When some athletes might use the summer time to relax, the US Women’s Alpine Team uses it to train and prepare for the upcoming season. New Zealand has become a great place for the team to ski during the off-season. Challenging snow conditions have shifted the annual women’s alpine summer training camp to Mt. Hutt near Christchurch.
Originally slated for Coronet Peak, warm weather rerouted U.S. women, including Olympic gold medalists Lindsey Vonn of Vail, Colo., and Julia Mancuso of Squaw Valley, Calif., to the more northern location.
“The training has been great at Mt. Hutt. I’ve been able to get in the training I needed and feel really comfortable with my preparation at this point in the year,” Vonn said.
Despite the venue change, Head Coach Alex Hoedlmoser reported excellent progress thanks to hard snow conditions and Mt. Hutt’s assistance in providing priority training opportunities.
“The weather has been a challenge, but our athletes are motivated and completely focused on what they came to New Zealand to accomplish,” Hoedlmoser said. “It’s unfortunate we haven’t been able to utilize the terrain at Coronet Peak yet, but Mt. Hutt has totally been taking care of us. The snow is hard, slick and is actually great conditions for testing equipment and working on fundamentals.”
“The snow is rock hard and it has been consistent every day. It is a bit rocky getting to the course, but we have dealt with that before,” US Ski Team athlete Stacey Cook of Mammoth Mountain, Calif., added. “We have had a really good progression in our program and our team is really building in giant slalom, which directly relates to more speed in downhill and super G.”
- Attending athletes include Vonn and Mancuso along with World Cup podium finisher Mikaela Shiffrin of Eagle-Vail, Colo.
- Also on snow are the nation’s points leading women’s downhill team of Cook, Leanne Smith of North Conway, N.H., Laurenne Ross of Bend, Or., and Alice McKennis of Glenwood Springs, Colo.
- The camp was originally scheduled for Coronet Peak, but was shifted to Mt. Hutt due to challenging snow conditions on the southern part of the island.
- The camp is focused on giant slalom and slalom along with equipment testing for the upcoming Audi FIS Alpine World Cup season which opens Oct. 27-28 in Soelden, Austria.
Photo credit to the above/featured image to USSA.