Coach’s Corner

 Hi MHRC parents and athletes. My name is Brian Opitz. I want to take this time to introduce myself as your Head Coach for this season. Many of you already know me from my time with MHRC as a participant in the Tuesday night master’s training, houseleague coaching and as one of the team coaches for U12 and U14 athletes for the past several seasons. For those who are new to MHRC, I offer you a warm welcome and a thank you for joining us. I am sure you will find our coaching staff and on-hill programs to be outstanding. 

First, a short bit of history about me. This year marks my 59th skiing season. Early on I raced for 17 years out of the former Hamilton Chedoke ski area, from junior leagues up to U19 and what is now OCUP, finishing with a top 10 points ranking in southern Ontario and then throughout university for McMaster then Queen’s and taking the slalom crown one year. Following my racing career, I instructed and coached part-time, including physically and mentally challenged skiers and athletes. Work and family priorities took me away from instructing and coaching for a few years until my two boys joined MHRc’s development league program and I participated in the Tuesday night program then returned to coach. I am currently a Development Level certified coach. 

Now that we’re caught up I want to mention a few things about our program and the upcoming season. Our on-hill sessions will focus on technical competency (balance, coordinated movements, upper/lower body separation, and carving the ski) to create a solid base for the skiing athlete to succeed as a ski racer. Once on snow, the approach will be to group athletes by their skiing competency level to enable coaches to focus on increasing the base technical skiing level quickly in advance of grouping the athletes in their respective teams. Throughout the season I will be assisting our coaches by working with athletes who require specific technical improvements to ensure all our athletes get the most out of our training sessions and their racing season. 

Our pre-season activities will begin with dryland training starting on Sunday, October 14th through to December 2nd, all sessions running from 10a to noon. These sessions are as much for physical conditioning and skiing preparation as they are for the athletes to get to know one another and make connections or reconnect with teammates. Attendance is not mandatory but do make a point of having your athlete attend some of the sessions to get to know the coaches and other athletes…a happy club is a friendly club! 

Leading up to our formal season start on January 5th, we begin with our camps, the pre-season fee-based camp at Mount Tremblant (December 13th to 16th), our regular MHRC program Christmas camp at Glen Eden (December 27th to 30th), and extra fee-based training from January 2nd to 4th (location TBD). Our work really begins here to prepare the athletes for a successful season…THINK SNOW! 

You, or probably your athlete, have no doubt started to think about equipment so I have a quick word about ski boots. For any athlete who is just starting out in ski racing and particularly those who are entering their first year in U12 and younger, and those in Junior Development, it is advisable to choose a soft flex boot. A general reference would be a “70” flex or lower, with the athletes’ weight and skiing ability being determining factors; the fact that the athlete is in a racing program does not necessitate having a “racing” boot. Too many athletes are using boots that are far too stiff to flex for their physical and technical capability. This inhibits the athlete from achieving technical improvements in their skiing. The link below comes from the MHRC website and I highly recommend you view this before heading out to your local ski shop or to our ski swap (October 19th to 21st) to purchase equipment.

With that said, I look forward to this season and meeting many of you during our upcoming dryland sessions.

I wish you all a very enjoyable Thanksgiving.

Brian Opitz

Head Coach, MHRC