The aspens were in their full golden splendor when the National Elite Group and National Training Group descended upon Utah to join the US Ski Team’s fall camp last week.
The setting was as idyllic as Fall can get.
For those outside of skiing, that image is filled with leaves falling, crisp days, and a last gasp of warmth before the cold sets in. For skiers, we can add the click of rollerski tips on cold pavement, that first whiff of cool air at full stride that brings back those familiar little feelings of skiing, and most importantly, a first sense of that other warmth that skiers expect to come soon with the winter; the chance to reconnect with that like-minded community of other skiers.
In Utah last week, that was a full deluge. The US Ski Team gathered once again, augmented by pro clubs from across the country, the Schutzenski Festival at Soldier Hollow, and those that were the getting their chance to take in the whole scene after a summer of hard-work – the National Elite Group.
Selected based on performances at Regional Elite Group Camps this summer and promising results from last ski season, the National Elite Group (NEG) represents a key part of the national development program that introduces skiers to the resources and community of the US Ski Team and the National Training Group. NEG camp also a key NNF pillar project.
During the course of a full week, the athletes of the NEG took the time to show us the sights and sounds of their experience, with the video below produced by Alaska Winter Stars athlete Aaron Power and Sun Valley SEF athlete Max Kluck, and accompanying blog post written by Bowdoin College skier Aggie Macy. Both capture the excitement present in US skiing at the moment, on the cusp of the first flakes of snow across the country and the warmth of the skiing community that it soon promises is to come.
Aaron Power and Max Kluck Vlog
Click Image to Watch on YouTube
Aggie Macy writes in from NEG
Hello from Park City, Utah! Our NEG/NTG group has been out here since Sunday October 9th, and the week is off to a great start! While we’re still certainly taking COVID precautions, it’s been great to have a camp that’s getting closer to “normal.” Our group of 13 athletes is staying in a house on Deer Valley, which has been conveniently central for our workouts. When we’re not training, we’ve been enjoying cooking together, chilling, and attempting to keep up with school work. As Anabel pointed out earlier, we’re taking this week as an opportunity to be athlete-students as opposed to student-athletes. It’s been nice to prioritize ski training and taking advantage of the epic opportunity to join in on a US Ski Team camp.
We’ve already packed in a lot of solid sessions in these first three days! We treated Monday as an adjustment day; many of the athletes here are coming up from sea level and we want to ease into the altitude training. We started Monday morning with a skate OD on the town loop and explored some trails on a run in the afternoon.
Tuesday morning brought with it a great session with the national team and some club teams. We all met at the base of Park City Mountain Resort and nailed some L3 bounding intervals. It was great to have the opportunity to overlap with so many pro skiers. The consensus among the group was that everyone felt much better and more adjusted than the day before! The aspen foliage at the summit was popping off, and the views were impeccable. After a regroup and lunch at the house, we headed over to the COE for strength. We met with the US Ski Team strength coach, Tshana, who walked us through a how to build a strength progression for an exercise throughout the year. We worked through movement competency, tempo with bodyweight, adding load and weight, power phase, and then ultimately an explosive powerful rep, reseting before starting again. We then spent the rest of the time in the gym doing our own usual strength routines. After our workout, we were blessed with Steve’s great cooking with a dinner of homemade Indian food. When we got back to our house, we had a team meeting and talked over some goals for the week and things we’d like to get out of camp.
We woke up before the sun on Wednesday to head to Soldier’s Hollow for skate speeds with the national team. We split into groups and cycled through three different stations along the rollerski track, doing six speeds at each. Coaches gave us helpful technique feedback and walked us through different strategies for each section. This was a great opportunity to nail transitions zones and practice shifting gears. After the session, Brian had us all reflect and share something we learned and takeaways. Group debriefs have been a helpful way to take advantage of having such a focused group of coaches and athletes together. We’ve all been learning so much from each other, and this group’s eagerness to improve is contagious. In the afternoon, we drove out to the boonies in Echo and ripped a distance double pole ski with some national team folks. We even got the Union Pacific Railroad to toot their horn at us! Now we’re back at the abode, cheffing up some burgers for dinner. Greta has been slightly shocked by our bagel consumption this camp, and she has now taken to labeling loafs of bread as such as a ploy to have us go through the Costco stash she bought.
We’ve been blessed with the most glorious week of weather: high 60s every day and not a cloud in the sky. A stark contrast from the snowy, cold rollerskis we endured last year. Spirits are high as we head in to the second half of the week. We’re stoked to hop into the Soldier Hollow Schutzenski festival this weekend where we’ll race a 10k skate and classic sprint. As always, we’re extremely thankful for the NNF for making this all possible. We’ve been repping our high vis shirts like nobody’s business.