Ski Racing » Stories http://skiracing.com Thu, 18 Sep 2014 15:52:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 Bode Miller signs 4-year contract with Dainese http://skiracing.com/stories/bode-miller-signs-4-year-contract-with-dainese/ http://skiracing.com/stories/bode-miller-signs-4-year-contract-with-dainese/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 15:50:24 +0000 SR Staff http://skiracing.com/?post_type=stories&p=31628 Bode Miller makes a helmet and protective equipment change. Dainese

Bode Miller makes a helmet and protective equipment change. Dainese

In a move demonstrating that he is prepared to compete through the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, Bode Miller signed a four-year agreement to solely use helmets and protective equipment made by the Italian company Dainese. The partnership brings together two of the most recognizable names in competitive ski racing, arming Miller with innovative technologies and superior protective gear which will aid him as he pushes the limits of the sport. Dainese has also been named the official safety equipment supplier for the U.S. Ski Team.

“Throughout my entire career, I have chosen to partner with companies that strive to be the very best in the industry,” said Miller. “Given their attention to detail, high quality products and development of advanced safety systems, Dainese is the best I have found.”

With a self-stated goal to ski “as fast as the natural universe will allow,” Miller has chosen Dainese to be the supplier of his personal protective gear given the company’s innovative approach to designing quality products with functionality driving the design. Bode will be wearing Dainese from head-to-toe—including a customized carbon helmet with eye-popping graphics, stealth back protection, carbon-reinforced arm and shin guards, specialized racing gloves and streamlined goggles.

Miller will also play a pivotal role in providing feedback to Dainese’s team of designers as part of their never-ending pursuit to improve the performance of their products. This will hold especially true for the company’s ground-breaking D-air® Ski airbag system which borrows technology from Dainese’s well-respected competitive motorcycle racing protective gear, deploying during a high-speed crash to provide critical protection to the body’s core.

“Dainese’s decision to partner with Bode Miller goes well beyond a mere sponsorship opportunity,” said Dainese’s Multisport Marketing Manager Giovanni Fogal. “We look forward to involving him in the research and development of our entire line of wintersports protective gear as we have found this sort of deeper collaboration results in innovative solutions to share with our consumers.”

Miller’s leave-everything-on-the-slopes approach has served him well over the years with six Olympic medals, two World Cup Championships and 33 individual World Cup wins to his credit. He is one of only five men to win across all five World Cup disciplines. He will be among the favorites to podium at this winter’s 2015 Alpine World Cup Championships in Vail-Beaver Creek and he already has his sights set on bringing home more hardware from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Korea.

Release courtesy of Dainese

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USSA membership renewal deadline Oct. 15 http://skiracing.com/stories/ussa-membership-renewal-deadline-oct-15/ http://skiracing.com/stories/ussa-membership-renewal-deadline-oct-15/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 14:40:12 +0000 SR Staff http://skiracing.com/?post_type=stories&p=31624 U.S. Ski Team athlete Tim Jitloff at the 2014 World Cup Finals. GEPA/Wolfgang Grebien

U.S. Ski Team athlete Tim Jitloff at the 2014 World Cup Finals. GEPA/Wolfgang Grebien

The U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) urges members to save now by renewing their memberships prior to Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014.

Don’t wait! Renew early in case you need assistance: The Member Services department is available to assist you Monday through Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m. MT.

USSA Member Services recommends members use the convenient online membership registration by visiting my.ussa.org.

Membership questions may also be directed to the online chat support button available here, by email membership@ussa.org, or by phone at 435.647.2666.

Applications received at USSA after the Oct. 15 deadline will incur a $25 USSA late fee* for the following membership categories:

  •  Coaches, Masters and Athletes (*Additional division or state late fees may also apply!)

* Memberships for new or youth, club participant, club volunteer (along with officials — excludes coaches) in all sports are excluded from the deadline, however, members are still encouraged to renew their memberships as soon as possible to insure they are ready for the coming season.

