For the past week, the U.S. Men’s Alpine Ski Team has been sliding around on the ice rink at their summer hockey camp at the Park City Ice Arena. Almost the entire men’s Team flocked to Park City, including 2006 Olympic gold medalist Ted Ligety and 2010 Olympic bronze medalist Andrew Weibrecht.
“It’s a lot of fun to have everyone here, getting back together when we’re not skiing,” said Erik Fisher. “While we’re training and racing we’re all pretty focused and it can get a little intense. It’s nice to have everyone here in the summer, when we’re just here to have fun.”
Last week the A, B, C and development teams gathered at the Center of Excellence to begin a jam-packed week of physical testing, educational sessions, ice hockey and volleyball. The physical testing took place early in the week, followed by the hockey camp and sport science educational briefings.
“The idea is a hard conditioning camp… We’re also working on sports science education, but the main point of the camp is team dynamics, where everyone comes out here and works hard together. We have new staff, new coaches and some new athletes that are moving into the national team. Getting them to work together is a lot of fun,” said Men’s Alpine Head Coach Sasha Rearick.
After testing was completed, the Team stepped out onto the ice. The two-a-day sessions were packed and structured with professional hockey coaches, Jason Christie and Andre Faust, leading the way. The morning portion consisted mostly of skills and drills, while the afternoon block included more actual playing time.
After three hard two-a-day practices, the Team took a break from hockey and visited the Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City. The Team spent Friday morning working with the children followed by beach volleyball and a barbeque in the evening.
The Team hit the ice again on Saturday for one more day of training before the big game on Sunday. The game consisted of a two hour inner squad face-off, with athletes and coaches divided into two teams, white and black.
Nolan Kasper led the black team to victory, using his speed to score three goals and have three assists, unanimously taking the MVP title. The athletes proved the hockey camp was a success by working hard, bonding and having fun.
“We definitely always revolve everything around fun,” said Men’s Alpine Coach Josh Applegate. “It has a purpose, but we just let them think that they are having fun and working out.”
The Team will be packing up their skates and returning to skis when they head to New Zealand for an on-snow camp in August.