USST Report from New Zealand
NZ National Championships
New Zealand is having one of its driest winters in history. The Snow Farm still has over 2 hours of groomed skiing, and today for the New Zealand National Championship 5 and 10km classical — we had hard wax conditions (multi-grade and extra blue).
The US Ski Team has been in New Zealand at Snow Farm near Wanaka on the South Island since the 4th of August. We have had good to great skiing in spite of the very low snow year. There is an hour loop, several short loops and one forty-five minute out-and-back. Conditions have ranged from pure extra-blue to klister covered. The skies have been predominantly sunny.
The team put a big focus on technique for the first week on snow. We reviewed video from last season on the world cup and took quite a bit of video down here. Our primary concern has been working on tempo and stride length in steep terrain — both classical and skate. Fighting the desire to take big long (and often slow) steps in steep terrain is important to staying on top of the ski so as to have an effective kick as well as an efficient turn over. As always a forward body position is important as well as a snappy application of power on the poles and skis.
We have been skiing 3 to 4 and a half hours a day and lifting weights and playing soccer almost every second or third day.
The US development team joined us down here yesterday. They have also put a big emphasis on technique, especially steep terrain technique — as this is something very difficult to work on dryland.
Kris Freeman began the season where he left off, by winning the NZ 10km national championship in convincing style. He and his brother Justin pulled away from Dave Chamberlain, Andrew Johnson and Torin Koos only 3km into the race. From there Kris stretched his lead over his brother and the rest of the field.
Wendy Wagner skied a good race — beating most of the male competitors and all the females. Wendy has worked hard to increase her tempo in both training and racing and this work has so far paid off.
1. Wendy Wagner. USA. 16:40
2. Katerina Bondarenko. NZ.
3. Sue Wales. NZ.
1. Kris Freeman. USA. 26:42
2. Justin Freeman. USA. 27:21
3. Dave Chamberlain. USA. 27:55
4. Andrew Johnson. USA. 28:24
5. Urs Graf. Switzerland. 28:55
6. Tino Mettler. Switzerland. 29:09
7. Torin Koos. USA. 29:25
8. Simon Heard. Great Britain. 31:55
9. Mike Argue. Canada. 35:16
We have so far trained 20 to 26 hours a week and have done two interval sessions and a race. After a few days of easier training and a short trip to Fjordland National Park we’ll be back at Snow Farm to put in a few more hard sessions in addition to a fair volume of training. The camp will end with New Zealand’s famous Marino Muster Ski Race — a 42km skate marathon.
The team resumes training in Park City, Utah in September. The open camp — open to all US athletes or coaches who aim to win at the international level are invited — will be conducted mid-Sept to early October. Contact <email@example.com for info.
The aim of this camp is to share what we do for training and technique with as many driven ski racers and coaches as we can. Attendees are responsible for all their expenses, etc.
Assistant Coach, US Ski Team