LaPARVA, Chile - World Cup winner Marco Sullivan (Squaw Valley, CA) along with the rest of the U.S. Men's Alpine Speed Team mixed up their training schedule this summer with two shorter camps in Chile. The first two-week camp, packed with downhill, super G, giant slalom and powder skiing wrapped in August.
Campers included Sullivan, Scott Macartney (Crystal Mountain, WA), Erik Fisher (Middleton, ID), Kevin Francis (Bend, OR), Chris Beckman (Guilderland, NY) and invitee Bryon Friedman (Park City, UT).
"We had six or seven good days of speed skiing over the course of the camp," said Speed Head Coach Chris Brigham. "The shorter camp worked well because all the guys were really fired up to be skiing. Everyone made some good headway all the way around."
Most of the headway consisted of loading mileage on new speed skis. Each season ski companies come out with a new fleet of skis, each with different flexes for various snow conditions. It's up to the athletes and their technicians to filter through their new quiver and pick the skis they'll race during the upcoming season.
"We got to run in a lot of DH skis and were running double sessions with GS in the late morning pretty much every day at the end of the camp," said Sullivan winner of the 2008 Kandahar downhill in Chamonix, France. "Everybody is feeling really comfortable on their skis."
It was the first time in recent history that the men's speed team held a camp in LaParva, but according to Brigham, it won't be the last. "It was a good change of pace for us, the people were great, the terrain was good and I know we could come back here anytime we wanted."
And if it's up to the Team, they will be back. With a few powder storms mixed into the camp, athletes spent several quality days hiking the steeps of LaParva and doing what the U.S. Ski Team loves to do the most - ski.
"We started out with a few days of great powder skiing. We were hiking all over the mountain trying to poach all the big lines before the locals got to them. After the storm, which dumped about three feet, the snow remained soft but the training got better and better each day," said Sullivan.
For Macartney, who continues to recover well from a January crash he suffered at Kitzbuehel, Austria, the camp highlight was also the powder. But according to coaches, having him training hard again is already a victory.
"Mac did a great job down here. We had some tricky conditions, but he got in some solid GS training. I'm really encouraged by his progression - he's building back to where he was last season," said Brigham.
Macartney notched a World Cup podium with third in the famed Saslong downhill in Val Gardena, Italy before Christmas.
The Team will now take a three-week break before doing wind tunnel testing in Buffalo, NY in mid September followed immediately by a second camp in Chile, this time in Portillo.
"We're looking forward to come back down to Portillo next month and really drop the hammer on some of the great DH training that is always provided there," said Sullivan.