CampsTrainingOn Snow in New Zealand with the U.S. Ski Team

FasterSkierAugust 9, 2007

Testing is just that — a means of measuring fitness, rate of force production and economy. Testing gives an indication to how training is going. Training, though, is where the work gets done that makes skiers faster. With this on their mind, four American women and five U.S. men currently are in a three week on-snow altitude camp, putting in the kilometers, testing equipment and refining technique at the SnowFarm on New Zealand’s South Island.

Morgan Arritola out testing the race boards

With all the hours spent working with athletes and their skis, Gibbs has found that the ski technology advances are more than marketing hype. “In the new classic boards I’ve seen the biggest changes coming in the ski’s camber. With today’s skis it’s easier to get a kick than it was in the past — most have a longer pocket that makes it easier to ski the steeper uphills without having to force it. I’ve found you don’t need to use as warm a wax as we did even a couple years ago because of these better camber characteristics. For sure, this new technology is really helping our sport.”

“With skating skis, companies are messing around with side-cut profiles. They went wide, then narrow, and then they tried the skate cut and the parabolic stuff. I think they’re finding that narrower skis generally work best in harder packed snow and wider – not really wide, but medium wide – generally ski best in softer and new snow conditions where they track better, have a little more float and don’t dig in. I’ve been hearing there’s some new base technology that’s in the works. I imagine we’ll be seeing some big changes with this in the next two years — having skis that can hold structure and wax better, that kind of stuff.”

Two Key Goals: Fitness and Team Harmony

Kevin Hochtl getting after it on the Operation Dominate Kuusamo uphill speed drills

Kevin Hochtl, a Rossignol Elite Team member from Vail, Colorado, came to New Zealand with the men’s sprint team. “This has been a great change of pace instead of just training alone in Vail. Down here it’s so sweet. The skiing is phenomenal. The SnowFarm is right up there with the best. There’s plenty of rolling terrain, fast snow, really cool views and vistas.

“Also, everyone is so professional — they all know what there doing and why they’re doing it. Getting together with a group of guys like the U.S. Sprint Team and Leif (Zimmerman) with having one goal — getting better — along with perfect snow conditions makes this an ideal environment to get faster. Really, what more could you want?”
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