Ski race training begins at Golden Peak
VAIL — Golden Peak is now hosting a handful of the fastest ski racers in the world for training.
The Vail Mountain venue is one half of the best November training opportunities in the world for pro skiers, with Copper Mountain being the other half. The speed skiers are usually focused around Copper while the technical skiers train at Golden Peak. This season, however, the speed center at Copper isn’t all the way open just yet, bringing a little bit more bustle to Golden Peak.
The U.S. men’s speed team trained for super-G on Saturday morning, their first turns on the Vail track since arriving to Colorado last week.
“The snow is already in awesome condition,” U.S. Ski Team assistant coach Pete Anderson said Saturday.
Anderson said the team had been running the top section of the Copper speed course, getting some downhill gliding turns in, and was also planning on training giant slalom at Golden Peak.
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“It’s nice having the variety in such a short distance,” he said.
TEAMS FROM ALL Around THE WORLD
In addition to the U.S. team, the Golden Peak training center was is hosting national teams from Austria, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Finland, Great Brittan, Hungry, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Sweden and Switzerland.
In Vail teams are staying at Manor Vail, the Tivoli Lodge, the Christiana, the Racquet Club Mountain Resort and in properties from Destination Resorts. Teams are booked through Dec. 4; some of the male racers from technical disciplines — slalom and giant slalom — will skip the World Cup in Lake Louise, Alberta, and stay here until the next tech race, a giant slalom in Beaver Creek on Dec. 6. The women will stay through the Aspen Winternational on Nov. 28.
Ski & Snowboard Club Vail operations manager C.B. Bechtel said after Vail saw virtually no snowmaking in October, he was pleased by the way things shaped up in November.
“We opened nine or 10 days later than we would have liked, all in all not bad,” he said. “Once the temperatures dropped it only took us about four days to get enough snow down.”
One might think the natural snowfall played a helping role in getting things ready, but often times with the type of snow needed for a race course, natural snow doesn’t help.
“When there’s a storm, that usually raises the humidity and that can make it difficult most of the time, but luckily this year the temperatures were good enough that Vail was able to keep blowing the snow,” he said. “Once it got cold they made as much snow in one night as was possible.”
Bechtel said one new element that will add a competitive flair to the usual November training this year will be the National Performance Series races on Friday and Saturday.
New for this year, the United States Ski and Snowboard Association will be here for opening weekend as Ski & Snowboard Club Vail hosts a National Performance Series race, part of a three part series. The other two races will be a giant slalom in Stowe, Vermont, and a downhill and super-G in Mt. Bachelor, Oregon. The top performers could earn a spot on the U.S. Ski Team, and you can watch starting right away on Opening Day from Golden Peak.
“It will be a standard slalom, so spectators will be able to see right from the base of the lift,” Bechtel said.