High Country Junior Race Series

Why do we humans love sports so much? Here’s one perspective. . . Sports elicit the whole gamut of emotions within us, bringing us to life with feelings shared by sports fans and athletes alike. Sometimes the fans become as overwhelmed with adrenalin and endorphins as the athletes themselves. Sometimes we experience every conceivable emotion during the course of one single sporting event, and come away with a sense that we have been challenged and have endured the rigors together, win or lose. Sports create bonds of friendship and camaraderie between us and our fellow fans and competitors . . . and create lasting memories. They teach us lessons that can be applied to living healthier and more productive lives. That’s why it’s so important that children participate in sports whether it’s baseball, soccer, or ski racing.

Alpine ski racing, for obvious geographical and logistical reasons, is not a sport that most children in America would immediately think of if asked what sports they might like to try. But, in the High Country of North Carolina, we have thriving ski racing programs for kids, thanks to ski resorts like Appalachian Ski Mtn, Ski Beech, and Sugar Mountain. With a little help from plate tectonics (uplifting the Appalachian Mountains) and from mother nature for cooperating with winter temperatures conducive to snow making, ski racing programs are alive and well here.

The High Country Junior Race Series, started in 1984 as a friendly competition between junior skiers from the then four area ski resorts mentioned earlier, brings together junior athletes, ages 4 to 18, to participate in a series of races held at each ski area, culminating in a rotating Championship race. At each race, medals are awarded to the top three finishers among the boys and girls in each age group. Cumulative points are awarded to each racer and carry over from each race to the Championships, where trophies are also awarded to racers with the most points for the season. There is also a team trophy awarded to the team from the ski area with the most points for the season.

-Dan Blackwelder