike yesterday, where we visit the glacial lake created by runoff, specifically from the Feegletscher. The water was C.O.L.D., but worth it, as temps have been very summery. The team then headed up to the restaurant on the mountain for some celebratory ice cream. The U12/U14 team here for the Saas-Fee camp was relatively small, but they have had the advantage of lots of professional coaching attention, as well as the benefit of navigating the complexities of a Swiss camp. From figuring out how to get to the tuning room (and learning proper tuning techniques), to loading and unloading on the trams and train to get to the glacier, to using German or French to order a chocolate croissant in town, these kids have DIALED it in! We are so proud of this next generation of SMS alpine team skiers!
Good luck to our “littles” as they make their way back home! And, good luck to the U16s as they finish out strong, just in time to start the fall at SMS!
The intense fog, snow and rain has subsided to make way for incredible high-mountain sun and crazy-blue skies. Sunscreen is the mantra at breakfast, before sending everyone out onto the glacier. The past two days of skiing have been fantastic. The snow is firm, and the blanket of new snow has really helped make the training spectacular. Everyone is working on getting their legs under them again – just getting back in the saddle after some summer time off is important, plus many kids are trying out new, bigger equipment.
The snowy day off on the first day gave us some time to conduct tuning clinics for both the U16 and the U14/12 groups, and kids have been diligent about tuning and prepping their skis each day.
Saas-Fee is such a favorite camp venue for the SMS alpine team, because the training is great, and the town is so fun. Kids have enjoyed having the freedom to explore a bit, and because it is a walking town, everything is within reach! Thanks to all of the parents who made this trip possible for your kids. It is such a unique experience!
(Blog title is for those Nanny McPhee fans out there…)
We arrived yesterday here in Saas-Fee at the Hotel Tenne in torrential, cold rain. The bus ride up the switchback mountain road was a little exciting with thick fog, but we made it!
Well, today was our first day here for our Swiss U16/14/12 camp, and we woke up to snow in the valley! We are certainly used to (and looking for) snow up on the glacier, but snow down here in town during the summer is fairly rare. Last night, many of us woke to the sounds of incredible thunder and lightening storms, and we were told that there was a rock slide on the mountain road leading to Saas-Fee, closing the pass for a bit this morning.
The good news is, all of that rain and snow means that more than 15 inches of snow fell up on the glacier last night and this morning. The bad news is that all of that snow closed the trams for the day today, so we’ll start on-snow training tomorrow. So, this morning, we took a hike around town, ending at the Kneipp wellness area, where our fearless kids (and a couple of the coaches) waded into the glacial waters. The rest of us watched (and shivered), and then headed back to the hotel for lunch. Tuning clinics and games on the SportsPlatz are up for this afternoon.
Today was the last day skiing for the U14/U12 group, and what a great camp it has been! Phenomenal ski conditions, lots of great dryland training (and with a backdrop like this, who can complain?!), and an epically friendly town. It all makes it so hard to say goodbye, or until we meet again, but the last gasp of summer awaits, and then it’s off to school. We head out of Saas-Fee on the bus to Geneva at 3 a.m. tomorrow morning.
For many on the U12/U14 camp, we will be seeing you all soon at SMS, as many of these and the U16 kids are enrolled either full- or winter-term. For some others though, this is goodbye until we see you on the hill this winter. Great friendships have been formed or re-kindled, and everyone is pumped for the snow to fly in the East.
Thank you again, parents, for lending us your rippers. We have had such a great time with them, and they all are leaving with a new plan on how to improve their skiing and get ready for the season.
OK. So, I can’t take credit for the headline. That was said by the best in the business – Michael Jordan.
We are on the tail-end of the Saas-Fee camp for the U12/U14 group, and in the middle for the U16 group. Now is the time that everyone starts to hit their stride. And, delve into their problem areas. And, get tired. And, get energized.
Life at camp is full of contradictions.
A day can be full of breakthroughs for one kid, and full of frustration for another. This is the key to a successful camp – breaking down skiing into individual areas to work on, and make strides toward achieving those goals. Mental toughness is the order of each and every day, and these kids are working on their diplomas in tenacity. But, the best part of being around these kids is the fact that for most of them almost all of the time – they are so happy to be here. Skiing. Training. Working hard. Playing.
The U16s continue to plug away at slalom, and the U14/U12s work on GS. Conditions on the glacier have taken a turn for more chilly starts to the day, but the hard snow has made for some really nice training. It looks like we may get a little snow over the next few nights, with great alpine summer weather in town.
“Concentration and mental toughness are the margins of victory.” – Bill Russell
Saas Fee (and much of Switzerland) has built its community on the interplay of sport and life. Just yesterday while were at the Sportsplatz (a series of turf fields, tennis courts, volleyball fields and golf driving range where we do dryland workouts), we were talking about how for the people who live here, and for those of us lucky enough to visit, daily life in Saas Fee completely revolves around sport and activity. From our kids hitting the mountain each day to train, alongside national teams from Sweden, Finland, Austria and others, to the 90-year-old local couple seen hiking the steep trails ringing the town, Saas Fee is one of those incredible places that lives and breathes activity.
So, as you can imagine, these kids have been going and going and going! They are getting tired, but loving every minute of it. After four days on snow, both the U16 group and the U14/U12 group took a day off today. But, in typical Swiss fashion (and SMS fashion), they didn’t really stop moving. We headed to the ropes course and giant zip line that spans the gorge between Saas Fee and Saas Grund. I’m always impressed by how fearless and adventurous our kids are. They all look forward to this day of the camp, and many kids wanted to skip lunch so they could keep going back and forth on the zip line again and again.
Tomorrow, we head back up the mountain, and the weather still looks good. We may even get a dusting of snow up there tonight. Enjoy the photos, and thank you again for sharing your kids with us! And, thank you to the parents here in Saas Fee with us for a great dinner last night. It was so great to slow down, talk and get to know everyone. What a fun group!
Oh yes, we’ve been Carpe Diem-ing the heck out of Saas-Fee, over on this side of the pond! It’s hard to believe that we’ve only been here for about 48 hours, yet everyone has settled into the groove: breakfast. ski. lunch. tune. town-time/nap-time. dryland. dinner. Aaaaand, repeat.
We have about 26 U12s and U14s and another 22 U16s here in Saas Fee (when we get together for meals, it can get pretty noisy). We’ve had two days of phenomenal training so far, and have really enjoyed the cool, sunny Swiss afternoons for dryland, featuring games at the outdoor soccer fields and hikes up to the Kneipp cold baths. Two more days of training to come before we take a day off. Thank you, parents, for sharing your kids with us. We are really enjoying watching these talented, driven, happy kids! And, Happy Swiss Birthdays to four of our campers who have birthdays during the camp. Happy Birthday to Lillie, Alex, Liv and Harrison!