Young gun Abby Ghent rails a turn during downhill training in Portillo (Julia Mancuso/GoPro)
PORTILLO, Chile (Sept. 11) – The speed training season is officially underway in South America as the women's U.S. Ski Team, including Olympic gold medalists Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) and Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, CA), begin their second week in Portillo. Warm weather, which earlier produced a minor avalanche at the top of the training slope, has hampered training, but Speed Head Coach Chip White reported excellent progress from all athletes as they transitioned from super G to downhill over the weekend. The U.S. women's speed team, anchored by a fifth straight Audi FIS Alpine World Cup downhill title from Vonn, won the nation's standings for downhill last winter by 636 points over Austria. The World Cup season opens Oct. 27 in Soelden, Austria – the U.S. Ski Team's European Training Base.
The women's U.S. Ski Team opened their second week of speed training in Portillo, Chile with a block of downhill training.
Warm temperatures have been challenging, but through strong collaboration with Portillo, the U.S. Ski Team coaches have been able to produce positive training conditions.
The athletes have used the conditions to test numerous ski, binding and boot setups for the upcoming Audi FIS Alpine World Cup season.
Portillo, Chile has been a long-time host of the U.S. Ski Team and provides some of the best early-season downhill training in the world.
The World Cup season begins Oct. 27 with a giant slalom in Soelden, Austria – the European training home of the U.S. Ski Team.
The tour swings to North America Nov. 24-25 with a giant slalom and slalom at the USANA Aspen Winternational in Aspen, CO followed by the start of the speed season in Lake Louise, Canada.
QUOTES Julia Mancuso I've had more time on snow at this point in the year than I think I've ever had. But even more important, I think, is that my days on snow have been really concentrated on what I've needed to accomplish. My Head ski setup is working really well and I'm fired up to start the season.
Stacey Cook Ski testing has been a really important part of this camp and it's been super productive. Normally we don't have so many options, but this year everything is new. In the past, we've been completely focused on what setup is fast, but now it's about focusing on exactly what you're feeling with the new equipment.
Chip White We've had incredible cooperation with Portillo, the Canadian team and the Norwegians, who are also training here. There's been a lot of snow cat work, a lot of shoveling by the coaches and a lot of long days, but it's equated to really productive training for our athletes.
I'm impressed with were our team is technically, physically and mentally during this camp. We've had some challenging training conditions, but everyone has had such a 'let's get this done' attitude. We're on track to start the season strong.