Saturday, November 23, 2013

Vail - Days 5 & 6

We finally moved into the lane space at Vail and the ladies were given the opportunity to try out the new skis in a GS setting.  We set two sections of apex GS and they did a great job throughout the session.  It is difficult to begin with when it is the first session in gates, or brushes, and having to turn where someone else wants you to turn.  The first few runs were definitely a learning experience but as the session went on, they all made progress.  After training, they took a team trip to the movie theatre in Vail to see the latest Hunger Games movie.

Vail lanes

Bottom of the training lanes at Vail

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Today, the girls had their scheduled day off.  Lori moved their study hall to the morning and then the ladies were able to go cruise the town of Vail for the afternoon and not have an evening study hall session.

Courtney, Michelle, and Sandra traveled to Loveland for the first of four NJR's.  Today, they raced GS after the men's NorAM on the same hill.  To say the hill was firm would be an understatement.  Much like the first day of training is challenging, the first race is always a mix of emotions from nerves to excitement.  All three of them had solid days with Michelle throwing down a fast second run finishing 17th, Sandra skiing in her first FIS race and having a solid performance moving from bib 69 to finish 22nd, and Court finishing the day in 13th with her best GS result ever, scoring a 66!  Tomorrow they will race GS at Loveland following the men's NorAM.  The rest of the girls will be training GS at Vail, building upon the apex GS from Friday.

Top of the Loveland GS

Bottom of the Loveland GS

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Vail - Days 3 & 4

We have had two more successful days on snow.  The conditions are still absolutely perfect at Copper.  Yesterday, the majority of the group continued on their GS progression, working on balance and being stronger in the top of the turn.  On the new GS ski, it is vital that the athletes create edge angle in the top of the turn in order to get early pressure.  The ladies have made some great progress and many of them are finding more stability in the new, longer skis.

Today, we were greeted at Copper by quite the snow storm.  The Vail Pass closed for a couple of hours shortly after our arrival due to road conditions.  Even with the fresh snow on top, they were able to continue to be productive on their final day of free skiing before moving into lane space at Vail.  We ended up cutting our day off at noon for fear that the Vail Pass would close again, leaving us stranded in Copper.  We returned to Manor Vail around 1:00pm and the girls we given the afternoon off to do as they pleased without a structured dryland or stretch.

We have three girls who will be racing out here November 23rd through the 26th as they spent two weeks out here training late October.  They spent the last two days training SL preparing for the races.  Yesterday, they trained at Vail with three girls from Ski Club Vail and today they joined Stratton Mountain School at Copper for more SL training.  They will be representing MMSC in a NJR series at Loveland, wish them luck!

Tomorrow, we will be staying at Vail and bringing our skills to lanes.  We will start with some apex GS to continue with the progression of creating edge angle, and pressure, above the gate.  It is always challenging the first day it is dictated to you where to turn, but I suspect they will all have success throughout the morning of training.  However, it is being predicted that we will receive a possible 16 inches of snow, or which case we will be powder skiing at Vail!  Don't feel too badly for us...

Copper from the highway

Top of the Vail Pass

Training lanes at Vail

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Vail Trip! Day 1 &'s good to be back!

The season is upon us, which means we have traveled West to seek a quality surface to start the season.  We have not been disappointed.  For the first two days, we have made the 25 minute trek from Vail to Copper to do some technical free skiing.  The snow has been unbelievable.  That might be an understatement, but I can't think of another word to describe the conditions.  On top of the perfect snow, we have had two bluebird days with temps in the mid-30's, so it has been a great start to the year.

