Race practice begins at Golden Peak | VailDaily.com

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Race practice begins at Golden Peak

Ski racers and coaches talk through training techniques on Saturday, Nov. 26, at Golden Peak in Vail. Clubs from around the country came to Vail to train.

Ski racers and coaches talk through training techniques on Saturday, Nov. 26, at Golden Peak in Vail. Clubs from around the country came to Vail to train.

GOLDEN PEAK RACE TRAINING

• International Ski Federation certified

• 329 vertical meters

• Slalom and Giant Slalom specific

• Racers start as early as 6:30 a.m.

VAIL — The Golden Peak Race Arena is up and running, hosting clubs from around the country seeking a top-level training ground.

Warm temperatures led to a late start for snowmaking operations, but by Thursday, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail had giant slalom and slalom training opportunities ready for any and all clubs who wanted to rent out a training lane. Among the teams to have visited thus far are the University of Utah, the University of New Mexico, the University of Vermont and Denver University.

Ski racer Dominic Damshar, a junior at the University of Utah, said he was happy to be able to focus on tech training in Vail.

“The surface is getting better by the day,” he said Saturday.

“It’s kind of cool that we’ll get some of the top athletes in the country to come together and push each other to higher levels.”Zane WorrellFreshman at Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy

Before arriving in Colorado, 8-year-old Oliver Bachleda with the Washington-based PV Alpine club had not skied since visiting Mount Hood in June. Training with his father, Simon, he said he felt fortunate to be on snow at all.

“It has been really helpful to get ready for the season,” he said.

Simon Bachleda came into town from Manhattan, and said he loves Vail for its sun and snow.

“You can tell we do a lot of training in Colorado and Mount Hood by our speed suits,” he said of himself and Oliver, recognizable in their Fuxi Flash race pants.

Before Vail opened, the two had been training at Loveland.

“We got about a week of training in and are feeling good,” he said.

MORE TRAINING, MORE SLEEP

Ski & Snowboard Club Vail also trained at Loveland before Golden Peak was ready this year.

Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy freshman Zane Worrell said Golden Peak’s opening has allowed him and his teammates to get more sleep.

“We were getting up at like (4 a.m.) to go over the pass,” he said.

Worrell, an under 16 age level or “U16” competitor, qualified for the elite level National Performance Series this year, where he will compete in a head-to-head training and racing environment alongside the best U16 racers in the country. Results from the U16 NPS will determine a team of 12 athletes to compete in the Seven Nations Cup in Austria in February, according to the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association. Those same 12 athletes will also be invited to participate in a March training project, held in conjunction with the women’s World Cup in Squaw Valley, California. They will automatically qualify for the U16 National Championships.

“It’s kind of cool that we’ll get some of the top athletes in the country to come together and push each other to higher levels,” Worrell said. “This the first year they’re introducing it to U16 kids.”

Worrell is also a state champion mountain-bike racer, winning the freshman division on the Eagle Haymaker course one month ago, and is also trying to balance school work.

“Skiing is much more rewarding because it take so much hard work,” he said. “When you compare the training I put in in mountain biking and ski racing, I definitely dedicate a lot more time to ski racing.”

MASSIVE UNDERTAKING

Ski & Snowboard Club Vail dedicates immense time and resources into getting its early season training going at Golden Peak. Director of Operations C.B. Bechtel says it takes a lot of 14-hour work days from the Ski & Snowboard Club Vail staff to prepare the race surface and training lanes. Training starts each day at 6:30 a.m. and wraps up at 4:30 p.m.; Ski & Snowboard Club Vail currently has six lanes available for race training.

“We’re in it now,” Bechtel said. “We’ve had a lot of support from Vail Resorts and our lodging partners — Manor Vail, The Tivoli, The Christiania, the Vail Racquet Club, Destination Resorts and the Antlers.”

For more information about Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s early season training, go to http://www.skiclubvail.org/programs/early-season-training.