For Sugar Bowl Academy's Nordic ski racers, "home snow" this season means more than 200 kilometers of the most scenic and expansive cross-country skiing terrain known to America.
An agreement announced last month will put Sugar Bowl Resort in charge of operating Royal Gorge - the nation's largest cross-country ski area.
Sugar Bowl is home to Sugar Bowl Academy, an independent, college-preparatory school for competitive alpine, Nordic and freeride skiers and the Sugar Bowl Ski Team, an organization serving more than 400 junior skiers from around the region.
Understandably, the news, along with more than 24 inches of fresh snow in October and more on the way, has energized the Academy's Nordic ski racers on the Sugar Bowl Academy campus and inspired the Sugar Bowl Ski Team to offer a development Nordic program based at Sugar Bowl.
The development program will challenge young adults ages 12 to 16 who have limited experience in Nordic skiing, but have an interest in improving in the sport. The program will be an introduction to competitive Nordic skiing.
Head Sugar Bowl Academy Nordic coach Jeff Schloss, will manage the program and the development coach to be named. Schloss, a former University of Nevada coach, has quickly built the Sugar Bowl Academy team into a quality program.
"This is a big win for the SBA Nordic program," said Schloss. "The SBA Nordic team and SBST Development Team can ski in and out right from campus and have access to 200 kilometers of trails without having to get into a vehicle."
"It's really exciting," said SBA Nordic Team Co-Captain Katrin Larusson. "It's going to be a ton of trails right outside our back door, so we will have a lot more trails to ski on than we have in the past."
The agreement with Royal Gorge will open up terrain for Sugar Bowl Academy to host school races and, more importantly, provide the opportunity to host national and international-caliber races, bringing the best skiers in the country right here.
Two races have been scheduled for Sugar Bowl/Royal Gorge this year, according to Schloss. A high school skate race is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 11, with the course tentatively set to start and finish in front of the Sugar Bowl Ski Team's Village Hall and venturing out onto the Royal Gorge trails in Lake Van Norden.
Sugar Bowl/Royal Gorge will also host a U.S. Super Tour race on April 8 or 9.
"This will be a hill climb race up to the top of Mount Disney, and will be the culmination of the U.S. Distance Nationals Week, which will be having races all over North Tahoe for the week," said Schloss. "These races will attract all of the top skiers in the country, including the U.S. Ski Team. Local junior racers, including the SBA team, will also be invited to these races, and will get to see how they stack up against the best in the nation."
All of that has the SBA Nordic community abuzz this week.
"It's going to be so cool to have our own ski area that we can call home," said Larusson.
For more information about Sugar Bowl Ski Team's Nordic development program, contact the Sugar Bowl Ski Team Foundation at 530-269-7408 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.