Ski pg 1 1-2-20

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Members of the Woodstock Academy Alpine Ski team take part in a practice at Wachusett Mountain recently. The team will compete for a first time this season. Photo by Sean Saucier/The Woodstock Academy.


Ski team
ready for
It has been a project for Woodstock Academy junior Zach Brody for a couple of years.
He wanted to see an Alpine ski team formed at the school before he graduated. He got his wish.
Together with his father and now coach, Kevin Brody, the Centaurs will put an Alpine ski team on the slopes of Mount Southington this season, competing in the Connecticut Interscholastic Ski League.
“I race with a club team at Wachusett Mountain and a lot of my friends are involved in high school skiing there with a lot of Massachusetts schools. That’s where the idea came from,” Zach Brody said. “If you are already racing, it gives you a little more time on the snow but it really opens the eyes of a lot of people to the sport. It’s kind of a niche thing, but it’s a sport that I love and I think a lot of other people enjoy too.”
Zach Brody has been racing for the last seven years for the United States Ski and Snowboard Association.
The Brody family approached Woodstock Academy two years ago with the idea and it took a little while to put the details together.
Kevin Brody raced for Nichols College, which is a part of the United States Collegiate Ski Association. He also served as a ski instructor while in college.
After graduation, he stuck with the sport and, in addition to recreational skiing with his family, became a member of the ski patrol at Wachusett six years ago.
Now, he has a new title; high school coach.
The first informational meeting about the team produced interest from some 50 people.
Many fell by the wayside when they learned the cost of participating in the sport.
“Skiing is not exactly a cheap sport like basketball or baseball, still seeing that many people interested was great,” Kevin Brody said.
Originally, the Brodys had hoped for a team of two or three athletes.
They had 10 to start but three dropped to participate in another sport, leaving the ski team with seven.
Another was lost due to injury, but for a first year, no one is complaining about a team of six.
In addition to Zach, members of the first-year program include senior Sture Edgren, sophomores Caleb Anderson, Ben Douglas and Eliza Simpson and freshman Davis Simpson.
The group will be competing in the slalom and giant slalom events.
The giant slalom involves skiing downhill while skating around gates, similar to a race that many have seen in the Olympics. The gates are placed further apart and the skiers have to navigate around them, the fastest time to the bottom, after penalty time is added, wins.
Slalom involves shorter, more precise, fast-paced turns around gates that are placed much closer together.
Each athlete races twice on two different courses in a meet.
Each school’s score is based on the top six timed finishes which are then added together for a cumulative time.
Eliza Simpson, since she is a team-of-one, will be competing on an individual basis only this season.
“I’ve been trying to recruit any girls who can ski from the school, but haven’t got any more bites yet. It’s funny to see because skiing has become a female-dominated sport. It’s awesome. Some of the high school teams have a majority of female athletes. Hopefully, next year we can pick up a few more girls and have a full-fledged team,” Kevin Brody said.
The Woodstock Academy coach said the enhanced female interest is likely due to professionals like Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin who have become household names.
The CISL is one of the largest high school ski leagues in the Northeast with some 40 schools participating from across the state.
Some of those school teams can be large.
Kevin Brody said he has seen one school bring about a 100 athletes to a training session.
The competitions take place on Wednesday and Thursday with some 400 high school athletes taking part each night at Mount Southington.
The Centaurs will compete in five ski meets in January and February, beginning Jan. 9.
Zach Brody is, obviously, an experienced skier and the both Davis and Eliza Simpson race in a weekend program at Mount Snow.
“We do have some ringers,” Kevin Brody said with a laugh.
Edgren is also experienced as he is an international student from Sweden.
“They definitely treat skiing differently in Europe. It’s kind of nice. All of his skills are there and they will translate really well once he gets to the course. He said he has never raced before,” Kevin Brody said.
The others are a little less experienced on the slopes and the goals for them and, for that matter, the team, are pretty basic.
“We have it going. We’re just trying to teach them how to race. It’s a life-long skill. Make their skiing better and have fun on the courses,” Kevin Brody said.
Thurs., Jan. 9: vs. Joel Barlow, Daniel Hand, Ridgefield, Wilton
Thurs., Jan. 16: vs. Lauralton Hall and Staples
Thurs., Jan. 23: vs. Brunswick/ Greenwich Academy, Cheshire, Darien, Fairfield Prep, Greenwich HS, St. Luke’s School, Weston.
Wed., Feb. 5: vs. Amity, Fairfield Co-Op, Farmington, Hopkins School, Pomperaug
Wed., Feb. 12: vs. Danbury, Glastonbury, Guilford, New Canaan, Notre Dame-W. Haven/Oxford, Southington.
Tues., Feb. 25: CISL Championship race
Marc Allard
Director of Sports Information
The Woodstock Academy


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