It was only October 31, but the snow snaking down Copper Mountain told the story – opening day at the U.S. Ski Team Speed Center at Copper has arrived for the 2012/13 winter season! A year ago, the U.S. Ski Team and Copper Mountain christened the world’s only early season downhill training run, providing U.S. athletes with top-to-bottom speed training on early season snow. It was another game changer for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association.
But on opening day this year, it was a bit of a different scene as over 300 Copper season pass holders and USSA members gathered for a day of being the ultimate VIP. Lucky contest winners earned a chance to ski with the U.S. Ski Team and get in some downhill inspection of their own.
Fans broke down into groups of 15-20 for their very own private tour with a U.S. Ski Team athlete, punctuated by chalk talks at every break from a U.S. Ski Team coach. It was the thrill of a lifetime for all, building huge advocates for the team.
Watch for them to be on the sidelines when the Audi FIS World comes to Colorado in a few weeks!
Alpine – The World Cup tour moves to Scandinavia this weekend with men’s and women’s slalom featuring Soelden winner Ted Ligety and 17-year-old phenom Mikeala Shiffrin. Lindsey Vonn, whose request to race the men’s downhill in Lake Louise was denied this weekend by FIS, will skip the race in favor of preparation for the November 24-25 Nature Valley Aspen Winternational. The 2013 U.S. Alpine Ski Team will be named on November 15 in Vail, Colorado during Nature Valley First Tracks.
Cross Country – World Cup Overall Sprint Champion Kikkan Randall will be one of the featured athletes at this week’s New York Gold Medal Gala. The event, which raises funds for athletes, is in its 46th year.
Freeskiing – Injured freeskiers Wing Tai Barrymore, Meg Olenick, Brita Sigourney and Jen Hudak eased back into training for the upcoming competition season with light skiing at Copper Mountain. They will join the U.S. Freeskiing Team at Mammoth Mountain after Thanksgiving for halfpipe and slopestyle training.
Freestyle – The aerials crew is in the midst of their last trampoline camp before their on-snow jump is built at the Utah Olympic Park. Meanwhile, the moguls team is clocking time in the gym before their final on-snow camp in Wolf Creek, Colorado, where the moguls team will be announced on November 17.
Snowboarding – U.S. Snowboarding heads to Mammoth Mountain after Thanksgiving to train halfpipe and slopestyle in preparation for the season-opening Dew Tour event December 13-16 at Breckenridge, Colorado. The Sprint U.S. Grand Prix series opens the following weekend in Park City, Utah.
STARS HIGHLIGHT NEW YORK GOLD MEDAL GALA
Wednesday’s New York fundraiser will take on a different tone and feel this year given the impact of Hurricane Sandy. In respect for the tragedy, the USSA is scaling back some of the activities and also will be taking part in relief outreach throughout the day. Over 25 elite USSA athletes and alumni will be joining in, including Olympic Gold medalists Lindsey Vonn, Bode Miller, Billy Demong, Julia Mancuso, Seth Wescott, Tommy Moe, Donna Weibrecht and many more.
America’s ultimate ski and snowboarding lift ticket, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association’s Gold Pass, is going high tech to celebrate its 40th anniversary this coming 2012/13 season. The unique pass, which provides unlimited, transferable access to National Ski Areas Association resorts coast-to-coast, will become the first pass globally to fully integrate each of the industry’s RFID, scanning and other lift access technologies into one pass.