Summit ski and snowboard stars Gerard, Corning, Brown, Hoerter prep in Switzerland (Video)
A total of 57 U.S. Ski and Snowboard freestyle athletes are currently skiing and riding at the national program’s training camp at the Saas-Fee Stomping Grounds in Switzerland, effectively kicking off the northern hemisphere winter season.
Familiar Summit County names such as big air and slopestyle snowboarders Red Gerard and Chris Corning, halfpipe skier Jaxin Hoerter and slopestyle and big air skier Bobby Brown are throwing down on the Saas-Fee glacier at the camp. It’s fewer than two months until the International Ski & Snowboard Federation’s World Cup series stops at the U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain Resort Dec. 3-8 for the first ski and snowboard halfpipe event of the season, which Hoerter will likely compete in. That event will be followed the next weekend by slopestyle and big air competitions at the Dew Tour at Breckenridge Ski Resort.
Athletes will be training on snow in Saas-Fee with U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s coaching staff daily through Oct. 20. The contingent in Saas-Fee includes nine snowboardcross, 25 halfpipe, and 23 slopestyle athletes dialing in. The size of the group is rare for this kind of training camp, U.S. Ski & Snowboard officials said.
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“I’m always hyped to be heading back out to Saas-Fee,” Brown said. “It’s always awesome coming out here. It’s an amazing park, beautiful town, and great times with my teammates. It’s going to be an unreal two weeks.”
The camp is a big one for the Breckenridge local freestyle skier Brown, who a month ago skied for the first time since he suffered a knee injury on the final slopestyle jump at last December’s Dew Tour. The injury sidelined him through the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic process.
“It’s been eight months since I’ve been on my skis,” Brown wrote on his Instagram on Aug. 29. “It was a let down but it was an amazing chance to get to spend more time with my friends and family. Really really hyped to get back into it. Slow and steady. Thank you to everyone for helping me with this process to return to what I love so much. It takes a village. Excited for this next chapter.”
The next FIS World Cup event will be snowboard and freeski big air in Modena, Italy on Nov. 3. This second big air event of the season should feature the resident Summit County riders Gerard, who won slopestyle gold at February’s Olympics, Corning, who won last year’s FIS snowboard World Cup season title, and Michigan native Kyle Mack, who won the silver medal in big air in Pyeongchang. If fully healthy, Brown may also compete in Modena and at the first World cup ski slopestyle event of the season, slated for Stubai, Austria from Nov. 22-24.
On Sept. 8, Corning celebrated his 19th birthday by winning first place at the debut FIS World Cup event of the 2018-19 season at the Cardrona Alpine Resort in New Zealand, landing an 1800 in the big air competition.
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