Two Sugar Bowl Academy student-athletes — alpine racer Luke Winters and Nordic skier Hannah Halvorsen — have been selected to the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association’s National Training Groups (NTG).
NTG selection qualifies Winters, 17, and Halvorsen, 16, to participate in both national and international U.S. Ski Team camps and train regularly alongside the nation’s elite skiers. Both athletes were selected based on their impressive results during the season.
“Knowing that I had a successful year and was able to ski well makes me proud,” said Winters. “Knowing that I’m one step closer to making the U.S. Ski Team is exciting. I was consistently among the top of the U18s, which got my name out there.”
Hailing from Gresham, Ore., Winters joined Sugar Bowl Academy (SBA) as a winter-term student in the 2012-2013 school year, but elected to attend the Academy as a year-round student this year.
“The training and conditioning I was able to get in before the ski season definitely helped me to get in the shape I needed to excel,” he said. “I don’t think I would have had the success I did if I hadn’t come for the full year, because I wouldn’t have gotten the fall training and conditioning.”
For Winters, NTG selection means a world of opportunity. NTG camps are slated for New Zealand this summer and a racing trip to Europe in January 2015.
“I’ve never been in another country before, and that will be cool, not only to be with the NTG, but to get the experience of skiing in another country with the best nationally ranked kids in the United States is really cool,” Winters said.
For Truckee’s Halvorsen, who qualified earlier this winter to race against many of the world’s top Nordic skiers in Finland at the Scandi Cup races, NTG qualification means another opportunity to test her skiing on the big stages.
It is a hard-earned reward.
“After many mornings of early strength sessions before school with my team, ascending trails on hills that were intended to be descended by alpine skiers, pushing through all those last intervals, it is exciting to see all that hard work from the previous season lead to opportunities like this,” Halvorsen said.
Added SBA Head Nordic Ski Coach Martin Benes: “Hannah’s nomination to the NTG is a fitting capstone for her season this past year. Being selected as a rising U18 is very rare.
“She will have the opportunity to attend some elite-level camps, including a U.S. Ski Team camp in Park City in October. As she sets her sights on some big goals for next year, these camps will allow her to train alongside some of the best junior and elite skiers in the country.”
The Park City camp will be run by U.S. Ski Team coaches and staff and will have Halvorsen undergoing physiological testing, even rollerskiing on a treadmill.
“Rollerskiing on a treadmill is not something I’ve ever done, and not something I’ve ever anticipated doing,” said Halvorsen. “It should be a unique experience!”
Tracy Keller, head of the Sugar Bowl Ski Team and Academy, added: “We are very excited for both Hannah and Luke, and we are glad that we are able to support them with the very best academic program while they simultaneously take advantage of these very special athletic opportunities.”