Catch Olympic fever with U.S. Ski Team naming celebration at Copper Mountain
Copper Mountain kicks the lead-up to Sochi into high gear Friday, Nov. 8, hosting a full day of U.S. Alpine Ski Team festivities open to the public. The celebrations will culminate with the official U.S. Ski Team First Tracks Alpine Team Announcement ceremony at 4 p.m. at the Burning Stones Plaza in Center Village.
Guests can watch a public team training session earlier in the day from the base area at the bottom of the Super Bee chairlift in the East Village. JJ’s Rocky Mountain Tavern will be open and serving its full menu during the day.
“Copper is privileged to not only facilitate these athletes in their training, but also host the official naming of the U.S. Alpine Ski Team and throw a party in their honor,” resort communications manager Austyn Williams said.
Lindsey Vonn, Ted Ligety, Mikaela Shiffrin, Bode Miller and the rest of the alpine team will be on hand for a parade and public introduction ceremony in the afternoon.
“It should be fun. There’s always a lot of kids that come out,” Vonn said of previous naming celebrations. “I love seeing the local support. It’s always nice to see that.”
This will be the first time that the ceremony — previously held in Vail — will be at Copper Mountain.
“It’s been really cool, I’m curious to see how it turns out here,” Vonn teammate Laurenne Ross said after a training session at the team’s Speed Center. “It’s exciting and fun to hang out with all the kids.”
Copper also will host a pre-ceremony poster party for kids, who are invited to make signs for their favorite athletes. The poster party will take place in the Ptarmigan conference rooms in Center Village. There will also be a vendor village with team sponsors in the Burning Stones Plaza throughout the day.
After the naming ceremony, the Swon Brothers, finalists from NBC’s “The Voice,” will take to the stage for a free concert. Copper will also offer $39 lift tickets through the weekend to anyone with a season pass at another Colorado ski area.
Training for Sochi continues
The public ceremonies will be held Friday, but the alpine team has been at Copper training since Nov. 1. The Speed Center at Copper is the alpine team’s official training mountain. It is the only full-length downhill training venue in the world available for early season practice.
“The effort that goes on there is second to none,” women’s speed team coach Chip White told the Daily. “It’s been amazing what’s gone on the last couple of years. I have to tip my hat off to them. It’s probably the best venue in the world this time of year.”
The team will continue training at Copper in preparation for the next World Cup event, at Beaver Creek at the end of the month.
While the alpine team members have been decided, they will not be guaranteed a spot on the upcoming Olympic team competing in Sochi, Russia, in February.
Each alpine discipline is limited to four spots. Pre-Olympic World Cup competition results will be the biggest factor in determining the Olympic team qualifiers.
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