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When you read the MARA mission statement, you see words like “advancing fundamental skills” and “developing well rounded individuals.” Having been around MARA for many years myself, I’ve also heard- and used- words like growth, character, hard work, sacrifice and commitment to describe our athletes. While these are all worthy goals and attributes, we live in an increasingly cynical and sound bite driven culture. And while we all no doubt strive to rise above this cynicism and cultural mediocrity, we may at some time come to the point where we are compelled to ask: “Are they just words?”

Well, rather than go into a long, philisophical¬† answer, I would simply ask you to take a look at the pictures I’ve posted from a MARA training session this week. You’ll see five of our junior skiers working with Interim Director Jean Schneider on their fine motor skills. These athletes are doing a number of different exercises on the “bosu” ball- half of a large rubber exercise ball with a flat base. If you think it looks easy- give it a try sometime.

Sure, all these athletes are working on their skills. But more importantly, they are all balancing school work, their social lives and family responsibilities to train months in advance for the upcoming season. I know this to be true because I know each of these kids personally. So the next logical question is, why? Some would say it’s because they want to win races. OK, but I say it’s more than that. I think it’s because they want to be the best they can be- at ski racing and at life.

Commitment. Sacrifice. Hard work. Skill. Character. Are they just words?

You decide.

Featured athletes: Nikita Norton, Parker Spear, Nate Hoyt, Nahanee Lukes and Austin Pena.