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Copper's Speed Center Opens

Starting Wednesday, the US Ski Team's speed specialists get a jump on training.
By Joe Cutts
posted: 10/30/2012
Ligety_Speed_Center

The U.S. Ski Team is already performing at historic levels of success, but thanks to some serious snowmaking and cold mountain air, they now have the advantage of a local state-of-the-art early season training center to aid the rest of the season’s efforts.

The Copper Mountain Speed Center, which opens today, is a godsend for American racers long accustomed to wearily wandering the globe in search of cold, hard snow and sufficient vertical for training. But Copper has been putting its high altitude and snowmaking know-how to work since Oct. 2, when 87 HKD tower guns began blanketing a venue big enough to accommodate even space-greedy downhill and super G training.

In the second full year of the Speed Center project, Copper’s Rosie’s Run and Andy’s Encore trails have been transformed into an on-snow race lab. Two miles of A-netting—the permanent stuff, set with steel cables and concrete—lines its slopes, along with five miles of movable B-netting set using some 4,500 poles. In between, rock-hard manmade snow is shaped to mimic the very terrain athletes will encounter on various World Cup courses, and the 2,300 vertical foot descent is enough to test their conditioning. The Ski Team calls it “the only full-length downhill training available anywhere in the world during this time of year.”

The Halloween opening gives U.S. racers—proven stars and young newcomers alike—an entire month of training in advance of the skein of North American races that kick the World Cup season off in earnest just after Thanksgiving. Nature’s cooperation on snowmaking conditions this year will help racers make the most of their new early season advantage.

“Last year we had a few good days on the Speed Center before heading to Lake Louise to start our World Cup season,” said Marco Sullivan, veteran speed-event specialist. “But this year we should be able to have a few good weeks with World Cup snow conditions and terrain.”

For more info on the US Ski Team click HERE

For more info on Copper Mountain click HERE

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