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posts tagged "Freestyle"
Words: Erme Catino
Ben Grunow, the head freestyle coach at Mount Mansfield Ski Club (MMSC), has spent a good part of the summer at Mount Hood with the MMSC freestyle team. A former pro, Ben has been featured in Level 1′s Second Generation, Level’s 1′s Strike 3, Craze Productions Proof & Contraband, and a few others. Recently Ben took some time to chat with us about the club’s freestyle program, coaching, and how the kids have been throwing down.
How did you get into coaching with MMSC and how has the summer been?
I started coaching a little bit back in 2003 after my knee injury. There was only one kid in the program at the time (Tanner Rainville), and a few years later the program grew to 7 or 8 (to name a few Duncan Adams, Ricki Hess, Colby Adams and Ryan Bowen). After I then moved into the judging scene, and traveled around to judge various Park/Pipe competitions for a couple years. Once I was settled back in Stowe, VT I began coaching full time. The summer has been great; MMSC also took a trip earlier this summer to the Lake Placid, NY Olympic Training Center to hit the water ramps and trampolines.
Stowe, VT has produced some top pros such as Duncan Adams, Tanner Rainville, and a few others. Do you thinkmthat this is a motivating factor for the skiers in the program?
It’s a very motivating factor that plays into all the kids who are striving to become freestyle ski athletes. It gives them a sense of reality that it is possible to come from the “ICE” coast, and make it in the top world of professional skiing. It also gives them some great piers to look up to.
Summer ski camps are renowned for new trick innovation, how was the team progressing their skills this summer?
Well I would say that anytime is a great time to progress a skier’s ability. At MMSC we strive to teach to the individual style of each athlete – to make each “trick” look beautiful and in CONTROL…Every athlete that was a part of the camp progressed in their own way, from sliding more technical rails with ease, to Switch 1260 mute grabs, and double flips with style….
I’ve seen some of your photos from the trip; it looked like an awesome time. What were some of the highlights of the trip?
Well there was never a dull moment….Windells has so much to offer at their training facility from air bags on and off snow, snow turf rail set ups, skate parks everywhere, Olympic trampolines into foam, and the best summer skiing park setup in the World! I would say all of these instruments of progression were the highlights of our trip. We did get a chance to run around Portland and check out VooDoo Donuts and the Nike Store!!!
Funniest or most random thing the happened at Hood this summer?
Maybe not so Funny, but Delta seemed to over book us on our flight out, and kept on bumping us additional days. Half of us made it one day late and the other half were 2 days late – with lost baggage all over the place. The team made due and we rented and shared gear until our baggage finally showed up. Bottom line…Never flying Delta again, they gave us no compensation or remorse for their mess up!
What’s on tap as we near the end of summer, and what major competitions are the kids going to compete in this winter?
The team will try to get in one more water-ramp session at Lake Placid, NY, and then it’s time to hit the gym and wait for the snow to fly. We have a pre-season camp in early December where the team heads to Breckinridge, CO for training and some of the athletes will be competing in The Dew Tour Qualifiers. This winter we will be competing in USSA Rev Tour, USASA Regional and Nationals, Gatorade Free Flow Tour, Dew Tour, Simon Dumont Open, Aspen Open, Anti Gravity Grail, and much more….