BEA part of area ski team
Students from five southern Minnesota schools have come together to form the Lake Crystal Valley Area boys and girls ski teams, and Blue Earth Area’s Nick Lein is one of them — for his second year in a row.
Head coach Scott Carlson says Lein did quite well as a seventh-grader on the team, and was one of the boys’ top three racers. But now that Lein’s older, Carlson expects he will have an even better season.
“He should be a lot taller and stronger, and able to move up quite a bit this year as an eighth-grader,” Carlson says.
The Lake Crystal Valley Area ski teams are comprised of students from Blue Earth Area, Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial, Maple River, Nicollet and United South Central high schools.
LCVA joins Mankato East, Mankato West, Northfield, Academy of Holy Angels, Minneapolis Area and several Rochester schools in making up the River Bluffs Conference, and LCVA will help host the conference meet at Mount Kato Ski Area in Mankato on Feb. 4.
The Lake Crystal Valley Area teams haven’t been able to make it to state so far, with last year’s boys placing 16th of 19 teams and the girls taking 14th of 17 teams in the Section 4 Tournament.
“Nobody was at state last year,” Carlson says. “We’ve come close but we haven’t quite been able to do it.”
He explains that it’s difficult to hold their own against competition when they’re working with such small rosters — eight boys and five girls.
“We barely have enough to have a team score,” he says. “So if we have kids that have off days or don’t finish a race, it obviously hurts our standing.”
But the outcome of last season won’t keep Lake Crystal Valley Area from trying for a better finish this time around.
“I think the boys are looking to move up this year in the Sections three or four places,” Carlson says.
The teams have been doing weight-lifting and conditioning since mid-November, but with the opening of Mount Kato last Friday, they’re ready to start tackling new skills and practicing drills on the slopes to prepare for this season.
“The fundamentals we look for are balance, rotary, edging and pressure,” Carlson explains. “We really want the kids to be fine-tuning all four of those components.”
LCVA competes in slalom skiing, which is going down hill, but involves maneuvering between poles spaced much closer together than in regular downhill skiing.
Racers complete two runs in high school meets, and then total up the times of each run to figure out a final standing.
“If you fall or disqualify in a run, you’re done. It’s just one of those sports where you have to be on, and you have to get two good runs in,” Carlson says, adding that if a skier misses a gate they actually have to hike back up the hill so they can ski around it and still finish the course.
A majority of the time, racers run the same course twice for one meet, but when it comes time for Sections, a course is set and then torn down after it’s used, so that kids go down a completely different course for their second run.
The LCVA boys and girls teams will open their seasons with a nonconference meet hosted by the St. Cloud Area Breakaways on Thursday, Dec. 16, at Powder Ridge Ski Area in Kimball.