Killington Mountain School students joined athletes from the U.S. Men’s Alpine Ski Team to train on Highline Friday, Jan. 3.
The athletes were in town to ski on eastern snow in preparation for a NorAm race at Burke Mountain.
“They wanted to come down here because of the terrain and the steepness of Highline,” said KMS Development Program Director, Chuck Hughes.
Two of the athletes, Brad Underhill and his twin brother Bo, have local connections. They are both 2018 graduates of KMS and are currently in the KMS post graduate program.
The Underhills’ older half brother Matt, 39, became the head coach of the Europa Cup/NorAm teams on the men’s side last year.
Matt Underhill was formerly a ski and snowboard club coach for Vail.He grew up skiing at Mount Sunapee in New Hampshire, where his father and stepmother run the ski racing program.
“Killington is a U.S. Ski team official training site,” he said. “There’s a lot of support for ski racing in that area. You have a lot of staff that has a lot of experience in the system.”
He said he’s trying to create a culture around skiing.
“It’s really amazing to be able to work with guys that are so passionate and work so hard,” he said, but he called his coaching position “stressful.”
“You take the best guys from the country with the highest potential,” he said. “You have them all and they’re the best. If you fail it’s not that good.”
“I think the overall approach is to just help guys reach their true, full potential,” he added. “At the end of the day, you want guys to have the resources to help be able to achieve it. You can’t ski for them.”
As for his family, Unerhill’s brothers spend a month with him training in Colorado.
“It’s fun to share the passion for ski racing with your family,” he said. “Maybe their coaches don’t like me that much because I’m pushy.”
He said his brother Brad has a “strong potential” to qualify for the junior world championships this year.
“That’s the goal,” Underhill said.
Other athletes who trained at Killington Friday included Ben Ritchie, 19, from Waitsfield; George Steffey, 22, from Lyme, New Hampshire; Kyle Negomir, 21, from Littleton, Colorado; Bridger Gile, 20, from Aspen, Colorado; and Middlebury College graduate Tim Gavett, 21.
“It always ups the level when you have that caliber of athlete training with you,” KMS Alpine Director Tom Sell said.