Copper welcomes the US of A’s ski speedsters as they train on the only full length downhill course in ‘Merica at the new U.S. Ski Team Speed Center at Copper. Check out Copper’s other race programs so you can be the next Ted Ligety or Lindsey Vonn.
Posted by Chris Runyon on November 24, 2011
Don’t blink. You might have missed them. That’s right; the U.S. Ski Team Speed Center at Copper is open! But just a warning to all spectators on the Super Bee chairlift, be prepared for the mini sonic BOOM sound wave that follows these racers down the course. No joke. These speedsters are like human-size NERF vortex balls buzzin’ downhill. Some side effect from watching racers include: dizziness, minor whiplash, sudden jaw dropping and increase of adrenaline that will make you want to get out there and hit some gates.
The new Speed Center is located in the Super Bee area of East Village, which includes parts of Rosi’s Run, Andy’s Encore and Oh No. The steep, north facing slopes, high base elevation and early season temperatures are the perfect combination to make up a high speed downhill and super-G course. The nearly 2-miles-long and 2,300 feet vertical drop course allows racers to reach speeds up to 75 mph!! Holy speed suits that freaky-fast. Of course, the most labor intensive part of the Speed Center was setting up all the safety netting along the course that are required to make sure conditions are safe for racers skiing in excess of 60 mph.
"This is a very exciting project for Copper. The natural attributes of the Super Bee area, combined with an internal Copper team that has experience with race training and a proven track record on snowmaking, were very appealing to the U.S. Ski Team,"
- Gary Rodgers, President of Copper Mountain Resort.
The Speed Center provides a much needed continuation from summer training in Chile and New Zealand. Now athletes can get their equipment dialed-in and their confidence up before the season's first men's World Cup downhill and super-G races in Lake Louise, Alberta, and the following week at Beaver Creek. The first women's speed races are Dec. 2-4 in Lake Louise. This top-level training facility will provide opportunities for the U.S. Ski Team to become a strong force in alpine racing – next stop, intergalactic skiing domination.
"The U.S. Ski Team Speed Center at Copper will be a game changer for U.S. athletes,"
- USSA President and CEO Bill Marolt.
Three-time U.S. Olympic medalist, Picabo Street, shed some tears at the venue's grand opening as she can only dream of what this facility could have done for her own ski racing career. But racers are definitely taking advantage of the early-season training here at Copper. Here’s sneak peak first person point-of-view with U.S. Women's Ski Team member, Alice Mckennis, hitting the gates. Check it out:
Copper's parent company, Powdr Corp., and the U.S. Ski Team have been working together on this joint venture since July 20, 2011. A quick four months later, Bode Miller, Lindsey Vonn, Julia Mancuso, and Ted Ligety are ripping down the new speed training venue at Copper. Other athletes from around the world have traveled to Copper test out the new course. Norwegian power-house skier, Aksel Lund Svindal, writes in his blog:
"This is an average day in Colorado right now. Would be the best day ever any other place. Blue sky, good snow and full length super-G on a great hill. Only minus is that we’re on high altitude here. Top of Copper is 3.700m. So full world cup length courses makes your legs burn and your lungs scream. I wish I could ski forever, but after 5 runs I’m usually dead."
We wish all of the U.S. Ski team good luck this year and hope the medals pile up.
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