Temperatures were right on Tuesday for Copper Mountain Resort staff to break out the snowmaking guns on the U.S. Ski Team Speed Center in preparation for the arrival of Olympic hopefuls.
More than 50 U.S. Alpine Ski Team athletes will train at Copper Mountain’s speed center this winter season, including Ted Ligety, Bode Miller, Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin.
The athletes are scheduled to begin their road-to-Sochi training at Copper on Nov. 1 — the resort’s opening day.
“The speed center provides a much-needed continuation from summer training in Chile and New Zealand,” said Austyn Williams, Copper Mountain’s communications manager. “Now athletes can get their equipment dialed in and their confidence up as they go into an Olympic year.”
Copper Mountain has 87 snowmaking guns dedicated to the speed center. Over the next month, the staff will continue to blanket the center with snow, then line it with fencing that makes the runs safer for racers skiing in excess of 60 mph.
The training venue will be located in the Super Bee area of East Village, which includes parts of Rosi’s Run, Andy’s Encore and Oh No.
On those steep, north-facing slopes, a high base elevation and early season temperatures combine to make a perfect high-speed downhill and super-G course, Williams said.
The nearly 2-mile-long course, with a 2,300 feet vertical drop, will allow racers to reach speeds of up to 75 mph.
Copper Mountain Resort and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association partnered in the summer of 2011 to create the U.S. Ski Team Speed Center.
“In only two seasons of operation, the training center has boosted U.S. athletes to seven World Cup titles and four World Championship medals,” Williams reported.
The best-in-the-world women’s speed team has also won national standings for downhill in the past two winters, she said.
Guests will get a chance to be part of the action during a free Nature Valley First Tracks event on Nov. 8. Fans will be able watch the athletes train at the speed center throughout the day, then gather as the 2013-14 U.S. Alpine Ski Team is announced in Center Village.
The public can sign up to win a VIP trip to Copper Mountain for First Tracks. The grand-prize package includes airfare courtesy of Delta Airlines, three nights of lodging at Copper Mountain Resort, shuttle transportation to and from Denver International Airport, lift tickets, four U.S. Ski Team Spyder jackets and a GoPro camera package.
To enter the contest, visit the U.S. Ski Team or Copper Mountain Facebook pages. Entries to the First Tracks giveaway will be accepted until Oct. 17.
“The speed center provides a much-needed continuation from summer training ... Now athletes can get their equipment dialed in and their confidence up as they go into an Olympic year.”
Copper Mountain’s communications manager