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Picking up the pace at Hotham

By Justin Jenvey

Posted 12 July 2019

The Mount Hotham Race Squad members and coaches are used to going fast, whether it’s in training or competition but for everyone involved, the pace picks up even more during the school holidays.

Over that period season programs are run for full-time and part-time members and five-day-a-week school holiday participants, with the clubhouse a hive of activity on any given day.

Bursting at the seams

Located at the base of The Summit chair, teamHOTHAM headquarters is literally bursting at the seams with record numbers and the addition of Hotham Snowboarders sharing the facility.    

“It’s been crazy, this year we’ve got more kids than ever before and actually had to turn people away, it’s been challenging logistically but exciting at the same time,” administrator Sue Hunter said.

“We’ve got a member base of 200 and during the school holidays have 120 skiers out on the slopes most days, of that 80 are seasonal skiers and 40 are in the school holiday program.

“Ideally the school holiday kids will have been all the way through to level six at ski school and are now looking to take their skiing up a notch and get a taste for racing.”  

40 year history at Hotham

For more than 40 years Hotham Race Squad has worked to encourage and foster growth in skiers, building a reputation as one of Australia’s leading race training organisations.

They aim to teach members correct technique and give each person the ability to ski any terrain in all conditions but also to develop individual potential to compete nationally and on the world stage. 

Winter Olympians

Most recently Winter Olympians Greta Small and Harry Laidlaw and Australian teammate Louis Muhlen-Shulte have come out of the program with all three still closely associated.

Under the guidance of Race Squad coaches and the best instructors employed by the Mount Hotham Skiing Company, kids have been spending six hours a day progressing and refining their skiing during the holidays.

Fulltime participants also continue to complete dryland training and strength and conditioning workouts in the recently renovated teamHOTHAM gym.

Sharing knowledge and passion

In addition to their training, the current crop of Race Squad skiers have had the chance to share the slopes and get up close and personal with rising star pair Laidlaw and Muhlen-Shulte.

The two were regulars around the clubhouse, and even skied with some groups, offering tips and advice all the while giving the youngsters a sense of what it’s like to be an elite ski racer. 

Life skills

While the ultimate goal is to produce skilled skiers, race director Stefan Moser, said Hotham Race Squad also aims to shape the many young lives that come through its doors.

“We want to produce athletes but more importantly great people ready for life either as members of the community here at Hotham or somewhere else,” he said.

“We’ve grown the past two years with our numbers up 25 per cent on last season and hopefully that’s partially due to our success in racing at all age levels.

“We hope more people are coming to us because they see this as a good place for their kids and a reliable and safe environment to grow up in racing and to build a lifelong enjoyment for skiing.”

Find out more about Hotham Race Squad.

 

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We want to produce athletes but more importantly great people ready for life either as members of the community here at Hotham or somewhere else

Stefan Moser, Race Director