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Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Whirlwind of Adventures!

The Birds of Prey Finish
Welcome back to the U16 Blog!

Please excuse my recent lack of posts, as noted in the title of this post, the past few days have been quite the whirlwind!
Athletes reviewing their video
After completing a mandatory study hall on Friday morning, Athletes made their way up to the Golden Peak Race Arena for some more guided GS training. The set was very similar to the apex drill that we had been doing, but coaches replaced the bottom brush with a GS gate in order to continue the predetermined progression. Our athletes demonstrated even more growth as they began to make moves  within the course that resembled the form and precision that they had executed while freeskiing. Coaches were impressed with the moves that they were seeing, but also convinced that athletes held better skills than those demonstrated. Once we had finished skiing for the day, everyone met around a TV to review our video from the day in comparison to that of some upper-level athletes from within the program. We then proceeded to go out for a light jog before doing some dynamic(with movement) stretching. After that, we headed back to our respective rooms to freshen up before dinner and nighttime study hall.

Some athletes getting pointers from coaches
Saturday offered another beautiful day here in Vail as we experienced some spring skiing temperatures on snow comparable to glacial ice. The result of such a combination you may ask? Very grippy snow with minimal course deterioration throughout the session. We began Saturday's session with a full length GS course running right down the heart of the Golden Peak Race Arena. Yet again, our athletes showed significant improvement and most demonstrated the skills that had been executed in all of our freesking practice. Many of the athletes were working on moving the turn shape up the hill vertically, allowing them enough space between turns to patiently build their outside ski pressure and drive their center of mass down the fall line. After we had completed our morning session of training, everyone headed in for lunch and video review before heading back out for the annual U16 single-ski competition. Each athlete was paired up with a partner on the beginner slope with the intention of producing the most creative synchronized run to be judged by their peers. From a zombie attack to a highspeed (fake) gunfight, the creative juices really were flowing.
Phil doing some skating
After our single ski synchronized competition, everyone headed back to the lodge to freshen up for a trip into the Lionshead village for either ice skating, or shopping. Those who participated in ice skating raced around the rink for a few hours and even took up a game of ultimate hat (ultimate frisbee with a hat instead of a disc). Those who took up shopping enjoyed some delicious hot cocoa and a couple hours to peruse the ritzy shops of Lionshead. Once everyone had finished up, it was time to return for dinner at the Manor Vail Lodge which never disappoints!
Some U16 boys and a coach at the ice rink
Everyone awoke this morning eager to make our way over to Beaver Creek, a neighboring resort, to witness the Birds of Prey Giant Slalom World Cup Race. We enjoyed yet another hot breakfast at 7am before catching the 8am shuttle over to Beaver Creek. Once we had arrived, those who had never seen the arrangement before were struck by the quantity of vendors stands, and those who had been before, raced to each of these stands in pursuit of free stuff. From toy cars, to free chapstick, no one left the area empty handed. The race began at 9:45 am with American, Ted Ligety, dominating the field by over seven tenths of a second. Everyone was amazed by the athletic maneuvers performed by the best racers the world has to offer, and the intermission offered a fascinating display of skydiving into the finish corral. The second run began at 12:45 pm with a flip-30 meaning that the racer who finished in 30th place after the first run, was the first racer to make his way through the course for the second run.
Shuttling our way to Beaver Creek
Because Ted Ligety had won the first run, fans waited patiently for him to take his run in the 30th position, and it was well worth the wait. Watching many of the other competitors make their way through the course, it seemed as though the spread would be much less significant, but Ligety had different plans. Ted dominated the run and expanded upon his already large lead by a full second. At the end of the day, Ted Ligety had won the Birds of Prey Giant Slalom by a margin of 1.75 seconds! A seemingly impossible margin! With the USA chant going strong, fans roared as they cheered their star to victory, although he seemed pretty capable of achieving it himself!
Bryce with US Team Sensation, Mikaela Shiffrin
Connor, VT Native-Robby Kelley, Trent
The GoPro Bombsquad landing in the finish after 2nd run inspection
Bryce, Tommy Ford, Nicole, Caroline, and Sophia
Ted Ligety AKA Mr. Giant Slalom crushes the field yet again
Thanks for reading, until next time!

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