Created: 02/11/2014 6:55 PM WHEC.com
By: Stephen Bond
The Olympics will feature two events from the mountain in primetime Tuesday. If any of the high flying action peaks an interest, Bristol Mountain allows you to test your skills.
Many Rochester Winter Olympic dreams are launched at Bristol Mountain. It offers the highest vertical rise between the Adirondacks and Rocky Mountains at 1,200 feet. Just as important as that rise is the man who trains the athletes to attack the mountain.
For the past 20 years, dozens of young skiers have chased their Olympic dream thanks to Bristol Mountain. The man guiding them down the hill is John Kroetz. Kroetz started the program at Bristol in 1992 and he says even though Bristol isn't the highest peak in the country, it has the components to train the best in the world.
John Kroetz said, “One benefit we have at Bristol is we have a great mountain with great snowmaking and lots of terrain here. But we also have Lake Placid up the street.”
The village of miracles in the Adirondacks is home to an Olympic Training Center where John has taken a number of athletes. Currently two out of the 32 athletes on the U.S. Ski Team were introduced to the sport by John.
Kroetz said, “It's very, very odd that a weekend program would turn out elite level athletes that are going to the U.S. team, so that makes us pretty unique in that regard.”
Both Jonathon and Dylan got their start at Bristol years ago and Kroetz says it’s gratifying to see the growth of these athletes even though both just missed out on a trip to Sochi.
Kroetz said, “A few years ago, we were just happy they were on the U.S. Ski Team. Then we were really happy they were making the podium at World Cup events and now we're disappointed they're not going to the Olympics. You know it’s pretty rapid progression in your expectations of these athletes.”