October SAS Newsletter

JHSC Spotlights

Hello Club families, and welcome back as we get into a new season at JHSC. There are a few program updates below, so please read on, but first, check out our first JHSC story of the year: 

This year, we will be featuring one JHSC student-athlete, family, staff or board member, or volunteer each month to showcase the awesome things accomplished by those who participate with JHSC. Our student-athletes are Champions of sport and so many other things through their other interests and commitments; they learn about JHSC's five core values—Fun, Commitment, Teamwork, Sportsmanship, and Competition—in Club programs, but we are "Building Champions in Sport & Life," and we are always proud to see them live out those values in their academic and other extracurricular pursuits. These often intermingle and overlap with sport, we've learned, as they do in the story behind our first major feature, of Junior Nordic team member Zach Baker. Read on to learn how Zach's story interweaves his love of Nordic with his service as an Eagle Scout. 

Zach Baker, Life Scout: “Rebuilding the Beaver Dam Bridge at Trail Creek Nordic Center”

This month, I sat down to talk with Junior Nordic team member Zach Baker about his Eagle Scout project, “Rebuilding the Beaver Dam Bridge at Trail Creek Nordic Center.” Zach led a massive team effort to repair a key structure at the training facility via a unique intersection of two organizations that are both very important to him. 

Zach, 13, began Scouting in 1st grade but rose quickly through the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) ranks over the past several years, accelerating the typical trajectory to Eagle Scout. “It's been a big part of my life . . . I’ve been  a Boy Scout since I was 6,” he notes. In order to achieve Eagle Scout, the highest rank in BSA, a Scout must plan and execute a project that benefits their community: Zach, who is entering his third season with the Nordic Program, explained that “I wanted to do a project that is special to me, and I thought of Trail Creek . . .Trail Creek is a place I feel like I belong, and that's where I'm supposed to be.” 

This past summer, Zach approached Will Wicherski, the Nordic Program Director, with his idea and asked what would be the most helpful work he could do at Trail Creek. The bridge, which was in desperate need of repair, quickly rose to the top of the list. Zach took the plan to Jen Weston, his Eagle Scout advisor, who agreed. Through a few conversations with the management of Trail Creek Ranch, Will and Zach secured permission for the project. As Zach noted, the bridge work really just needed to be done because “it really wasn’t that safe right now.” So, Zach got right down to business, visiting Trail Creek to take some initial measurements so he could map out his supply and labor needs to get the project done before the first snow fell. 

The Beaver Dam bridge on the morning of Oct. 1

He discovered that the new lumber for the project would be the bulk of the supply cost, with other materials taking the project budget to close to $1500. Ever the problem solver, Zach visited Jackson Lumber, which generously agreed to support a portion of the project’s supply needs. 

Feeling bolstered in his efforts, Zach began to coordinate the teardown and build plans for the weekend of October 1-2 and secure assistance for the work to be done. “I emailed all of my fellow Scouts - they're very helpful and will usually come out and help—we all help each other with our projects.” The plan for Saturday was to take out the existing wood and then to build the new bridge on Sunday.

Scout Leader Ryan Stolp and Zach Baker saw a plank

Zach and fellow Scouts move supports into place

Zach added proudly that his grandpa, “who is really good with wood,” planned to help on the work days. When Zach was in pursuit of some of his other Scout patches (he’s earned quite a few!), he recalled of one, “I went up to my grandpa's place, where he has a wood shop, and I made a stool out of wood - there are lots of requirements for the woodworking patch, but the main project is to create a stool.” 

Zach drills a runner in while his grandfather, Tom Wilson, holds it in place

Among his other patches, a few stand out for the unique experience of earning them: for his Environmental Science patch, earned while at a BSA camp, Zach explained that “you had to sit facing one way for 30 minutes and draw and make notices of the view and then turn around and do the same for the opposite view”. Then, he had to compare the two sides, doing this multiple times in silence. He also achieved the Order of the Arrow, earned through sleeping outside, alone, with just a sleeping bag, and then the next day completing an entire day of community service in silence. “It was challenging, but it was very rewarding . . . it was worth it.” 

