Copper Mountain opens U.S. Ski Team Speed Center for Olympic training |

Copper Mountain opens U.S. Ski Team Speed Center for Olympic training

U.S. Team Alpine A team skier Leanne Smith carves a turn through fresh snow on the opening day of the team Speed Center Nov. 1 at Copper Mountain. Team officials canceled training due to over 6 inches of fresh snow. Team members had a directed freeski day instead.
Sebastian Foltz / | Summit Daily

U.S. Ski team speed center at Copper

Open for training Nov.1 to Dec. 15

Official alpine team training area

Full-length downhill training venue

East Village open to spectators

Team naming ceremony

When: Friday, Nov. 8

Where: At the Burning Stone Plaza in Center Village

Admission: Free and open to public

Weather was the story Friday as training got underway at the U.S. Ski Team Speed Center at Copper Mountain ski area.

With 5 inches of new snow reported overnight and additional accumulation throughout the day, team officials decided to change the alpine team’s practice schedule.

“When we got up this morning it had snowed quite a bit more than we expected, probably twice as much,” women’s speed team head coach Chip White said. “We could have gotten the snow cleared off where we could train, but berms on the outside would have been too dangerous. It’s at the very beginning of this camp, and we’re not trying to jeopardize anything. We made a call due to safety.”

Instead, members of the men’s and women’s alpine teams took to the fresh snow for coach-directed freeski sessions.

“We usually work on drills,” women’s Alpine A Team skier Laurenne Ross said. “It was kind of nice to just go skiing.”

Ross spent the morning skiing with fellow women’s team members Stacy Cook, Leanne Smith, Alice McKennis and three team coaches.

“That was fun. It was a really good first day back,” Ross said after the session.

Alpine teammate Lindsey Vonn was reported to be on snow training independently. Julia Mancuso was said to be joining the team tomorrow.

Those on the hill worked on fundamentals in loosely structured freeskiing drills through fresh snow that was up to 12 inches deep in places.

“Today was directed freeskiing, doing drills working on balance and body position and things like that,” White said.

The change in plans still made for a productive day.

“It’s good to do that in a freeski situation in powder snow, because you’re constantly checking your balance. We get a lot out of a day like today,” he said. “No day is a wasted day.”

For members of the team it was a relaxing start to organized training at the Speed Center.

“This is a good way to start, in the powder. Everybody’s happy,” Ross said while on the chair.

“Hopefully tomorrow the weather is going to cooperate and we’ll get some training in,” White said.

About the Speed Center

Now in its third season, the U.S. Ski Team Speed Center runs out of the East Village at Copper Mountain. It is the early season training home of the U.S. alpine team.

“It’s been amazing what’s gone on the last couple years,” White told the Daily. “I have to tip my hat off to them (Copper). The effort that goes on is second to none. It’s probably the best venue in the world this time of year.”

While the team trains there in November and early December, the slopes accessible by the Super Bee chair are closed to the public, but the East Village is open for spectators to watch the team from the base area. Slopeside facilities in the East Village, including J.J.’s Rocky Mountain Tavern, are open during the team’s training.

Spectators are encouraged to come catch a glimpse of Olympians like Vonn, Bode Miller and Ted Legety as they train for Sochi.

For the first time this year Copper will also host an official team-naming ceremony at the Burning Stones Plaza in Center Village, Friday, Nov 8.

Festivities will include live music and a chance to see the U.S. team’s future Olympians.

The slopes at East Village will open to the public Dec. 16.

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