Mailed paperwork and payment must be received in USSA Member Services office no later than Oct. 15, 2014. USSA cannot be responsible for delayed mail delivery. USSA Member Services — Box 100 — Park City, Utah 84060 or via facsimile to: 435.647.2052

Please note: USSA Member Services strongly urger those who choose to fax in membership renewals to call or email for confirmation of receipt of the application.

  • Completed applications will only be processed with proper payment. USSA accepts Visa, MasterCard, personal and cashiers checks. The U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association prefers Visa.

Release courtesy of USSA

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Jansrud looking for revenge at World Champs 2015 http://skiracing.com/stories/jansrud-looking-for-revenge-at-world-champs-2015/ http://skiracing.com/stories/jansrud-looking-for-revenge-at-world-champs-2015/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 16:07:36 +0000 SR Staff http://skiracing.com/?post_type=stories&p=31617 Kjetil Jansrud in Kvitfjell, Norway. GEPA/Thomas Bachun

Kjetil Jansrud in Kvitfjell, Norway. GEPA/Thomas Bachun

Although Kjetil Jansrud sustained a season-ending injury in a crash in the opening super G race at the Schladming 2013 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, the Norwegian came back with a vengeance last season and claimed gold in the super G and bronze in the downhill at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

One of the top contenders for medals at Vail-Beaver Creek 2015, Jansrud took some time from his busy training schedule in Argentina to give us a glimpse into his season preparations. 

Last season was very successful for you individually and for the whole Norwegian team; how easy or difficult has it been to reset and recharge?

Kjetil Jansrud: It hasn’t been difficult to reset and recharge at all. The best fuel for motivation is good results. And even though we had a successful season, the slates are all cleaned in May. The preparation for a new season started as any other year. You go on, trying to improve what you can.

Looking back at the Olympic season, where you were coming back from a knee injury, could you imagine it would turn out to be as successful as it did?

Kjetil Jansrud: Both yes and no. You can’t expect anything in a sport like alpine skiing. There are loads of details and unknown factors that can tip the scales in your favor. However, the toughest time was actually being away from the team at the end of last season. As soon as I was back on my feet in May, there was no turning back.  The plan was to work hard during the season and be ready for action when February came. That it would work to such an extent was in the back of my head the whole time, but we all knew the odds of success. They weren’t good.

You’re in Ushuaia currently – how’s your training been and do you feel ready for the new season set to start in five weeks?

Kjetil Jansrud: Training so far has been tough. The winter seems to be bad everywhere this year and even though we have had a lot of days on snow, most of them have been plagued by bad conditions, rain, fog, wind – you name it. However, our spirits are good, and I think we’ll be content with what we have done when we travel back home to Norway.

You have a full set of Olympic medals now, but none yet from the World Championships. Is Vail-Beaver Creek 2015 a major season goal for you?

Kjetil Jansrud: Yes. The World Championships in Vail-Beaver Creek are a major season goal for me. The best thing about Championships is that no one really remembers the fourth place. So if you go there, you aim for the medals. I hope to be able to compete in downhill and super G and be a dark horse in giant slalom and super combined.

So far you have scored three World Cup podiums on the Birds of Prey. How do you like that course and racing there?

Kjetil Jansrud: The infamous Birds of Prey course is one of my favorites on the tour. It has fast-packed action, with big jumps and steep technical parts. And even though it sounds difficult (which it is), it has a nice flow to it, which not many other downhill courses have. The best praise I can give, however, is the preparation. Every year the snow conditions on the hill are flawless. So thank you to all the volunteers in Beaver Creek. You do a great job!

Who do you think will be your toughest challengers next season, especially for the medals in Beaver Creek?

Kjetil Jansrud: I think there will be a lot of contenders for the World Championships this year. The biggest favorite will probably be Aksel, considering his track record in that hill. Behind him we’ll see a tight race between Dominik Paris, Christof Innerhofer, Erik Guay, Adrien Theaux, Matthias Mayer, Hannes Reichelt and hopefully myself.

Why? I think these few names that can cope with the technical aspect of the Birds of Prey, and still inhabit the special “downhiller” genetics. Probably forgot some names… but that’s what I love about this sport; there’s always that guy you never thought of who beats them all.

