American alpine racers will spend a good part of August in the southern hemisphere at on-snow, pre-season camps. The first stop is New Zealand for tech training before moving to Chile for speed camps.
The U.S. racers join their fellow elite level competitors from around the world seeking summer time snow ahead of the start of the World Cup season only three months a way (Oct. 22) in Soelden, Austria.
“We have the entire A, B and C teams going down there so we are looking forward to a good camp,” said U.S. Men’s Alpine head coach Sasha Rearick. “Different groups will focus on different things down there. It’s great to have Steven [Nyman], Marco [Sullivan] and Andrew [Weibrecht] back healthy. Having their leadership is going to be crucial, we have a huge team this year with 17 guys racing World Cup full time. So, those guys along with Bode [Miller] and Ted [Ligety] and having Jimmy Cochran back is really exciting too.”
For the athletes, the New Zealand trip marks the end of the dry months and time to get back to doing what they love.
“We all look forward to getting back on the snow down there,” said Marco Sullivan, who missed the majority of last season after sustaining a concussion. “It definitely beats sitting in the gym.”
“I’m looking forward to getting a lot of days on snow, a lot of runs,” said Olympic bronze medalist Andrew Weibrecht, who was also out last season with a shoulder injury. “It’s something that I haven’t had the last couple years because of lingering injuries. I’m excited to go and have a nice fall camp at 100 percent.”
“This is always my favorite camp,” said Resi Stiegler, who will be making her first trip to New Zealand in three years after a chain of injuries left her sidelined. “I really enjoy the fact that you can go down there and play and train, there is just a good vibe down there.”
For 14-year World Cup veteran Bode Miller, time in New Zealand kicks off his winter fitness routine and gives him a baseline to perfect his equipment setup.
“I sort of activate my fitness down there, I’m doing a bunch of stuff already but it takes time, so that is a good block for me when I’m on snow,” said Miller. “I do double session in the afternoon so that is most of what I get out of it, as well as getting the basics of my equipment setups dialed in so I know where I’m at.”