US ladies up to speed in Portillo
The speed training season is officially underway in South America as the ladies' U.S. Ski Team, including Lindsey Vonn and Julia Mancuso, begin their second week in Portillo. Warm weather, which earlier produced a minor avalanche at the top of the training slope, has hampered training, but Speed Head Coach Chip White reported excellent progress from all athletes as they transitioned from super G to downhill over the weekend. The U.S. women's speed team won the nation's standings for downhill last winter by 636 points over Austria.
Athletes in Chile are Lindsey Vonn, Julia Mancuso, Stacey Cook, Leanne Smith, Laurenne Ross, Alice McKennis, Julia Ford, Abby Ghent and Chelsea Marshall.
Warm temperatures have been challenging, but through strong collaboration with Portillo, the U.S. Ski Team coaches have been able to produce positive training conditions. The athletes have used the conditions to test numerous ski, binding and boot setups for the upcoming season. Portillo, Chile has been a long-time host of the U.S. Ski Team and provides some of the best early-season downhill training in the world.
Julia Mancuso said : "I've had more time on snow at this point in the year than I think I've ever had. But even more important, I think, is that my days on snow have been really concentrated on what I've needed to accomplish. My Head ski setup is working really well and I'm fired up to start the season."
Stacey Cook added: "Ski testing has been a really important part of this camp and it's been super productive. Normally we don't have so many options, but this year everything is new. In the past, we've been completely focused on what setup is fast, but now it's about focusing on exactly what you're feeling with the new equipment."
Coach Chip White concluded:"We've had incredible cooperation with Portillo, the Canadian team and the Norwegians, who are also training here. There's been a lot of snow cat work, a lot of shoveling by the coaches and a lot of long days, but it's equated to really productive training for our athletes.
I'm impressed with were our team is technically, physically and mentally during this camp. We've had some challenging training conditions, but everyone has had such a 'let's get this done' attitude. We're on track to start the season strong."