Next generation of Olympic freestyle skiers ready to jump in

February 15, 2018 12:18 PM

Bruce Bolesky out of Loudonville has had four students go to the Olympics and he's working to send more to the next Winter Games.

These guys are the future of freestyle, but we're not talking half pipes and rails. It's the quad-burning, tight-turning, short skis through moguls into big jumps type of freestyle.

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Bolesky is coaching the next generation at Stratton Mountain School, including his 16-year-old son, Blake.

The kids there ski in the morning and get their schooling in the afternoon. They come from all over for the winter semester. However, the tricks begin in the offseason.

Back in Loudonville, Blake has a trampoline in the backyard. Before he masters the flips and spins on skis, he does them in sneakers. It's about being comfortable and having awareness while high above the ground. 

Once you nail it on the trampoline, you nail it in the pool. 

Bolesky has four summer camps at Lake Placid. Kids between 10 and 16 work on their twister spreads, 360s, and getting that first backflip in the much more forgiving chlorinated water.

"Don't look down, because then you'll belly flop and it's going to hurt," warned one young girl.

"I love being in the air, it's kind of like exhilarating to get your adrenaline going," admitted Nick Schide of Voorheesville.

He started skiing at 6 years old and started freestyle at 9 years old. He just nailed his first backflip the summer before.

"I sat up there for like 20 minutes just thinking about it. I was really scared and then when I did it, I fell, but I felt great about trying it," he acknowledged.

Blake, a little older, is a role model of sorts here.

"Once you're in the air you don't even feel anything. I don't feel anything. I just think about my trick and just try to stomp it," he pointed out.

The reality is most of these kids won't make the Olympics, but some have. 

"Four athletes have made it to the Olympics over my years. Like I said, I don't throw Olympics out there for the kids to just say we're going to be an Olympian," explained Bolesky.

However, there are plenty of lessons to be learned in the pool, on the trampoline, or on the snow in Stratton. 

Bolesky says most things in life suddenly seem a lot less scary after landing your first backflip on skis.


WNYT Staff

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