by Ryan Bailey
PARK CITY, UT – One year ago the parking lot was full, the hallways and reception area were bustling with activity, the training and medical staff were weaving in and out of new therapy rooms, and the weight sets and indoor track were new. Now, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association’s state of the art Center of Excellence is celebrating a memorable first year in service on the anniversary of its opening.
“I see it as a dream realized. As we were watching it come together it had an impact on my motivation,” Olympic gold medalist Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY) said. “No national governing body has anything to rival this Center of Excellence.”
The flagship 85,000 square foot facility, which was built entirely on funds collected from the decade-long Legacy Campaign, has been home for the century-old association for only one year. Immediate success has its members, athletes, coaches, and clubs excited about the promising future. That success does not go unnoticed by the athletes when asked to comment on the Center’s one year birthday.
“Last year it was very advantageous to have the Center because I was coming off an injury and it was there to help me get strong again quicker, and that’s what helped me get into the season this year and get healthy” said two-time World Cup giant slalom champion Ted Ligety (Park City, UT). “It’s an awesome facility to get into shape.”
In only its first year of service the Center played at least a small role in a record performance in Vancouver. U.S. Ski Team and U.S. Snowboarding athletes accounted for 21 of the 37 medals won by the American team in Vancouver. If the successful first year is any indication of the future, the Center will prove to be invaluable for generations of athletes moving up the ranks of development teams.
USSA coaches and trainers collaborated to design a structure that could house both ski and snowboard oriented facilities onto one campus, bolstering the respective teams’ unity and work ethic. Sport science, sports medicine, and sport education all come together to not only benefit elite athletes training under its roof, but athletes around the country who benefit from the research and education. A new sport education program, based in part around its Center of Excellence TV using the Dartfish TV platform, is bringing high-level education to the USSA’s 425 clubs around the country.
Olympic silver medalist Jeret “Speedy” Peterson (Boise, ID) offered an athlete’s perspective into the Center’s influence on the teams’ workout regimes and on-snow performances.
“The Center has been vital in allowing many of the athletes to find success in their careers and it has taken away a lot of the difficulties in trying to make your workouts,” Peterson said.
Physical conditioning is essential to any athlete’s success, which is why the USSA designed the Center around not only time tested training techniques – weights, sprints, and flexibility – but also for the unconventional techniques. Men’s snowboarder Louie Vito (Sandy, UT) attributes his success on the mountain to his off-season workouts at the Center.
“It’s been great for me having the Center so close, because they have that brand new skate facility, which is great because it’s indoors and anyone can ride in that. That helps out big time in snowboarding because skateboarding is such a good crossover. Skateboarding is the closest you can get to snowboarding, and that’s the best thing they could have done for the snowboarders.”
During the off season, the Center will be the main training site for coaches and trainers to work together under one roof, to produce world-class athletes that will not only perform, but win, on the world’s biggest stages as they look toward 2014 in Russia.