El Colorado, Chile, Aug. 14, 2001--U.S. moguls coaches had three words for their training camp at El Colorado resort:muy, muy bueno!
The camp originally had been scheduled for Mount Hood, Ore., but Head Coach Don St. Pierre and his chieflieutenants, Liz McIntyre and Dee Williams, were concerned in June about deteriorating conditions, so theyscouted around and settled on El Colorado. The camp, with nearly two dozen athletes and a half-dozen coaches,turned out so well the coaches are working on shifting the next camp in early September from Europe to ElColorado, St. Pierre said.
"It's hard to think of how things could've been better. El Colorado made us believers. Everything was phenomenal,from the snow conditions -- they got four feet of snow just before we got there July 20 and we had to push thevan the last stretch to the hotel," St. Pierre laughed, "to approximating the Olympic course...just ideal and theathletes were really psyched about it. We're so appreciative of USSA VP-Athletics Alan Ashley digging andcoming up with the money to make it happen. This was so important for all of us..."
He said the Ski Team had a section of the mountain to itself for its runs and blue sky, windless weather for mostof the camp.
Being able to approximate the steepness of the Olympic run at Utah's Deer Valley resort--versus flatter terrainon any glacier--was a major bonus. "Just off the T-bar, we got Deer Valley specs. We could've had a 550-meterlong course, if we wanted. It was terrific."
The fresh snow not only meant good course conditions but meant a softer impact on skiers' knees as they gunnedthrough the bumps. "Given the quality of the snow, they could ski fast and jump well and not get beaten up. It wasso awesome the way things worked out," the coach said.
He singled out defending 1999 World Cup dual moguls champion Michelle Roark (Golden, CO), who is returning froma knee injury that erased last season and cost her most of the '00 season, and Nor Am champion Jeremy Bloom(Loveland, CO) for outstanding performances during the camp. Hannah Hardaway (Moultonborough, NH), looking tobuild on her best World Cup season -- including two last winter, and Toby Dawson (Vail, CO), who doubled-up withHardaway at World Cup Finals in Finland as he won his first World Cup contest, also rated gold stars.
"Michelle was able to get a lot of volume and did very well. She regained some of her jumping sense, which she'dlost a little of...and Jeremy, of course, made another big step up. He's such a talent and he's really putting himselfin a good position in terms of being a contender for the Olympics," St. Pierre said.
"There was no way we could predict the camp would be this great," St. Pierre conceded, "but everything workedout so well. We're 40 switchbacks up the mountain road from Santiago Chile's capital city...and the mountainstaff was going out of its way every day to ensure everything was perfect. We'll be back in September."