The Westin announces Mikaela Shiffrin has become its ‘Resident Gold Medalist’ | VailDaily.com

The Westin announces Mikaela Shiffrin has become its ‘Resident Gold Medalist’

AVON — The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa has announced that Olympic gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin is now serving as property's "Resident Gold Medalist." Shiffrin, 19, who was born and raised in the Vail Valley, won her first Olympic slalom gold medal earlier this year in Sochi, Russia, and has nine career World Cup slalom wins. She will now train at the athletic club at The Westin, hold a series of exclusive events for club members and share her racing experiences with resort guests. "We are very excited to have Mikaela prepare for the upcoming race season in our state-of-the-art facility and to have her share training tips with our athletic club members and guests," said Jeffery Burrell, The Westin's general manager. "The timing of this new relationship is fantastic, with the international spotlight shining even brighter on the Vail Valley this February with the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships." GYM IMPROVEMENTS To prepare to have Shiffrin training on-site, the Athletic Club has created a new "Mikaela's Corner" of the gym that features new equipment, including a half-rack with Olympic Platform and a Fitness Duo slackline. The club has also expanded its XFit Personal Training room, with new sandbags, kettlebells, obstacles and ropes. The Westin Riverfront — which recently completed more than $4 million in resort upgrades — is inviting guests to try out the Beaver Creek race courses before and after the February races, with ski season rates starting at $319 per night. For more information on The Westin, go to http://www.westinriverfrontbeaver creek.com or call 1-866-949-1616.

Mikaela Shiffrin to sign autographs at Westin Riverfront in Avon

The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa will host a special autograph session with resident gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin on Friday, Sept. 18, starting at 5:30 p.m. Vail Valley native Shiffrin, who won Olympic gold in Sochi and is the reigning World Cup slalom champion, will sign ski helmets and race photos for 45 minutes. This free event is open to the public; all attendees are encouraged to bring a canned-good donation for the Vail Valley Salvation Army Food Pantry. Local jazz favorites BLT will also be playing in The Westin Riverfront's lobby from 6 to 9 p.m., and Maya will be serving happy hour all night long, with $6 margaritas, sangria and wine; $3 tacos and $5 Mexican tapas, including smoked brisket nachos, vegetable quesadillas and salmon ceviche. As The Westin Riverfront's resident gold medalist, Shiffrin works out at the Athletic Club, which features Mikaela's Corner, a special section of the gym offering a half-rack with Olympic platform, a fitness duo slackline, sand bags, kettlebells, obstacles, ropes and more. The Athletic Club at The Westin, which offers more than 70 group exercise classes weekly, is currently accepting new members. Now through Sept. 30, the Athletic Club will waive the initiation fee for all new members. For details, call 970-790-2051.

Ski conditioning classes at the Westin in Avon include video tips from Mikaela Shiffrin

AVON — Olympic Gold Medalist Mikaela Shiffrin wants to help you get ready for the upcoming ski season with the new eight-week Winter Sports Conditioning Class at The Athletic Club at The Westin. Shiffrin — who was named The Westin Riverfront's "Resident Gold Medalist" this past summer — has recorded a series of video tips on how to incorporate many of her tried-and-true exercises to achieve optimal on-mountain performance, including using the BOSU, Kettlebells, agility ladder hurdles and medicine balls. Trainers Christy Madison, Jeff Draper and Mike Dorr will then help you work Shiffrin's exercises into your fitness routine. The eight-week class will be held starting Monday through Nov. 26. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 6:15 a.m. or Mondays and Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. The Winter Sports Conditioning sessions will all be held in The Athletic Club's Movement Studio. Enjoy the Winter Sports Conditioning classes for free by becoming an Athletic Club member. Join by Sept. 30 to take advantage of the fall membership special of no initiation fee, a more than $100 value. Membership plans start at $120 per month for individuals, or $180 per month for families. The sessions are open to the general public at $15 per class, based on availability. Registration is available 48 hours in advance of each class, either online at http://www.athleticclubwestin.com or by phone at 970-790-2051. Class attendees are also encouraged to check out the new Miki's Corner functional strength cage in the Club's CompuTrainer Studio. Designed with input from Shiffrin, this new space features TRX, bumper plate weights, sand bags and more. For more information or to sign up, call 970-790-2051 or visit http://www.athleticclubwestin.com.

