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U.S. moguls skiers split water, snow in Colorado camp

DAILY NEWS STAFF REPORT

ARAPAHOE BASIN ” In an effort to accelerate the transition from water ramp training to snow, U.S. moguls coaches decided the first training camp would be a split-personality event with water ramps at Steamboat Springs, leading to on-snow workouts at Arapahoe Basin.

“Things were awesome. It was a great success,” head coach Scott Rawles said after the weeklong camp concluded at A-Basin.

Fifteen athletes, including five who have been nominated for the 2008 U.S. Development Team ” a group that includes Team Summit skiers Jordan Poyfair, Mikaela Matthews and Whitney Henceroth ” took part Sunday through Wednesday in water ramp training in Steamboat Springs and then on-snow training Friday through Sunday at A-Basin.

“We’ve never done water-to-snow this way but we felt we could get everybody up to speed quicker. This provided a good cross-over; we got such a ton of jumps … such good, quality work accomplished,” said Rawles, a Breckenridge resident. “A-Basin has a high elevation, over 12,000 feet, and that can be very exhausting … but we got great energy from the athletes.”

Athletes and staff arrived May 27 in Steamboat Springs for the splash pool segment.

“We were using trampolines as well as jumping into the pool Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday,” Rawles said. “Thursday was an off day and then Friday, Saturday and Sunday were on-snow sessions. We built a jump and also had a stubby course (i.e., short poles testing skiing agility and quickness), which helped everyone with footwork, and that was it. Snow conditions at A-Basin were great. We’d do long warmups and be on snow by 9 a.m., and we got about 650 jumps, which was excellent.”

Added Heather McPhie, a Team Summit alumnus who was named World Cup Rookie of the Year last season, “It was a great camp. Our team ” really, everyone ” was pushing the limit. It was a great group environment.”

McPhie, who missed the Steamboat phase because she was taking classes at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, said the coaches’ decision to include development group of athletes with the national squad was a big plus.

“I think that’s so important; we’re all one team … and incorporating the development athletes into what we’re doing makes such a smoother transition for them. There’s such a good sense of unity, top to bottom,” she said.

She also was pleased that Rawles and assistant coach Todd Schirman brought in two Colorado club coaches, Team Summit’s John Dowling (McPhie’s old coach) and Chris Seemann of Winter Park, to assist with the coaching.

“I’ve worked with John for about five years and ‘See-Dog’ is great, too, especially with our (jumps) training, so they were a tremendous addition, a good fit,” McPhie said.

After a testing camp earlier in May in Park City, Rawles said the A-Basin camp had a subtle conditioning element to it because only one jump was set. After the athletes skied over the jump and tried their trick, they had to hike back to the top of the run.

“Oh yeah. Most of us come from 6,500 feet elevation (in Park City),” McPhie laughed, “but I’d hike 10 or 12 times a day, or more ” and this is at almost 12,500 feet. You have to be in shape for that. I had at least 30 jumps, maybe 40, in the three days.”

The next moguls camp will be the U.S. Ski Team’s annual on-snow training at El Colorado, Chile, during the last two weeks of August.


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