U.S. Men’s Alpine Team preps for upcoming season
July 10, 2009
Members of the 2010 U.S. Alpine Men’s Ski Team converged in Park City this week for a conditioning camp at the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association’s brand new training and education facility, the Center of Excellence.
After being named to the team last month, the athletes didn’t have much time to celebrate before morphing into summer training mode. The team members tested at the center in May, and sports-science specialists created strength and conditioning programs tailored to each athlete.
This week the alpine men tested again to evaluate their progress. The camp is one of the few times during the summer that the whole team gets together in one place. In addition to completing individual and team workouts, the athletes participate in team-building activities such as volunteering at the Boys & Girls Club in Salt Lake City and visiting a firefighter school.
Park City native Ted Ligety, the reigning World Championships bronze medalist for giant slalom and the 2006 Olympic gold medalist for combined, is looking forward to another successful season this winter.
After injuring the medial collateral ligament (MCL) in his right knee in March, Ligety has been working hard to regain his strength. He has been training daily at the Center of Excellence and recently graduated from workouts in the rehabilitation center to heavier lifting and low-impact activities.
"Hopefully in the next week I’ll be ready to go as hard as I can," he says.
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With the Center of Excellence only 10 minutes from his house, Ligety says he’s lucky to have the means and equipment at his fingertips. "There are so many resources [at the center] that have allowed me to fast-track rehabilitation."
Tim Jitloff, who is new to the A team this year, made the decision to move from Reno, Nev., to Park City for the summer to take advantage of all that the Center of Excellence has to offer.
"This place is awesome," he says, referring to the new facility. He likes working out with equipment and machines that you wouldn’t find in a typical gym. "It’s also nice to have the support of the staff in case you do get injured or need help," he adds.
Jitloff competes in slalom, giant slalom, super G and downhill. When he’s not training, he takes advantage of recreational activities such as golf, tennis, hockey and stand-up paddle boarding. "That’s part of the reason it’s nice to be out here if you manage your time well, you can do all of these other activities."
Erik Fisher, from Middleton, Idaho, is also stationed in Park City for the summer. Two years ago, Fisher tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), and his focus right now is on strengthening his left leg. A typical two-and-a-half-hour workout consists of a lot of single-leg movements as well as power cleans, squats and squat jumps.
Since the previous testing session in May, Fisher says he has been able to gain a lot of ground. "A month of consistent working out is key." It also helps that, when he’s not in the gym, he’s kiteboarding at Deer Creek Reservoir or Utah Lake.
The training camps are beneficial because everyone can train at the same level, Fisher says. "It makes it easier and it pushes you more."
He has high hopes for the upcoming season and sees a lot of potential in his teammates. "We’re a really young team, but we have the speed and the guts. It should be an exciting year."
Andrew Weibrecht flew in for the training camp from his hometown of Lake Placid, N.Y. He says it’s nice to have the whole team together and also spend time with the physical trainers who will be traveling with the team. "We’re all friends so it’s good to train with the other guys," he says.
In preparation for the competitive season, "I’m just trying to get in shape," he says. "Hopefully I don’t have to deal with any injuries," he adds, knocking on a wooden table.
The team will travel to on-snow training camps in New Zealand next month and then Chile in September. The first team event will be held at Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada, in late November. Several team members will also compete in the Opening World Cup in Soelden, Austria, in October.
For more information about the 2010 U.S. Alpine Ski Team, visit http://www.usskiteam.com/alpine .
2010 U.S. Men’s Alpine A-Team members: