US Alpine Ski Team named at Copper
COPPER MOUNTAIN — A crowd of hundreds turned out on Saturday for the official naming of the U.S. Alpine Ski Team.
The team has been training at Copper Mountain this month along with teams from around the world; Copper’s 2,400 vertical foot downhill training slope opened on Wednesday from top to bottom. Emcee Daron Rahlves told the crowd 145 teams from small clubs to national squads will be training at Copper Mountain’s Speed Center during the next few weeks.
Skiers at Copper to see the naming ranged in age from six-year-old Team Summit member Cara Harris to Frank Walter, 93, who skied on Friday.
Honored at the event were Bryce Astle and Ronnie Berlack, young members of the U.S. Ski Team who were killed last year in an avalanche while freeskiing after their training runs in Soelden, Austria, were canceled due to weather.
“They will be here today in spirit,” United States Ski and Snowboard Association president Tiger Shaw told the crowd.
Shaw said the incident made the United States Ski and Snowboard Association take a hard look at what they do and how they do it. The organization has begun a new focus on avalanche awareness and training, Shaw said, and has recently held training sessions with the Colorado Avalanche Center, the Utah Avalanche Center and the Sierras Avalanche Center.
“We aim to change and improve,” he said.
Astle and Berlack were named to the team along with everyone else.
“That’s the way they would have wanted it,” he said.
VONN WAS ON
U.S. Ski Team superstars Lindsey Vonn, Mikaela Shiffrin and Ted Ligety entertained the crowd with humorous interviews.
“Cortina or Val d’Isere?” emcee Chris Davenport asked Vonn.
“Lake Louise,” Vonn responded.
When Davenport tried to put Vonn on the spot, asking her what her favorite part of the movie “Dumb and Dumber” is, Vonn responded with an quote from the movie.
“Aspen, where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano,” she said through laughter.
Shiffrin told the crowd about powder skiing in Vail when she was five.
“I got stuck under 5 feet of powder. It was probably the most scared I’ve ever been skiing, but then the next run was the best run I’ve ever had,” she said.
Ligety told the crowd he used to have a Tommy Moe poster on his wall when he was younger.
“I went to his ski camp, too,” he said. “He paid me a dollar to eat an ant once.”
Visiting from Elizabeth, Todd Rodvold and his sons came to Copper to ski and didn’t realize the team naming would be taking place that day. They were excited to see Lindsey Vonn in person.
“We weren’t expecting to see (Vonn) here today,” Todd Rodvold said. “But for our last run at the top I could see the big crowd and I started looking when I saw the cameras.”