There isn’t a single winter sport out there where the athletes don’t do some kind of summer dryland training these days, but if you’re a skier then there’s really no substitute for spending quality time on snow.
Take the recent training camp held at La Parva, Chile, and hosted by BC Alpine and the Whistler Mountain Ski Club (WMSC). The upper mountain had perfect snow for training and the resort was closed to the general public. The result was one of the best early season camps the club has ever had.
Some 22 athletes aged 15 to 19 took part, getting a huge quantity of runs in over 12 days.
“It was just outstanding conditions,” said Rob Boyd, athletic director at the WMSC. “It was closed to the public, but the resort honoured bookings for space from all the national teams and provincial teams, and the upper slope was a good slope for the team to train. There was no interference, no lineups, just really good, high quality, high volume training.”
The run count for one athlete included about 34 runs of slalom in five sessions, 68 GS runs in seven sessions and 38 runs of super G in four sessions. The same athlete also got in about 69 freeski runs, including a few turns through powder as 25cm dropped on the region.
Boyd said some of the older athletes also managed to get in some downhill training alongside members of the national alpine development team.
“They’re all skiing pretty well,” said Boyd of the WMSC and provincial skiers taking part. “Our kids acquired a lot of good skills and we could make sure they were really skiing properly and working drills before moving into the gates… it’s easy to get caught in a trap of doing a couple of runs of drills and then throwing (athletes) on the course where they fall back into bad habits. The focus on the camp was making sure athletes were perfecting things before moving onto the next stage of difficulty.”
Also training at the resort were the Austrian women’s speed team, the Alberta and Ontario provincial teams, the US men’s development and western regional team.
As well as training, the athletes held a special Canine Cup event to benefit the friendly stray dogs that hung out with the teams. Four mixed teams raced four GS runs, with the fastest team taking the win.
“Ten out of 10,” said the WMSC’s Max Kirshenblatt. “I really look forward to returning next year.”
“Eleven out of 10,” added Max Peiffer. “Best camp I’ve ever had.”
The WMSC skiers that took part were Kelly Steeves, Martin, Stefanie Fleckenstein, Austin Llewelyn, Kyle Yates, Riley Seger, Cameron Alexander, Elizabeth Kepl, Sam Kirshenblatt, Max Kirshenblatt, Max Peiffer, Yori Kotake, Carson Llewellyn, JJ Toole, Alysia Kwong, Cooper Yates and Alex Gershon.
Next up for the WMSC FIS and U16 racers is a camp in Vail, Colorado from Nov. 6 to 17. The U14 skiers will be going to Sun Peaks from Nov. 9 to 16.
Also on the calendar is a new event, the Alpine Athletic Challenge. In cooperation with other clubs in Vancouver, skiers will put their dryland training fitness and strength to the test in a day of challenges. Events include wheelbarrow races and relays where athletes carry heavy weights. That takes place on Oct. 20 in North Vancouver, with up to 400 ski racers expected to attend.