Jamaica Ski Team (aka Errol Kerr), Alpine Meadows tie knot with two-year partnership (w/ video)
Coach Raul Guisado stood akimbo with a watchful eye, his face shaded by a large brimmed hat as he spoke soft words of instruction to his student in training.
Donning black Adidas shorts and a matching Porters Tahoe T-shirt, Truckee skicross racer Errol Kerr gripped the “pumpkin” at Guisado’s request, sweat dripping from his brow, and hopped on one foot through each square of the horizontal ladder laid out on the grass.
Kerr’s voluntary training partner, Scott Horn, followed suit, mirroring his buddy’s movement under a cloudless sky at the base of Alpine Meadows.
“All right,” Guisado said. “With the pumpkin, one foot, every other square.”
The “pumpkin” was a bright orange 5-kilogram medicine ball, the flimsy ladder a device Guisado uses to sharpen ski racers’ coordination and agility. Other training contraptions included foam cylinders on which to balance, a round of wood for leaping purposes and a waist strap that translates to “ballistic power” when Guisado holds back a sprint.
It’s all part of the Jamaica Ski Team’s dryland training regimen.
Kerr and Guisado ” a longtime Far West and U.S. Ski Team coach out of Tahoe City ” are the Jamaica Ski Team, and Alpine Meadows is their home base.
“This is our official training center,” the 22-year-old Kerr said of Alpine, which announced the two-year partnership last week. “They’re giving me the training opportunity I haven’t been able to have. That’s why this partnership is awesome. They see my dream, and they’re willing to help me reach my potential.
“Through Alpine, I’ll have the resources I need to reach the top.”
Kerr, a dual citizen of the United States and Jamaica, will represent the island nation in World Cup skicross competition leading up to the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, B.C., when the event makes its Olympic debut. Kerr is currently ranked 24th in the world coming off an impressive rookie season.
“This particular athlete struck us as the right one because he’s local ” which is our mission, to be a community-oriented ski hill ” and because he’s going to the 2010 Olympics and we’re excited to be a part of that challenge,” said Deanna Gescheider, director of marketing at Alpine Meadows and Homewood. “We’re committed to making a training ground that will help him get to the Olympics.”
That means building skicross-specific jumps to accompany rollers and banked curves that replicate those used in competition, Kerr said. A full-on skicross course is not likely, said Kerr, who will be on the road much of the time anyway. He expects to average about six days a month at Alpine Meadows this winter while competing in a total of 13 or 14 skicross events across the globe.
He’ll also train in Giant Slalom and super G ” he began racing for Far West Skiing at age 11 ” while taking advantage of Alpine’s natural terrain to help polish his skicross skills. After all, few resorts boast such an array of terrain, Gescheider said.
“Skicross is parallel to our brand, because Alpine is known for its terrain,” she said.
In return for the resort’s efforts, Kerr will make appearances at Alpine Meadows ski camps, create Web videos and blogs, and generally support events at Alpine throughout the winter and beyond, Gescheider said.
Back on the grassy knoll by the Summit Six chairlift, Kerr and Horn sucked wind after completing a handful of uphill “resistance” sprints.
“Errol just invited me out one time, and I figured it’s a good way to get in shape for winter,” Horn, 20, explained of his participation. “The first couple times I wasn’t able to walk afterward, but now it’s become almost routine.”
“It’s way better than working out yourself,” Kerr said. “We push each other.”
Come Dec. 12, when the 48 Straight tour stops in Telluride, Colo., Kerr should have plenty of competition to push him to the finish.
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