The men's alpine technical team took it back to basics at Mt. Hood with a fundamentals focused on snow camp (Lester Keller/U.S. Ski Team)
GOVERNMENT CAMP, OR (June 19) - The U.S. Alpine Ski Team men's technical program took it back to basics last week with athletes from across the country, working to elevate the nation's technical skiing ability. Audi FIS Alpine World Cup athletes David Chodounsky (Crested Butte, CO), Nolan Kasper (Warren, VT) and Bryce Bennett (Squaw Valley, CA) along with the U.S. Ski Team National Training Group and top U18, U16 and U14 athletes particpated in a week of fundamental slalom skills focused drills and free skiing on the snowfields at Mt. Hood.
The men's U.S. Alpine Ski Team particpated in a week-long fundamental skills camp with the National Training Group and top U18, U16 and U14 athletes from across the country.
The goal of the Mt. Hood camp was to eleveate the level of technical skiing across the nation by utilizing free skiing and gate drills.
The first task of the project was to identify the six fundamentals of slalom skiing: balance and position, outside ski to outside ski (independent feet), upper body stabilization, early lower leg activation, snow contact and pole plant.
The benefit for the younger skiers was to integrate with elite level athletes, but even the national team members like Olympians David Chodounsky (Crested Butte, CO) and Nolan Kasper (Warren, VT), demonstrated vast improvement over the course of the week.
Head Coach Sasha Rearick cited Chodounsky and Kasper, as well as Bryce Bennett (Squaw Valley, CA), Kieffer Christianson (Anchorage) and Drew Duffy (Warren, VT), as some of the top athletes who made major positive changes in their skiing over the course of the project.
Post camp, the athletes moved directly to a conditioning camp at the Center of Excellence in Park City, UT.
The next on snow camp is slated for early August in New Zealand.
Ski Racing Magazine is on site at Mt. Hood and contributed to the content of this story. Read an extended story at www.SkiRacing.com.
QUOTES Nolan Kasper It was a great opportunity to see the next generation of skiers coming up in the country. Being able to work with them was really rewarding, and I think for some of the athletes they were able to see the guys who they’ve looked up to or are maybe going to have to chase down in the future. Everyone is working together to try to make skiing in the U.S. better.
Even when I was on the development team I never really had the opportunity to ski with the best slalom skiers. I remember the first time I trained with Ted and Bode was when I qualified for the World Cup. Now we’re doing a lot more integration between the teams and working with younger athletes.
Sasha Rearick, Head Coach We’ve fallen off the mark in the technical disciplines, slalom and GS, without a doubt. I watched the skiing at Nationals and fundamentally, in the tech disciplines, we’re not where we need to be. I chose slalom because it’s where we’re probably farther off but it’s also where the fundamentals can be built more easily (than GS). In slalom, the type of exercises we’re doing here are much more athletic and are easier to focus on. Without a doubt, the skills that we’re learning here will transfer to GS.
We’ve been setting everything from one meter brushes (picket fences) where they’re doing it on GS skis or slalom skis—with poles or without poles—one ski, two skis—to 18 meter really turny slalom or paneled slalom, and training the entire gamut in between on very short courses with a maximum of 20 turns.