Local skiers training at Mammoth Mountain camp
Skiing in June? Yes, and with fervor.
The future of ski racing is gathered at Mammoth Mountain throughout the week for the sixth annual U.S. Ski Team National Development System (NDS) training camp, which is designed for promising young Alpine racers ages 14 and older.
Included in the field are local skiers Zach Rickenbach (Squaw Valley) and Mark Engel (Sugar Bowl). Several men on the U.S. Alpine Ski Team are training in Mammoth this week as well, including Squaw Valley racer Travis Ganong.
“We’ve brought together about 25 of the best juniors from across the country to ski and train with experts from the U.S. Ski Team,” said National Development Director Walt Evans. “These young athletes are the future of the Team. We could see them at the 2014 and 2018 Olympics, so it’s exciting see their potential out here.”
The NDS camp brings together about 25 athletes and their coaches from around the United States who have qualified based on strong results from key junior competitions this past winter. They’ve also been identified by their clubs/academies as having national team potential.
While being invited to the camp recognizes the achievements of the home programs’ development and growth of athletes, the NDS camp looks to complement their work and bring together the nation’s best juniors in an environment that one club alone could not create.
The Mammoth Mountain camp includes early-morning, on-snow ski sessions as well as afternoon educational programs like dryland training techniques, goal setting and video analysis. All techniques have been developed by U.S. Ski Team’s Sport Science department and implemented at the national level.
“A highlight of this program is the involvement of U.S. Ski Team alumnae,” said Evans, who brought two-time Olympian and World Championships medalist Jonna Mendes and Alex Krebs, who was on the team in the 1990s. Both are teaching tactics and sharing knowledge they gained from years on the national team.
The young teens attending the camp hail from California’s Squaw Valley Ski Team, Sugar Bowl Ski Team and Mammoth Mountain Ski Club; Nevada’s Team Savage Ski Racing; New England’s Green Mountain Valley School and Stratton Mountain School; Utah’s Park City Ski Team and Snowbird Ski Education Foundation; Colorado’s Steamboat Springs Winter Sports School, Ski Club Vail and Team Summit; Washington’s Crystal Mountain Alpine Club; and Idaho’s Sun Valley Ski Club.
The NDS pipeline program started the Spring of 2002 following the Salt Lake City Olympics, and while still in its infancy, it has helped nurture racers like Truckee Olympian Stacey Cook, who now skis out of Mammoth Mountain.