Sunday, November 14, 2010

Golden Peak, Vail

This has been a big week for Scott in many ways. This is his first time housed with the entire team (including Olympians) as a member of the team. He's rubbing elbows with the big guys, many of which he knew before. He's enjoying that aspect, plus the grade "A" accomodations. Scott's sharing a swank one bedroom condo with hard wood finishes, flat screen TV, etc, etc. It's 100' to the wax room and the dining room where he grazes through a buffet line twice daily -- Scott heaven!

The training hill is directly across the street. It's a fine hill where one can set 1 minute Super G courses and full-on Giant Slalom. The slope starts mellow (24 degrees) for about 8 GS gates, then roles to about 38 degrees for 8-10 more gates. After that there's a "shelf" which is about 22 degrees and 10 gates long followed by a sustained pitch of 30-32 degrees for perhaps 15-20 gates. The slope is triple injected, providing a firm training surface similar to what Scott will encounter on the NORAM circuit. To give you an example, 30 guys did four runs of Super G the other day and there was nary a rut.

Scott's had either Giant Slalom or Slalom training every day since the 6th. Additionally, he's had 3 speed sessions at either Copper Mountain or Vail. I must admit, he's getting his money's worth from the standpoint of training environment alone. There's no way I could have put him on slopes and snow like this, day after day. And the two of us alone would be hard pressed to put up long courses like this, train, and tear them down. I'm already seeing the benefit of the environment and the volume of training in his performance.

Each day I sit a hundred feet from the finish, watching all of Scott's training through binoculars. Being old baseball guys, we know how to communicate from a distance -- Coach Givens would be proud. We also get to watch video together and talk each day. I'm really excited about how he's doing. He knifes the ice like a pro and his strength allows him to do some things others cannot. There are still lingering issues he's working on, such as a "lazy" right hand in slalom that likes to drop each turn and the need to run the deep line. And he still has the occassional problem with timing his turns due to the speed plus the purchase the skis make into the ice. However, even with the occassional major error, his times are right in there and he's not that far off the big guys.

Hopefully tomorrow we'll get a real good indicator. Unbeknownst to me, an official FIS race was scheduled for the US Team members and selected invitees. It's sort of like the NDS race Scott did last season in Park City to help prep the Olympians -- except this time he's infinately more prepared. Unfortunately, they're now calling for 6-12" of snow overnight, which would put the race at risk. Hope they can pull it off!

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