After one of their most successful seasons ever, the U.S. biathlon team is back at it training for the next round.
Work started last week in Lake Placid, where the A team and the new X team, a development squad for athletes who have had international success at the junior level, are based. Besides dryland and shooting training for the athletes, the U.S. Biathlon Association also held meetings about its development system, which is becoming more robust.
Now, the A team has headed to Bend, Oregon, for an on-snow camp. Despite some travel delays on the way there, the athletes are hitting the trails to get back in the groove of ski training.
“The conditions here are unbelievable,” U.S. High Performance Director Bernd Eisenbichler told FasterSkier. “It’s really warm down here, and really really good skiing in the morning. Frozen hard and sunshine, and just beautiful. Really beautiful. More snow than last year, to be honest – it’s really perfect.”
It’s the third year in a row that the A team has traveled to Bend for its first big training camp. Like other Canadian and American teams, they take advantage of the late snow up at Mount Bachelor and the myriad dryland training opportunities down in Bend.
All agreed that the ski conditions are particularly good this year, especially for late May.
“The conditions are fantastic,” U.S. athlete Tim Burke wrote in an e-mail. “There is definitely more snow than last year and they have more kilometers open. Yesterday was pretty warm, but the snow actually stayed pretty firm!”
Eisenbichler, a native of Germany, also seemed to be in love with the skiing, and said that the snow and sun were serving their purposes of getting the team motivated to train again after a long and grueling Olympic season.
“I think that we were smart to make a pretty long break,” he explained.
“We started training and got together in Lake Placid on May 7. That’s long – we finished March 24 or 26. People for six weeks really recovered well. And now I felt in Lake Placid, and especially over here, that they are really motivated to start again. And this is the perfect place to start because you have the sunshine and the beautiful weather in the afternoon for biking and running, and it’s perfect for skiing, and I think it’s the right start, for sure.”
The camp runs through May 24.