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Future schussboomers begin early

Susan Wood
Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Peyton Norton, 5, eyes the finish line at the Kinder Cup races at Heavenly Mountain Resort on Sunday.
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Part of being a champion, or a competitor for that matter, is learning how to face adversity.

That’s an early lesson 3-year-old Dalton Drum received Sunday at the first of three Kinder Cups scheduled at Heavenly Mountain Resort in the coming months.

The South Shore boy participated in his first Heavenly Ski Foundation race for skiers ages 3 to 6 on the World Cup Run. After the announcer told the crowd that he “dreams of being in the Olympics,” Dalton had nearly completed the run when he fell near the bottom of the course. People clapped to give him encouragement while his father, John Drum, picked up his son to finish the run.

“When I picked him up, he said: ‘Let me go,'” Drum said Sunday, comforting his son. His mother, Heidi, looked him in the eye to let him know that everyone falls, and it’s not the end of the world.

The tears didn’t last long. The lad ended up with a medal after being times at 5 minutes, 22.85 seconds for the two runs. In a much better mood afterward, Dalton held the medal with pride.

The Drums have been watching the X Games and plan to introduce their son to his first televised Winter Olympics next month.

He romped around with his friend, Logan Chapman, who started skiing at 18 months.

With the 2006 Winter Games in Torino coming up Feb. 10, parents, coaches and athletes involved in the Foundation said they’re struck by the notion that the next two-time Olympian Alpine skier Jonna Mendes of South Lake Tahoe or halfpipe snowboarder Elena Hight of Zephyr Heights could be among them. Mendes – in the Foundation for at least a decade – was not selected for the U.S. Olympic Ski team during an injury-filled season. But Hight – once a Foundation member – is on her way to Italy.

Anna Hudson, 6, got her introduction to the Games at her school when three Truckee Olympians selected – one current, two past – for the team visited Truckee Elementary School: Daron Rahlves, Tamara McKinney and Kristin Krone.

“We’re pulling for Daron Rahlves,” said her father, Bill, who is not the 1988 Olympian Bill Hudson, coincidentally another Truckee resident. She enjoys “skiing fast,” he said.

“This is how it starts. Kinder Cup gives them a taste for skiing,” said Foundation coach John Allen, who’s also the father of Luke, 5. “When you’re on the hill with these kids, you learn a lot and (only) some of it is about skiing.”

Allen, who’s coached for 15 years, pointed out how at a young age the children realize how to overcome ski conditions and that there’s a reward to popping back up after a fall. The South Shore man said real-life lessons are a part of building the passion of skiing for a lifetime.

“You ready to get skis on and have a cookie?” Allen asked his son at the bottom of the World Cup chairlift. He didn’t underestimate the importance of these kids “having a good time” as they bomb down the hill.

Take Abby and Payton Norton, 6 and 5. They placed first with a combined score of 45.82 and 44.36, respectively.

At 150 members strong and including all ages including adults, the Foundation stages free ride, snowboarding and Alpine events.


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