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Ski Racing Greats Descend on Breckenridge

Ski Racing Greats Descend on Breckenridge

By Ellen Carpenter
posted: 01/01/2000

Breckenridge, CO, Nov. 10, 1999 --Alpine ski teams from more than a dozen countries including Austria, France, Germany, Russia, Norway, Spain, Holland, and Switzerland will descend upon Breckenridge Ski Resort this month for their annual early-season on-snow training.

Olympic champion Hermann Maier and last season's World Cup overall champion Lasse Kjus of Norway, are among the athletes training at the resort to prepare for alpine World Cup ski racing events in Park City, Utah, Nov. 19-21 and at Breckenridge's nearby sister resorts, Vail and Beaver Creek, Nov. 27-28.

According to ski resort officials, international teams are attracted both by Breckenridge's outdoor training sites, as well as its indoor training facilities, which include a $7 million recreation center complete with indoor running track, workout facilities, and swimming pool. Breckenridge's early-season training programs are modeled after those of European ski resorts that offer comprehensive, "one-call" services for teams.

"We arrange everything for the teams, from the environment on the hill to accommodations and off-hill conditioning facilities," said John Leffler, who directs Team Breckenridge, the ski resort's ski and snowboard competition programs. "Breckenridge offers the athletes the chance to train in world-class venues both on and off the snow at high altitude."

According to Leffler, approximately 20 teams per day can be accommodated on slalom, giant slalom or SuperG racecourses set up on Sundown, an intermediate trail on Peak 9. If necessary, the resort allows teams access to the courses before chairlifts are opened to the general public at 8:30 a.m.

Visiting team members pay a daily fee for lift and racecourse access. Part of the proceeds benefit Team Breckenridge's competitive teams. "Having the national teams here is great for everyone," Leffler said. "It brings additional business into town during a relatively slow period, it adds a certain international flavor to the scene on and off the slopes, and the kids in our programs have the opportunity to watch and learn from some of the world's greatest skiers."

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