A few younger Attacking Vikings are emerging on the world stage – how has that impacted your season preps?

Kjetil Jansrud: Our young guys are really packing a punch. They are a generation of hard-working Norwegian youth that is bound to make their names known on the World Cup circuit. Henrik is already among the best, but behind him we have the likes of Sebastian Solevaag, Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, Adrian Sejersted, all young athletes striving for success.

They have a big impact on my season preps. They push the limits every day in training and keeps the oldies like Aksel and me on our toes.

During the season, the schedule gets quite hectic. How do you keep up with the pace of travel, racing and training, and how do you recover?

Kjetil Jansrud: Wow. I sleep. The schedule when racing four events is tough both on the mind and the body.  Best tip: Read a book. Don’t worry about anything else than the races to come.

Online, you often share photos of fun stuff; what’s your favorite “free time activity”?

Kjetil Jansrud: Is sleep an activity? Well, I like hanging out like normal people. Making sure I spend some time with family and friends from back home. And since I am a guy, I do play some PlayStation. Oh, and some guitar too. But don’t expect an intimate unplugged concert any time soon…

1976961_10153103644005558_1148033327985486700_nYou recently moved into a new apartment and adopted a puppy, Pixel, what’s the story there and how has “puppy parenthood in a new home” been going so far?

Kjetil Jansrud: There is no story behind the puppy parenthood, other than that a dog is great company and makes the days of my girlfriend go a tad faster than what they normally would when I am not home. That said, it takes a lot of work, but it’s very satisfying to watch a puppy grow into a well-behaved dog. (Well, if you look away from that occasional pee on the carpet).

In other news, I have moved into a new apartment this summer. And as all other males with some respect for our ancestry, we try to fix things ourselves. With varying grades of success, of course, but my new table on the balcony turned out nice!  And the best thing: It only took 4 people 3 hours to move it 10 meters! No stress.

Release courtesy of Organizing Committee of Vail-Beaver Creek 2015

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Poutiainen to help Finnish females find the podium http://skiracing.com/stories/poutiainen-to-help-finnish-females-find-the-podium/ http://skiracing.com/stories/poutiainen-to-help-finnish-females-find-the-podium/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 14:38:52 +0000 SR Staff http://skiracing.com/?post_type=stories&p=31598 Poutiainen poses with Ivica Kostelic in Lenzerheide. GEPA/Christian Walgram

Poutiainen poses with Ivica Kostelic in Lenzerheide. GEPA/Christian Walgram

The 2014-15 alpine season opens in Soelden, Austria in a little over a month, but Ski Sport Finland is looking further down the road with its latest initiative, and it has enlisted the support of one of its past champions. The association announced its updated strategy and coaching system in Helsinki on Wednesday.

During the spring and summer, the association’s board of directors and President and CEO Marko Mustosella made plans to reform the entire system of national team training for alpine skiing.

Strategic reforms in three areas are expected to culminate in top-level performance: efficient and effective coaching in the Finnish system— which relies on strong teamwork and cooperation between key players in the national teams system (i.e. alpine schools and academies), strong emphasis on coaching skills and their implementation on a large scale, and, most importantly, the winning attitude that it takes for individuals to perform to their potential and find success.

As part of the training system reform, special attention was paid to the low number of female skiers on alpine national teams. In addition to Merle Soppela, the national team needs more top-class women, so Ski Sport Finland set up TEAM 2018 over the summer which will first look to fill the void below the national teams.

The program aims to raise Finnish female skiers to the World Cup podium in 2018. The hard objective behind the team will be tackled by Jan Tuupainen, coach Bozo Jaklin, and expert Tanja Poutiainen.

“We interviewed the group of 41 athletes, of which we selected a total of 10 for the team. We assembled a talented team and the goals are set high, but keep in mind that success comes only through work and dedication,” Poutiainen said. “A strong team is an important part of the entire program for females… a strong and steady team will also produce results.”

The trio of Poutiainen, Tuupainen and Jaklin will oversee the initiative in the first year and operation period with the aim of consolidating and creating the operational resources necessary for to achievement of the long-term goal.