For most of our ladies, yesterday was their first time on the new radius GS ski.  We started the day with a 6:30am warm-up jog and dynamic stretch.  The jog somehow turned into a sprint...reminiscent of our first day out here with Dougie Clark a couple of years ago!  Breakfast followed the warm-up and then we departed for Copper at 8:15am.  While it took a couple of runs to become familiar with the sport as well as the new skis, by mid-morning they were ripping around Copper as if it was February.  We spent the morning just making laps as a group, trying to get many miles in the first day while working on some technical skills to help them get their brains focused on skiing again.  In the afternoon, they were able to go free ski on their own and enjoy the perfect combination of weather and snow.  We skied from 9:15am until 2:15pm, making somewhere in the range of 14 to 16 runs.

Today, we spent the better part of the morning working on balance.  The ladies worked hard through the drills and reintroducing themselves to some important skills.  They endured a 45 minute one-ski drill run and all saw some great improvement.  After lunch, they partnered up and chased each other around the mountain.  It is great for them to follow each other so closely, trying to stay in their partners tracks and turn where they turn. After a couple of runs, they were cut loose to free ski for the final hour and 15 minutes.

Tomorrow, we will continue with a GS progression, unless we have a powder day!  It is snowing right now, so we can hope...

6:30am warm-up

Copper Mt., CO

All smiles with the weather and snow!

View of the training lanes at Copper

Saturday, August 10, 2013

France Camp - Final Day!

Today was our last day on-snow and it was phenomenal!  The surface may have been the best surface we have had yet.  The girls switched gears and moved into slalom for the final day.  After a couple of freeski runs, they jumped right into gates to have some fun before returning to the USA.  They were skiing with boys who have points in the teens, 20's, 30's and 40's for the day and they were quite inspired.  As the day progressed, they all started to ski very well and were pleased with their performance after a camp primarily focused on GS fundamentals.

After skiing, we went back to Venosc to hike to a waterfall.  The hike was not very long but was demanding in spots and the end result was worth it!

Tomorrow morning we fly home and by morning, I mean we are loading the bus at 4:30am...we will see you all soon!

France Camp - Day 10

Second to last day...another blog posting from the girls...

           Everyone had a grin on their face this morning when we woke up to no rain and sunny skies.  The morning started out slowly however because safety checks were required for all the lifts due to thunderstorms from the past couple of days.  Once we arrived at the top we were not surprised by the low visibility.  Riding up the T-bar you could barely see the person just ahead of you!  Luckily after a couple runs the fog cleared out for the most part and we enjoyed freshly groomed hero snow all morning.  Today was our last day on GS skis and we are excited to carve out some slalom turns tomorrow!

            Unfortunately tomorrow is our last day on snow here in Les Deux Alpes.  We have all had a blast so far and are looking forward to progressing in the upcoming ski season!

Quotes of the Day:

Neza:  "Jamie...your supposed to hit the volleyball with your hands, not your head!"

Ingrid: "Guess how many chocolate bars I bought today...5!  (they are gifts, don't worry I won't eat them all!)"

Sandra: "If your poles are flying around your head while skiing...I think you may need to revaluate your life."

Elly: "I'm going for a run."  Everyone replies: "I'm so tired, how can you RUN?"

Tomorrow, we will be making the shift to SL for our final day on-snow in France.  It will be nice to have a change of pace for our last day here.

Friday, August 9, 2013

France Camp - Day 9

A blog entry from the girls and their trip to Grenoble...

           We woke up to the depressing sound of rumbling thunder and rain drops on metal roofs and our hopes of skiing today were diminished.  As we ate breakfeast our fears were confermed as we were told that again today the mountain would be closed.  Although as teenagers we were excited to sleep, we were brought to Grenoble, an hour and a half away.  We explored castle ruins, watched an overflowing muddy river, shopped, and some of us (Elly) ate frog legs.  We had a relaxing evening with chocolate mousse for desert (which excited everyone). 

            The clouds are breaking and the sun is emerging which is making us all even more excited to ski tomorrow!  We are all glad that the bad weather will be gone for our last two days in Les Deux!

Quotes of The Day:

Sandra: "Ingrid, your comupter is so light, I could throw it accross the room!"  Ingrid:  "How about we don't try that..."