Mikaela Shiffrin sits down for community Q&A on Friday, June 2

AVON — Olympic gold medalist, World Cup champion and Eagle-Vail resident Mikaela Shiffrin spends a lot of her rare time at home training at The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa. Ask Away Today, Shiffrin will be at The Westin at 5:30 p.m. for a free community question-and-answer event at the resort's pool deck. Shiffrin will answer questions on how she achieved her first overall World Cup title this winter and her current preparations for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. She won her first Olympic slalom gold medal in 2014 in Russia. This event is open to the public. Due to construction, the best parking options will be on the town of Avon public streets. There will be limited valet parking. A poolside menu will offer drinks and snacks, including sandwiches and salads. For more information, visit http://www.westinriverfrontbeavercreek.com.

Photo: The Westin in Avon hosts FIS World Cup Finals viewing party, March 18

The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa in Avon will host a World Cup viewing party from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 18. Cheer on Vail Valley local and current gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin as she seeks to clinch the 2017 World Cup title at the Audi FIS World Cup Finals in Aspen. The resort will have several large TVs to view the NBC Sports coverage of the ski races, which starts at 12:30 p.m. The event is free, and there will be free beer from Crazy Mountain Brewing Co. if Shiffrin wins the title; must be 21 or older to partake. For more information, call The Westin at 970-790-6000.

Vail Daily column: Celebrating gold with our amazing athletes

Much like week one of the Sochi Winter Olympics, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail's 12 current and alumni athletes competing in the Games continued to exhibit their character, courage and commitment. All eyes were on the men and women Olympians of the ski halfpipe in Sochi as they represented their sport in its Olympic debut. Elana Chase, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail's freeski program director, was there to witness four of her athletes, three current and one alumnus: Aaron Blunck — Ski & Snowboard Club Vail current athlete and Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy senior, representing the U.S. Adam Crook — Ski & Snowboard Club Vail and Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy alumnus, representing the British Virgin Islands Annalisa Drew — Ski & Snowboard Club Vail current athlete, representing the U.S. Anais Caradeux — Ski & Snowboard Club Vail current athlete, representing France DIGGING DEEP Each had their own unique journey on their Olympic debut day. Aaron Blunck reflected in the USSA News after his final run that it was the most nerve-wracking time in his life, just sitting there up top in silence. He clearly dug deep, under less than ideal snow and weather conditions, to take a remarkable seventh place finish. Anais Caradeux took 9th in the qualifiers, moving her on to the finals where she took a terrible spill in the first run. She was eventually able to stand on her own accord and ski down the pipe, refusing the sled and medical team that stood nearby to assist her. Annalisa Drew took 11th in the qualifier round and a fantastic 9th overall in her debut. Her progression over the years in the sport of freeskiing is truly reflective of her commitment. Adam Crook was the first winter Olympic athlete to compete for the British Virgin Islands in 30 years. To realize his dream of skiing in the Olympics, Adam moved to Colorado to train at Ski & Snowboard Club Vail and attended Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy. Adam and his parents formed the British Virgin Islands Ski Association, a requirement for him to enter the World Cup events needed to make the Olympics. His results are clearly secondary to the significance of this journey. Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Nordic athlete Noah Hoffman shared that he was having a great time in Sochi with his last race on Sunday. Much like the demands of his sport, he continues to maintain his focus from start to finish at the Olympics. Ski cross alumnus Chris Del Bosco gave it his all, but was unable to advance to the quarter finals. Although I have not had the opportunity to speak with Chris, it was not surprising to find him quoted as saying, "I will finish off the year and if I am healthy and competitive, then I will carry on. It is a small window you have. I love doing what I do." MIKAELA SHINES The final Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Olympian to perform in Sochi was alumna Mikaela Shiffrin. And what a performance it was, winning GOLD in the ladies slalom, having taken fifth in the giant slalom a few days earlier. As the current World Champion and odds-on favorite in the slalom, the expectations on Mikaela were overwhelming. Anything less than a gold medal would have been a disappointment. Seeing her smiling in the start area before taking her second slalom run was a good indicator of her preparedness to meet those expectations. In winning gold, Mikaela became the youngest Olympic slalom champion ever! It will be incredible to watch what the next four years and the Olympics of 2018 in Korea will bring. It is amazing to watch the journey of these Olympic athletes, and to realize all they have achieved and the potential still ahead of them. We are so very proud at Ski & Snowboard Club Vail to have been part of each of their Olympic journeys. Even more, we are proud of how each of them represented themselves, their sport and our community on the Olympic stage. Aldo Radamus is the executive director of Ski & Snowboard Club Vail. For more information, go to http://www.skiclubvail.org, email sschmidt@skiclubvail.org or call 970-790-5161.