Ski Sport Finland TEAM 2018 

FIS group:

Camilla Andersson (Ruka Slalom)
Kia Hakala (Harjavalta Scoot)
Hilla Hannola (Santa Claus Ski Team)
Riikka Honkanen (Alpine Race Team Tabor)
Julia Toiviainen (Santa Claus Ski Team)

Audi Group:

Inka Antikainen (Espoo Slalom)
Nella Korpioja (Espoo Slalom)
Netta Lappalainen (Siilinjärven effort)
Kia Larilahti (Espoo Slalom)
Erika Pykäläinen (Hyvinkään Slalom Society Shuttle)

Release courtesy of Ski Sport Finland

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Sweden’s Fjaellstroem injures knee in Saas Fee http://skiracing.com/stories/swedens-fjaellstroem-injures-knee-in-saas-fee/ http://skiracing.com/stories/swedens-fjaellstroem-injures-knee-in-saas-fee/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 20:00:54 +0000 SR Staff http://skiracing.com/?post_type=stories&p=31595 "Monne" Fjaellstroem at the 2014 Flachau World Cup. GEPA/Harald Steiner

“Monne” Fjaellstroem at the 2014 Flachau World Cup. GEPA/Harald Steiner

Swedish technical skier Magdalena “Monne” Fjaellstroem injured her left knee during slalom training in Saas Fee, Switzerland Tuesday morning.

It is unclear how serious the injury is, but further information will be available later in the week. Fjaellstroem will be flown home to Sweden on Thursday and will undergo an MRI on Friday.

The Swedish women’s team is currently conducting its training camp on the glacier in Saas Fee. During Tuesday’s slalom session, Fjaellstroem was injured on the third run.

“She was a little far back, got rotation in her left knee, and it was then that it hurt,” said head women’s coach Fredrik Steinwall.

Doctors in Switzerland made an initial survey of the damage, but it is still too early to make an accurate diagnosis. The examination on Friday in Umeå with national team physician Per Liljeholm will determine how the future of this season looks for Fjaellstroem.

She had five scoring World Cup results last season and also celebrated two top-20 finishes after honing in on slalom beyond the Soelden opener. The 19-year-old rising talent was the slalom Junior World Champion in 2013.

“To speculate leads nowhere. We will be told on Friday the type of injury and how severe it is, and after that, we know what applies to Monne,” added Steinwall.

Release courtesy of SSF

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Swiss teams return home from South America http://skiracing.com/stories/swiss-teams-return-home-from-south-america/ http://skiracing.com/stories/swiss-teams-return-home-from-south-america/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 16:27:55 +0000 SR Staff http://skiracing.com/?post_type=stories&p=31593 Carlo Janka spent three extra days training in Ushuaia. GEPA/Mario Kneisl

Carlo Janka spent two extra days training in Ushuaia. GEPA/Mario Kneisl

Swiss teams usually don’t have to travel very far to find suitable skiing conditions in the summer as the glaciers in Saas Fee and Zermatt have snow year-round. But the national alpine teams still spent the end of summer in South America where winter conditions and a variety of terrain proved to be beneficial in both Ushuaia, Argentina and Chile.

Swiss World Cup groups 2 and 3 flew to Ushuaia on Aug. 10. At the beginning of the trip, snow conditions were not very promising, but rain on the third day of training was followed by almost two weeks of perfect conditions. Even with different snow conditions, the athletes could practice on everything from aggressive, hard and icy slopes to spring snow. The conditions were so good that Carlo Janka, Mauro Caviezel, and Thomas Tumler stayed in Ushuaia for two extra days before heading to Chile.

The training was a great success for the whole group and is encouraging for the upcoming season. The only low point in the week in Ushuaia was the injury of Reto Schmidiger who tore a ligament in his right knee and will not return to competition until November.

The women’s team, who mostly focused on technical training, enjoyed three weeks of near perfect conditions. Thanks to the good conditions, some speed training was also possible. For the athletes, it was also positive that they could train with the Swiss men’s team as well as the Austrians and Italians.

