Freestyle Summer Camp Recap
A productive summer preparation period is key to helping U.S. Freestyle Ski Team athletes dominate during the competition season. With both teams gearing up for 2015-16, we’re looking back at exactly what teams accomplished at camps in Park City, Utah and Zermatt, Switzerland this summer/fall and getting a glimpse of what we can expect to see on the hill this season.
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With a brand new set of water ramps at their disposal, athletes had the opportunity to really step up their training and fine tune their jumps. Between team camps and Flying Ace All-Star shows, aerials athletes put in over 1,500 jumps into the pool at the Utah Olympic Park this summer. After a very successful 2014-15 season, the World Cup team focused on consistency and the quality of their jumps, perfecting their flips and twists in anticipation of another year of strong performances.
This summer, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association’s (USSA) Elite Aerial Development Program (EADP) debuted EADP West based in Park City, giving younger athletes a chance to train alongside the national team. With new tricks and higher degree of difficulty, big things are happening for EADP and NorAm level athletes.
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“We have a lot of new talent this year, so we’re really trying to foster the fundamentals,” said coach Joe Davies. “This is probably one of the most prepared group of athletes we’ve had at this level. The majority of the World Cup team has come from these types of programs, so we’re excited to see what these guys will put down on snow this season.”
The seven-ramp set up at the Utah Olympic Park includes a mogul-specific jump that more accurately replicates jumping on snow, allowing athletes to tweak and perfect their airs before taking them to the snow. Nearly all of the moguls athletes got in 1,000 jumps each during summer camp, and it really showed at their on-snow camp in Zermatt in October.
“Last season was my first year competing back full, and it was very inconsistent,” stated national team member Mikaela Matthews. “Working on it on the ramps this summer really helped. I was almost in happy tears after our fifth day on snow in Zermatt. It was so easy. I landed on my feet, I knew where I was, I was skiing through. That didn’t happen last year, and it was such a relief to know that all the work I’ve put in since last season is going to pay off.”
Weather tends to be a challenge in Zermatt, but athletes were able to put in 16 days on snow during this year’s camp. That translated into a lot of top to bottoms on a World Cup level course, giving athletes the chance to dial in their runs for the season.
“We’re focusing more on fundamentals and run development this year,” said head moguls coach Matt Gnoza. “We’re building up degree of difficulty and strength, laying that foundation, and turning a solid run in to a winning run.”
Troy Murphy trains in the shadow of the Matterhorn in Zermatt, Switzerland.
Both teams are currently training in Park City at the USSA’s Center of Excellence before starting on-snow training at the Utah Olympic Park (aerials) and in Tignes, France (moguls) ahead of their World Cup openers in December.