Western REG Camp Recap: Agony Hill and All

FasterSkierJuly 11, 2017
All 34 Western REG participants and U.S. Ski Team Development Coach Bryan Fish after L3 intervals at Soldier Hollow in Midway, Utah. (All photos: Mike Elliott)

The following recap was written with the help of Mike Elliott, director for the Western Regional Elite Group (REG) camp, which took place June 17-24 in Park City, Utah. FasterSkier encourages coaches and athletes from any regional offseason camps (dryland or on-snow, in the U.S., Canada or abroad) to submit their own recaps and photos to info@fasterskier.com.


For seven days in June, 34 athletes (17 women and 17 men) from five western U.S. divisions (Rocky Mountain, Intermountain, Far West, Pacific Northwest, and High Plains) came together in Park City, Utah, for the annual Western REG (Regional Elite Group) camp in Park City, Utah.

With the help of U.S. Ski Team coaches Matt Whitcomb and Bryan Fish, a staff of nine led the camp, including Gus Johnson (Auburn Ski Club), Dan Weiland (Ski and Snowboard Club Vail), Greta Anderson (Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club), Paul Smith (Sun Valley Ski Educational Foundation), Molly Susla (Crested Butte Nordic Team), Pierre Niess (Leavenworth Winter Sports Club), Bill Hokanson (Wasatch Nordic Ski Academy), Mike Elliott (Rocky Mountain Nordic), and camp chef Nancy Elliott (Durango Nordic Ski Club).

An over-distance classic ski from Pine Canyon to Empire Pass out of Midway, Utah. Inspired by the U.S. Ski Team women who wear matching socks for relays, the camp’s male athletes bought pink shorts at the outlets in Kimball Junction to show their unity. “Coaches, however, did not make the purchase of pink shorts,” camp director Mike Elliott explained. (Courtesy photo)

According to camp director Mike Elliott, athletes were selected based on two factors which were weighed equally, 50/50: their final USSA points at the end of last season and their best two out of three races at 2017 Junior Nationals.

The first training session of the week was held at the infamous Agony Hill next to the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City. Peter Wolter of Sun Valley posted the winning time for the men and Novie McCabe (Methow Valley Nordic Ski Club) was the fastest woman to the top.

In the agility sprint, Sarah Morgan, of Park City’s Wasatch Nordic Ski Academy, claimed first for the women and James Schoonmaker (Auburn Ski Club) was the fastest man. Another Wasatch skier, Madison “Maddie” Morgan won the double-pole time trial, along with Evan Barbier of Steamboat Springs.

“Working with such talented young skiers is so much fun and rewarding,” Elliott wrote in an email. “We often left the lodging facility at 6:30am or 7am to beat the heat. The athletes were always on time and motivated and organized with the proper training equipment. There was a high degree of Esprit de Corps among all the participants. They competed in the three events that were timed, and they supported each other in the other training sessions. Some of the skiers had a goal to qualify for the National Elite Group training camp scheduled later in Park City.”

Of the skiers that attended this year’s camp, several were Junior National medalists, including Wolter, McCabe, Maddie Morgan, Haydn Halvorsen, Sydney Palmer-Leger, Sofia Shomento, and Marin Coletta. Another multiple medalist, Johnny Hagenbuch was scheduled to attend this year’s Western REG, but broke his leg the weekend before the camp, Elliott explained.

An over-distance classic ski from Pine Canyon to Empire Pass out of Midway, Utah, at the 2017 Western REG camp in June. (Photo: Mike Elliott)


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