US teams take advantage of spring snow at Mammoth

11 May 2012 13:57
Ted Ligety at mammoth
Ted Ligety at mammoth -

Both the US ladies and men's teams have been taking advantage of excellent spring snow conditions at Mammoth Mountain this week. Mammoth Mountain has made their resort available to the U.S. Ski Team starting each morning at 6 a.m. PT for two and a half hours of private training before opening to the public at 8:30 a.m. PT.

The US men including Ted Ligety, Will Brandenburg and Steven Nyman have been up early this week to utilize private alpine training opportunities. The resort has been spinning the lifts for the U.S. Ski Team allowing for incredibly productive training on hard smooth snow. Ideal California weather has produced cold nights where the snow can freeze followed by consecutive blue sky days.

The athletes are testing skis and other equipment as well as training giant slalom, slalom and super-G on a variety of slopes specially prepared by the Mammoth Mountain Race Department and U.S. coaches. This week marks the first gate training of the preparation period for Nyman, who missed the 2012 season with a torn achilles. The nine-day camp, which closes Sunday, is designed to allow each athlete to work on specific needs before moving into heavy conditioning sessions and high volume on-snow training later in the preparation period.

Will Brandenburg commented: "It has been incredibly productive at Mammoth – probably the most productive camp I've had in a number of years. I've been taking 12 runs each day with six of those being full speed training runs of full-length or beyond full-length slalom. Last season I was getting tired for the last 15 seconds during races so the aim is to increase my endurance by training on longer courses. I'm also working on getting my body to the outside at the top of the turn in order to be more consistent in finishing. The weather has been epic. Super cold at night and so far we haven't had a day without sun. I've been road biking a lot in the afternoons and even got out rock climbing yesterday – we're definitely staying active."

Coach Forest Carey added:"Ted [Ligety] is specifically working on testing skis right now with coaches Mike Day and Dane Spencer and I've been working with Brandenburg on tip clearance in slalom and even a little giant slalom. It's been a while since he's been on GS skis.

Steven [Nyman] and Travis [Ganong] are primarily working with the speed group and we also have Tommy Biesemeyer and Ryan Cochran-Siegle who are focusing on giant slalom. There's a lot going on, but we have a great set-up with perfect snow and our own private hill for a few hours each morning."

Women's speed Head Coach Chip White and the Mammoth Mountain Race Department have constructed terrain mimicking World Cup race hills for specialized training at the California resort. World Cup athletes including Stacey Cook, Leanne Smith and Laurenne Ross have been training on a "bumpy traverse" similar to what they saw at the 2012 Audi FIS Alpine World Cup Finals in Schladming, Austria, which will host the 2013 World Ski Championships next February. For a second straight spring, U.S. women are also utilizing the Mammoth camp to work on specific form exercises with Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) Team Captain Mike Rogan.

The US ladies training at Mammoth include Stacey Cook, Leanne Smith, Laurenne Ross, Julia Ford and Mikaela Shiffrin. Speed Head Coach Chip White and the Mammoth Mountain Race Department have built specialized terrain to mimic World Cup venues like Schladming, Austria – home of the 2013 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships.

The weeklong camp is designed to allow each athlete to work on specific needs before getting into high volume on-snow training later in the preparation period.

Mammoth native Stacey Cook stated: "It has been getting really cold at night, so we've had full-on World Cup conditions right from the start of camp. Mammoth always has great snow this time of year and even though they don't have the base they normally do, what is here is ideal for what we need to accomplish. The traverse Chip [White] built is super bumpy and a lot like what we saw at Schladming during the World Cup Finals. It's also like the downhill traverses in Bansko [Bulgaria] and Garmisch [Germany] as well. We see a lot of right footed traverses on the women's World Cup.

It's also been great to have Mike [Rogan] back with us this spring. I think we all benefited from his perspective last year and now he's like a member of the team. He can see things in our technique that help compliment what our coaches see. It's a huge gain for us to have him here."

Chip White, Speed Head Coach of the ladies team concluded: "It took a lot of work to get the slopes to this point, but the crew at Mammoth has been incredibly energetic and supportive in helping us produce terrain to specifically help our team build skills in areas where we need more work. The World Championships venue in Schladming has a particularly nasty traverse and so do a few other World Cup venues we race on each season. We noticed our athletes losing time on those sections and we want to correct that. From the bumpy traverse to back-to-basics training with Mike [Rogan] to working on jumping, there's a lot going on, but having our own private training space each morning allows for you to get a lot done."