Spa Anjali honored by Organic Spa Magazine

AVON — Spa Anjali at The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa recently announce that it has been honored with a "Top 10 Green Spa Award" for 2015 by Organic Spa Magazine. Spa highlights include a saline swimming pool and a living wall of succulent plants that adorn the spa entrance, improving air quality and adding to a peaceful, stress-reducing environment. Spa Anjali uses only organic and natural treatment products and sources locally whenever possible. The spa boutique selects companies that align with its sustainable goals, such as Eminence Skincare, which has planted 1,631 trees on behalf of Spa Anjali. Spa Anjali has an extensive recycling program, including using rechargeable batteries and recycling linens. Carpeting made from recycled fishing nets from the Philippines was recently installed. The spa's hair and nail salon uses products that do not contain harsh chemicals such as sulfates and formaldehyde. It also uses only natural cleaning methods, including oxygen-infused laundry and Eco wipes, which decrease reduce water usage, chemical waste and build-up. Spa Anjali is the fitness home for The Cycle Effect, a local nonprofit dedicated to young women at risk that uses mountain biking, education and mentoring to build self-esteem and improve their fitness. Spa Anjali also hosts regular Spa Days, with all proceeds going to the Education Foundation of Eagle County, Pink Vail and Vail Valley Breast Cancer Awareness. The Athletic Club sponsors local U.S. Ski Team members including Olympic gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin. "We are thrilled to once again receive this prestigious green honor," said Spa Anjali General Manager Gaye Steinke. "We designed Spa Anjali to be respectful of our mountain environment and love using organic products to help our guests feel even more in-tune with nature." 'Stay Longer, Feel Better' Spa Anjali this spring is encouraging guests to extend their relaxation with the "Stay Longer, Feel Better" promotion, which features discounts for booking a longer treatment: • 50-minute Spa Anjali Massage or Facial: $140. • 75-minute Spa Anjali Massage or Facial: $157. • 100-minute Spa Anjali Massage or Facial: $191. For more information, call 970-790-3020 or go to http://www.spaanjali.com.

Shiffrin skis to gold

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — Mikaela Shiffrin was cruising to a gold medal halfway down the slalom course in the Olympics. Then, in a split-second, everything was in doubt. She hit some soft snow and her left ski went high in the air. She struggled to regain her balance. "I thought it was over," said her coach, Roland Pfeifer. "Roland and I definitely had a heart attack," said her mom, Eileen. But, just as quickly, Mikaela aggressively recovered, re-established control, and fluidly skied to the finish. She took a moment to look up at the scoreboard, and when she did, she saw that she had won the gold medal by 0.53 seconds. "I was a little bit scared to look at it," she said. "I was like, 'I gave it away, I know it.'" Shiffrin, 18, of Eagle-Vail, becomes the youngest-ever slalom Olympic gold medalist. It's the first gold medal in women's slalom for the United States since Barbara Cochran won in 1972. The Ski and Snowboard Club Vail alumna has now won an Olympic gold, a World Championship and a World Cup slalom globe, and she's still a teenager. "It's an amazing feeling to win an Olympic gold, and it's going to be something that I chalk up as one of my favorite experiences for the rest of my life, but my life's not over yet," Shiffrin said. Shiffrin's parents, Jeff and Eileen, celebrated in the finish area at Rosa Khutor Alpine Center as reporters mobbed their daughter. "It's a magical moment," said Jeff Shiffrin. "I'm just so happy for her." Eileen has traveled on the World Cup circuit with Mikaela, serving as an adviser, representative and coach, as well as mom. "I think she's one of the best slalom skiers on the World Cup on any given World Cup," Eileen said. "On any given day there are a handful of other girls, too, that are awesome slalom skiers. But in my mind, Mikaela — when she skis her best — it's the best skiing." Shiffrin skied a great first run with no major mistakes, building a 0.49-second lead over the next-closest competitor, Maria Hoefl-Riesch, of Germany, the defending champion in the Olympic slalom. When Shiffrin — the favorite to win — was heading up the lift for the second run, she started to realize how close she was to getting a gold medal, tearing up at the prospect of being an Olympic champion. But she regained her composure, listening to some music and doing word searches. "She said, 'You know, I just really like to ski slalom. I'm just going to go ski slalom and not worry about this any more,'" Eileen said. Under the flood lights after darkness fell for the second run, Hoefl-Riesch faltered, ending up fourth. Two-time Sochi medal winner Tina Maze, of Slovenia, who sat in third after the first run, couldn't put anything together in her second run, either, falling to eighth. Austrian Marlies Schild, the all-time leader in women's World Cup slalom victories and one of Shiffrin's role models, put down a blazing second run, the fastest of the day, to finish second and get the silver. Kathrin Zettel, also of Austria, won the bronze. Shiffrin began her second run by widening her lead, but the bobble in the middle of the course cut it in half. She still recovered to win by more than half a second. "She's amazing," Schild said of Shiffrin. "She's racing like an athlete that's skied in World Cup for years. It's fun to compete against her but it's also really hard because she's really good in every condition. … I think she really deserves this gold medal." Dr. Bill Sterett, of Edwards, the head doctor for the women's team, watched from the start gate and then was in the finish area for the flower ceremony. "Spectacular," he said. "It's a little Vail girl. … To be able to have Mikaela launch into such a big stage from here is just spectacular." Shiffrin will now enter a whirlwind of media obligations, from Sochi to New York and beyond, for the foreseeable future. "From what I've heard, there's a lot more media, but maybe (my life) won't change so much, it'll just change in the way I want it to change," Shiffrin said. "I'm going to be the same girl and still be looking for more speed on the mountain."