The greatest turbulence the team experience was on their journey to Ushuaia. They faced similar travel issues to the Italians due to an airline strike and mechanical issues with one of the planes. The team had to stay at the Madrid airport, where they were able to catch a later flight to Argentina. Already a few days behind schedule, in Buenos Aires they missed the plane for the final leg to Ushuaia and did not arrive until six hours later than expected.

Another low point came with the injuries og Joana Haehlen and Nadja Kamer-Jnglin. Both suffered knee injuries in giant slalom training. While Haehlen tore her ACL and will miss the entirety of the coming season, Kamer-Jnglin suffered a cartilage injury and may be able to return at a yet unknown time.

The speed team was less lucky in Chile. The venues would have been perfect, both at Corralco and Nevados de Chillan. In Nevados de Chillan, there are two different downhill runs, each with a very different terrain profile. Even for the super G, coaches have two options and the infrastructure improves every year. Unfortunately, the team could not choose its weather, and snow, fog, and wind forced several days of improvisation. The trip to Chile has nevertheless worthwhile as the training opportunities which were possible showed that the men are on the right track.

Release courtesy of Swiss-Ski

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VIDEO: Lake Placid Camp 2014 http://skiracing.com/stories/video-lake-placid-camp-2014/ http://skiracing.com/stories/video-lake-placid-camp-2014/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 13:24:14 +0000 SR Staff http://skiracing.com/?post_type=stories&p=31590 Athletes from the U.S. Ski Team and elite domestic groups gather annually in Lake Placid, N.Y. for a roller ski and training project that includes the infamous Climb to Castle race. Ski Racing takes you behind-the-scenes of what went down at this year’s camp in the Adirondacks.

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From alpine to Nordic, Liz Stephen finds meaning in sport http://skiracing.com/stories/from-alpine-to-nordic-liz-stephen-finds-meaning-in-sport/ http://skiracing.com/stories/from-alpine-to-nordic-liz-stephen-finds-meaning-in-sport/#comments Mon, 15 Sep 2014 12:54:07 +0000 SR Staff http://skiracing.com/?post_type=stories&p=31581 U.S. Ski Team athlete Liz Stephen en route to her fourth Climb to Castle title. NYSEF

U.S. Ski Team athlete Liz Stephen en route to her fourth Climb to Castle title. NYSEF

After a series of dominating performances at the Tour de Ski, Climb to Castle and Norwegian Blink Festival, Liz Stephen has established herself as the world’s best uphill skier. Ironically, she built that successful career on a foundation that started with skiing downhill. Her paradoxical success doesn’t end there, as the known team player trains independently, leads quietly and labels her character as a social introvert.

The East Montpelier, Vt. native made the switch from alpine to Nordic in her second year at Burke Mountain Academy in 2003 and has used her unique perspective on teamwork to impact the sport ever since.

“When I made the switch from alpine to Nordic, the team at Burke treated me like they wanted me to love skiing,” Stephen recalled during a break between training sessions in Lake Placid last week. “The XC community, both in skiing and running, has always been so embracing, they are excited to share their sport and always want more people to join.”

Stephen at an alpine race.

Stephen at an alpine race.

The switch appeared to be a good one, as she made the Nordic U.S. Ski Team only three years later and has since built a reputation around her quiet influence and behind-the-scenes leadership. That character, if nothing else, has cultivated a culture in the sport that highlights what brought her to abandon her edges in the first place: teamwork. Whether it be from her unique start in skiing or her independent approach to training, Stephen balances her individual and team goals through doing things a little differently.

U.S. Ski Team women’s coach Matt Whitcomb was the Nordic coach at Burke at the time of Stephen’s transition. He notes that the values that drew her to Nordic are those which most define her role on the team now.

“Even then I remember what sold her on the switch was the unique concept of ‘team as family’ that our sport naturally fosters,” he said. “That she could train side by side with her teammates rather than threading slalom gates on her own really caught her attention.”

Stephen had grown weary of the competitive individuality that alpine racing demanded and saw in Nordic an opportunity to revitalize her love of skiing. Whitcomb and Stephen both remember the guidance of the older girls on her team, teaching her “how to be a Nordie,” which meant, among other things, not wearing heavy snow pants to practice.

