WANAKA, N.Z. (Sept. 6) – U.S. Ski Team athletes found midwinter snow for cross country training again in New Zealand while some teammates fine-tuned their own training with their grassroots club or personal coach at home. “There's more than one way to get the job done,” World Cup sprint racer Andy Newell (Shaftsbury, VT) said of the individualized training approach.
The annual U.S. Ski Team camp at The Snow Farm was blessed with a storm shortly after the Ski Team arrived in late July, providing “great conditions,” according to Sprint Coach Chris Grover. “It was definitely thin [cover] when we got down there, but then we had a day and a half snowstorm – the winds were so high at one point they couldn't even groom – and then it was plenty of snow, blue skies, cold temps…really good conditions for another successful camp.”
The camp included Olympians Newell, Torin Koos (Leavenworth, WA) and Chris Cook (Rhinelander, WI) plus Development Team skiers Leif Zimmermann (Bozeman, MT), Morgan Arritola (Fairfield, ID), Rosie Brennan (Park City, UT), Liz Stephen (East Montpelier, VT) and newcomer Alexa Turzian (Sun Valley, ID), the youngest U.S. cross country gold medalist after winning the 10K freestyle title last January during the U.S. championships at Michigan Tech. Grover said Kikkan Randall (Anchorage, AK), who claimed her first World Cup podium last winter – a week before Koos earned his first top-3, was training on Alaska's Eagle Glacier with U.S. teammates Tazlina Mannix (also Anchorage) and Laura Valaas (Wenatchee, WA) and the Alaska Pacific University Nordic program. Among others, Kris Freeman (Andover, NH) also trained at home.
The U.S. Ski Team heads out for a long tour while training in New Zealand (credit: Pat Casey/USSA)
“There are so many different ways to ski and train, and there's more than one way to get the job done,” Newell said. “You need to have confidence in what you're doing, and what I'm doing this year is some new strength training. I don't think any other cross country skier is doing this kind of aggressive strength work, but [Conditioning Coach] Zach Weatherford has helped my skiing so much over the years, and he's made me faster every year, so I'm taking a little change and doing more strength training.
What a difference a day can make