The U.S. Ski Team’s women’s speed group, including Olympic medalists Lindsey Vonn and Julia Mancuso closed their first four-day block this week with what speed Head Coach Chip White called, “incredible success.”
“The training has been absolutely unbelievable,” said White, a U.S. Ski Team veteran coach of 15 years. “We’ve had two solid days of downhill and two days of super G with the girls getting six to seven runs in each day on really hard snow. It’s been awesome, but it hasn’t come without hard work and dedication from this staff.”
“The coaches are working insanely hard and doing a great job of making sure we have the best training conditions possible,” said Vonn. “They’re on the hill way before we are and have been looking pretty tired in our team meetings, but the work they’re doing is incredible and has resulted in really good training for the team.”
With a light snowpack, White and Co. have been on the slope from dawn till dusk each training day moving snow to fill in holes and making countless slip runs in order to ensure hard frozen conditions each morning.
“We’ve done a lot with what snow we have here and all of it has been super positive,” said Mancuso, who clicked into her new Voelkl downhill boards earlier this week. “I’ve worked through a ton of pairs of skis, but the transition has actually been really smooth. I’m still on Lange boots, so that’s helped a lot, but I’m stoked with how my new equipment is feeling.”
In order for max efficiency, the Team has been using snowmobiles to loop the athletes up a portion of the training hill allowing them to get in more runs before the snow softens in the late morning sun.
“The snowmobiles have been awesome for getting in a lot of runs before it gets hot,” said Olympian Megan McJames, who has been working in her new Fischer speed skis. “My skis are feeling good and the transition has been really good. I’m getting more and more comfortable with the speed each day.”
“After those six plus runs, they basically move to the other side of the resort and train giant slalom where the sun hasn’t hit the snow yet. We’ve been able to get in two GS sessions that way,” White said. “Really, we haven’t missed out on anything with this camp. It’s been a very aggressive schedule, but everyone has responded extremely well. It’s showing in the training results.”
Thursday was a day off for the speed group, but White has another four-day block set to begin Friday.
“There hasn’t been a lot of sleeping going on with this staff, but it’s been well worth it. The training is fast, hard and in their face, but the girls have embraced the challenge,” said White. “The caliber of training that they’re doing right now is incredible. This group is fired up.”
The end of the week also marked the departure of the women’s technical group for Valle Nevado, Chile. The Tteam, including Olympians Hailey Duke and Sarah Schleper will train giant slalom and slalom at Valle Nevado through the third week of September.
Vonn plans to maximize her time in Portillo with as many downhill runs as possible before joining the tech group in Valle Nevado, while McJames plans to join the technical group this weekend.