With 24 athletes, APU is keeping its elite team pretty similar to years past, but there’s definitely new blood in the training group with eight new men on the team.
This is the third preview in our series on U.S. elite teams, which we’ve dubbed the “The 12.” With all six original members returning to Stratton Mountain’s T2 squad and two promising newcomers (one of which is on the USST) in the mix, this Vermont-based team is feeding off last season’s career bests to prepare for an Olympic year.
FasterSkier ventured to Vermont this week to see the entire Stratton Mountain School T2 Team working out together or one of the first times this summer. Video includes footage from bounding and strength sessions earlier this week, as well as interviews with Andy Newell, Simi Hamilton and Eric Packer.
In an effort to ring in 2013/2014, we’re kicking off our second-annual elite team preview – now called “The 12.” Starting with the Craftsbury Green Racing Project and proceeding in no particular order, we’ll profile 12 of the biggest powerhouses in U.S. cross-country skiing throughout the next several weeks. Don’t worry, we’ll get to Canada, too.
When he last attempted to make the Olympics, Mikey Sinnott was four years younger and admittedly a step quicker. But the 28-year-old Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation skier is confident he can offset aging with accumulated experience and earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team for the first time in his career.
Through the slow California conditions and ski exchanges, Kris Freeman battled Andy Newell and Einar Ulsund for the national title in the 50 k classic for over two hours on the last day at spring series. Freeman pulled away in the last 5 k to beat Newell by almost a minute and finish off his season with a win.
Liz Stephen certainly likes her hill climbs. Starting at a 2-minute, 26-second deficit in the pursuit start of the last stage of SuperTour Finals, she obliterated the field on the 6 k course to both win the tour and post the fastest time of the day by nearly two minutes. Kikkan Randall, who started the hill climb in the lead, settled for second after skiing off the course partway through the ascent.
Erik Bjornsen thought he was done for. The 21-year-old U.S. Ski Team and APU skier had gone out too hard, too early in Monday’s 6 k freestyle hill climb before the real ascent up Sugar Bowl Resort even started. Somehow, he found at least three more gears and beat Kris Freeman to the top for his first SuperTour Finals title.
Former college skiers Susan Dunklee, Annelies Cook, and Hannah Dreissigacker decided not to go straight to vacation when their World Cup biathlon season ended. Instead, they’re racing SuperTour finals – for most, the first classic races and first sprints of the season. After a collection of top-ten results, it looks like a good decision, but they’re also keeping things fun with an intra-team “Biathlon Cup” competition.