‘A magical moment, I’m just so happy for her’

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — Mikaela Shiffrin was cruising to a gold medal halfway down the slalom course in the Olympics. Then, in a split-second, everything was in doubt. She hit some soft snow and her left ski went high in the air. She struggled to regain her balance. "I thought it was over," said her coach, Roland Pfeifer. "Roland and I definitely had a heart attack," said her mom, Eileen. But, just as quickly, Mikaela aggressively recovered, re-established control and fluidly skied to the finish. She took a moment to look up at the scoreboard, and when she did, she saw that she had won the gold medal by 0.53 seconds. "I was a little bit scared to look at it," she said. "I was like, 'I gave it away, I know it.'" Shiffrin, 18, of Eagle-Vail, becomes the youngest-ever slalom Olympic gold medalist. It's the first gold medal in women's slalom for the United States since Barbara Cochran won in 1972. The Ski & Snowboard Club Vail alumna has now won an Olympic gold, a World Championship and a World Cup slalom globe, and she's still a teenager. "It's an amazing feeling to win an Olympic gold, and it's going to be something that I chalk up as one of my favorite experiences for the rest of my life, but my life's not over yet," Shiffrin said. Shiffrin's parents, Jeff and Eileen, celebrated in the finish area at Rosa Khutor Alpine Center as reporters mobbed their daughter. 'Magical Moment' "It's a magical moment," said Jeff Shiffrin. "I'm just so happy for her." Eileen has traveled on the World Cup circuit with Mikaela, serving as an adviser, representative and coach, as well as mom. "I think she's one of the best slalom skiers on the World Cup on any given World Cup," Eileen said. "On any given day there are a handful of other girls, too, that are awesome slalom skiers. But in my mind, Mikaela — when she skis her best — it's the best skiing." Shiffrin skied a great first run with no major mistakes, building a 0.49-second lead over the next-closest competitor, Maria Hoefl-Riesch, of Germany, the defending champion in the Olympic slalom. When Shiffrin — the favorite to win — was heading up the lift for the second run, she started to realize how close she was to getting a gold medal, tearing up at the prospect of being an Olympic champion. But she regained her composure, listening to some music and doing word searches. "She said, 'You know, I just really like to ski slalom. I'm just going to go ski slalom and not worry about this any more,'" Eileen said. Under the flood lights after darkness fell for the second run, Hoefl-Riesch faltered, ending up fourth. Two-time Sochi medal winner Tina Maze, of Slovenia, who sat in third after the first run, couldn't put anything together in her second run, either, falling to eighth. Austrian Marlies Schild, the all-time leader in women's World Cup slalom victories and one of Shiffrin's role models, put down a blazing second run, the fastest of the day, to finish second and get the silver. Kathrin Zettel, also of Austria, won the bronze. 'She's Amazing' Shiffrin began her second run by widening her lead, but the bobble in the middle of the course cut it in half. She still recovered to win by more than half a second. "She's amazing," Schild said of Shiffrin. "She's racing like an athlete that's skied in World Cup for years. It's fun to compete against her but it's also really hard because she's really good in every condition. … I think she really deserves this gold medal." Dr. Bill Sterett, of Edwards, the head doctor for the women's team, watched from the start gate and then was in the finish area for the flower ceremony. "Spectacular," he said. "It's a little Vail girl. … To be able to have Mikaela launch into such a big stage from here is just spectacular." Shiffrin will now enter a whirlwind of media obligations, from Sochi to New York and beyond, for the foreseeable future. "From what I've heard, there's a lot more media, but maybe (my life) won't change so much, it'll just change in the way I want it to change," Shiffrin said. "I'm going to be the same girl and still be looking for more speed on the mountain."

