Tommy Ford races slalom in the FIS Southern Cup race hosted by Japan at Coronet Peak (Christopher Davies/Coronet Peak)
CORONET PEAK, New Zealand (Aug. 16) – Coaches report good progression following the first two weeks of the U.S. Ski Team men's technical camp in New Zealand, despite a constant battle with warm weather. The first of two major on snow summer sessions, the Coronet Peak camp is based on fundamentals. It also provides ample opportunity for athletes like Olympic gold medalist Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) and World Cup slalom podium finisher Nolan Kasper (Warren, VT) to test new equipment and gain mileage prior to the Oct. 28 Audi FIS Alpine World Cup opener at the U.S. Ski Team's European training base of Soelden, Austria. Prior to returning to the U.S., many of the athletes will get some race time during a series of FIS races hosted by Japan at Coronet Peak and a pair of Australia New Zealand Cup races.
Warm temperatures haven't hampered training at Coronet Peak as U.S. coaches put in extra time watering and salting the slope to make for productive training.
The three week camp serves and the first of two major on snow blocks in the Southern Hemisphere prior to the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup opener on Oct. 28 in Soelden, Austria.
The slalom and giant slalom camp serves as a back-to-basics focus, but also provides time for athletes to test new equipment and build up on snow mileage.
Athletes were able to experience a jet boat ride and bungee jumping on an off day courtesy of New Zealand Tourism and Queenstown.
Many of the athletes will wrap the camp by competing in a series of FIS slalom and giant slalom races hosted by Japan at Coronet Peak followed by a pair of Australia New Zealand Cup races also at Coronet.
QUOTES Nolan Kasper Everything feels great so far. I had hip surgery in the spring and was able to get back on snow for a few days at Mt. Hood before coming here, but now I'm starting to pick things up.
I've had around 11-12 days on snow and started the camp with a lot of free skiing and some short courses, but I should be up to full length pretty soon.
New Zealand is a great place to come because there are a lot of things to do off snow. Bungee jumping the other day was incredible and we were sometimes in two to three inches of water while jet boating. It's pretty unique to come to New Zealand and get those kind of experiences.
Tim Jitloff The camp thus far has provided us chances to get good feedback and information with our equipment. It's all about creating a solid technical base to refine as we head in to Chile, and eventually the World Cup opener in Soelden.
It's been really productive and I've been able to knock out about 80% of the trial and error stuff required to have the right set up as I approach go time in October.
Mike Day, Technical Coach Queenstown provides excellent mountain facilities; Coronet Peak creates a high-quality snow surface for us to train on and there is also a fantastic mix of off-mountain activities.
The weather has been a challenge, but our staff has done a really good job maximizing our opportunities to create a good training surface by watering and salting.
Ted [Ligety] and Jit [Tim Jitloff] have had a great first portion of this camp and are really making some progress with their new equipment. The other World Cup are getting in some good mileage and the younger guys are doing a lot of crossover training with the World Cup group. It's a good mix.
We'll wrap things up with a few races and while upping our slalom progression. All things considered, it's been pretty successful and the race crew at Coronet Peak has done a great job supporting us.