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5 Best Moments of the Park City Fall Camp

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
November, 13 2015

D-Teamer Ben Saxton had an unreal summer training around world. However, the last camp at Park City left a strong impression on him to kick off the season. Here are Saxton's top five moments at the recent Park City camp. 

I’m sitting in the cold and the rain, it’s pitch black out, and it’s only 5 p.m. which can only mean one thing: This year’s fall camp in Park City is, regrettably, over. With that in mind, it’s time for a completely arbitrary (and not at all official, or ever accurate) ranking of amazing Park City moments.

1. The L.L.Bean/Craft uniform unveiling
We have started a new uniforming partnership with two companies this year: L.L.Bean, the Maine-based U.S. outdoor clothing company, and Craft USA, the U.S. branch of the Swedish apparel company. These two companies have treated us like queens and kings over the past few months, culminating in an all day extravaganza full of presentations about our new uniforming for this year, and bags on bags on bags full of amazing swag. I can’t wait until you all get to see it this winter.

Park City's Mid Mountain trail is pretty stunning in the fall. 

2. Mountain running
Paddy Caldwell once described the Mid Mountain trail that runs through the Park City mountains as “the greatest trail in the entire world.” Now, I have not run on every trail in the entire world, so I cannot fully endorse his statement but I will say that the trail, which dips and winds its way through one of the greatest downhill areas in the country is one of the best I have ever seen. We got to run and play all over the trail during our two weeks in Park City, and it is always one of the best parts about being there.

3. SpeedCamp
Skiers like going fast. This is a basic, and well-known fact. The problem is, when you’re a young skier who’s new to roller skiing, it is really hard to learn how to go fast without hurting yourself and possibly others. This is the basic premise behind SpeedCamp, a high-speed, rock and roll approach to skiing thought up by my teammates Andy Newell and Simi Hamilton a few years ago. We do a few of these clinics every year. We don’t work on technique and we don’t work on going slow—we work on going fast, and pushing limits. We work on high-speed cornering, aggressive agility drills, sprinting, and all sorts of jumps and tricks. The ability to be agile and fast on your skis is imperative to racing at a professional level, so we take time to work on it just like we would anything else. The kids seem to love it, and so do we. As always, there were a few wipeouts (shout out to Isaac for drawing first blood…literally) but the best wipeout of the day went to our own World Cup winner, Simi Hamilton, which just goes to show, you can always work harder to stay on your skis.

Classic speeds up Hermode's Hill at Soldier Hollow.

4. Skiing at Soldier Hollow
One of the coolest parts about Park City camp is that we get to ski at Soldier Hollow. For those who don’t know, Soldier Hollow (or ‘SoHo’) was the site of the 2002 Winter Olympic cross country skiing events. The trails have been paved over with asphalt so that in the summer we have the rare luxury of roller skiing on a track that was designed for cross country skiing instead of regular old roads which were obviously not. We did quite a few workouts on the rollerski track including a few speed sessions (my favorite) and ended camp with a series of races at SoHo, which allowed us not only to simulate race efforts, but to do so in a place that actually feels like a race venue.

Nordic combined skier Adam Loomis and Saxton hang out during training.

This probably should’ve been number one, but again this whole “ranking” thing is wildly inaccurate. The greatest part of Park City camp is the people. No camp has more athletes or more club teams than Park City. This doesn’t just mean cross country skiers. We had people from Alaska Pacific University (Alaska), The Green Team (Vermont), SMST2 (Vermont), Sun Valley Gold Team (Idaho), Team Gregg (Minnesota), the U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team, and the U.S. Biathlon Team. Skiing may seem like a lonely sport, and believe me after spending hours and hours alone cruising through the woods you can really start to believe that, but it only takes one week with friends to remind you that skiing is truly a sport of community, and it’s a lot better when you do it with the people who you love.

That’s a wrap of PC camp and a wildly random rankings list. I highly suggest you try to do all of these things whenever possible, especially ski with your friends. Make sure to get out there!

Follow Ben Saxton throughout the season on his blog, Twitter and Instagram.