Ingrid:  "Hey...the boys are acctually sitting with us for dinner, this interaction is good for them, they need more estrogen in their lives...seriously."

Elly:  "Guess what I ate today!...Frog Legs!"

Neza:  "No, Nick, I'm not addicted to my phone!"

Some photos from Neza

Tomorrow the weather is looking quite nice.  We are planning on being on our GS skis again since we missed out on skiing the previous two days.  The forecast is looking great for our last two days on-snow in France!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

France Camp - Day 8

The 8th day of camp proved to be our most challenging.  With high winds, thunder, lightning, and some rain, the mountain did not open today.  While the extra rest was nice, it was a bit frustrating to not be out there after some productive days.  It rained on and off much of the morning but stopped after lunch.  In the afternoon, we got together for some dynamic stretching followed by an hour and a half of volleyball.  The temperature has dropped significantly and the forecast is calling for nights to be in the 30's and days in the 60's so we could be looking at a very firm surface for the last few days of camp.  This should allow us to be very productive for our time on snow as the surface will stay hard throughout the morning.  Tomorrow's forecast, however, is looking much like today's, but hopefully being in the mountains will prove the forecast to be wrong.  Either way, we will be ready to go tomorrow morning if they run the lifts.

The girls discovered in a French magazine that Denali Balser had been hiding her modeling hobby.  The secret is out, it just took a trip to France to find one of her ads!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

France Camp - Day 7

We had another productive day on the glacier.  The snow was great for a majority of the morning, allowing the girls to ski without any soft snow issues.  We primarily worked on hip movement today, doing a series of drills to help the girls be active with their hip movements and feel the difference when they get their hips moving.  We worked on drills throughout the first session of the morning and after snack, the girls were able to just "ski." They were to try to incorporate the movement into their GS skiing, without the actual drill forcing them into the correct position.  I attempted to get some action shots of them out on the hill, although with just my iPhone it is a bit challenging...

Ingrid laying it over

Elly looking strong and level

Sandra showing off a solid body position

Neza in great position

Quotes of the Day

Topher - "Have you guys been to the bathroom in the lodge yet? I ran into Neza there...its a coed bathroom."

Sandra - "Ugh, my ear is fine! I'm going to kill my dad.  I say that a lot..."

Elly - To a group of Swiss people, "how do you say 'hi' in Swedish?" Swiss folks - "We are Swiss..." Ingrid - "Look it up on Google Translate."

Neza - "My head isn't high enough to hit the pillow on the chairs." Topher - "Get taller."

Ingrid - "Yes, they have chocolate mousse for lunch!"

This afternoon was filled with more volleyball and some very competitive games.  We are looking forward to another day on snow tomorrow and more GS skiing.  The girls are feeling very fortunate to have this "no pressure" set-up to continue building their GS skills.  Thanks for getting them here!

Monday, August 5, 2013

France Camp - Day 6

We have passed the halfway point of the camp which is both sad and exciting.  Sad that we are closer to leaving this beautiful place, but exciting that after 5 days on snow, the girls have made great progress in their skiing.  Today, we incorporated some new drills after our morning warm-up.  The snow was VERY firm to start the day...a bit too firm for the likes of my edges.  The girls handled it quite well and were very productive with their early runs.  As the morning progressed, the surface softened and we were able to be very productive with our drills.  They are starting to understand how to turn their new skis and are each developing their own keys to success.  It is fun to watch video and hear them talk about their skiing in such an enlightened way, seeing some of their issues and understanding what they will need to do to improve their skiing.  We also managed to get Pat Quiet to take a couple of team photos for us up on the hill, see below.

This afternoon was filled with another 2 hours of beach volleyball.  The girls are becoming known for their consistent serving ability and are vital members of whatever team they are on for the afternoon!

Tomorrow will be much of the same, GS fundamentals!  We are hoping for another solid day of drills and free skiing and then possibly working into some brushes and/or gates with the boys.