Get in snow shape, Eagle County

EAGLE COUNTY — No one can say for sure that we'll have an epic snow year or predict how many inches of powder will stack up this winter. But you can make sure of one thing — that your body is ready for whatever winter decides to bring us. Ski conditioning programs — usually six-week group classes that take participants through cardio, plyometrics and muscle-building exercises — have long been a rite of passage in the Vail area. Enthusiastic skiers and snowboarders take the to the gyms to whip themselves into snow shape and secondarily to get pumped up for winter. The newest wave of ski conditioning classes builds on the success of local ski celebrities, such as Olympic slalom gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin, while others put additional emphasis on the getting pumped up part. After-parties and giveaways make the workouts social events, too — sort of a pep rally for the upcoming season. We chatted with a number of trainers in the Vail Valley to gather their ski conditioning secrets and to talk about what participants can expect at the gyms this fall. Train like A Pro The Eagle-Vail teen skiing sensation has her own workout video. No really — Mikaela Shiffrin will be featured in weekly videocasts at The Westin Riverfront Athletic Club. Shiffrin has been training with a new strength and conditioning coach the past season, doing unconventional gym work that includes walking on slacklines, jumping from exercise ball to exercise ball and other core stability exercises. The Westin brings some of Shiffrin's training methods to the public with this year's ski conditioning program. Each class starts with a video from the Olympian, and the ensuing exercises will be based off the video. "We'll definitely be doing some work on the new slacklines, and some exercises will involve kettlebells and Bosu balls," said Westin trainer Jeff Draper. "They will be unique to what a gold medalist uses to get ready for her season. It's a new and fresh approach with exercises that people might have never done before." Expect the regimen to be challenging and unique — Shiffrin herself admitted that the exercises weren't easy to do at the beginning, but said that after doing them for a few weeks, she saw a world of difference. Training for real-world skiing Dogma Athletica trainer Brendan Finneran says a common mistake people make when training for ski season is failing to train the whole body or jumping straight from summer activities to winter sports. "A common misconception is that skiing is a quad-dominated sport, and people don't take into account the fact that any force has a pull," he said "You have to make your hamstrings and glutes are strong, too. Not having those fired up can lead to injuries in the early season." Finneran, a former ski patroller, will lead Dogma's six-week program this October, and he said he hopes the small class sizes will allow participants to focus on form. During the six weeks, he'll help participants carve out a training plan beyond the twice-a-week classes. Training techniques have changed in the past decade, he said, and recreational skiers can now benefit from new philosophies and exercises. "Ten years ago, training was coming just from the people who competed in downhill," he said. "People did a lot of Olympic-style lifts to gain strength. Now that there are so many more people out there, competing in park, moguls and freeskiing, there's a lot more emphasis on instability training, which is done on an unstable surface. Also, it's not about how much weight you can move. It's about the ability to balance with a load over a high number of reps." Draper said that at modern ski conditioning programs, you won't see much of the old-school wall sits. These day's it's more about dynamic movements, he said. "There are a lot of training methodologies that have been used in the past that have been great in their own right, but they don't always cross directly to the mountain," he said. "Now we do explosive lateral movements, teach the body to absorb impact with jumping and plyometrics. We look to work on agility, balance and strength." Filling in the fitness gaps Maybe you've been hiking or biking hard all summer, and you feel like you're in pretty good shape to jump right into skiing. It's a dangerous mistake, trainers said. Finneran points out that you use distinctly different muscles and movements is skiing, and your body isn't used to it at first. Add in the fact that skiing is a high-speed sport, and your risk of getting injured in much greater, he said. Draper cautions that even if you are extremely fit for a particular summer sport, you should still start with the basics for ski training. "Even if you're in great physical condition for biking, for example, that's for biking," said Draper. "With skiing you have to start at the basics and progress. You'll have imbalances that have arisen from your previous training, whatever that is, which might not bode so well for ski season. Cyclists, for example, need to focus on lateral movement, which you don't have much of on a bike." That's the approach that the Aria Athletic Club at the Vail Cascade Resort & Spa is taking. Their six-week program focuses on an upward progression of fitness, incorporating different activities such as the FitWall studio, TRX bands and yoga practice for cooldown. "This year it's going to be less about just getting in shape for winter and more about the journey of getting in shape," said Aria Athletic Director Dan Timm. "People will experience the camaraderie of the group environment, and the weeks will be a progression." The Cascade will also try to incorporate some of the apres atmosphere of ski season, with a kick-off party, closing party and giveaways at every class that include everything from goggles to skis to two-night hotel stays. "The evening classes are great just to feel the energy," said Timm. "It's about getting the locals together." Assistant Managing Editor Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2927 and mwong@vaildaily.com. Follow her on Twitter @mwongvail.