When her years at Burke slingshotted her onto the international circuit, Stephen adopted the values she had learned there and brought them to the U.S. Ski Team. Her youngest teammate, Jessie Diggins, immediately felt welcome when she joined the team in 2011.

“She has always been the ‘glue’ that holds the US team together, and in many ways she is also the team leader,” Diggins said.

What’s more, Stephen holds the team together without being overbearing. Whitcomb noted, “She can lead without speaking, and instead by listening.” Her approach to the sport and to her teammates is natural, gentle, rather than dialed and overt. For example, instead of choosing to ski for a domestic elite team, as most of her national teammates do, Stephen trains on her own throughout most of the summer in Park City, Utah because it offers her a specific flexibility she couldn’t find elsewhere.

“I’ve taken those personality tests, and even though I don’t act like it, I’m an introvert.” She often refers to what she needs as ‘Liz time,’ a necessary part of having the energy to invest in her teammates for five months of the year.

“Just getting the chance to go out and enjoy the quiet in the woods and work around your own schedule, paying attention to what your body needs is refreshing and reenergizing,” she noted.

Stephen’s independent training gives her the energy to support her teammates, but also to bounce back from low moments. Despite the support of her coaches and teammates, summer training and post-Olympic deflation, she again faces the difficulties she had as an alpine athlete 11 years ago: finding meaning in sport.

“I struggled after the Olympics. I’m getting on the older end of athletes and the longer you do something the more it begins to feel like a routine. I couldn’t help but wonder what I was doing with my life at the moment, I had to figure out why it mattered to me, to figure out why what we do is meaningful.”

Stephen at the Sochi Olympics. GEPA

Stephen at the Sochi Olympics. GEPA

One way she found value was through participating in programs like Fast and Female, where she gets to directly interact with the people she impacts. What made the difference for Stephen, though, was traveling to places where ski culture is so “in your face” that she couldn’t help but know that what she did mattered.

Four years ago, she began traveling to Scandinavia for training blocks in the summer, first going to Sweden then to Norway, training with World Championship and Olympic medalists Anna Haag (SWE) and Astrid Jacobsen (NOR) and their teams. Just like the Burke Nordic team piqued her athletic interest in high school, the cultures of these countries have reenergized Stephen’s investment in skiing.

Stephen said she feels at home when she visits Scandinavia, that she could see herself living there full-time in the future. For now, she appreciates the attention she receives for her results by the people on the street, especially after her low-key approach to training at home.

“This job is a real job, it comes with responsibilities and getting recognition for the work you do makes you realize that you’ve enhanced someone’s life in some way.”

Through her persistence and energy, Stephen has not only built a successful career in endurance athletics, but harnessed a sense of togetherness in a traditionally individual sport. That togetherness and sense of teamwork has extended far beyond domestic soil, creating a world-wide cooperative focused on growing and sharing Nordic skiing.

For some, creating that world community may seem like an uphill battle, for which there is no person better for the job than Stephen. She was emphatic that the lowest moments in skiing are overwhelmed by the positive experiences, and sees every decision as one worth making.

“I don’t regret a thing; it’s been an amazing journey.”

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The fall matters: Make it count http://skiracing.com/stories/the-fall-matters-make-it-count/ http://skiracing.com/stories/the-fall-matters-make-it-count/#comments Sun, 14 Sep 2014 17:00:02 +0000 Jim Taylor http://skiracing.com/?post_type=stories&p=31579 Ted Ligety gets in a fall mountain bike ride before heading to South America. Facebook

Ted Ligety gets in a fall mountain bike ride before heading to South America. Facebook

If you are at all serious about your ski racing, this past summer should have been devoted to the process of making yourself a great ski racer. There is one thing that you better have done and another thing that you likely will have done this past summer: engage in an intensive physical conditioning program and spend time on snow, respectively. These last several months gave you an essential opportunity to devote large blocks of time to making gains in your fitness and in the technical and tactical aspects of your skiing with concern for results, points, or rankings. I also hope you have heeded my constant message to train your mind and get it into great shape as well!

