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Canadians on snow in Chile

Canadians on snow in Chile{mosimage}While many Canadians are enjoying the summer’s heat, the Canadian Alpine Ski Team’s 27 senior athletes and 18 prospect/development Team athletes are making tracks in 20 centimeters of fresh snow in the mountains of Chile. Facing ideal winter conditions, the men’s and women’s national team members successfully launched their on-snow preparation for the upcoming 2005-2006 racing season which will kick into high gear as soon as October for the first technical World Cup races of this Olympic year.

The first few days of camp were spent free skiing, rediscovering the feel of the snow, and getting acclimated to the high altitude of the mountains.

‘The purpose of the first summer camp is to work on proper technique and skills before focusing on speed’ said Dusan Grasic, Technical Discipline Coach for the Men’s World Cup team. ‘This is the best time to work out the kinks, to perfect the technical skills and to prepare the athletes for the grueling season ahead. The team is spending about six hours a day on snow, testing out new equipment and focusing exclusively on technique. In the afternoon, the athletes do maintenance dryland which involves up to 45 minutes of biking.’

Jan Hudec of Calgary, a member of the men’s World Cup Speed Team, was sidelined last season due to a torn ACL sustained during a downhill race in Val d’Isère, France in December 2004. This CIBC Summer Camp represents his first time back on snow since his injury.

‘These first days of free skiing were great’ said Hudec whose career best includes a 7th place in downhill at the 2004 CIBC Lake Louise Winterstart World Cup. ‘My knee is feeling even better than last year which is extremely good for my confidence entering into this important season. Our team physiotherapist, Kent Kobelka, did a fantastic job working with me throughout the long winter months.’

As the snow gets firmer, the men’s and women’s Teams will progress to training gates in giant slalom before moving into specific discipline training. The Canadians are expected to be joined by the Austrian, the German and the Swedish National Ski Teams prior to the end of this camp which is set for September 11, 2005.

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