Winter has arrived and the Women’s Alpine Team is back on snow! Athletes started arriving in Colorado for some pre-camp skiing as soon as they finished their exams, and our camp officially started on November 26.
We started out at Copper for the first five days, where the terrain is gentler and free skiing is readily available before and after training. They hadn’t received much early-season snow, but there was a big dump the week before we arrived and then another storm during our first training block. As a result, the ski area was reporting 79 new inches in the ten days before Thanksgiving! It was certainly refreshing to see the ground blanketed in white, but the racer mentality in us was hoping for the new snow to settle into a harder surface so we could have some productive training.
Our wishes came true when we went to Echo Mountain on day seven. Echo sits on the Front Range and generally receives less natural snow than the bigger resorts in Summit County. However, at an elevation over 10,000 feet, it gets cold temperatures and they are able to prepare a hard man-made surface that is ideal for race training. It was our first time on hard snow since last winter and everyone was smiling at the good fortune of feeling the speed and intensity cranked up to a whole new level.
Since that time, we’ve had nothing but high quality training days. We have split our recent sessions between Loveland and Vail. Vail offered a water injected, icy surface with many World Cup skiers training nearby, while Loveland had firm man-made snow, undulating terrain, and a laid-back atmosphere. Both were great sources of variety and quality that we are lucky to have this early in the season.
Tomorrow we are heading back to Copper for our first race of the season. After a fall of physical preparation and two weeks of on-snow training, everyone is ready to finally pull a bib over their shoulders and get the competitive juices flowing again!