Admittedly, for some racers — like my fellow Middlebury alumnus Hig Roberts — it was also a time to score some seriously low FIS-point results in the Southern Hemisphere. But Robert’s outstanding performances were a direct result of his efforts to develop himself physically, technically, and mentally in the spring and early part of the summer (note: he is not one of my clients).

It’s hard to believe that the summer is over and that I’ll be joining many of you on snow in Colorado over the next three months (as early as Oct. 17 in Loveland, thanks to the great efforts of John Hale and his amazing crew!). With Labor Day behind us, we have entered a new phase of preparation for the coming race season that is equally as essential as your summer efforts to achieving your ski racing goals for the upcoming race season.

Think of your skiing this year as a painting of the ski racer you want to be in the coming season. It’s an image you started working on in the spring and now must finish before you climb into the starting gate in a few months at your first race of the year. The summer was about broad strokes in which the concept of how you want to ski begins to take shape. You use a wide paintbrush and make broad strokes as the basic image of your skiing becomes evident. But the painting lacks detail and is far from a finished product.

The fall is the time to use a fine paintbrush and fill in the details of your self-portrait. As your first race approaches, the clear and precise image that you have of your skiing in your mind should be realized on the canvas. When that first race arrives, you should be able to look at that painting and see an image of precisely the kind of skier you want to be this race season.

So, to continue my artistic metaphor, what should you have on your palette that will enable you to create a masterpiece of fast skiing?

Physical Conditioning

Your physical training should take on richer colors or more detail this fall. There should be a greater emphasis on quality over quantity (though you certainly need to maintain a good degree of volume). This involves getting the most out of your conditioning efforts that will result in being the fittest version of yourself. This shift also reduces the chances of burnout or injury at a time when you need to be healthy and rested.

You can increase the quality of your physical training and, at the same time, further develop your mental skills by understanding that mental training starts in the gym (as I have written about previously). This involves thinking about what enables you to ski your best in on-snow training and applying those same skills and habits to your conditioning:

  • Confidence — Make positive statements about your ability to achieve your training goal for that set (e.g., “I am going to do 10 reps”).
  • Commitment — Dedicate yourself to giving your fullest effort every rep and to finishing the set strong.
  • Intensity — Match your physical intensity to your exercise. If you’re doing power squats, you want to actively increase your intensity before you step under the bar. If you are doing yoga, you want to actively relax your body.
  • Focus — Narrow your attention onto whatever will help you fully execute the exercise. The focus could be technical (e.g., hips forward) or mental (e.g., explode).
  • Breathing — Match your breathing to your exercise. If you are doing power training, your breathing should be more intense. If you are doing flexibility training, it should be calmer and slower.

Mental Imagery

Mental imagery is another way to add color and depth to the developing masterpiece that is your skiing. By now, you’re probably sick of me bringing this up all the time, but I will say it again. Mental imagery is the most important mental tool available to you. And if you haven’t developed an organized and consistent off-snow mental imagery program, you’re not going to be the best ski racer you can be.

The fall is an ideal time to make a real commitment to mental imagery because it allows you to get a ton of miles on snow and in gates (in your mind) before you actually get back on snow and back into gate training. You can more deeply ingrain technically sound and fast skiing with mental imagery, so, when the snow flies, it will be as if you’ve been skiing all fall and you can continue your skiing development from your first day on snow.

Here’s what you should do with mental imagery:

  1. Choose one or two technical (e.g., wider stance), tactical (e.g., higher line), mental (e.g., relaxing at the start), or performance (e.g., fast skiing) areas you want to focus on in your imagery.
  2. Create a ladder of training and race scenarios, from training courses on your home hill to low-level races to your most important races of the season.
  3. Set aside a specific time each day, three times a week.
  4. In each imagery session, get comfortable, close your eyes, take five deep breaths, and then guide yourself through two training or race runs (I also have MP3 audio recordings that can guide you through these scenarios) incorporating your imagery goals (see #1 above) into your imagined skiing.
  5. Stay committed and consistent with your imagery throughout the fall.

