Powder, solid training highlight trip to Chile for USST women

Powder, solid training highlight trip to Chile for USST women{mosimage}Head coach for the U.S. women’s speed team, Alex Hoedlmoser reports that snow conditions in Chile have been mixed, but training has been excellent and the team has been logging valuable training miles. The team, comprised of Lindsey Kildow, Kirsten Clark, Jonna Mendes, Stacey Cook, Bryna McCarty, Libby Ludlow, Caroline Lalive and Julia Mancuco arrived in Santiago, Chile, on Aug. 1, and then traveled six hours south to the major resort of Termas de Chillan to begin a two-week block of training.

‘This is a big area with a great downhill, but being lower in elevation, you have to be lucky with the weather’ said Hoedlmoser. For the first six days, luck was with the U.S. squadron, one of the strongest in the world, as they accumulated mile after mile of speed training.

Kildow reported taking a good fall on her first day of training, but quickly bounced back to action. ‘It didn’t bother me after that first day’ said Kildow. McCarty also took a digger, which temporarily put her on the sidelines.

U.S. veteran Clark, who last year made a successful comeback from knee surgery, said, ‘The first six days were great training. The snow was soft, but we had full length downhill with double sessions of super G.’

But then their luck ran out.

‘The last three days in Chillan were pouring rain’ noted Clark.

With a staff of eight coaches, trainers and service personnel on hand, the down-time was put to good use in the gym, but by Aug. 13 the team was ready move up the spine of the Andes to Portillo. One day after arriving in Portillo, a strong storm front moved in, bringing several inches of new snow bad news for training, but great news for the powder hounds.

‘It was a sick powder day!’ gushed Kildow.

The coaches, however, spent most of the day laboring on the course. ‘It’s soft right now’ said Hoedlmoser, ‘but we’ve prepared a downhill track, which should be getting better.’

The efforts of the coaches paid off the following day. ‘The super G and GS training were great’ said Kildow.

Hoedlmoser plans to devote the mornings to speed and then branch off into super G, GS and slalom in the afternoons.
The team plans to be in Portillo through Aug. 25 with the exception of Mancuso and Lalive, who will come home before linking up with tech-skiers, Kaylin Richardson, Lauren Ross, Jessica Kelley, and Resi Stiegler for a trip to New Zealand on Aug. 22.

Kristina Koznick, who trains independently of the U.S. Team, will head to Saas Fee, Switzerland, in the middle of August, after a rigorous summer of physical training at her Minnesota home.

The six-hour drive from Santiago to Termas de Chillan is logistically challenging in the best of times, but the tech-crew coming in from Europe discovered that even getting there can be a challenge. Lindsey Kildow reported that the three servicemen for Lalive, Clark and McCarty were first hit with a 15,000 EU fee for overweight baggage, and then missed a connection, forcing a four-day layover in Spain. And then to add insult to injury, when they finally did arrive at Santiago, Chile, they were luggage-less for another four days.

Conditions were a bit Spartan at Termas de Chillan. ‘Most of us didn’t have hot water’ said Kildow, ‘and my room with Jonna and Clarky was SO cold we had to get two heaters put in the room.’ That did the job, except for when the electricity would go out.’ But these veteran travelers know how to make the best of any situation. ‘Caroline (Lalive) had her birthday in Chillan and it was a blast’ said Kildow. ‘We went into town for this Chilean BBQ with huge steaks and sausages epic!’



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