Men's Alpine Europa Cup Team in France
Six athletes from the men's Europa Cup alpine team hit the slopes of France last week to kick off their first official prep period camp of the 2019 season.
Athletes include 2017 World Junior downhill champion Sam Morse (Sugarloaf, Maine), 2018 World Juniors bronze medalist in super-G Luke Winters (Gresham, Ore.), as well as Cooper Cornelius (Glenwood Springs, Colo.), Nick Krause (Northboro, Mass.), Kyle Negomir (Littleton, Colo.) and George Steffey (Lyme, N.H.).
The focus of the camp was on technical disciplines, and training was evenly split between giant slalom and slalom during the eight-day camp. The purpose of early season camps such as these is to build a solid foundation in the athletes' skiing that they can build on in their New Zealand training block when they have some more challenging terrain and winter snow conditions.
"The slopes in Les Deux Alpes are very moderate, but there is good length as we have been training 50 second GS the last four days," said head Europa Cup coach Pete Anderson midway through the camp. "It has been great having almost the entire group together for the first time - we are only missing River [Radamus] - and starting to figure out how we all work together and who we are as a team. The group of athletes here are all really strong skiers and, more importantly, professionals in how they operate on a daily basis so it has been really fun and motivating so far."
Anderson recently made the move from men's World Cup assistant coach to head coach of the Europa Cup group, along with Europa Cup technical coach Martin Andersen, who recently rejoined the U.S. Ski Team staff, as the focus remains on alpine ski racing development. Anderson and Andersen were joined by newly appointed Europa Cup assistant coach Josh Benge and longstanding U.S. Ski Team coach Justin Johnson.
Based on findings from Project 26, the renewed focus on alpine development is a critical aspect of U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s direction forward as they work to expose the nation’s best athletes at the development level to programming that will enable them to make the next big step to C Team, and from C Team to the podium at NorAms, Europa Cups, and eventually the World Cup podium.
"Stepping into this new role has been really exciting for me so far." reflected (Pete) Anderson. "The staff that we have been working to put in place to support these athletes really came together in a great way and I am looking forward to the culture that we will be striving to build within this team. I am still learning a lot about these athletes on an individual level, but the more I get to know the more excited I am about trying to help them reach their goals."
The men's Europa Cup team will wrap up their Les Deux Alpes, France camp up on the 27th of June, and then head back to the United States for more strength and conditioning work. In August, they'll head down to the southern hemisphere to chase snow in New Zealand, spending time at Round Hill, Ohau, and Coronet Peak in New Zealand.