The Grind of Winter

The long winter of training and racing is incredibly taxing both physically and mentally. Another important goal for the fall is to prepare yourself to stay healthy and rested from your first turns of the season until your last. The habits you establish in the fall will, hopefully, carry you through the winter with strength and stamina.

These habits you instill in the coming months should include:

  • Sufficient and consistent sleep (young people don’t get enough sleep these days)
  • Healthy eating (food either fuels or contaminates your body)
  • Good study habits (stress in school will hurt your skiing)
  • Making your ski racing a priority over other interests (don’t let poor choices hurt your skiing)
  • Balanced use of technology (which threatens sleep and distracts you)

What you do this fall will have a big impact on how you ski this winter. Using what I’ve just described above as well as advice from your coaches and parents, take the fall to paint a picture of yourself as a ski racer who, at the end of the race season, you can look upon with pride and awe.

Jim Taylor, Ph.D., competed internationally while skiing for Burke Mountain Academy, Middlebury College, and the University of Colorado. Over the last 25 years, he has worked with the U.S. and Japanese Ski Teams, many World Cup and Olympic racers, and several of the leading junior race programs in the U.S. and Canada. Jim is the author of Prime Ski Racing: Triumph of the Racer’s Mind, he publishes bi-monthly newsletters on sport, business, and parenting, and also blogs for huffingtonpost.com and psychologytoday.com. To learn more or to contact Jim, visit his website. 

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RED Mountain to open new training venue in November http://skiracing.com/stories/red-mountain-to-open-new-training-venue-in-november/ http://skiracing.com/stories/red-mountain-to-open-new-training-venue-in-november/#comments Sat, 13 Sep 2014 19:26:55 +0000 SR Staff http://skiracing.com/?post_type=stories&p=31577 Legacy Training Centre

November can’t come soon enough for the Red Mountain Racers.

ROSSLAND, Canada — The new Legacy Training Centre at RED Mountain Resort is set to pull ahead of the pack thanks to ultra modern snowmaking, FIS slopes and an unparalleled dedication to quality and convenience. BC’s RED Mountain Resort is the home of ski racing in Canada and this proud legacy of speed is where the new center, set to open Nov. 15, 2014, gets its name.

“We’ve already received an incredible amount of inquiries from some of the most prestigious ski clubs in Canada and from clubs around the globe as well,” explained Christine Andison, President of Red Mountain Racers. “RED surveyed race families and ski teams from around the world to find out what really matters to them—and we incorporated these ideas into Legacy. We want you to shave time and have a great time.”

Building a truly next level training centre at RED meant building a venue that will hold up to the special demands of pre-season training. To that end, The Legacy Training Centre has invested over $1.5 million on state-of-the-art snowmaking to
make sure that RED is ready in early November.

In 2014, RED purchased T40 snow guns by Techno/Alpin of Italy.

“Temperatures on RED are cold enough for snowmaking around late October and we’ll start blowing snow the second the mercury tells us we can,” said general manager Don Thompson.

Legacy is a partner project between Red Mountain Racers, Community Futures Development Corporation, Columbia Basin Trust, the City of Rossland, and RED Mountain Resort.

“We’re proud to have partners that understand the importance of ski racing to RED’s history and future,” noted CEO Howard Katkov. “A modern venue like this is a great way to acknowledge the mountain’s ‘legacy’ while moving our infrastructure forward for another 150 years of speed. Legacy will be THE place to base gates next winter.”

Since 1948, the Red Mountain Racers have put 39 athletes on Canada’s national team and sent 12 athletes to compete in the Olympics.

The facilities at the new Legacy Training Centre offer athlete all the comforts of a fuss-free training experience while making sure that parents can enjoy all the action by keeping in touch with work and home. The training lanes are located adjacent to several high-quality lodging options, meaning families don’t have to ride multiple lifts to get to legacy. The venue will feature six slalom and two GS lanes for 2014 with plans to grow to include mogul skiing and slopestyle in the future.

Release courtesy of RED Mountain Resort

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