In some ways, as I reflected on Zach sharing these experiences, I realized that aspects such as enjoying the solitude of nature and remaining dedicated, through sometimes challenging conditions, to a cause, echoed very closely what he’d had to say about Nordic training and Trail Creek:

“The more I am out in the woods, all of my worries go away. I am just happy out there, and I get to be with my friends. I think we all feel that way, and that's really nice. I’ve always gotten something out of it each day I do Nordic, and I am happier than when I started.” 

Asked to elaborate on that feeling of solitude over the course of a training day, Zach explained, “I feel like that most on the little trail going up Black's Canyon, because I'm a little bit more separated from my friends, alone, going along this trail - and then it's the opposite feeling coming down, when you see all your friends and everyone is suddenly rammed together. It's a little different. Not calming, it's more exhilarating.”

Last weekend, there was definitely a kind of energy out at Trail Creek, with over 30 fellow Scouts, Nordic teammates, and other volunteers joining to complete the bridge rebuild. In thanking his friends, Zach shared “I’m so proud to say we were able to finish the bridge and I think it turned out great. I’m so grateful to the Scouts, my friends and family, and the Ski Club for supporting me.” 

Zach (in orange) working with fellow Scouts and Scout parents on the bridge: it was a real team effort!

Looking to next season, Zach is ready to have some fun out on the trails, where I noticed yet another crossover between his Scouting and his Nordic participation: he helps to recruit new teammates at about the same rate as he gathers volunteers—quickly! “Last season, with 3 or 4 friends who are doing Junior Nordic, we convinced other friends to join, so I'll have pretty much my entire friend group from school” on the team this year.

Zach Baker (R) with Callum Kuszak at Trail Creek last season

Of his project, Zach is proud of the way that “it's bringing my inner self—things I love, my Scouting career and Nordic—together, which is really cool. These are two important and happy things in my life. It's really cool that they're binding together as one project to help other people who do Nordic.” 

The new bridge, completed!!

His biggest goal for the upcoming season: “I will definitely go to the races and try to get better, but I am just excited to ski around with my friends and have fun.” 

Gosh, Zach, I sure hope you do!


Concussion Baseline Testing

JHSC requires all student-athletes born in 2010 or earlier (U14 and older)—and strongly recommends for all athletes—to participate in an approved pre-concussion baseline assessment prior to on-snow training each season. Please note that as of today (10/4), all students must have completed a baseline test in order to continue training with JHSC. 

If your athlete has already completed a baseline test through TCSD or elsewhere this fall, please enter that information into this form. Your child does NOT need to test again with the Club.

If your athlete has not taken a test, JHSC provides them with an ImPACT at-home baseline test:

The test is taken entirely online (on a desktop or laptop computer, or a tablet) and takes 20-25 minutes. Program Directors, coaches, and the SAS Director will have access to these results.

To begin the test:

-- Visit impacttestonline.com/htmllauncher/    (Please note that you must disable popup blockers for the test to launch)

-- Enter the JHSC customer code to begin a test: 6THZM1ZJCU

-- When you complete a test, the results are automatically uploaded into JHSC’s admin account. You may save a copy for yourself (recommended) but do not need to share anything with JHSC.

For complete information on JHSC Concussion Policy and resources, visit our Concussion Policy page

Academic Support Ramping up

JHSC's Academic Support Program is underway, with several FIS Alpine athletes enrolled in full online school programs meeting T-F mornings to work with the SAS Director. If you have questions about this programming, please reach out.

Beginning with the on-snow training season, JHSC will offer study halls for all student-athletes: a schedule will be published in the November newsletter. Please reach out to Grace with any questions: gtirapelle@jhskiclub.org