US start spring training

31 May 2009 23:00

MAMMOTH, CA (May 18) - Batter up! Following individual testing sessions at the newly opened U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association's Center of Excellence in Park City, the men's U.S. Alpine Ski Team officially opens spring training this week as 11 athletes nominated for the 2010 squad arrived at Mammoth Mountain.

"This is a key camp for a couple of reasons," said Men's Alpine Head Coach Sasha Rearick. "It's the first opportunity for our entire staff to get together and lay out our goals, not just with the athletes, but for the coaches too. We all set goals.

"It's also going to be an opportunity for the athletes to refine the technical fundamentals they learned last season. Last year was all about innovation with this program, now we're going to refine that innovation so we can execute in all situations."

The 10-day session will feature super G and giant slalom training for the speed groups and a combination of slalom, giant slalom and super G for the technical group.

"Each of these guys has a weakness in one of these disciplines," said Rearick. "We're going to work on repetition and get those little things cleaned up. Mammoth does a really good job providing us with everything we need to focus on what we need to do. They go out of their way to build terrain so we can keep things running smoothly with the guys. They are an incredible partner and always step up to the plate with the best possible conditions."

"We're very proud to have the U.S. Ski Team begin its Olympic preparation here in Mammoth," said Mammoth Mountain CEO Rusty Gregory. "We still have great ski conditions and it's an exciting opportunity for our staff, community and our resort guests to have the men with us in Mammoth."

Campers include Marco Sullivan (Squaw Valley, CA), Erik Fisher (Middleton, ID), Tim Jitloff (Reno, NV) and Jimmy Cochran (Keene, NH).

"This is mostly about going back to the most basic things and working on the same sort of fundamental drills that we all did as a kid," said Fisher, who qualified for A Team status after a season that produced a downhill top-10 finish in Val Gardena, Italy. "Mammoth is a perfect place for this camp. We had a good Spring Series there last month and it's a good scene for training. They go all out for ski racing. It's much appreciated."

Notably absent from snow while recovering from injury are World Championship giant slalom bronze medalist Ted Ligety (Park City, UT), Steven Nyman (Provo, UT), TJ Lanning (also Park City), Scott Macartney (Crystal Mountain, WA) and Will Brandenburg (Dakota Dunes, SD).

"All those guys are doing great," said Rearick. "None of them have had any complications and they're focused on staying with their recovery programs. Ted, TJ, Will and Steven have been working in Park City and Scotty has been in and out of town a lot. They're looking and feeling good.

"Prior to the annual Audi FIS Alpine World Cup opening preliminarily set for October 24-25 in Soelden, Austria, the men's Team will also train on snow in New Zealand and Chile during the summer months.

Between camps, the athletes stick to a custom built conditioning program built from their recent testing results from the Center of Excellence.

"As soon as we leave Mammoth, Per [Lundstam, USSA Strength and Conditioning Manager] will have a complete program ready to go for these guys and they'll keep plugging on that, but most guys are in and out of the Center of Excellence all summer."

The Center of Excellence officially opened its doors to athletes on May 1, but a public opening is set for July.