Team Culture and Atmosphere Leads Team Summit to First-Ever National Award
Team Summit had a memorable winter season in the 2021-22 ski and snowboard competition season. The Summit County-based sports club has not only dominated in local competitions but has also excelled at regional and national levels.
The Team Summit Alpine program particularly stood out during the last winter season. Most notably, the program, led by Aldo Radamus, saw three athletes qualify for the U16 National Championships.
Stella Buchheister led the way for the Summit team skiers placing second overall in the women’s standings while Jevin Palmquist placed third overall in the men’s standings. Niko Leunig also participated in national championships but despite impressive individual performances, he did not finish on the podium.
Additionally, Team Summit and the Alpine program were recognized for having the third highest number of elite athletes in the country.
It is in large part due to these accolades that the Team Summit Alpine program has received national recognition for its work throughout the season.
National awards of any type are a huge honor, but the award tends to mean even more when it comes from the leader of all snow sports in the United States – US Ski and Snowboard.
On June 16, following the annual USA Ski and Snowboard Club Excellence Conference in Park City, Utah, the Team Summit Alpine Program received the “Alpine Club of the Year” award. ‘year”.
The award is the highest honor obtainable for a specific program and marks the first time Team Summit has been recognized nationally.
“I was surprised and very honored to be named Alpine Club of the Year,” said CB Bechtel, Executive Director of Team Summit. “There are a lot of great ski teams in our country, and it’s been a long road to get to the level we are at and it’s good to be recognized for the work we’ve done.”
Five seasons ago, Bechtel became executive director of Team Summit, and since then he has seen both the alpine program and the club as a whole transform.
“When I came to Team Summit, we didn’t have permanent training spaces in Summit County,” Bechtel said. “Both Keystone and Copper Mountain have really stepped up for the Alpine team, especially in creating venues where we are able to provide a suitable training environment for high performance training.”
Bechtel also noted that the alpine program has steadily improved thanks to Radamus’ strong training schedule and the staff he has built around him. Over the years, skiers have steadily climbed the competitive ladder in response to Radamus’ training and passion.
Although the success of the U16 Alpine National Championships has been a highlight of the season, Radamus and his team believe the whole program has something to celebrate.
“One of the things that I and the rest of our staff are proud of is that we have a wide range of abilities and interest levels within the Alpine program and Team Summit,” Radamus said. “It’s really that whole range of kids who are equally valued for the effort they put in.”
Appreciation for each athlete leads to a strong culture within Team Summit and the ability for athletes to find their own level of success. These are the two reasons that US Ski and Snowboard has decided to recognize the Team Summit Alpine 2021-22 program.
“It really starts at the top with organization and one of the personal tenets of Team Summit is personal podiums,” Radamus said. “And then reinforce that with the coaches and have that 360-degree respect between everyone in our community.”
“A big part of our culture is personal podiums that we apply not just to skiing and snowboarding, but also to skill and study,” Bechtel said of one of the club’s core philosophies. “Personal podiums allow children to set benchmarks that stretch them and create the states of mind they need to surpass themselves.”
Whether an athlete’s goal is to compete in the Olympics or learn a new trick, Team Summit provides a space for athletes to find their own definition of success while being supported by their team.
“There’s a real camaraderie around the athletes,” Bechtel said. “The kids are out there to cheer each other on and encourage each other to achieve their own level of success.”
A specific example of this happened last winter when an athlete who came to Team Summit from another club was blown away by the support from his new teammates. Whether the athlete was at the front or the back of the peloton, his teammates were there to support him during his downhill skiing — which was not the norm at his former club.
The result of these values instilled in the club is that Team Summit feels like a family. Whether the kids are winning medals on the hill or on the mountain bike trail, there’s a sense of pride that comes when an athlete dons a Team Summit race bib or t-shirt.
The Summit team not only found success with their ski and snowboard programs, but also with their mountain bike program this summer. Team Summit has dominated local mountain bike racing, racking up multiple podiums at Summit Mountain Challenge races and the Firecracker 50 on July 4.
For Bechtel and Radamus, the Alpine Club of the Year award has just begun for the Alpine program and the team summit. In terms of Team Summit’s potential, Bechtel and Radamus strongly believe that the ceiling is not within reach.
“We are still very young as a team,” Radamus said. “The older athletes are all International Ski Federation Year One and Year Two eligible athletes, with some athletes moving up to that competitive age next season. Improvements on all levels are yet to come for each of the children and that is what is so exciting.